mari’s waffle: homework and art area for the kids

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Mari and her family recently moved into a new house.  It’s twice as large as her former house, which means lots of furniture can come out of storage.  Mari hoped some of this liberated furniture would work well in the kitchen as an art/homework area for her two kids, but it isn’t turning out as well as planned.

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Mari says,

We have a large space in our kitchen and are trying to figure out how to incorporate an art area for the kids, while not taking up the entire kitchen. Depending on the solution there may also be room for a small kitchen table for eating on. We also need to keep the supplies in the same space, and they tend to get a bit messy. So it is a space that needs to incorporate art, legos and homework for two kids!

Here are her options:

Two chocolate Walden desks and hutches from the Land of Nod, one under each of the small high windows.  The hutches would function as needed storage.

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The next four options are all from Ikea. Mari could purchase two stainless steel Vika Hyttan/ Vika Moliden desks and place one under each of the small high windows. She would also buy drawer units to go under the desks for added storage:

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Or Mari could buy three white Vika Amon/Vika Curry desks and push them together to form a L-shape (one 78″ long and two 59″ long). Again, she would purchase several under desk storage units for legos, art supplies, etc.

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Another option is to place two black-brown Expedit bookcases against the wall with the small high windows and a then place a table and chairs in the middle of this area for art projects, homework, and lego building.

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Mari’s final option is a twist on the previous one: two Expedit bookshelves with attached desks, one for each kid. Again, these would be against the wall with the two high windows:

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A tough waffle!

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9 responses

  1. I agree with Holiday. Center a large dining table/project table – fill back wall with WHITE (not black/walnut) Expedit shelves but only 30″ high (or thereabout – whatever the ones that are 2 cubes high) then hang large bulletin boards or custom frame cork board for above the Expedit shelves (to display the kids’ art). Buy a simple drum shade pendant light for over the table, and an simple indoor/outdoor rug for underneath (that way the spills won’t be an issue). And 3 counter stools for the island. Use current table/desk somewhere else so that Mari can make a kitchen or family room desk somewhere for her command center. I’d allow a small bin in the Expedit shelves for Legos, otherwise, designate a play space near the kitchen (family room), but not in that eat-in area.

  2. I like the idea of a couple of desks and I really like keeping them light so they blend in with the kitchen a bit better.

  3. Another idea -install a filter in the faucet, instead of the water cooler?

  4. Budget permitting, continue the same built-in cabinets all the way to the end. One way to do it: tall cabinet in the center/between the two windows -floor to same height as the upper cabinet she currently has on the right; in both side a 30″H granite counter; and under cabinets (drawers) on one/both sides. Plenty of storage.
    This is a one-time investment that won’t get dated. Can serve as a workplace (add computers), or as a buffet/bar when hosting.
    You also keep the breakfast table (round?) for meals only, and you don’t have to move stuff.
    Agree with some color – a rug, art on the wall above the counter, etc.

  5. I like the idea of having an armoire/office piece. This way you could close the door and not see everything. Since you have white cabinets, I think white is a good choice to add to the that side of the room for color balance. You could build a window seat with storage (or you could find one at Ikea), add cushions for comfort, bring in a long table and add chairs to the other side and two different chairs that compliment for the head of the table. Coordinate the room with window treatments.

  6. It’s really hard to find an appropriate solution to the combination of kids, homework, art-making and dining, especially as the needs of the kids change as they grow older. Depending on the child, they want to be around you in grade school, and want privacy and their own room about when they get to middle school. I’d vote for the storage piece(s) you want to live with and get a big round kitchen table you can throw a colorful oilcloth over for artwork and take off for eating. If your dining chairs are on wheels to make moving them for art-homework easier, so much the better.

  7. i have the expedit in my living room and it is awesome. we bought black fabric bins to go in each of the openings and it stores all the toys out of sight so it just looks like a basic piece of living room furniture. if she did that AND a dining table, the kids could work on the table when it’s not mealtime, then put their stuff away in the bins when it’s time to eat. each kid could have a bin for “work in progress,” so it could be shoved away easily. she could also leave bin-less open spaces for decorative items or books. what i love about this piece is that in my smallish living room, it provides a ton of storage and you’d never guess the “messy toy soup” (as my kids call it) that resides behind all the bins. it’s a very clean look and when the kids get older, i’ll probably use it as a bookcase.

  8. None of the above! I think an office or desk like set up would be odd in what is supposed to be dine-in kitchen space. Center a table in there that you don’t mind kids using and abusing and then one or two armoires like this along that back wall: http://bijoukaleidoscope.blogspot.com/2009/10/entertainment-unit-desk-makeover.html

    Put tall baskets with spillover toys or legos in the corner if need be.

    That way, it looks like a kitchen and all the homework/craft stuff can be hidden when it’s time to use it as a kitchen or have grown ups around.

  9. Another idea – add a rug to the play / homework area to set it off and create definition for the space. Right now it looks awkward to have that bookshelf-y thing in what’s kind of the kitchen