I should just get this out of the way: I’m a breeder. There, I said it. Whew! That explains the 5-year-old in the background yelling, “I want to play Godzilla ravages Tokyo NOW, please!”
Bix, meet reader. Reader, meet Bix. Now that the introductions are out of the way, I’d like to mention his role in
this house remodel. I have a short list of mandatories for any changes we make to our house with him in mind…
1. Modern, yes, but livable modern. I don’t believe in living in a museum and I don’t believe in the constant anxiety that comes with accommodating the preciousness of things. Instead, the design and the material have to accommodate us. If we can’t touch it, breathe on it or get a little peanut butter on it, then it shouldn’t be in our house.
2. Life is messy. Design so the mess is easy to eliminate or even avoid. I’m a realist… we have a child. Children have toys. Children like to play with toys. Some tripping over toys is inevitable. To avoid a contentious relationship with my child and his beloved toys, he needs his own place for his own things. In a small house, storage is akin to happiness.
3. Green is for inside, not just outside. Just because we can buy it in bulk at Home Depot ridiculously cheap doesn’t mean we should. What’s in it? Where did it come from? We intend to be extremely conscious in our material decisions — because what you don’t know can kill you or make you very sick, and because tiny metabolisms make children more susceptible to the effects of chemical exposure. And gosh darnit, isn’t the planet having a hard enough time as it is without us making things worse?
4. Outside is not just for looking at through a window. This house was built with an almost-full second lot that has NEVER been taken advantage of. The lot has been a rock-strewn slope unfit for entertaining adults, much less children. This may be the biggest thing to change. We’ll be using our yard year-round, which means we’re going to need easy access, a safer play area… and let’s not forget a little something for our bird, bee and butterfly friends.
5. It has to grow with us. We’re only 10 years way from Bix’s 15th birthday. I know that sounds like fuh-evah away but when remodeling this is something to keep in mind. We want to think ahead and make this evolution easier on all of us.
6. It has to be creative. This means being resourceful in order to accomplish 1 through 5. And it also means that we want to build an environment that encourages imagination, where a kid (and his grownups) can flourish.
I’ll be checking in from time to time to see how closely we’ve been able to stick to our goals. Yeah, uh-huh. Good luck with that.