‘Our home is very democratic,’ says Kasia, who lives with husband Bob, their sons Tytus (9 months), Tymon (3) and Leon (7), and her mother, known to all as Baba Gaba. All three generations share a 100-year-old house in the woods outside Warsaw – come see how they make it work…
CHOOSE OPEN-PLAN FOR EVERYONE On the open-plan ground floor of Kasia and Bob’s home, the L-shaped sofa is the family’s anchor. ‘This is our common space, where we spend time together when we’re indoors,’ says Kasia. Their home is built around memories, with ideas made to bring their family stories to life. ‘The wall hangings above the sofa are old bicycle wheels wrapped in covers I sew with my mother. They remind us of Grandpa – his hobby was building bikes.’ Kasia has covered another wall with a family photo gallery, to trigger her sons’ memories of all the places they’ve visited together.
MAKE YOUR KITCHEN SHAREABLE The kitchen can be the busiest room in the house, so make sure it’s easy for everyone to share. ‘Our house is designed so that the boys – in fact, everyone – can play an active role in it,’ says Bob. ‘That means putting heavy things on wheels, having footstools to reach kitchen surfaces and keeping everyday ingredients in easily accessible cupboards.
EMPOWER KIDS TO GET INVOLVED Learning is all about trying things out and getting involved, so the easier it is for children to join in with you, the more skills they’ll pick up. ‘Everyone in this house has opinions – Leon often reminds us that it’s his life!’ says Kasia. ‘For us, it’s important to show the boys how they can be involved – they can be part of the making and building of things, as well as the playing with them afterwards. That is what will give them satisfaction and good memories.’
ENCOURAGE INTERACTION Kasia and Bob created a playroom for Leon and Tymon, where their desks face each other to encourage working together and shared play. ‘We feel it is really important that they get to interact at the same time as they are drawing or working at their desks. This is something often lacking in education,’ says Bob. ‘I made the house-shaped blackboard for the kids,’ says Kasia. ‘Often they take it outside to play with, but it works really well in their playroom.’
MAKE IT YOURS If you have a passion, let it show throughout your home. Kasia’s sewing business grew from a hobby passed down by her grandmother, and she’s since given every room a personal touch with her handmade textiles. ‘Four years ago, I wanted a garland of stars to hang but couldn’t find one, so I asked Bob to draw a star – I can’t draw – and I asked Mum to bring the old sewing machine over. I made a garland, then letters, some friends asked me to sew things for them, and now I have a business. I make garlands like dreamcatchers, but we call them joycatchers, after Radość, our neighbourhood – it means joy.’
Where indoors meets outdoors Use all the comforts of indoors to make your outdoor space feel extra inviting. ‘As soon as spring arrives, I like the boys to play outside as much as possible,’ says Kasia. ‘I spent a lot of time with my grandma as a child. She loved the outdoor life and had two allotments, so we were always out, digging the earth. It’s a great feeling, which I want my boys to have.
LIVING IN A MULTIGENERATIONAL HOME Kasia’s mum, who ‘came for a few weeks’ to help when their first son was born, has the spare room and is beloved playmate to all three brothers. It wasn’t planned, but this family finds joy in life’s little surprises. ‘We hold on to our roots. Having a live-in grandparent is special.’
FIND FREEDOM IN SHARING WHAT YOU HAVE ‘I think everything can find a new life,’ says Kasia. ‘We hold on to all kinds of stuff – paper, rope, fabric. We work with what we have… We may not have the most, but we have many hands and lots of ideas, so we feel free – we can do anything we want!’
We love to see our customers get creative with our products. Go for it! But please note that altering or modifying IKEA products so they can no longer be re-sold or used for their original purpose, means the IKEA commercial guarantees and your right to return the products will be lost.
Interior stylist: Ashlyn Gibson
Photographer: Lina Ikse