Home trends: how we want to live today

Large living kitchens are a must-have for many home buyers.Large living kitchens are a must-have for many home buyers.
Large living kitchens are a must-have for many home buyers.
Property finder Sheree Foy takes a look at the latest home, garden and alternative energy must-haves.

The property market is waking up from its winter nap a little later than usual, but some trends are emerging already so we’re going to take a look at exciting

developments in the areas of building construction; peek inside the home and finally jump into the garden. 

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I think the trend towards more people working from home and the galloping cost of energy has focused everyone’s mind on the question “How do I stay warm and cosy at a reasonable cost?”

We have well and truly entered the era of micro power generation with the landscape becoming dotted with solar photovoltaic panels, solar thermal water systems and wind turbines.

Yorkshire’s rural quarters are often nowhere near the domestic gas supply. We are seeing the costs of alternative heating systems becoming within reach with air source/ground source heat pumps and biomass boilers starting to end the electric storage heating era. Advice is available (with details of financial support) at [email protected].

We’ll continue to see new-build homes becoming ever more energy-efficient and ultra-low energy and passive house design is becoming more normal. 

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Renovation of existing buildings (not just barns, but also ex commercial and industrial) will continue to improve the energy efficiency of our housing stock. It sounds so simple - find a way to use less energy and then generate your energy needs yourself.

In the house, I’m not going to delve into the hot colours of Summer, I’d probably be entirely wrong. The trends that I can see shaping the interiors of 2019 and beyond are the desire to blur the boundaries between indoors and outdoors; the need to create space and flow and the growth of minimalism and clean lines. 

Home owners are finding ways to extend their homes from the inside out to the garden and patios.

The traditional route of conservatories has been joined by the extensive use of patio or bi-folding doors, dramatic skylights and a carefully designed outdoor

entertainment space. 

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Windows will no longer be mere mechanisms to provide light but bold features in their own right. 

Nowhere exemplifies the concept of space and flow than the living kitchens that are emerging today, a concept that was far less prevalent ten years go. 

Buyers will search actively for this feature or assess the potential of any home to be reconfigured to create such a space. 

Indeed, living kitchens continue to grow and often now include space for entertainment, homework or just relaxation at the centre of the home. 

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Small rooms are becoming less desirable and wide-open spaces flowing into each other are very much in vogue.

Each Summer marks the launch of numerous design trends and there are hints that Art Deco is coming back again and perhaps the use of stronger colours to really

make a statement, searches for ‘mustard yellow’ on Pinterest have increased by 45 per cent.

The strongest trend though seems to be the move towards simplicity, clean lines and a Scandi-style setting. 

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Maybe we’ve all been watching too many Nordic dramas on television. Perhaps as life seems to get ever more complicated, there’s a desire for simplicity to promote inner calm. 

It’s no secret that every good estate agent will urge every vendor to declutter and simplify before marketing a home.

And finally, things are really taking off in Yorkshire’s gardens. 

Ornate, irrigated gardens are being replaced by spaces designed to be low maintenance, irrigation free and all set for entertaining. 

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Last Summer was one of the driest on record and homeowners were faced with a stark choice of either using irrigation or letting plants suffer. 

Endless irrigation is both expensive (with more homes water metered) and pricks the conscience of the environmentally aware. 

Why not fill your 2019 garden with drought resistant plants like lavender, hebe and gaillardia, and smile whilst holding your gin and tonic when your neighbour is out with the watering can. The Royal Horticultural Society has an excellent guide to drought resistant plants and planting. 

The ‘back to nature’ theme seems set to continue with more wild flower and meadow gardens. Hard landscaping materials are following a loose, organic feel with the return of crazy paving and gabion log walls, softened with planting.

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Barbecues do seem a little “yesterday”. Say hello to wood-burning pizza ovens, smokers and even the pit oven.

The final word goes to those who embrace the increasing trend to build a garden office; a calm and comfortable workspace that’s cool in summer, cosy in winter and always close to nature. I’m in mine as I write.

Sheree Foy, Source Harrogate - The Property Finders, www.sourceharrogate.co.uk, 01423 788756