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June 9 2020

Honest design, for YOUR life (and not anyone else's)

Gemma Broomfield


Design for the 85%, not the 15%

> Spend most of your evenings with your significant other in the kitchen and dining area, cooking a beautiful meal, chatting about your day, and sharing a glass of red? Don’t spend money on the bloody fourth bedroom when you don’t even have kids, spend it on the kitchen, creating a space that you will spend 85% of your evenings in!

> You don’t need a spare room if you never have overnight guests. If you have an overnight guest once a year (or even three times a year), consider seriously whether you really need a spare bedroom. Why not use that room as a study (instead of building a spare bedroom AND a study) that you can whack a blow-up mattress in for that rare occurrence?

> Might one day have grandkids, but your own kids are only 18 and aren’t even in relationships that could bring grandkids even close to fruition? That’s not designing for the way you live, it’s designing based upon a wish that isn’t real yet.

> Are you a couple with kids that have left the nest but live locally? You don’t need a four-bedroom home!

> Want to add a small extension that will cost you $75k? Don’t build a $150k extension just so that you can get the $25k grant - it’s totally insane and complete nonsense.

I get that you also want to build a place that will last you 10 or 20 years and so have to do a little bit of future-proofing, but too many people are building and designing homes that are too big, and it’s a terrible idea for the following reasons:

  • You will spend more than you need to, and probably more than you can afford, meaning you will overextend. COVID-19 has taught a lot of people this year that they’ve been leading lives above their means, basically one month or less from being broke. Don’t let that be you!
  • It’s wasteful. Wasteful on resources, expends excess energy, which will take decades to recover in your so-called energy-efficient home just because you whacked a 10kW solar system on the roof
  • You aren’t being honest with yourself. People are so busy and so surrounded by inspiration and a million ideas I get that it’s hard to connect with what is ACTUALLY important to you.
  • You’re trying to keep up with the Joneses. Bigger is ALWAYS better...right? WRONG.

It’s time to take a good, hard, long look at the consequences (not the 1st order consequence of “Oh my friends think my new mansion is great” but the 2nd and 3rd order consequences of “I’m not sure how we make the mortgage payment this month” or “it takes 7 hours to heat this cavern of an open plan living space up”

I hope this hasn't offended anyone and instead has made you consider how you live, how you spend your time when you're at home, and how that SHOULD influence the spaces that are really important, and maybe leave off the items that will make you stretch your pocket (and you'd really only use 5% of the time anyway).