Article: Tools To Task

Smaller Homes, Brighter InteriorsSmaller Homes, Brighter Interiors

The four-bedroom, two-bathroom home was number one on the ‘wish list’ of those building in 2014, says Generation Homes, a trend that looks set to continue in the year ahead.

The top 10 nationwide residential building company reports that 59 percent of its customers built four-bedroom properties in 2014, while 38 percent built three-bedroom and three percent built five-bedroom houses.

“The standard four-bedroom, two-bathroom home is still the most popular among homeowners,” says Generation Homes Northland director David Skudder.

“Homes larger than five-bedrooms are becoming less commonplace in today’s market, which is consistent with the new trend of building smaller homes – confirmed by the average house size among group home builders decreasing by 24-square metres in the past year.”

Housing affordability, increasing concern for the environment and an effort to reduce energy costs could be behind the new ‘less is more’ philosophy,” says David.

“Quality, functionality and design have taken over from square-footage, and people are looking at ways to build a really smart, yet smaller and efficient home for their family.”

More than 40 percent of Generation Homes’ enquiries in 2014 were from people with a household income of less than $81,000, representing the average Kiwi family who are in the market for a more affordable, smaller home.

In terms of interior design trends there was a swing back to lighter colour palettes in 2014, according to home stylist Jennifer King from House Couture, who advises Generation Homes.

“We have said goodbye to the dark tones of greys and beiges that have been predominant over the last few years,” she says.

“Bright colours have made a comeback with aqua and orange tones coming through really strongly, and house exteriors are also moving away from the dark colours and going back to traditional white.

“In 2014 we saw a huge movement towards the Scandinavian look of light wood and white tones – a trend that I expect to continue in the year ahead.”

Generation Homes’ customers were most concerned with the heart of the home, the kitchen. Walk-in pantries, personalised splashbacks, vinyl wood planking, white cabinetry and neutral palettes were key kitchen trends in 2014.

People are opting for a contemporary look in their kitchens and moving way from more traditional materials, says Designer Sales Manager at Heirloom Kitchens, Tracey Smith.

Personalised splashbacks were a “huge trend”, says Tracey, who oversees the design of Generation Homes’ kitchen plans.

“People are choosing to incorporate personal photos or graphics into their glass splashback – this could be their favourite photo of the harbour or a beach scene for example.

“The result is a unique design feature that is a direct reflection of the homeowner. More and more people are requesting this customised option.”

Other trends in 2014 included covered outdoor entertaining areas, walk-in wardrobes and edible gardens.

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