Steven and Chris Episodes

Kid Friendly Spaces

Designer Sarah Keenleyside says a children's play area doesn't have to take up a whole room. You just need a small space to get creative in making a one-of-a-kind kids' play and craft center!

Think Like A Kid

Design with a kids eye view in mind. Try adding a "dipped" room - by painting the lower 3/4 of wall in a contrasting color, it plays with the proportion of the walls and brings it down to a more kid-friendly scale.

Take advantage of this detail and create interest with a picture rail. In thinking like a kid, keep in mind what is within children's reach. Strategically place messier or more valuable items above the 4' mark. The Ikea storage cabinet not only doubles as a fun Lego station but it also hides paint supplies when not in use.

Use Durable Materials

You need to be ready for lots of wear and tear, so use hard-wearing finishes. There's no point putting in an expensive material if you are constantly going to worry about your kids damaging it.

An easy to clean area rug, like the "do it yourself" rug made out of Flor tiles does not break the bank. You can remove the individual tiles and wash them in your kitchen sink if there is a spill. You can also buy individual tiles if you need to replace one.

Don't Get Roped In By Kid-Specific Materials

Yes kid-size furniture is adorable, but it's not always necessary or worth the expense, especially in a creative space.

The average kids' table is 18" high and so is the average coffee table! Try to re-imagine a simple white coffee table by painting colored bands on the legs. By wrapping the top with canvas, it turns into an instant art station. When the top gets too thick with materials (like glitter), just replace the canvas for a fresh start. This can be done with any old coffee table that you are thinking of getting rid off.

Add Whimsical Elements

Add whimsy wherever possible. By using wood doweling and copper pluming pieces, a simple organizational rail is much more interesting. But remember, whimsical elements work best when they are used with restraint.

Embrace Messy

No matter how hard you try, the space is going to get messy so do your best to make it easy to clean (but embrace the artistic patina that comes along with it!).

Smock Café can be found at 287 Roncesvalles Ave. in Toronto. It is the brainchild of owner Sarah Wood, along with the help of Sarah Keenleyside and Courtney Witherspoon of Spoon Studio .

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