Get ready for winter with kid friendly home improvements

A Medina home at 1215 Oakview Road has an indoor gym area featuring a play structure with tornado slide for younger children. As the children grow older, the structure can be replaced with other more age appropriate indoor athletic equipment. (Photo courtesy of Coldwell Banker Burnet Realty)

A Medina home at 1215 Oakview Road has an indoor gym area featuring a play structure with tornado slide for younger children. As the children grow older, the structure can be replaced with other more age appropriate indoor athletic equipment. (Photo courtesy of Coldwell Banker Burnet Realty)

Cold winter winds soon will chase Minnesota children indoors, where they will be looking for something to do. Doing kid friendly home improvements in the fall can help home owners and home buyers get ready for chilly days.

“It’s all about creating fabulous spaces for children indoors,” said Realtor Ellen DeHaven, of Coldwell Banker Burnet’s Wayzata office. “Once they move indoors, they still can recreate year round.”

Home owners can let their imaginations run wild as they explore ideas for indoor spaces for their kids. One of DeHaven’s clients did just that with their home at 1215 Oakview Road in Medina — a home that is listed at $2.8 million. (The home is listed by DeHaven and Jeff Dewing, both of whom are Coldwell Banker Burnet realtors.) Inside the house is an indoor play structure with tornado slide, golf practice area, basketball court and swimming pool. A tennis court is situated outside.

At age 6 1/2, Yasamine Ameli loves to have friends over for lunch. They sit at Yasamine’s table located under her bed, which is in a loft arrangement reminiscent of a college dorm room. She has her music and stuffed toys nearby. The loft is decorated with Christmas lights year round. For disciplinary time outs, she is required to sit on her bed. A desk is across the room. (Sun staff photo by Susan Van Cleaf)

At age 6 1/2, Yasamine Ameli loves to have friends over for lunch. They sit at Yasamine’s table located under her bed, which is in a loft arrangement reminiscent of a college dorm room. She has her music and stuffed toys nearby. The loft is decorated with Christmas lights year round. For disciplinary time outs, she is required to sit on her bed. A desk is across the room. (Sun staff photo by Susan Van Cleaf)

Realtor Morteza (Peji) Ameli and his wife Julie have a much smaller home in Plymouth and also a much smaller budget. They have redesigned their home while keeping in mind life styles of daughter Yasamine, age 6 1/2, and son Gideon, age 5. As they went about their project, they put to use ideas from the Move and Improve Program that the couple uses with Peji’s clients at Keller Williams Premier Realty, based in Wayzata.

“Use the space you have to match what the kids are doing,” Peji said.

He emphasizes making home improvements that work with a family’s life style and, at the same time, make the house more marketable. One of his clients originally was improving his home in order to sell it. “They decided to stay in the home and are enjoying it,” he said.

As a realtor, he looks at resale value when a client is ready to sell. The timing of the sale might be off in the future.

Peji works with a team that includes Julie, who is an accredited staging professional. Other team members include his realtor partner Kelley Regan, Kreg Staging & Design and subcontractors for items such as granite counter tops.

Julie put her creativity to use in designing the new interior of her home. Peji found his children’s ideas to be “difficult to implement,” so he and Julie offered Yasamine and Gideon a few ideas from which they could choose.

Peji always asks his clients about their values. “Any improvement they make has to fit their standards,” he said.

Improvements to the Ameli home reflect a value that Peji and Julie have as parents. They want to know what their kids are doing, so the couple had contractors knock down a few walls on the upstairs level.

The Ameli family has knocked down the wall between the kitchen and the recreation room in their Plymouth home. This arrangement enables adults to finish a leisurely dinner at a quartz topped center island and watch the kids in the rec room at the same time. (Sun staff photo by Susan Van Cleaf)

The Ameli family has knocked down the wall between the kitchen and the recreation room in their Plymouth home. This arrangement enables adults to finish a leisurely dinner at a quartz topped center island and watch the kids in the rec room at the same time. (Sun staff photo by Susan Van Cleaf)

Now adults can sit at a new granite topped center island in the kitchen, finish a leisurely dinner and watch Yasamine and Gideon play video games in the rec room. Peji also can sit in the kitchen area and look down the hallway straight into Gideon’s bedroom. Meanwhile, dad and mom can hear what Yasamine is doing in her room. The rule is that bedroom doors must remain open, except when children are sleeping.

The new center island in the kitchen doubles as a space on which the kids can do messy projects or help with cooking dinner. When the Amelis have company for dinner, the kids sit at the center island and have their own conversations. Adults sit at a dining room table located in a room without walls next to the center island.

The kitchen has a refrigerator with a center drawer located at just the right height for children to reach in for healthy snacks, such as yogurt and fruit. The kitchen floor is made from distressed hardwood that does not show “dings” made by children, because the wood is already distressed.

Gideon Ameli of Plymouth hangs out in a bedroom containing something for most aspects of his life. Bunk beds and a futon enable him to invite two friends for a sleep over. At age 5, he already has homework, so he needs a desk. A basketball hoop is off camera. The futon doubles as a place for Gideon to sit during disciplinary time outs until he can leave the room “with a cheerful heart.” (Sun staff photo by Susan Van Cleaf)

Gideon Ameli of Plymouth hangs out in a bedroom containing something for most aspects of his life. Bunk beds and a futon enable him to invite two friends for a sleep over. At age 5, he already has homework, so he needs a desk. A basketball hoop is off camera. The futon doubles as a place for Gideon to sit during disciplinary time outs until he can leave the room “with a cheerful heart.” (Sun staff photo by Susan Van Cleaf)

Gideon’s room reflects his love for sports and his “go-go” personality. The fist of the Incredible Hulk seems to be punching a hole in the wall. A basketball hoop is low enough for Gideon to dunk many a ball. A bunk bed and futon enable him to have two friends over at one time for a sleep over. The futon doubles as a disciplinary time out spot, where Gideon has to sit until he can come out of his room “with a cheerful heart.”

Yasamine’s room reflects her love for socializing with friends. Her personal spot borrows ideas from college dorm rooms, which have limited space. Her bed stands on a loft, and a table sized for six-year-olds sits underneath. The table gets frequent use when she has friends over for lunch in “her own bistro,” Julie said. Christmas lights brighten the loft area year-round.

Yasamine’s disciplinary time out spot is her bed at the top of the room.

So the Amelis have their unique answer for a common question, “Can a child’s room be so much fun that going there is more entertainment than punishment?”

Julie has thought about how to change her home as the kids grow older. The Amelis have a downstairs apartment currently occupied by a tenant. When Yasamine reaches her teen years, she could move downstairs to have more privacy.

Lana Simon, spokesperson for Coldwell Banker Burnet, commented about children’s rooms, “Choose a theme and then incorporate their favorite colors and hobbies so that they feel cozy and comfortable. Sprucing up the walls is a good starting point and can change the entire feel of the room by adding pops of bright color. A great way to remain budget friendly and personalize the space is to frame your child’s artwork to hang on the walls.”

Simon suggested finishing off an unfinished basement to make a kid friendly area. “Converting your basement in to a massive play room is an easy and functional fix for extra play space, while adding value to your home at the same time,” she said.

Contact Susan Van Cleaf at susan.vancleaf@ecm-inc.com

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