One of the things that has struck me when we were househunting is how much our lifestyles have changed over the years and how much this impacts the houses that we build.
You only need to look at large formal Georgian homes to realise that (while they are gorgeous properties) that they really don’t reflect the way we live today. Too big. Too formal. Drafty and expensive to heat. This ultimately affects the market for the property and it’s value – the market in our part of the UK already has it’s fair share on £1M properties that have been on the market for over 12 months and are struggling to find new owners. On a number of occasions, I just got the feeling that the people trying to sell the protperties were trapped in their own homes.
So when I read that the RIBA had commissioned a report from MORI (yes, the survey folks) on looking at the way we live today and what that means for the homes that we should be building and buying, I was intrigued.
You will find the report here: http://www.architecture.com/Files/RIBAHoldings/PolicyAndInternationalRelations/HomeWise/ThewaywelivenowRIBAIpsosMORIMay2012.pdf if you want to read it in full. You can download it for free.
The major things (and there were a lot of minor ones too) that I took away from the report were:
- Large open living spaces with high ceilings and large windows with natural light are seen as being very desirable;
- Space for private time away from other members of the household and dedicated space for a home office was seen as being desirable.
- Private outdoor space for socialising and for childsafe playspace;
- Storage is seen as very important: both for short term storage (where do you put the vacuum cleaner or the recycling bin?) as well as long term storage (where do you store Grandad’s war medals or the family photo albums?). If you are going for open plan living, make sure that there is enough storage space to be able to put things away otherwise it will look messy;
- Dedicated space for domestic tasks such as washing and drying clothes was seens as being important.
Surprisingly, a lot of the design ideas that we have for the new property ae consistent with the findings in the report. Strange, because I thought we were unique!