House of the Future

Fridges that tell you when you need to buy milk. Lights that turn off when not used. Carpets that clean themselves. All conceivable components of our house of the future.

A interesting piece in takes a look at several home trends each focused on the different ways in which our lives are changing. Home working is one of the big drivers in changing house layout.

Thanks to the economic crisis, we’ve seen growing interest in the efficiencies of working at home via online networks linked to internal office servers. If your tasks are primarily computer-based and you aren’t needed for hour upon hour of in-person meetings, what’s the sense in commuting several hours a week just to sit in a different room in front of a different screen to do the same things?

Growing numbers of consultants and freelancers are assembling careers from multiple projects and using a laptop as a business portal. And, although women are still demanding top education and job options, they are increasingly willing to stay in the house more, taking a break for a few years to start a family or to work part-time from a home office, redefining the workday as one that happens during their children’s naptime and after bedtime, for instance.”

With so much home work, what’s more sensible than private home offices, carved out to ensure maximum efficiency, privacy and productivity? We’ll start to obsess about getting this atmosphere just right – the perfect ergonomic chair, the perfect desk, the perfect filing cabinet.

Last time we moved house (back in 2006) all advice suggested that you always push the number of bedrooms you have and not the home office. Maybe now your home office set up (layout, storage, ideal light, number of sockets, connectivity etc.) will count for more. Garden offices will be sort after and demonstrating that you can easily work from your house will earn you brownie points.

For me the successful house of the future will have given considerable thought to environmental impact, will have effective self-heating and self-cooling technologies, will be self-sufficient, use renewable energy and have plenty of room for growing vegetables! I guess modular rooms that can change for different uses would also make sense. As I’ve said before my office doubles as a spare bedroom!

We don’t always get it right. A quick look at Monsanto’s house of the Future (Disney is planning to recreate it) makes you realise that hard plastics and cold edges just don’t make a home.

It’s fluffy cushions that do that!