The last few months have been difficult. Who would have ever thought the year could turn out like this?
And of course, we all had our own challenges and different circumstances. But the one thing that we all have in common is that we are all spending much more time in our homes.
I don’t know about you. But our normal lives are pretty hectic. We leave home around 7.30 am. Drop off the kids at childcare and school and then off to work. Most days, by the time we come home it is past 6pm.
So, straight to preparing dinner. Tidying up after. Then getting the kids ready for bed. The only time spent relaxing at home was on the weekends.
2020 had something different in store for us. Now you are home all day long. With the kids. Kids’ stuff everywhere. You not only need a place to live, eat and play, but also to work.
But recently, we have had to come up with ways to work and home school at the same time. How to bring some sort of structure back into our new reality. Working on the dining table is okay for a few days but is not a permanent solution. Especially if the kids play in the same room.
What does that all mean for the future? How would you change your house if you could? Or what would you do if you were to build a new home?
We all love our big open kitchen / living / dining spaces. But it turns out, when it comes to homeschooling and working from home. They are not that practical.
You know the feeling when you have a zoom meeting. While your partner has a work phone call and your kids are in a teams meeting with school. It can get pretty loud and chaotic with everyone sitting in one room. Headphones only help somewhat.
Now we crave a separate space. Somewhere where you can sit in peace and quiet. So, what options do we have? How could we make our home function better?
Adding more rooms isn’t the answer. A bigger home would cost more to build and use up more resources. Hence defeating the aim of creating a more sustainable space for future generations.
We need smarter spaces. Multi-functional spaces. Spaces that can open up or be closed off when needed.
So here are some ideas:
1 Convert your guest bedroom into a multi-functional room.
Rather than having a dedicated room for a double or queen bed. Invest in a great sofa or murphy bed. This leaves you enough space for a desk. Or even 2. And could provide space for 2 people to work on. This can be your office, guest bedroom, rumpus, overflow room for bigger parties. Formal dining and so on. Be creative.
2 Make space for a desk in the bedrooms
Rather than having a tiny kid’s room with space for a robe and a bed only. Make the bedroom bigger. Built-in desks combined with a built-in robe can work well and saves space. Plus, some extra space for a play area?
Also leave some extra space in your master. Where a desk could sit. This could double up as a makeup table ?
3 add an small office or study nook
If you have the space, add a small office. This does not need to be a big room. Depending on whether the space is for one person or for 2. It could be a little nook. To allow for a decent sized desk, some storage and chairs. There could be a big sliding door or bi-fold door, that opens up to the hallway. Or the kitchen. With natural light. Since you don’t want to feel like you’re sitting in a dungeon. Or, if you need a room it does not need to be as big as a bedroom. Say 2 x 3 m. This space should be on top of your multi-functional room. But you shouldn’t need 2 full sized multi-functional rooms.
4 Build A Double Storey House
When you have to stay home all the time your garden and outdoor space gets important. So, if you have a small inner city or suburban block you have to make the most of your space. Don’t fall into the trap of building up your entire site. Make sure you have plenty of outdoor space.
But, make sure you have one bedroom or your multi-functional space and a small bathroom on the lower level. To make your home future proof. Not just for old age. Imagine if you break your leg and can’t go up the stairs? That way you ensure that your house can cater for anything life throws at you.
5 Turn Your Garden Into A Sanctuary
Make the most of your outdoor area. You need some lawn, where the kids can run or for sun gazing. To play footy or soccer. An area where you can sit in summer when it’s hot. With a cover over to provide shade. But also a winter outdoor area. Where you can rest on a warm winters day and enjoy the sunshine. Make some room for a garden bed. A veggie patch. Some nice flowers. Why not add some chickens and bees to it? Space for a trampoline? A cubby or tree house?
6 Make Your Home As Energy Efficient, Healthy and Comfortable As You Can
When you sit at home all day you should feel comfortable in your own skin. You should neither freeze nor suffer the heat. Your home should be your safe haven. Free of toxins and mould. Not too cold and not too hot. You should never have to turn off the heater or air con because. You should never be scared that your energy bills could be too high.
The house needs to be insulated to a point, that you don’t need much mechanical heating or cooling in the first place. Forget 6-star homes. 6 stars is the minimum legal requirement.
Not best practice. We are talking about highly energy efficient and healthy homes. Aim up to passive house standard or at least close to that if you can.
We need to build better homes. Smarter homes. Homes that use less energy for mechanical heating and cooling. And that can grow with us and adapt to our needs and changing environment.
While protecting our mother earth and wallet, as well as our own well-being.