This Toronto home features two living and two dining spaces. The best part? All four are entirely kid friendly.
One house: two living spaces, two dining spaces. Decorated for everyday and for entertaining, all four are entirely kid friendly. Here are the key features that make each room work for children and adults alike.
The open-concept front room of this Toronto house features a living and dining area mainly enjoyed when the family is entertaining – but it’s not the kind of place the kids (who were ages six and three when it was designed) can’t go. “I wanted my home to feel child friendly, but not in an amusement park kind of way,” says homeowner Amanda Cohen, who lives here with her husband, Noah Segal, and their two boys, Olivier (Liv) and Beckham, now 12 and 9. “I needed it to be fun, as well as cozy and comfortable...and usable.”
Expandable dining table
When fully extended, the dining table seats 14 people. “I have a big family, my husband has a big family, and it’s important to us that everyone fits,” explains homeowner Amanda Cohen. “I’m not into having a kids’ table. I want everyone in the same space.”
Weathered coffee table
The entire family enjoying the same area as much as possible applies to after dinner, too. While the adults are chatting around the dining table, the kids can play in the adjoining living room – which is why designer Tim Johnson chose a coffee table that can endure a lot of use. “The kids can craft on it, I'm sure there’s glue stuck to it... and it just gets better,” says Amanda.
From the sofa to the dining chairs, the fabrics Tim chose are all tough. “The design is about fun and laughter and kids being able to jump on the furniture, which they do,” says Tim. “That’s just the kind of family they are.” The most expensive fabric was used on the dining chair backs, which get touched by tiny hands the least.
Inexpensive toss cushions
“How much are you going to spend on toss cushions when you know your kids are going to throw them around?” says Amanda with a laugh.
“The kids really, really love this area,” says Amanda of the back room of the family’s house. “It’s our happy place. It’s where we spend all our time – eating, crafting, cooking.” While still elegantly appointed, the family room and eat-in area of the kitchen are designed to stand up to the everyday use of an ultra-active household. “Amanda is an absolute firecracker, and her home is a very busy one,” says Tim. “So I designed a space that’s bright and colourful like her but also not too serious or overly precious for her kids (and their friends who visit)."
The gallery wall featuring pictures of the boys captures the carefree energy of the household. “I sent Tim a huge file of photos, and he did the rest,” says Amanda. “He put it up the morning of Mother’s Day. I was bawling.”
Heavy-duty dining table
From their annual MasterChef Junior-inspired competitions to the kids’ science experiments to arts and crafts, this wooden dining table sees a lot of action. “I don’t care if it gets dented,” says Amanda.
With a white vinyl settee and plastic dining chairs, the area where the family eats (and plays) every day can be quickly wiped clean with a wet cloth. The same goes for the family room’s leather ottoman (where the kids play board games).
“You’d never know that this white rug is more than six years old,” says Amanda of why she scotchgarded it. “There have been many spills, and there’s no trace.”