Making Home, Home: Where We’re Spending Our Money and Why.Published on 10th December 2014
The problem with the house is a problem of the epoch. The equilibrium of society today depends upon it. Architecture has for its first duty… that of bringing about a revision of values, a revision of the constituent elements of the house.
Charles-Edouard Jeanneret (Le Corbusier)
When Jeanneret wrote the above words he had in mind the creation of ‘the mass production spirit.’ He was writing in the inter-war period when optimism was high, mass-production technology was revolutionary, and speed and efficiency were gaining popularity over craftsmanship and durability. Homes were built to house as many people as possible, as quickly as possible, and that meant the advent of council housing, prefabricated properties, tower blocks and sink estates. Most of these ideas wouldn’t really find fruition until after World War II, but it was the likes of Jeanneret and later, Le Corbusier, who are responsible for the changing housing trend.
These days, much of the spirit behind Jeanneret’s words remains true; the equilibrium of society does depend on our housing; we all need shelter. But, in the words of Professor Barrie Gunter, today ‘home is not just a building in which we live. It is an extension of the self,’ and according to the latest Britain at Home report, investment in the home is once more growing in popularity.
It’s been a tough time for everyone since the global economic downturn, but despite the pinched budgets, in the last year the average homeowner spent £4,885 on improving where they live. An impressive 22.4% of that money went into conservatories, which were by far the most invested in part of the home, taking precedence over what many people would consider to be the more important areas of kitchen, bedroom and living room. As a comparison, the living room only received 1.2% of the overall average outlay. The reasoning behind these investments included the following:
65% of people wanted to improve the way their house looked.
60% said it was because it was the place they spend most time.
38% wanted to improve their family’s wellbeing.
23% wanted to increase the value of their property.
12% needed to make more space.
12% dreamed of have a better place to entertain friends and family.
If architecture has indeed led to ‘a revision of the constituent elements of the house,’ it seems that the conservatory has become a key component in contemporary living. Now that improved technology can offer us more thermally efficient glazing, more durable and cost-effective building techniques, and made aesthetically-pleasing bespoke design – such as that offered by Apropos – accessible to everyone, conservatories, orangeries and other glazed extensions have become, once again, a marker of successful living.
Throughout the seventeenth, eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, glazing was a status symbol; big windows meant for most people ‘I have a lot of money and I’m not afraid to spend it.’ Today however, glazing has taken on a new meaning; I care about my house; I want my family to be happy; I like to entertain; and I want you to feel as comfortable and happy here as I do.