The kitchen is now the design centrepiece of our family homes, while Uber Eats shrinks the kitchens of apartment dwellers.
We’re sharing cars, installing moveable walls, creating socialising spaces in residential buildings and swimming in demountable pools.
Feature walls are now feature ceilings and curves are replacing straight lines in the shapes of our best architectural abodes.
The future of Australian home design is a dynamic space.
image via pinterest
Adam Haddow, Director of Sydney architecture and urban design studio, SJB says today’s housing design buzzword is diversity.
“In the past, we had this fixed idea of what you got in a house – three bedrooms, backyard, maybe a pool,” says Haddow, who is a Churchill Fellowship recipient and thought leader on urban design and the modern evolution of city living environments in Australia.
“That hasn’t gone away but many people are realising they don’t need lawns to mow and four bedrooms.
“You used to need a desk and possibly an office; now you need a kitchen bench the right height for your laptop, or a sunny courtyard with connectivity.
“These changes are dialling down in home design because we don’t need to create a space (for study/work); it is more about creating spaces where people want to live.”
In our recently released McGrath Report 2019, we revealed the hottest trends in urban residential design this year.
When Australia embraced open plan living at the start of the 21st century, there were inevitable casualties. Goodbye formal dining and lounge rooms. Also over is the short-lived dalliance with the media room.
In came integrated study zones or home offices, with at least 3.5 million Australians now doing at least some work at home and nearly one million of us running home-based businesses.
The future view is more flexible dwellings, reflecting the shrinking size of Australian homes with couple-only households due to outnumber couples with children by 2030. Greater use of moveable walls will allow room conversions and adaptable furniture will serve as room dividers.
GLAMOUR KITCHENS IN HOUSES
Kitchens are still the heart of our homes but have evolved from utility rooms to social and entertaining spaces, Haddow says.
The open plan layout has brought the once segregated kitchen into the living and dining zones, typically with a sizeable island dining bench creating a gathering point for guests so they can chat with their host as the meal is prepared.
Prepping kitchens and butlers’ pantries are on-trend in new high end family home design.
As showcased in the luxury family-sized apartments of this year’s season of The Block, these separate private spaces enable home chefs to get messy, away from guests’ eyes and without detracting from their entertaining kitchen.
SMALLER KITCHENS IN APARTMENTS
Has Uber Eats shrunk the kitchen?
The popularity of home delivered meals and our rising café and restaurant culture, particularly in big cities, has changed how Australians think about kitchens in the new millennium.
Food and drink delivery apps such as Deliveroo, Menulog and Uber Eats have exploded, with Australians spending $2.6 billion annually.
These trends are impacting how much of the modern floor plan is dedicated to food preparation, particularly in apartments which are more commonly occupied by time-poor couples and singles increasingly opting for Uber Eats over preparing food themselves.
So, they don’t need a full kitchen anymore.
A rising trend in new development today is the glamorous communal kitchen and dining area that residents can hire to entertain guests, with more modest and functional kitchens in their own apartments.
Our car-loving culture is rapidly changing, with 3.1 million active Uber users and 100,000 GoGet members nationally.
These share services, along with expanding public transport, environmental awareness and dedicated bicycle lanes are reducing the need for parking on title.
Haddow says more small home designs will forego car parks. “What we are seeing is movement from majority to minority car ownership in the not too distant future. People are totally okay with using the one shared car on the street.”
City of Sydney figures show a 500% increase in the usage of its Kent Street Cycleway since 2008. Apartment blocks are increasingly supporting two-wheeling residents with shared bike rooms or racks.
BLUE SKY THINKING
Textured housing exteriors made from recycled natural or industrial material like rammed earth, stone and bottle bricks are in vogue.
Architects are also departing from the traditional square shape, with curvy facades maximising the illusion of space and spherical structures emulating igloos offering bolstered thermal efficiency.
Fifth wall feature ceilings with stencil art and complex imagery have arty home makers talking. All the rage when Michelangelo was painting churches in the 16th century and Marie Antoinette was decorating ceilings with mirrors in the 18th century, housing costs eventually quashed the trend.
Today, some owners and designers are resurrecting it, realising that ceilings are a blank canvas for injecting personality and texture into a home, Haddow says.
Keep a (goggled) eye out for the new wave of above ground pools. Able to be disassembled, the waist deep water features promise flexible all-seasons living in tight inner city spaces.
Sustainability is becoming a major influence on home design, with record levels of solar use and rising interest in battery power resulting in the equivalent of 8.28 million households using renewable energy in 2017.
Savvy developers and home owners are fitting and retro-fitting properties to boost their appeal to an increasingly eco-conscious buyer pool.
Low cost improvements include draught sealing, insulation, low flow showerheads and taps, window shading and low wattage lighting.
YOUR PERSONAL TOUCH
Australians have embraced the concept of using their homes to reflect their lives and personalities.
The ‘showroom look’ used in property marketing is often held up as the ideal, however that sort of styling is designed to appeal to the masses. Your own property, whilst you’re living there, only needs to suit you.
So, make bold choices and I believe the real take-away is to create the ultimate home environment for your own enjoyment as it’s where you live.