There is no place that better reflects a person’s lifestyle than his or her home. Homes are both indicative of, and contributing factors to, whatever life someone chooses to lead. This is a key reason as to why trends occur so frequently in the housing sector, as a changing lifestyle is most quickly reflected in a changed home environment.
While the concept of a ‘modern’ lifestyle is completely different depending on the individual or family unit, certain trends in the Canadian architecture and interior design sectors indicate a strong move toward smaller living nationwide.
In short, downsizing is taking over.
Gone are the days of the McMansion, with the homeowner’s dream of a plus-sized home replaced by pint-sized living.
According to the Canadian Home Building Association, the average house size has dropped in the past decade from a mid 2000 peak of 2,300 square feet, down to 1,900 square feet, a decrease that is expected to continue.
Catalysts for the change in residential housing are varied – a choice of location over space or a move away from home-oriented leisure activities serving as but two examples – but for the most part, it comes down to the simple factor of the economics of sustainable living.
Canada has a strong green building industry, one that is constantly evolving and incredibly relevant to individuals both within and outside of the industry. While it would idealistic to imagine that this green building is fuelled solely on moral environmentalism, designing spaces that provide for longevity both monetarily and environmentally makes sense in an economic climate that is still at best, shaky.
McMansions simply aren’t environmentally or monetarily sustainable.
While the architecture and urban planning sectors have been responding by increasing the number of condominium and apartment living options, it is perhaps most vital for interior architects and designers to cater to the change.
While people are living smaller now, that has not always been the case. After some 40 years of living large, in order to cater to smaller living environments while still offering the best of large-scale living wherever possible, it is the role of the interior architect to provide spaces that are functional and efficient.
Developing modern and completely fitted out residential dwellings that fit onto a much smaller footprint will be a major challenge for the modern interior designer. New rules apply, but as the trend continues to grow, so will innovation, creativity and industry know-how in catering to this new movement in residential design.