Home used to be where we predominantly ate, slept and relaxed, but today we design our homes to serve multiple purposes. Even those rooms with specific functions have been transformed through technology, eye-pleasing storage and streamlined efficient appliances.
Renovations are no longer made just with future resale in mind; families want a space to suit their individuality and needs. Basements become a home gym and entertainment space. Kitchens have evolved from solitary cooking places transformed by islands and breakfast nooks, allowing for socializing with guests or supervising homework. Underused guest rooms repurposed for hobby/craft activities or yoga and meditation.
Personalizing space is also very predominant in how one works from home. I have an official home office, even complete with a fireplace, but most days, when not seeing clients in person or online, I prefer to work from an office area in my dining room in the centre of the house. From there, I am more inclined to take those all-important movement breaks.
What precipitated this change in attitude to our houses?
Possibly it started in 2016, with a sudden fascination for the hygge lifestyle. Particularly for those who experience long winters like the Scandinavians, we were eager to learn new ways to do it a little better.
‘Hygge’ is a Scandinavian term that’s grown in popularity recently. It doesn’t have a direct English translation, but the best way of describing it is that it aims to put the cosy feeling of being under your duvet and in your warm bed on a cold and rainy day into words. – Reflect Digital
More than just candles, warm socks and hot drinks, hygge was about taking time away from the daily routine to be with people you care about or by yourself – to embrace all that is in your environment mindfully. So, naturally, we wanted our homes to enable this.
Then 2019 and covid, with the subsequent lockdown, forced us to redefine our homes and what we needed from them. We couldn’t control what was happening in the world, but we could control our immediate environment. The house had never been more of a refuge. We organized, re-examined room functionality and pushed ourselves to try new activities.
In the future, what will stay constant is the emphasis on work, life, and health balance within our homes; what will be different is that this will be achieved in a smarter house adapted to climate change needs. What remains unchanged is we buy a house, but what we do with it turns it into a home.
Lifestyle book suggestions
Hygge: The Danish Art of Happiness by Marie Tourell Søderberg
Wabi Sabi: Japanese Wisdom for a Perfectly Imperfect Life by Beth Kempton
Wintering: The Power of Rest & Retreat in Difficult Times by Katherine May
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