Like so many families with growing children, we’re renovating to get more living space. It’s ironic, isn’t it. When you have toddlers and preschoolers, all you want is an open plan house. In fact one HUGE room would be plenty. No doors to squash little fingers, no stairs to fall down, a view from the kitchen or laundry (where parents of young children seem to spend an obscene amount of time) to all corners of the house, including the garden.
But now it’s getting busy and chaotic in our kitchen / family / dining room. Particularly in Winter when I can’t open the back doors and send everyone outside. And when we have friends and their families around... let’s just say it’s very loud in here.
Recently I was flicking through my sister’s collection of 1950s home magazines and laughed. So many articles were about how to create more living spaces for growing families. Yes, nothing much has changed. In particular, one titled The Garage gets Playroom Gaiety from a March 1956 copy of Australian House and Garden caught my eye:
‘If you like entertaining – and particularly if you have young folk in your family – you need an all-purpose room. Like this garage-through-to-living-room shown here. Come any party night, the car goes out, overhead door from living room has a colourful canopy tacked over it, and in go the bridge tables and chairs ready for the card game. When teenagers take over for dancing, there is still plenty of room for adults to lounge.’We don’t have a garage, I don’t know anyone living in inner-city Sydney who does, but I liked the sentiment behind the idea. Here was a way to get more space that didn’t involve sending children to one end of the house and adults to another; a way of continuing to socialise together. Mind you, I don’t know about the dancing and card games. Being a ‘lounger’ myself, I definitely relate more to the need for ‘plenty of room for adults to lounge’.