Although my daughter seems to think that I was born 40, I was actually a teenage girl once. She is currently 13 going on 30 and all of a sudden I have metamorphosed from ‘best mum ever’ to ‘most embarrassing mum ever’. I was expecting this to happen – after all, it is what I put my own long-suffering mother through many years ago.
The writing was on the wall; things needed to change in this house. If peace and harmony were to reign supreme, my lovely sweet daughter needed some space of her own – a teenage hangout room. Believe me, this was going to benefit the whole family, not just her!
This house is not enormous and space for teenagers to hang out is limited. Then I had a brainwave. I decided the only way was up – let’s re-develop the loft space! So we spent a weekend clearing boxes of forgotten junk out of the loft. There was a lot of dust, spiders, and multiple trips to the local tip, but we made it through. My daughter was enlisted to help, and I’d like to think it was a bonding experience – but I would be kidding myself. She was only helping because I told her that if she didn’t, it simply wouldn’t happen. This is called maternal leverage.
Eventually, after a few days work by a local builder, we were left with a clean, white space ready for decoration and furnishing. The builder made sure that the floors were sound, and boarded them all out. Proper lighting was introduced; we chose a combination of low-level mood lighting and overhead task lighting. The steep angles on some of the walls meant that some of the space close to the floor was redundant, so the builder designed some clever cabinets that followed the roof line, perfect for all that teenage clutter.
Luckily, the loft room has windows to make it bright and airy, and they give the room a feeling of space. We found some fantastic shutters for a loft conversion, which the builder fitted. They are great because they don’t eat into the space and are ideal for controlling light levels and providing privacy.
What else goes into a hangout for teenage girls? Well, we decided that lots of soft comfortable furnishings were essential. We started off with a couple of bean bags and some giant cushions, which seem to be working fine as somewhere to lounge during marathon viewing sessions of Buffy the Vampire Slayer. Teenage girls love to experiment with hair and makeup, and my daughter is no different, so we have installed several mirrors up there.
We argued quite a lot over the paint choices. In the end we agreed on pastel pink, and it actually looks great.
Having a teenage hangout room for my daughter has been an enjoyable exercise. It feels good that she has somewhere safe, private but still close by to chill out with her friends. She tells me that she loves the feeling of independence having her own ‘grown up’ space has given her, and that I am now officially the ‘best mum ever’ again. That is until I tell her she can’t have the fridge and plasma screen TV up there that she is angling for…