Mum – I’m home! With Mother’s Day on Sunday 11th March it could be the moment to reflect on how far home design has come. How far it has come since your mother, or your mother’s mother was keeping things in order. (sorry, we are taking the traditional ‘sexist’ view here. It’s purely for literary purposes). Here is a brief history of home design.
Enormous American style fridge freezers are often the size of a small room. They are complete with ice makers, water dispensers, humidity control. They even have different zones for different foods. Won’t be long before have their own PA and chef to shop and cook for you.
Home cellar. This is probably not a cellar unless you live in a stately home or vast country house. Your ‘cellar’ may well be a sleek wine chiller, a rack under the stairs or a dedicated shelf in the fridge (see above). For your mother the nearest wine cellar was probably one of the many off licences on the high street. Now, they have virtually all disappeared, replaced by the ubiquitous supermarket. More convenient yes, but slightly less of an event.
Walk in showers. Many people prefer showers to baths as they are often quicker in our time starved daily routine. They are more practical, accessible and take up less space if this is an issue. But there is nothing quite like a long soak in a bath tub to ease those aching muscles at the end of a long hard day. Scented candles are optional.
Walk in wardrobes, or dressing rooms. Aha! This could be one of the notions your more affluent female ancestors were familiar with. Dressing rooms were part of the well to do home before Victorian times. In the 18th Century it was usual for wealthy women to entertain visitors while her maid dressed her. Not quite sure how this would go down these days.
Smoke alarms. Inexpensive, easy to install, costs nothing to run (other than the price of a battery). Life savers. Just make sure you check it occasionally and keep it dust free. Can be annoying if you regular burn the toast.
Home gyms. An aspirational space or dreaded torture chamber depending on your view. Your mother would have raised her eyebrows no doubt. She didn’t need any extra physical activity. Without all the labour saving home appliances she had a full daily work out. Every day. Whether she wanted to or not.
Central heating. Getting out of bed in the morning without the heating on is an unpleasant experience. Hot water on call is also a welcome necessity in the modern home. A well heated and well insulated home protects the building structure. It protects your belongings, and is far better for your health. Is that why elderly people always turn the heating up to full blast?
Home cinema room. The screen has been a great pleasure for many generations. Whether big, small or in-between, black and white, or colour. Entertainment, education and escapism. The contemporary media room is an update of families together on a sofa watching TV. Or before that, Saturday out at the ‘flicks’.
Internet. The development of the internet. The creation of the worldwide web less than 30 years ago. And of course, the consequential global impact almost defies comprehension. Our mothers have seen the enormous and rapid changes it has brought to our lives. Our grandmothers, along with everybody else, simply had no idea what was coming. And, I am sure we will be saying that very same thing 30 years hence.