When Sandra Funk was faced with the challenge of designing a playroom, the results weren’t what you’d expect from a typical children’s space. You see, before she got to work on the initial design plan, she reckoned with the idea that kids always grow up — therefore a kitschy or predictable playroom could only be relevant for so long. Instead, Sandra opted for a timeless, sophisticated space that would grow with the family, creating areas for (home)work and play. Gone are the days of wondering where the tweens are after school… hello slumber party HQ! In fact, the final design is so swoon-worthy, we’d love to adopt a similar look for our offices. Read on to learn more about Sandra’s inspiration:
What were the family’s needs when reaching out?
The family wanted a space that would draw their children and children’s friends to stay and play. We’ve seen a move towards these kinds of projects as kids hit their tween years. Families want to create a fun environment that the kids find “cool,” but also want to grow into over the coming years. Many clients have noted that they would rather create these types of environments and have their house be the “hang out” house rather than not know what their kids are up to after school.
The family’s wish list included adding a giant TV, gaming components, a space for lounging, eating, studying, and playing, as well as plenty of room for sleepovers (our set-up comfortably sleeps six, as the sectional includes a queen pull-out and deep bench cushions that work well for crashing for the night). It also necessitated room for homework, storage for school supplies, niches to gather and hang (window seats), and fun elements to keep it playful (the hanging chair).
What was your initial inspiration for the space?
We always start with how you want to feel in the space. In this case, the clients were looking for cozy and warm, while still taking the space seriously. This translated to chic, elegant, and refined with elements of fun and whimsy thrown in.
While our brief was for a kids’ space, our intention was to make it chic enough that the parents would end up watching an occasional game there as well, since we all know that kids want to be “designed down to” about as much as they want to be “talked down to.” We approach every kid space with whimsy and imagination, but never in a juvenile way. That said, we worked to add structure, coziness, and interest to this oversize space with architectural elements like the trim that highlights the four window seats, a great center light, and dramatic paint colors.
Did you incorporate any child-friendly materials?
Of course! We incorporated hi-durability and stain-treated fabrics, faux leather for the homework room seat cushions, a hard-wearing floor finish — should the roller skates come out to play — and an easy-to-clean area rug. It’s all easy to maintain!
What are your top tips when designing with children in mind?
Plan for growth — if you design for their age today, you miss so many opportunities. We believe in timeless design that can grow and flow with the family. Timeless design incorporates: wearibility, clean-ability, and durability are key. As with any design, start with how you want a space to feel for an outcome that exceeds the ordinary.
Tell us about House of Funk. Do you have anything exciting in the works?
House of Funk is my dream, my happy place, my design playground. This, and all of our projects, are a collaboration with our amazing team — both the HOF team, and the vendors and contractors that we work with time and time again.
Our new online design option, eFunk, is our latest exciting endeavor! We’re thrilled to bring the version of online design that I’ve been doing for years for my Michigan family to the masses.