CIH Blog: Living with dependent children, Bethan Egerton
29 June 2017
Pozzoni Architecture is attending the Housing 2017 Conference and our Residential Team is publishing an accompanying daily article based on our research into current UK household types. The pieces consider how architects can create homes that both meet the needs of different family types and adapt to future changes, with each referencing a recently-completed Pozzoni project and including insight from members of the team.
Today, we consider a family who are living with dependent children. As discussed yesterday, we consider a family who are planning to have children to have similar requirements.
The critical issue will be ensuring the right number of bedrooms. A two-bedroom apartment or house may be sufficient for a family considering children or a family with one child. For larger families, though, a sufficient number of bedrooms will be important. Although children can share a bedroom up to a certain age, this may not be desirable and is possibly a choice only made out of necessity.
Having a toilet on the same level as the living space is important for families with young children, as well as being useful for guests. A second bathroom would also be useful, especially with teenage children, as the parent(s) may want a separate washing facility for themselves.
Finally, the potential for having two living spaces is crucial to help the family work more cohesively together. One space can be used as a family room in which to cook, eat and live (with easy access to any outdoor space) and another can be a more grown-up space or a space used for private study. This would allow each member of the family to have their own space, as well as giving them the opportunity to gather together and enable wider social gatherings with family and friends.
Pozzoni Architect Bethan Egerton is currently in the process of moving house from a two bedroom terrace to a three bedroom semi-detached house. Bethan and her husband Dave currently have one daughter aged one and are expecting a son in September. They have therefore decided to move into a house with more space for the family to grow. ‘When we found out we were pregnant one of the first things we decided we needed to do was move house. We have loved living in our two bedroom terrace and it has served us well as a first home, but, with a growing family, more space is essential. The main things we were looking for in the new house were three bedrooms – so that the children don’t have to share – separate spaces downstairs for a playroom and an adults living room and a garden. Ideally, we would have liked a downstairs toilet, but this is the one thing we have sacrificed to get the other things that we wanted.’
My husband and I both work and Lily our daughter goes to nursery. We are hoping to carry on with this routine when our son arrives and it was important to us that each child had their own bedroom to ensure that all of us are able to get undisturbed sleep when possible.
The separate playroom and living room will allow everyone to have the space they need downstairs. At the moment we spend time clearing toys and tidying our living room after Lily has gone to bed before we can relax ourselves.
The garden will provide some lovely outdoor space that we need and it is great because there is a door from the playroom directly out to the garden. I’m sure our little dog will love this too!’
At The Hawthorns, for New Charter Housing Trust, Pozzoni designed a housing scheme accommodating 54 houses, in a mix of two-, three- and four-bed types, as well as 36 one-bed apartments.
This high level of one-bed homes was prompted by the last government’s ‘bedroom tax’ introduction. As NCHT had very few one-bed homes, they appreciated the problems many tenants would face. The flats are generous, with a contemporary, light-filled layout and access to a large balcony or patio area. This is aimed at minimising the sense of lost space where residents have to ‘downsize’. However, it also gives families a chance to move from one bedroom apartments (when considering children) to a range of family houses (when children arrive) within the same community. The Hawthorns is complete, fully occupied, and has created a vibrant community.
The Housing 2017 Conference takes place from June 27-29. If you’d like to discuss any of the topics covered in this article, you can call Pozzoni on 0161 928 7848 or email: firstname.lastname@example.org.
*Based on the Office of National Statistics ‘Families and households in the UK: 2016’. There are 4.8 million married or civil partner couple families with dependent children and 1.3 million cohabiting families with dependent children in the UK in 2016.