Is the Australian dream changing!

We moved to this lucky country of ours that we call home nearly 30 years ago.  As first generation immigrants arriving in a country with no more than suitcases I saw how hard it was for our parents to buy our first home.  Their dream was to have that magnificent abode to bring up a family and finally set up some roots.  The quintessential Australian dream, that’s what our parents wanted.  A large house, garage and a grand backyard to spend those lovely summer evenings in.

Fast forward 30 years and that dream is changing for most.  The dream is no longer that large home with an equally massive backyard.  We are now opting to downsize for location and lifestyle.  In many cases this means moving closer to the CBD and inner city suburbs.  These suburbs have plenty to offer young families; great schools, neighborhoods filled with cafes and amenities and a lifestyle to match.

So what does downsizing your home for the sake of lifestyle actually mean?  Quite simply it means having to make extremely functional usable spaces that meet growing family needs.  Often downsizing may also mean that some compromise is required but the compromise may not necessarily be a negative if it supports your lifestyle change.

Downsizing your home may require a creative approach to utilizing spaces and/ or combining spaces and uses in the most cohesive way.   Here are some small-house solutions and tips that will make any home livable:

  • Consider different configurations and uses for the one space. Study turn guest room is easily achievable by the careful selection of furniture
  • Open plan living works best for smaller homes.  Kitchen, dining and living areas combination allows for merging and blending of uses
  •  A good indoor / outdoor connection will make a space appear larger
  • Create light filled spaces as a priority.  Smaller light filled spaces can  have a similar openness feel as homes that are two or three times bigger
  • Selection of furniture that fits the scale of the space.  Bringing across furniture from previous homes may not always work.  These pieces may be oversized and overpower a space.
  • Get rid of the clutter. Have a place for everything and then everything can go back in its place
  •  Think storage at all cost.  Smaller homes and older homes may lack storage.  Get creative, use the roof space and the vertical nature of the walls to add storage solutions, extra shelving and hanging options.

Below are some great examples.

Indoor/ Outdoor Connection

Nicholson Residence located in Melbourne by Matt Gibson Architecture + Design. 

The living area to the rear has clear engagement with the exterior.  This is achieved via extensive use of glass, which opens up the whole wall and the continuity of interior floor material externally.

Image via Contemporist.

Image via Contemporist.

Light filled spaces

Tokyo House by Atelier Tekuto.

The four-storey house is located within one of the city's many dense residential areas.  With close proximity to neighbours and common walls the best solution for privacy and to make the most of natural light was the introduction of a large triangular skylight.

The light filtered into the space gives this small home an air of space and the perception of larger volumes. 

Images via Dezeen Magazine.

Storage solutions

With clever storage solutions every possible nook and cranny and unusable space can be utilize into very functional storage.

Image via Apartment Therapy  and Pintrest.

So, the next time you are thinking about your home - GET CREATIVE!