If there’s anything I’ve learnt since becoming a parent (and there are many weird and wonderful things), it’s that kids make your house a home.
And by home, I mean the place where toys go to die.
For there was a time in the not too distant past where I was a person who had bench tops you could actually see instead of sticky storage surfaces for every glue covered paddle pop stick, ribbon, non sticky sticker and egg carton-come-space shuttle creation known to man.
But since having kids I’ve learnt to embrace a few new, cutting edge, parent-particular design aesthetics that you may not see in the next issue of Vogue Living.
The “my house has just been ransacked” look.
This is the kind of design aesthetic that takes the commitment and free abandon that only a young child or a stranger rifling through your belongings looking for valuables can possess. If you were to create a mood board to assist in inspiring you for this look I would encourage you to just fill it with stuff. Random stuff. Stuff you may have forgotten you owned. Stuff you perhaps wish you didn’t. And a used bandaid.
Where to start: Read a book? Toss it on the floor. The rug? Doesn’t need to be there so half roll, half scrunch it so that its a 3 dimensional permanent trip hazard for the unwary. To the untrained eye it might appear as though the cushions have been thrown on the floor, but that’s only for those who don’t possess the vision of an architectural cushion fortress or home for a mouse depending on who you ask.
Materials: Thirty thousand half completed drawings; with six of them still on the table and the rest on the floor. Along with four hundred pencils and eight texta lids of unknown origin.
If the police come to your house they’ll think you’ve been broken into and you should probably just go with that, it means you’re doing it right. The beauty of this look is that it can happen in the blink of an eye. One minute you can have a perfectly tidy and habitable space, and the next minute… Ransacked chic.
Key phrases to keep in mind when implementing this look include, but are not limited to “my washing basket just exploded”, “I didn’t like those curtains anyway” and “I had no idea that was a permanent marker”.
The panic room.
This is an absolute essential for the floor plan of any family home. This is the room where you quickly shove all the washing baskets, empty nappy boxes, superfluous shoes, hats, handbags, paperwork, tupperware that doesn’t belong to you, beanbags, and cardboard that didn’t fit into the recycle bin this week, when someone you weren’t expecting rings the doorbell and you fly into a frenzied panic of “what the fuck are they even doing here” related freak outs.
The panic room is kind of like the architectural equivalent to knowing something doesn’t fit in the freezer but forcing the door shut and leaving it to fall out on someone else. Often disguised as the laundry or master bedroom.
Jackson Pollock post meal time food explosion.
Why waste valuable dollars on artwork when you have toddlers who somehow manage to propel their food with such velocity and accuracy that, post meal time, the surrounding area resembles a Jackson Pollock original?
Lasagne is a particularly good medium for this. Weetbix also has a good splatter effect. You have to work up to this look, one meal will give you a good starting point to build upon, but you won’t achieve full abstract expressionism unless you commit to multiple mealtimes of child food refusal complete with dinner plate launch pad.
This design aesthetic pairs nicely with the classic 1980’s Pro Hart method of floor coverings, which is popular with families with young children.
Knee high Minimalism.
Generally this look is mastered in the time between a baby learning to crawl and walking confidently.
Usually at this point many of your most treasured possessions will be within arms reach of your small apprentice. It will probably take two to three breakages and/or ignored “don’t touch that please”s before you realise the time has come to embrace the knee high minimalistic design aesthetic whereby you strip away all unnecessary elements and are left only with the bare essentials of every day functioning. Items you once thought looked pretty, or stylish will become obsolete. To master this look you will probably bid adieu to superfluous and unnecessary items like candles, vases, coffee table books, magazines, any and all decorative ornaments, photo frames, glasses, and just generally the majority of the items you love most or spent the most money on.
One of the important elements to introducing this design successfully into your home is to remember that items can be placed at height, even to the point of a cluttered effect on high shelves or top cupboards, but anything at knee height must be removed.
For this look you will have to invest in some key pieces.
Safety catches, door knob covers, sliding locks, multipurpose latches, stove guards, corner protectors, safety straps, guard rails, outlet plugs, baby gates, perhaps even a play pen. The majority of these items will be white and made of plastic.
And just when you’ve absolutely definitely thought of everything, your small human will prove that you absolutely haven’t you complete and utter negligent idiot, by hurting themselves on something glaringly obvious and you’ll find yourself riddled with guilt and buying yet more white plastic thingymajiggys.
Keep in mind that one of the drawbacks to this aesthetic is that basically no one visiting your house will ever be able to figure out how to get into the rubbish bin cupboard again so you will forever have used tissues and empty drink containers of unknown origin on your countertop.
Fisher Price chic.
If you’re a fan of bold, bright colours, than this is the look for you.
The Fisher Price colour palette is primary colour heavy, with the emphasis on royal blue, tomato red, and sunshiney yellow. Complementary colours have also been introduced, so expect some lurid green, high-vis orange and plum purple to round out the look.
The key to integrating this look into your existing layout is to place oversize items haphazardly, perhaps in a different spot daily, preferably at risk of creating a trip hazard, and if you think you have too much Fisher Price, then you should probably buy one more item. And if you don’t, someone else probably will anyway.
It’s such a well rounded range you can pretty much furnish your whole house with it.