Let’s face it: we design-conscious homeowners love our homes. (I know I can safely put you in that category, dear reader, because you wouldn’t be reading this article otherwise.)
We’re proud of it. Every inch of our home has been carefully considered, every accessory painstakingly chosen, down to the drawer pulls and the toilet roll holders. Heck, you probably spent days agonising over which shade of white you should paint the living room.
We lavish so much attention and care on our home because it’s an extension of our identity. Which is why, for that group of us who are still sitting on the fence about having children, the changes wrought by the presence of a child in our pristine home are a major deciding influence.
Don’t get me wrong, I love kids. But I also love having my own space designed just the way I like it, without having to worry about getting marker on the white walls or careless hands sweeping my handmade ceramic vases to the floor.
It was only a while ago that my sister visited with her kids, and that visit really put in perspective just how child-unfriendly my home is. My two-year-old nephew ran from room to room, heedless of sharp corners, grabbing items from low tables and getting a little too curious with the electrical sockets. It was exhausting running after him.
And with the pandemic, working from home has highlighted just how important the need for individual space is. Living in a 93 sqm flat means that apart from the master bedroom, my husband and I have a home office each (well, his is more of a man cave). Our rooms offer us solitude, independence, a space for us to display our cherished items that hold deep personal meaning. They say that you should always retain your own identity even in the most loving of marriages, and this is our way of doing that.
If or when a child comes, my home office will be converted into a nursery and I will have to move into a shared study with my husband. My art supplies, drum kit, and a good number of my travel mementoes will have to find a new home. It’s the same for my husband – he will have to give up his desk, take down his dartboards, and we’ll have to sell his TV.
Changes to the rest of the home will also have to be made: no more open windows without grilles, every sharp corner and electrical socket will need to be covered up, and I’ll have to make peace with the fact that my walls and floor will probably never be the same colour again once we reach the toddler years.
There are times where I run my eye over my beloved home and catch myself idly visualising what it would be like with a child in it. And depending on my mood, my emotional response varies. Sometimes it’s doubt; sometimes it’s a tentative concession to the inevitable changes that life brings. These days I find myself leaning more toward the latter. Who knows? As our lives change and identities evolve, so does our home. That’s what makes a house a home in the first place…