Freed from the ties of a young family, the trend is increasing for more mature couples to downsize from their practical family home to a smaller, more stylish abode. But despite the desire to celebrate their new-found independence with a cool contemporary pad, the average downsizer also wants to entertain their growing extended family of in-laws and grandchildren.
So what are the ‘must-haves’ that downsizers need to look for when searching for the perfect property?
Large entertaining areas are essential to host the family whereas less bedrooms and bathrooms are needed to ensure that they don’t overstay their welcome. For the braver downsizer, a spare room or two for the grandchildren to stay is a welcome addition.
Newly built developments are very sought after by ‘downsizers’ as not only do they already have the right configuration of rooms, but many are already occupied with their contemporaries, giving a fun communal feel to their new home.
The drawback to making a fresh start in a more compact home is that it’s very hard for people to part with much loved possessions. Mandy Chody, interior designer at M&Y Interiors says: “Storage is usually top of the list of priorities as well as shelving to display ornaments and photos. Likewise, wardrobe, bathroom and guest cloakroom storage is very important as the client is working with less space so needs clever solutions for their personal effects.”
Space-saving ideas are an essential feature for every downsizer, which M&Y have in abundance for their clients. For example, corner sofas and in-built widescreen TVs are exciting features to install and many new properties boast state-of-the-art ambient lighting as well as in-built wireless speakers to play music throughout the house. Mandy added: “For any clients scared of all the technology they can always ask their grandchildren how it all works!”
Cumbersome computers have been replaced by streamlined ipads and laptops which can eliminate the need for a designated study. A discreet corner in the kitchen with a hidden pull-down tambour door can store all household files.
Door options have changed enormously with sliding pocket doors and sleek bi-folding doors being just two of the space-saving door options on the market. Extendable dining tables for Friday night and Yom Tov are also great for space saving as well as discreet console tables that convert to an extra table to house the growing family.
The fashion in most properties now is for an open plan kitchen with casual living and dining. Formal living and dining rooms seem to be a thing of the past with large spaces big enough to accommodate friends and family being the most popular option. There is a worry about cooking smells invading the sitting area but ventilation now is so advanced that this rarely happens.
One of Mandy’s recent clients who downsized said “M&Y translated our vision into a stylish yet practical pied-a-terre which we love and which fits our needs perfectly – all this within a very short space of time and with minimum fuss”.
Mandy concluded” “Helping a downsizer couple to rediscover their new style is always very exciting for M&Y Interiors. It is a journey of discovery on both sides and always enjoyable to watch our clients tentatively try out new looks before embracing their inner interior designer!”
Want to see more relevant projects?Book a meeting →