That’s so 2024!

As the year gets into full swing, we take a look at six moves residential design is making… 

BOOKSHELF WEALTH

They’re calling it the first major design trend of 2024 so, of course, it has a catchy rhyming name that rolls off the tongue. Bookshelf wealth, (in part driven by a post-pandemic need to nurture ourselves), is a mini movement that even TikTokers are talking about that turns the page on minimalism and hypes up homeliness.

But don’t think you can just install a bookshelf and fill it with coffee-table tomes for a designer touch. The key is authenticity: it’s about personalising spaces with books you and your family have actually read.

Floor-to-ceiling bookshelves, including those that wrap around corners, lie at the heart of the trend. There might be a space reserved for a favourite painting or a few shelves for object display, but in terms of the actual books, more is merrier. And, while we’re not talking chaos, overly curated, colour coordinated is out: slightly ramshackle is in.

BRICK BUDDIES

While bricks have never completely fallen out of favour since their starring role on the square, solid state houses of the 1940s, they haven’t had much love from architects and designers until recently.

With more boutique brick makers coming on stream, and a returning passion for craft, bricks are nabbing the residential limelight once more in cladding and interior features.

Innovation in clay making and laying techniques underpins the rise. No longer is the palette confined to orange/red bonded together in traditional staggered style. White bricks are hot for their coolness (especially when teamed with crisp black joinery), aged bricks bring vintage charm to elements of the façade and traverse the threshold as feature walls, and colours such as blacks, silver-greys, creams and even glazed green are starting to pop into the parade.

Slender half-bricks look elegant, curved or combed ones add texture, and pixelated patterns with protruding bricks or apertures in rain-screen walls give finesse and flexibility to the architecture.

STEPPED-DOWN LOUNGES

Open-plan living is ubiquitous but one method designers are increasingly using to define spaces within this communal zone is to step-down the lounge. We’re not necessarily talking about the Mad Men-style sunken lounge with a conversation pit and compulsory shagpile carpet – something a little less retro is more the go.

The change of level to differentiate kitchen and dining from living suits floorplans both big and small, and often, particularly in new-builds on sloping sites, it makes financial good sense to step down with the flow of the land.

Having our backs protected gives humans an innate sense of safety, so the sunken living room aligns with our ancient instincts as well as appealing to our sociable side. Provide a fireplace as a focal point to really crack the code of comfort.

ARTS NOT AI

Anyone with an interest in home design will have been fed the images on social media by now: AI-generated ‘photographs’ of houses that are attractive, intriguing and where sometimes the impossible is made manifest.

As technologically advanced as design has become, 2024 has seen a backlash against futurism in favour of crafted homes, with elements made by artisans, that have the warmth and human touchpoints that appeal to a deeper existential sense.

While most of us can no longer afford the time to build our own abode (even if we had the skills), we share an intrinsic appreciation for hand-made items that are individualised. AI might be infiltrating the design world apace, but bespoke and boutique speak to our soul.

TINY POOLS

With backyards getting smaller and house prices not looking likely to drop anytime soon, homeowners are increasingly staying put and putting their money into little luxuries – including tiny pools.

Termed plunge pools or the more-glamorous ‘cocktail’ pools, these aren’t meant for swimming lengths but pack a lot of punch per square metreage: as a place to beat the heat, a fulcrum for entertaining and a visual vitamin boost for the garden.

Dark finishes that are low-key to tone with the natural environment seem to be on trend – less Hollywood sparkle, more Kiwi-as cool.

GREEN FOR THE GABLE

Monopitch roofs and modernism go together like mid-century cars and chrome accents, but the single sloping pitch is not as popular as it once was. Re-enter the gable – stable, strong and future proofed to handle more rain in our climate-changing times. The simple symmetry of a single gable is back on track but also gables that incorporate deep, deep eaves (a modernist mash-up) for shelter. Gables are not just for Victorian villas. They can be expressed as a floating roof, or as a pavilion with clerestory windows to let in the light, or split and deconstructed for a contemporary twist, and built with triangular trusses exposed to add volume and structural interest to internal rooms.

By Box
27/03/2024

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