How to Create a Functional, Clutter-Free Family Home
There’s no underestimating the modern kitchen. Rightly called the hub of the home, the simple task of cooking dinner has been superseded by creating a space to entertain, to live or even to enjoy the great outdoors. But how do you keep a busy family space clutter free?
Kia Designs recently transformed a five bedroom family home in Wimbledon to mask a multitude of sins. ‘In the kitchen we have a unit that looks like a normal kitchen unit, but actually houses all the children’s paraphernalia,’ explains Kia Designs’ founder, Kia Stanford.
‘This keeps the look streamlined and minimalist. The clients have busy, high pressure jobs in finance and medicine, so the storage is designed to run the house in a military fashion.
Everything their boys need after they come down in the morning exists on the ground floor: their school gear is in the kitchen, their play things in the living room and their after school sports and leisure clothing is stored in the utility room. Everything is at hand, ready to go.’
The downstairs of the property was essentially the main challenge facing Stanford and her team. ‘Our clients had recently purchased the property having lived in rented accommodation in the area for some time,’ Stanford explains.
‘Whilst they loved the location of this semi-detached property, the ground floor layout was awkward, with the kitchen in a small, cramped extension to the side. They wanted the space to be more family friendly, with a larger kitchen with eat-in facilities, install a downstairs WC, have a more formal dining area and an informal TV lounge, a more adult space for relaxing and entertaining, as well as space for family and friends to come and stay.
We completely redid the layout for downstairs, moved the kitchen to the front of the building and added a large utility room
‘We completely redid the layout for downstairs, moved the kitchen to the front of the building and added a large utility room. The back of the house was then turned into a large open-plan space that was zoned out to create the desired formal and informal areas.’
The results of the project, which took six months, are impressive. The kitchen, as well as offering extra storage, looks very streamlined.
‘The kitchen is designed to be clutter free,’ Stanford adds. ‘There is a larger larder fridge, larder freezer, two pantries, as well as a dishwasher and hidden bins. The clients were sceptical about having an island as they hadn’t used one before, so the unit is actually a stand-alone piece, not plumbed, so that could be moved or easily dismantled if required,’ she adds.
Moving through the property, clean lines dominate. ‘Light and clean lines were key requirements,’ nods Stanford. ‘The clients were from overseas and struggled with the small spaces and darker homes in the UK, so wanted to make the most of the space and available light. What created the feeling was a vast amount of hidden storage.’
The conversation continually comes back to the storage aspect of the work and it’s clearly something that Stanford is incredibly proud of. ‘In their previous residence the clients were really struggling with storage,’ she says.
The clients were from overseas and struggled with the small spaces and darker homes in the UK, so wanted to make the most of the space and available light
‘They didn’t have enough and their belongings were piling up around them and spreading over all the surfaces. This project was photographed over nine months after they moved in, so I am super proud that the storage supplied clearly works for them and that they are able to have the clutter-free existence they dreamed of, without compromising having a bustling family lifestyle.’
Stanford works all across the capital, but south west London is a key area for her and the team, with a variety of projects on the go here.
‘We are currently finishing off on a large basement dig for a previous client who has just had another baby and wants to create a fantastic playroom, utility and guest suite, another client is doing a rear kitchen/diner extension to a Victorian terraced house; and we are looking at a complete flat refurbishment near the river.’ We look forward to seeing what else is in store.