The Family Unit – Making An Apartment More Family Friendly

The second installment of our Apartment Living special continues to follow a family of four who have moved on up into an apartment in Toowong, Brisbane (read the start of their journey Real Home – Apartment Living 101).

Often, the down side to moving up into an apartment is a lack of space. Throw a couple of kids into the mix and you find you’ve quickly filled every living area and storage space before you’ve even finished unpacking the boxes. Fitting a family into an apartment can be challenging for both achieving a comfortable amount of personal space and the expansive requirements of family sized storage.

Storage space is high on the ‘must have’ list for this family, with a bevy of bikes, musical instruments and the usual family goods and chattels accumulated over the decades, in-tow. Another serious space consideration is the fast approaching teenage years of their two children and the need to have areas for both parents and the children to ‘escape’ to. The family found a three bedroom apartment with a great outdoor living area, providing two completely separate living areas for the family. With a private lock up garage, spacious enough for bikes, boats, golf clubs and christmas decorations, this apartment has already ticked several boxes for accommodating a family of four.

The apartment kitchen has been earmarked as a great opportunity where some simple changes can make make some family sized positive impacts to ensure a smooth adaptation to apartment living. The current kitchen is 12 years old and has some design elements that restrict the inclusiveness required by a family kitchen. Fortunately recent innovations in kitchen appliances and cabinetry will help resolve a lot of these issues.

The current design issues include:

  • a barrier wall along the counter separating the kitchen and living area
  • no over-hang for counter seating
  • black splash back and dark cook top area
  •  busy granite pattern on narrow bench top
  • limited storage space for a family of four who like to entertain
  • hard to reach into the back of low cupboards
  • deep pantry shelves; and a very loud (like 747 loud) range hood

The family would like a kitchen where people can gather. Whether you live in a traditional Queenslander or a modern apartment, the kitchen is the hub of any home –and serving as command headquarters, the kitchen bench is the quarter deck of the family mothership.

The kitchen is a space where, as a family, you prepare meals, share meals, do homework, have family discussions, coffee with friends, pre-dinner drinks, possibly eat dinner, fill out endless school forms, pay bills, recharge phones and tablets; and maybe one day write that New York Times best seller. Today, a modern kitchen needs to be all that and the kitchen sink.

Watch this space to following a family kitchen renovation over the next few weeks. Keeping up with the planning and preparation; the dramas, decisions and demolition and the finished dream apartment kitchen ‘fit’ for a family.