what people want in their house design … more with less

More, with less is what people today are typically seeking of their house designs. They are moving away from the McMansions in the outer suburbs to smaller block sizes and inner city housing but demanding that these homes are incredibly efficient in regard to place and space.

Lifestyle over block size
People are generally choosing lifestyle, rather than block size and want to be close to where they work and play, but at the same time come home to a beautiful space for the whole family to enjoy. These spaces are efficiently planned and use specific materials considered which thereby reducing the burden of cleaning and maintenance.

Typically these homes are of modest scale with clean lines.  However, some houses still display a ‘grand’ presence like the recent Merewether 4 house, which went onto achieve the Lower Hunter, Peoples Choice Award for Design, whilst still considering efficiency and maintenance.

Flexibility is another trend that we are seeing with the changing dynamic of families and the homes that people want. This can include bedrooms which can double as children’s play areas or a guest room. Flexibility in furnishings rooms such as dining areas which then could be for living, ensuites which can be accessed externally from the bedrooms they serve and laundries in bathrooms or hidden away as part of a kitchen.

With rising energy prices, people are becoming a lot more conscious of the environment and the sun’s positioning in their house designs, and how that will affect their powerbill.  People are seeking greater efficiency in their homes through positioning and orientation, cross ventilation and the amount of ventilation, and window coverings and screens.

Private getaway spaces
Another trend we are seeing is that people are moving away from large open plan spaces of 10 to 15 years ago, preferring to include another separate private getaway spaces though either indoor or outdoor rooms.  This is particularly present in those spaces through either indoor or outdoor rooms.  This is particularly present in those families with children, where in some instances the request is to revert back to the kitchen dining space with a separate living area.

Quality of materials
In regard to quality, people are a lot more aware of materials that go towards and into homes, and are very clear on the look they want.  They are requesting materials such as lightweight cladding or panel systems for a specific look.

Ultimately what people want in their home comes down to the demographic. We are still seeing families who seek larger houses to suit their growing needs but it is interesting that more and more of these families are choosing to live in smaller inner city houses or even apartments. We are seeing baby boomers downsize and young couples choosing smaller spaces for affordability. Across each of these groups there is common similarity with each demanding clever design to couple these smaller spaces and give them a highly liveable home.

Written by Jon Webber, Director at Webber Architects 

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