For most people, a thrilling ride down a slide necessitates a trip to a park or adventure playground.
But for some families it doesn’t even involve stepping outside their door.
It may sound like every child’s dream, but a growing number of homeowners have installed indoor slides that enable them to zip from the top of the house to the bottom in a jiffy.
Here, SADIE NICHOLAS meets the families who’ve found a fun alternative to the boring old stairs…
Children adore it, but grown-ups go crazy!
Charlie Freeman is an actor, musician and artist, and lives in Notting Hill, West London. Charlie says:
Every visitor immediately wants to whizz down my steel slide and who can blame them?
I did exactly the same thing when I viewed the property three years ago and was amazed how it instantly brought out the child in me.
Charlie Freeman is an actor, musician and artist, and lives in Notting Hill, West London. He says every visitor immediately wants to whizz down his steel slide – and who can blame them?
The top of the slide sits beneath a trap door in the floor of the master bedroom and transports you down to the sitting room below.
The woman I bought the house from was an artist with a real sense of fun. She told me one estate agent did herself a mischief while demonstrating it to a prospective buyer.
It’s quite a size and would look big in a kids’ playground. I always warn friends to be careful because you come down at quite a pace.
There isn’t a mat at the bottom, you’re supposed to just concentrate on what you’re doing and land on your feet. But after a few tipples at a party nobody’s interested in my advice. One friend suffered a broken coccyx after landing awkwardly and there have been a couple of split foreheads that needed stitching.
The top of the slide sits beneath a trap door in the floor of the master bedroom and transports him down to the sitting room below
But generally the slide is the most enormous fun. I’ve spent the past year renovating the house and, when it’s finished, I’ll throw a party for my family, including nieces and nephews who will be waiting patiently to play on the slide.
I have lots of godchildren and they love it. But the grown-ups have as much fun and I love seeing how joyous they are when they spot it.
It adds a real energy to my home, which spans 4,000 sq ft across four floors, including a basement that I’m converting into a cinema, spa and music recording studio.
I’d never seen a property with a slide between floors before and although my home has many great features, the slide is the biggest talking — and laughing — point.
It cost £11k and is worth every penny
Jane Hughes, 59, owns Wye Valley Canoes and a neighbouring cafe, and lives next door in Glasbury, near Hay-on-Wye. She is divorced with two daughters, aged 29 and 30. Jane says:
On A glum day, one thing guaranteed to put a smile to my face is zipping down my large, funnel-style indoor slide. It runs from the open-plan living space to the front door of the Welsh Baptist chapel I bought for £170,000, and renovated six years ago.
Jane Hughes, 59, owns Wye Valley Canoes and a neighbouring cafe, and lives next door in Glasbury, near Hay-on-Wye. The slide runs from the open-plan living space to the front door of the Welsh Baptist chapel she bought for £170,000, and renovated six years ago
One day a local gentleman came into my cafe and said: ‘I hear you’ve bought the chapel — I hope you’ll have a slide in it!’
I thought: ‘What a great idea.’ The slide is German and cost £11,000. I rent out the property and a couple hired it for their joint 80th birthday party. They zoomed down the slide to greet everyone at the front door!
As for the gentleman who gave me the idea, I invited him to the housewarming and he was terribly amused that I’d gone for it.
Jump on and your stress slides away
Susanna Parry Michaelis, 47, is an art consultant and singer in the band Stax. She’s married to Alex, 53, an architect, and they live in Brook Green, West London.
Between them they have seven children: Zac, 20, Olive, 18, Kit, 17, Orlando, 16, Ro, 16, Samb, 11, and Raffe, eight. Susanna says:
When we built our home four years ago, our whole ethos was that houses don’t have to be serious places. With seven children, we wanted this to be a fun space for everyone, so when Alex suggested an indoor slide I thought it was a great idea.
Swish finish: Susanna uses the stairs, while her son Samb finds the slide much quicker
Made of white Corian (a hard material used for kitchen worktops), the slide runs adjacent to a curving staircase starting from the upstairs landing, where the bedrooms are, down to the ground floor hallway.
Corian is an incredibly smooth material and can be shaped to order. But the fact that the slide had to be curved and is around five metres long made it quite a challenge for the builders.
It also required us to have a wider space than you’d normally need for stairs and the slide worked out to be slightly steeper than we imagined.
At first, we had a small mat at the bottom, but when one of the children crashed at high speed into the wall three metres away, I realised we needed a much larger, thicker mat, plus extra cushioning on the wall.
Our children all love it and the house is popular for playdates, sleepovers and parties. It’s also extremely useful for sending clothes, forgotten school books and swimming bags down rather than having to run up and down stairs.
When people come over for dinner or drinks you can see the adults eyeing up the slide, secretly desperate to have a go, but they only usually ask when they’ve had a few drinks. Some don’t anticipate quite how steep it is and have a bit of a fright as they come speeding down.
The youngest boys, Raffe and Samb, use the slide most and frequently climb up it, too, rather than taking the stairs. But if we’ve had a stressful day, there’s nothing like a quick go on the slide to blow the cobwebs away.
Mum isn’t a fan, Dad loves it — even Grandad had a go
Laoise Doherty, 20, is studying computer science at university, and lives near Belfast with her parents and her four siblings aged 21, 18, 17 and 15. Laoise says:
The oldest person ever to go down our indoor slide was my grandad six years ago when he was 78, and we still laugh about it now.
We’d just moved into the house and were upstairs showing it to him, but we didn’t expect him to actually get on and have a go.
Suddenly, he just zoomed off. When he got to the bottom, even Grandad said: ‘Oh, I don’t think I should have done that!’ He scared himself a bit, but secretly enjoyed it at the same time.
Dad’s a big kid, too, and it was his idea to have a slide when we had the house built. There’s also a zip wire in the garden, a cinema room and an amphitheatre-style basketball court.
The fun of the fair: Laoise (left), sister Orla and their young niece Darcey. It cost around £5,000 and was made from steel by a local engineering company near Belfast
Originally, he wanted a fireman’s pole inside, but Mum thought that it might be a bit dangerous.
When Dad suggested a slide, we were over the moon and our architect Des Ewing, who has offices in London and Ireland, incorporated one into the design for us. It cost around £5,000 and was made from steel by a local engineering company. We went along with Des to see it being constructed.
The top is on the landing by the kids’ bedrooms and it takes us down to the kitchen in seconds. It’s partially hidden behind a kitchen wall because Mum wanted an element of mystique when people shoot off the bottom.
It’s 65cm wide, 3.5m high and 5m long and, when we moved in, it looked scarily steep. Mum still isn’t a fan, but Dad’s often on it and joined us in sliding down on our duvets to go faster.
You’re meant to land on your feet, but one of Mum’s friends was wearing shiny leggings that made her slide so quickly that she ended in a heap at the bottom.
At one party, my sister’s friend had the time of her life going up and down, but by the end she was limping round with a swollen ankle.
Now, whenever I’m meeting new people at university, the first thing my friends say to them is: ‘You have to go to Laoise’s house because they’ve got a slide indoors!’