Little kids don’t care if their new house has classic lighting fixtures and ceramic tile. But a secret clubhouse, that’s just for them? Now we’re talkin’!

In the model home at Kidston Estates, finish designer Helen Greenough used the space under the stairs to create a kids-only hideout.

“It’s the perfect space for a small child to play, and store their toys. And as they outgrow the space, it can easily be transitioned into a storage unit,” Greenough said.

Designing with children in mind was crucial for Kidston Estates. Located near a P-9 French immersion school, the cosy Spryfield neighbourhood is ideal for young families. The covered front porches are perfect for keeping an eye on little ones playing in the yard, and nearby Kidston Lake is a beautiful picnic spot.

Keeping with the family-feel, every home at Kidston Estates — from the siding to the sinks — is designed by Greenough and her husband, John. With a combined total of 35 years design experience in Canada and abroad, the Greenoughs took their inspiration from European homes — particularly the glorious high ceilings.

As the president of Provident Development, John works with the architectural designers to design the house itself. “We always design a space with oversize windows, because it’s important that the owner gets the best use of the natural light,” he said.

Then Greenough steps in to help with the exterior and interior paint colours, finishes, and homey touches. “In the model home, we used practical, comfortable pieces that are easy to clean, but still lend themselves to style,” Greenough said. Comfy couches, brightly-striped pillows and tangerine artwork give the living room a kid-tested, designer-approved polish.

Making a model home approachable is important in a family-friendly area like Kidston Estates. Greenoughsays it’s unrealistic to expect buyers to shell out for fancy all-new furniture, and model homes should inspire people to combine their new items with their old favourites.

“Most people don’t want to replace all of their old furniture, just because they purchased a new house,” Greenough explained. “I like to show the buyer that their father’s old painting can be placed next to their brand-new sofa. Rooms in a house are evolving works of art, and mixing the new with the old is what gives them character.”

Family homes in Kidston Estates are available immediately, and range between $259,900 and $326,900.

– Heather Clarke is a Halifax-based writer with a penchant for pretty things.

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