Filming our fun new TV commercials recently gave us pause for thought. Watching our tricksters expertly toss spoons, shirts and soccer balls into their respective places reminded us just how much modern living has changed in recent years.
Today we not only design homes that keep life flowing easily, but we also include spaces that bring families together, and give kids and parents their independence.
So we thought it might be cool to play a quick game of spot the difference, highlighting the changes our team has seen in recent years.
Here are 11 differences we spotted straight away:
1. Blurring the lines: Modern living often means fitting more into less. More function. More flexibility. Often into less space. One of the best ways to make every square centimetre count is to blur the lines between individual spaces so that it’s harder to tell where one ends and the other begins. Kitchens flow into sculleries and laundries, master bedrooms are open to the ensuite, work spaces and computer stations nestle discreetly into freeform living/dining areas, which in turn blend into outdoor entertaining rooms. There’s no wasted space as blocks get smaller and house designs get smarter.
2. Bigger bedrooms: It seems everyone wants a double bedroom these days. Maybe it’s got something to do with kids staying at home longer and needing a bit more space to call their own? A double built-in wardrobe is usually standard these days, too.
3. Deluxe ensuite: No longer a purely functional space for a quick wash and brush, the ensuite has been taking it’s cues from ritzy hotels, deluxe holiday villas and our favourite day spas. For some buyers, bathroom luxury means keeping it open to the bedroom, for others it’s a private sanctuary where the world doesn’t intrude. Freestanding baths, twin vanities, make-up benches and huge hobless showers have become the norm in the quest for the ultimate ensuite.
4. Indoor/outdoor living: Never before have the lines been quite so blurred between the indoors and the outdoors. Using big banks of sliding doors and stacker doors, bi-folding doors and servery windows, we’re opening up our homes to gardens, courtyards and outdoor entertaining rooms. Everywhere from living areas and kitchens, to master bedrooms, kids’ activity rooms and home theatres can get the inside/outside treatment. With some nifty engineering, a structural corner post can disappear to make the effect even more dramatic.
5. Open-plan: Today’s floor plans feel expansive and free flowing, with spaces filled with natural light. It’s easy to move from one area to the next, spaces are easy to furnish and there’s minimal ‘wasted’ space. Individual areas in an open-plan living and dining area are defined simply by their use and their ambience, with features such as dual-sided fireplaces and coffered ceilings adding extra definition where needed. The kitchen often takes centre stage.
6. Multi-purpose: Needs change and so must the modern home. What may be a playroom for toddlers today becomes tomorrow’s teenage chill-out zone. That spare room we rarely need is put to far better use as a hobby studio, while the formal lounge and dining room that we never dared use have morphed into a study or a relaxing reading room that can instantly be turned into a home cinema for family movie nights.
7. Larders and sculleries: Today’s new-style larders and sculleries are a step up from the simple walk-in pantry with a few shelves. Kitted out with benchtops, plenty of versatile storage options and accessible power points, they are the perfect spot for our ever-growing collection of kitchen gadgets. From blenders and juicers, to mixers and grinders, it’s easy to make light work of kitchen chores when your favourite gadgets are not only easy to get at, but they’re also plugged in and ready to go. Show them off with a larder that’s open to the kitchen, or keep everything out of sight so the kitchen can become a mess-free zone. Either way, a larder or scullery helps your kitchen perform at the top of its game.
8. e-nooks: You don’t need to be a whizz with the computer to recognise the benefits of having a dedicated area for recharging the phone, the tablet and the laptop. Whether it’s a simple shelved recess and drawer as you come in from the garage, or a ‘mini office’ at the end of the kitchen – where you can search online for dinner inspiration, look after the banking or keep an eye on the kids’ homework – it’s great to have somewhere to plug in the IT essentials. No more lost car keys or sunnies again, either.
10. Home automation: The modern Australian home needs to be one step ahead when it comes to technology. It’s not just the technology we have available today that we need to consider. (Think security systems, home networking systems, entertainment systems and all the clever things we’re doing with lighting, for starters.) What about all the new technologies that we’ll be using as standard in the years to come? A technology consultation has become part of the build process, helping you future-proof your new home.
11. Work from home: From budding entrepreneurs, to digital nomads, we’re rethinking where and how we work. For some of us, our laptop and a comfy spot on the couch is all we need to run our global online store, while others prefer an executive home office from which to pen their online blog, or write that marketing report the boss is waiting for.