We’ve talked a lot about trends in our 2017 blogs, but it’s also worth noting that there are also longer term shifts or mega trends at play that aren’t so much about fashion or visual appeal, but more about changing demographics and how these will influence luxury homes of the future. Here are some of the mega trends we think will be the most influential going forward.
An Australian Housing and Urban Research Institute (AHURI) survey recently found that 43 per cent of Australians aged 50–59 have downsized or re-located as they approached retirement, and this trend looks set to influence the approach of new custom home builders.
According to some commentators, the luxury downsize market is growing in high end suburbs of Australia’s major cities. These types of custom designed homes might encompass smaller luxury houses or apartments with a range of room configurations to suit the accommodation of guests and visiting family members. Often what clients are paying for is a spectacular ocean or city view rather than excessive floor space.
“What families and downsizing couples love about these homes is that they’re within easy reach of all the amenities a city has to offer, they’re extremely comfortable and stylish but, with smaller footprint and outdoor areas are also relatively easy to maintain, freeing up time and energy to enjoy other pursuits such as hobbies, community commitments and travel,” says one expert we spoke to.
Generous hallways, expansive living areas, small but vibrant outdoor areas with garden aspects or city views, high quality materials and fittings are all key characteristics of these modern home designs.
Changing family structures + million dollar homes
Yes, we just talked about downsizing and now it looks as though we’re contradicting ourselves, but there is also another mega trend at play, which is a total shift in family structures that is also set to affect the way ‘million dollar homes’ are designed in future. The return to multi-generational living spaces that allow for grandparents, adult children and grand-children, as well as single status adult relatives such as aunts and uncles, or even groups of friends, to live together in mini communities has been identified as a growing trend going forward. “This isn’t an immediate shift, but it is likely to take hold in future decades as a main stream option. And some more forward thinking home owners are already starting to embrace it.”
Outside space; roof gardens + courtyards
New custom home builders are noting renewed demand for an authentic, environmentally aware lifestyle that is also affecting the luxury housing market, with courtyards, rooftop farms and gardens being specified in both smaller downsized homes as well as larger, more conventionally sized ones.
A staple in Mediterranean and Middle Eastern cultures, and for very good reason, the courtyard is a wonderful way , not only of creating a sense of secure, haven like inner space, but also of enabling ‘cross pollination’ and connection between numerous areas of the home. Design a central courtyard with openings into a kitchen, a living area and perhaps even a bedroom into your home, and suddenly its whole dynamic is re-energised.
“Many housing designers and architects are increasingly driven to offer their clients something that will help residents to connect with nature and each other. Green space in unexpected locations such as on top of roofs or as part of large first storey terraces is increasingly common,” says our expert.
Rooftop gardens can grow all types of produce, from tomatoes to carrots to herbs, with many benefiting from the increased sunlight of their raised location.
In the US, rooftop gardens in luxury homes are not uncommon, often with added extras that underscore a commitment to the environment, such as bee-hives to help boost the world’s dwindling bee population. The trend is reflected by the larger farm-to-table movement, in which growers supply directly to restaurants or consumers. And now, according to new custom home builders, there’s reason to believe that the trend may take hold in Australia.
Not all roof top gardens are for growing edible produce however. They can also be beautifully executed to provide nothing but sheer pleasure. And even in larger footprint homes where a large main outdoor area complete with swimming pool still exists, this might be complemented by a green aerie on a different storey whose charm lies principally in its whimsical unexpectedness. An upper storey bedroom where the balcony or large terrace becomes a Zen haven with seating, well-maintained trees and shrubs, offers a retreat perfectly suited for meditation, a dip in a plunge pool and even napping if a day bed is part of the equation.
In luxury homes with city views, a rooftop bar is also a key innovation. Rooftop bars have long been an enticing element of many Australian CBDs and their charm is now being mimicked in modern home designs. Strategic lighting, elegant furniture and shrubbery and planting offset by a modest but well stocked bar area create a relaxed ambience for entertaining guests or relaxing with family members.
The new classic
Another key trend noted by architects and new custom home builders is a sense of classic timelessness that stands the passing years and doesn’t need to be constantly updated. “These days luxury doesn’t have to mean excessive consumption,” says our expert. “It’s more about choosing the best possible materials and fit out in order to ensure that the home’s design endures. The considered blending of old and new elements is now seen as totally standard and is a great way to creating an ageless looking home.”
“The home design magazines and online resources abound with enticing and aspirational ideas as well as trends that claim to be the thing of the moment. However it is important not to get too caught up in the latest fads to ensure your beautiful home stands the test of time. In areas such as kitchens and bathrooms that require a lot of trade input and a high degree of complexity, this is especially the case. We recommend opting for classic, contemporary designs and neutral tones when designing kitchens or bathrooms. Modern home designs that focus on good use of space and natural light result in a stylish, beautiful environment where you can entertain your family and guests for years to come.”