One year on – How our needs from our homes have changed

Kent-based housebuilder Millwood Designer Homes offers a comparative insight into how our homes have adapted in the past twelve months ..

Compared to the same time last year, property portal Rightmove saw a significant 44% increase in visits to its website in January, with house-hunters spending over 60 million minutes online searching for a home on the busiest day of the month. Highlighting just how much the property market has changed in the past year, these new stats are closely associated with a shift in homebuyer’s priorities due to the pandemic, with many looking to swap their current home for one with more space to productively work from home, a bigger garden or a countryside location.

Kent-based housebuilder Millwood Designer Homes has seen first-hand how the needs of its buyers have changed dramatically over the past year. Prior to the first lockdown in March 2020, the housebuilder launched a show home at its Hawthornden development in Yalding, Kent, and, one year on, has just launched Heartenoak Meadows a few miles down the road in Hawkhurst.

Now, with both show homes dressed exclusively by renowned interior designers Phoenix, the housebuilder offers a comparative insight into how our homes have adapted in the past twelve months.

L-R: Hawthornden in 2020 and Heartenoak Meadows in 2021

Susan White, Managing Director at Phoenix Interior Design, comments: “In 2021, homebuyers are seeking homes with spaces that can be multi-functional. Open plan kitchens, dining and living rooms also need to become schools, offices and also look good on virtual communications too. A key consideration is changing a small bedroom into an office or finding ways to incorporate a gym in the home too. With all this space desired, buyers are starting to look further afield to find larger homes.”

Dressed in March 2020, The Beddington is a five bedroom detached property with flowing open-plan interiors at Hawthornden in Yalding.

Susan continues: “In The Beddington at Hawthornden, the concept was all about how the home looked to the outside world, implementing features that would make the home more ‘Instagrammable’. We ensured there were lots of little vignettes which are so popular on Instagram, whilst making sure that when owners were taking pictures of themselves or their families, the background of the image looked beautiful. In terms of colour, we used a bright, bold emerald colour with accents of this across the home ensuring that it would stand out.”

“Whilst we did dress a study at Hawthornden, there wasn’t such an emphasis on working from home, so that was the only space we dedicated to home working. We instead focused on places to entertain, setting the dining table for a dinner party and adding finishing touches such as champagne in an ice cooler in the drawing room.”

In comparison, the five bedroom Beddington show home at Heartenoak Meadows was launched in January 2021, and features elements that will be at the top of a purchaser’s priority list in 2021.

Susan comments: “With everyone spending a lot more time inside the home, we combined everything a buyer would need in 2021 at The Beddington; practical yet a stylish space to work from home, as well as inviting with cosy environments providing the perfect place to unwind after a day of virtual meetings. With working from home in mind, we designed a ‘grown-up’ study. We also made sure to incorporate the theme of remote working throughout the rest of the property, with two adaptable aged oak coffee tables to the family area with removable trays and burnt orange stools to the kitchen island, providing different spaces to work from home.”

“In contrast to this, we created a living room made for snuggling and entertaining with two enormous velvet sofas, a fireplace and calming artwork pieces. In the dining room we created a ‘snug’ where homeowners can perfectly separate their ‘work’ space from their relaxation time in the evenings in front of the large TV and, for the ultimate 2021 stress-reliever, we incorporated a wellness retreat room into the upstairs space for a sense of calm, with a massage table, yoga mats, and yoga balls.”

Philip Brown, Sales and Marketing Director at Millwood Designer Homes, comments: “There has been a huge shift in what buyers are looking for since the start of the pandemic and, with the help of Phoenix, we have adapted our show homes to suit the needs of the current-day buyer. Whilst the concept at Hawthornden prior to lockdown was all about how the home looks to the outside world, this year is all about looking after the family inside the home, which can be seen through the multiple working from home stations and areas for relaxation at Heartenoak Meadows.”

Situated in the charming village of Yalding, Hawthornden is a unique collection of three to five bedroom homes, with just a handful of three-bedroom homes available for purchase. Recently launched, Heartenoak Meadows is an exclusive collection of 18 three to five bedroom private properties set in the picturesque High Weald Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty.

Prices for the remaining properties at Hawthornden currently start at £460,000 with a £10,000 stamp duty contribution on selected plots. Asking prices for the properties at Heartenoak Meadows start from £420,000. For more information, please visit www.millwooddesignerhomes.co.uk or call 01732 770991.

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