Drôle House Blog

The Extra Room...Comic Book!

An idea was sparked last year by a conversation between very tried parents who were struggling to find room for toys, their many kids, and themselves amongst the chaos of their small urban homes. Even if they were lucky enough to own their home, they certainly couldn't afford to buy bigger to accommodate their changing needs, or even add on to. What options are there?

The main issue is that our needs have evolved, but the way houses are laid out and used have stayed the same. We now want home offices, in-law or guest rooms, and should we be so lucky to dream it, devoted spaces for homework, practicing, or even health and wellness. More complicated still is that many families are opting to stay in condos, forgoing cars for walkable neighbourhoods, preferring city amenities to the yards of suburbs.

The city of Toronto is taking notice with "Growing Up" a study that is looking into establishing design standards for new homes and condominiums to allow more flexible and transitional use of spaces for all families. I think it’s fabulous and way overdue!

The Extra Room is a quick, tongue-and-cheek manual about how to make use of the space you already have. No renovating, no big construction, but something you can do TODAY to gain more flexible space. It's attachment parent friendly, so try it out if it speaks to you! It the first of many Drôle House comic books and manuals to come. 

If you like it, please share! Tag a picture of your rearranged spaces with #classicswitch or let me know what you think by commenting below.

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Happy switching!


Playbox Fundraiser

Calling all local Toronto makers, designers, scientists and artists! Drôle House is organizing a fundraiser for charity and I think you'll get a kick out of participating! 

Drôle House's PLAYBOX FUNDRAISER --here's how it works:

1. An empty wooden playbox is delivered to your home or office in Toronto by October 28, 2016.

2. You create an inviting visual and useable playbox installation within it by November 14, 2016.

3. Drôle House will pick it up and auction it off on the Children's Storefront online silent auction between November 15 and December 6, 2016.

Email for details and to register your participation HERE.

If you aren't a maker, but are excited to bid on one of these one-of-a-kind playboxes for your family, go to www.childrensstorefront.com for the online auction between November 15th and December 6th, 2016 or come see them in person at 826 Bloor St West in Toronto.

Please share widely!



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Simple Monkey Bar

I hate toys. No, that's not entirely true. I just wish they magically put themselves away, or repaired themselves when broken, or changed into something different once the kids got bored, or at the very least didn't scatter throughout the house like dandelion seeds. There are a few exceptions of course, but toys are generally two per cent useful and ninety eight percent clean-up. I wish there was a way to design them to invisibly blend into the background of the home. 

This is a simple monkey bar prototype inspired by website requests. Though chin up bars similar to this can be found pretty cheaply online, this prototype has three sets of cradles can be placed at any height along a wooden door frame to accommodate many users, from aged two to adult. Adjustable bars like this one, that can be put together in an afternoon, dismantled and stored in a jiffy, that even a young child can easily use and change, well, that is something worth trying out. 

This simple monkey bar is made of a cut galvanized steel fence post, anchored into it's plywood cradle with simple nut and bolt hardware. A stopper installed directly above the bar can be turned to 'lock' and 'unlock' it from it's cradle for added safety. The plywood cradle and latch are of 3/4" plywood, screwed through to the door studs. The bar can be stored away out of sight atop the door trim, where two drilled holes are concealed. 

If you'd like to know more, comment below! 




{Hammock/Nest} - A Drôle House Prototype

When kids share a bedroom, it is inevitable that one will utter "this side is MINE!" and attempt to negotiate a masking tape divider to mark their territory. While that certainly is one way to awknowledge a child's need for personal/sacred space, there are other possibilities. The vertical space of a room is generally underused, and that's right where this prototype fits in. Part hammock, part nest perched in the upper corner, it lends itself to multiple uses including night light, toy storage, reading nook, hiding space, lookout and tantrum tamer. It's made to hold one little body, so it's off limits to adults and group play. 

The two examples shown here hang from three i-hooks screwed up into the ceiling joists (very important!). One is reached from a wooden ladder tucked into the small space between interior wall and fireplace (fixed to ceiling and floor), the other has wooden holds drilled into a plaster-atop-brick party wall. Each climbing setup can be customized to keep very small children out. Easily put together, easily cleaned, easily dismantled. Appropriate for ages 3-8.

Welcome to Drôle House!

Welcome to Drôle House: Collaborative Design For Families. The business and website are up and running!

My name is Deborah Mesher. I have my Masters of Architecture, three energetic kids, and a passion for making old homes more functional, fun, and adaptive to modern families. Drôle House can help you with additions, renovations, playscapes and furniture from schematic design to permit and construction drawings.

I will be at the Wychwood Barns in Toronto on Sunday May 15th, 2016, woman-ing my booth at The Bump To Baby Show. It's free, so bring the family, come find me, see some inspiring projects, and get free design advice about your home.

Subscribe to my blog to know more and be one of the first to receive my FREE idea book about freeing up space in your home called The Extra Room.

Playfully yours,