If you’re an interiors junky who trawls the world wide web of design blogs, you have most likely screen grabbed a few images of swoon worthy children’s rooms. (Don’t be ashamed. It’s not above us to be envious of an eight year old with better digs than us.) We spoke with Design Development NYC, one of the leading general contracting and design companies in NYC, with these cool kids in mind. (Hoping for a few tips for ourselves? Perhaps).
Design Development NYC quite fittingly epitomizes the adage ‘necessity is the mother of invention’. And since we’re talking adages here, mash up “If you need something done on time, give it to the busiest person” with, “If you need something done right, do it yourself,” and you’ve got, in a nutshell, the story of how entrepreneurs Chip Brian and Mike Daddio ended up in the design-build trade.
Chip Brian, a young banking professional, came home one day to find his contractor hired for his kitchen and bath remodel, sleeping on the job. (Him and his team were very literally asleep on the floor.) Brian fired them on the spot and, surprise, surprise, lost the $15,000 he had paid upfront. He decided to put to use his woodworking skills and great eye for detail to get the job done himself. Well aware this was not the world’s first ‘the contractor took my money and ran’ story, Brian teamed up with Mike Daddio, a third-generation builder who already had a string of successful building projects and happy clients behind him.
Brian, who has two kids himself, understands several things about designing for children:
1. Kids need room to be kids. Their lives are filled with adventure, as well as lots of small objects that are easy to trip over and get sucked up into the vacuum cleaner. There’s got to be a sense of balance to all the chaos, and that comes by looking at things from a child’s point of view.
2. They are shorter. Furnishings are lower to the ground.
3. They are infinitely curious. There’s got to be a lot of room for toys, books, homework, etc.
4. They can be a bit reckless at times. The rooms have to be safe: skip the sharp corners, glass, and chrome.
5. They don’t go to sleep willingly. There’s got to be a place in their lives that is so comfortable and quiet—their sanctuary—that they can doze off, dream, and get ready to do it all over again the next day.
6. Kids need a space with sense of order and that allows them to grow. That translates to good architecture, and lots of built-in storage (impossible to have too much, in a house with children).
When asked about maximizing space in NYC, an obvious question from anyone living on this crowded island, Design Development suggested custom built-ins. “They’re a great way to maximize space. We do a lot of pieces that multitask as seating/daybeds and storage. We like to take the wardrobes all the way to the ceiling, so out-of-season items can be stored up high and this season’s things can be at kid-level, so they can hang up their own clothes.”
The team at Design Development also likes the idea of making interior hallways function as more than tunnels. They have utilized the hallway space with built-in desks, closets, and daybeds in wide hallways that end up functioning as playrooms by day. Kids often do their homework at the kitchen table, so a built-in sideboard that has drawers and cubbies where all the paraphernalia can be stowed when it’s time to eat dinner is a nifty multifunctional tip. Another tip: “We love a big reading chair by the window for reading and late-night chats with the parents. Kids are people. And all people need these things.” How true indeed.
Design Development hears rumors that Prince George of England will have an African themed bedroom. We predict a whole lot of safari murals and increased sales of giant stuffed lions once the word gets out.
For more information, visit www.designdevelopmentnyc.com