In less than six months, Covid-19 has precipitated significant changes in every aspect of our daily lives with these changed behaviours also impacting on home trends, not least in the luxury home sector where there’s ample scope for innovation
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The pandemic will have a lasting effect on future real estate and design trends. “Buyers are already looking for homes in different places, and with different characteristics, than they did before Covid-19 and I believe that many of the emerging trends will become established and remain prominent for the next few years at least,” says Chris Cilliers, CEO and co-principal, Lew Geffen Sotheby’s International Realty in the Winelands.
“In fact, from the materials used to layout designs and amenities, post-pandemic residences are likely to look notably different than they do today, especially luxury homes where financial constraints are seldom an issue.”
According to Cilliers, the key areas in which we’re likely to see the most transformation, are the following:
Larger living spaces
The past few years have been about compact, low-maintenance homes with small, water-wise gardens but, after months of confinement, many people are now beginning to realise the importance of having a substantial living space, a dedicated home office, ample outdoor space and amenities.
Going forward, the ideal living space will be larger with plenty of room for everyone to have their own space and to get together to watch a movie, dine al fresco or entertain.
In countries like South Africa where the weather permits us to spend time outdoors, covered outdoor areas will be even more important and pools and larger gardens will once again be in vogue.
“We’re also seeing an increased desire to create amenities within the home that authentically replicate movie theatres, gyms and bars,” Cilliers continues.
Outdoor kitchens as an extension of a luxury home can have any number of features, including a pizza oven, grill, refrigeration and washing-up facilities.
High-tech home offices
The shift to working from home has created a new awareness of the need not merely for a place for one’s computer, but also for a private, quiet place to have conference calls and Zoom calls and to concentrate undisturbed by daily family life, she says.
Home offices are being fitted out with the latest tech to facilitate productivity and designer décor detail for Zoom chats and video calls and, where possible, we can expect to see dedicated work areas for each adult and dedicated study space for each child with powerful Wi-Fi connectivity throughout.
Health and hygiene
“This will be foremost in people’s minds for some time to come and we can expect to see safer and anti-microbial materials for countertops and cabinetry features like air filtration systems no longer being an afterthought. They will become priority installations,” Cilliers says.
There’s also likely to be a spike in demand for touch-free in-home technology to curb exposure to germs on surfaces.
In bathrooms, touchless fixtures like self-flushing toilets and no-touch bidets will become increasingly common.
Companies like Kohler and Sloan have already accelerated their production of functional post-pandemic products, some of which use intelligent technology to be hygienic, convenient and environmentally friendly.
Better equipped kitchens
“During the pandemic, we’re all cooking at home much more than ever before with many people brushing up on their cooking skills and others discovering a new passion. We can expect to see larger, beautifully fitted kitchens that can accommodate family and friends around a table with a wide array of high-end appliances to create all manner of dishes,” Cilliers says.
Many kitchens will have dedicated coffee stations with top-of-the-range coffee machines – and every gadget required to bake, roast, grill and steam.
Larger food pantries and storage spaces
People are shopping less often and spending more time at home, and are likely to continue to do so, so it makes sense to properly stock up on each shopping excursion. Spacious walk-in pantries and ample cupboard space are a must.
Dedicated delivery space
“We’ve all become accustomed to the convenience of online shopping and dedicated, secure delivery spaces are predicted to become increasingly prevalent, especially when money is no object and anything the heart desires is now available for purchase online,” she says.
Quality of life
Already becoming a key factor, this will now jump to top three on the list for most people after months of lockdown and the further from the city one is, the more space there is for large gardens and expansive homes.
“Proximity to the workplace could therefore lose its value as working from home increasingly becomes the norm and no longer a temporary step. Rather than panoramic cityscape views, many people will covet locations that offer scenic natural vistas and allow them to spend more time in the great outdoors communing with nature,” Cilliers says.