Clean lines and pared-back designs for work, rest and play
Closed borders, lockdowns, and working from home for much of 2021 increasingly helped Australians identify where they want to live and what they want from their homes. As well as greater consideration for locations outside of metro areas, Australians are identifying the benefits of creating purposeful, separate hubs around the home.
Increased savings, low interest rates, and government grants have contributed to the urgency for real estate, resulting in a fear of missing out or paying too much. “Unfortunately, the quality of Australian home design suffers with such urgency in the market. There’s a gap between what homeowners value most and the homes we’re building,” says James Hardie’s marketing director, Cathleya Buchanan.
“Australians want a place where they can be safe, relaxed, connect with family and make memories – it’s important that the home is designed to be light, bright and spacious. Home builders need to think about orienting living areas toward the north, where the light comes from, and including large windows and openings. Living areas should be open plan and connect to outdoor areas,” says Buchanan.
As well as a focus on aspect and open planning, Cathleya notes that purposeful hubs around the home will be increasingly sought after in the House of 2022.
“The pandemic has shown us that home is more than a shelter,” said leading architect and James Hardie ambassador Joe Snell. “The homes of 2022 must be flexible and not as stagnant as they once were. Homes need to provide for entertainment, eating, working, exercising, and retreat. Work is now ever-changing, but the home remains the hub with flexibility the key.”
Exteriors and design
On house exteriors, James Hardie believes the House of 2022 is best summed up by the words “beautiful simplicity”. Homeowners are inspired by clean lines and pared-back designs with achromatic colour palettes. Profiled cladding products like Linea Weatherboards are being painted crisp white and contrasted with black window frames, black fascia and guttering. Cladding with modest details like Axon Cladding, which looks like vertical joint timber or large format panel Hardie Fine Texture Cladding, a fibre cement wall panel embedded with a fine texture to create a modern aesthetic, are becoming a canvas which highlights homes with simple shapes and hidden rooflines. Timber screens and integrated greenery feature strongly as they pop from a receding dark coloured cladding background.
Joe notes that the Hamptons style is ever popular, but due to the pandemic, the housing look is trending more towards functionality, with houses becoming what they need to be for owners; not what owners think they should be. “Essentially it is lifestyle creating the form, not the form dictating lifestyle.” Joe notes two trends that will be present in 2022 include resort style for home holidaying and Scandinavian inspired functionality. “Resort-style homes with similarly designed pools, a fresh weatherboard beach look, and a pergola, with no need to add further decoration, will help create a year-round holiday aesthetic. Those seeking more of a pragmatic, industrial, working house will opt for the Scandinavian look. It’s pure and highly practical with a clean aesthetic and will suit a lot of people working from home.”
He adds: “Homes with little architectural shape can be enhanced by varying lines, textures and colours. Here, the mixed cladding look can reflect a well-known style or a unique personal one. By incorporating a larger range of materials, the look opens almost endless design possibilities, perfect for people who have rediscovered their creative sides during lockdowns.”
A warm (and safe) welcome
The pandemic has changed home design. We’re now conscious of preventing the virus entering our homes and we want to feel safe when we’re socialising with friends and family at home. These considerations will influence new home builds as well as renovations.
We can expect oversized front entryways and covered porches, where couriers delivering packages or visitors dropping off children for a play date can be greeted. Entryways will increasingly become a welcoming hub in the home with design opportunities for textured cladding, lighting, and seating to set the right mood. Snell also notes the house of 2022 may include second living spaces allowing for a getaway from the main living area, which are becoming a big request. “People have a clearer idea of what they want in floorplans. One example of this is an expanded master bedroom to include a lounge for reading. Working a ‘retreat’ space into the floorplan lends itself to the resort style of home.”
The proportion of people working from home was about 8% in 2019 but was estimated to be around 38% in 2021. Working from home has identified the real need for dedicated work spaces that are not bedrooms or living rooms. “It’s important to have work and non-work zones to create separation and allow family members to decompress from increasingly busy, long, and stressful work; especially, when we don’t have the commute to put distance between the two,” says Cathleya. “Dedicated, sound-proof ‘Zoom rooms’ for online meetings are increasingly being identified as needs rather than wants.
Joe notes working from home is now not just one person needing space, but multiple people needing spaces. “The traditional open plan layout with study nook is out. Now that the whole family is working from home, a study nook is not fit for purpose,” he said. Another trend Joe observes is the home office increasingly being placed in the first room at the front of the house. “If you are welcoming work-related visitors, you don’t want people walking through the house to get to the office.” He also notes some home offices are including a separate entrance for better access.
One in five (20%) Australians experienced high or very high levels of psychological distress in June 2021. As an antidote to constant connection with work or family while locked down, and improving mental health, the need for quiet alone time become apparent to many. Home designs should consider tranquil, private, slow spaces which can be indoors or in a covered outdoor space. These calm, quiet spaces are used to unplug, decompress, or even meditate. Lockdowns made many feel cooped-up and craving a connection with the outdoors, so outdoor spaces need to be integrated with the house for an easy indoor-outdoor flow.
These spaces should be minimalist and uncluttered with an organic feel; including plants, soft lighting, rich textures and careful colour selection such as neutral, earthy paint colours, to aid relaxation.
To find out more about how to build or renovate your own dream home, from inspiration on the latest look to advice on modern materials, visit jameshardie.com.au.