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The great Aussie dream is turned inside out


How life has changed. A year since COVID-19 swept into town we‘ve become accustomed to social distancing, working from home and the reality that holiday bookings and party plans are made with the knowledge they may be scrapped and at a moment’s notice.

Home isn’t just where the heart is. It’s where we find certainty and safety. We spent so much of the past year tucked inside, it’s not surprising that the way we view our houses has changed.

The “nice-to-have’’ became “must-have” as COVID-19 changed the way we want to live

Your new At Home liftout launches today with a four-part series that unpacks the pandemic-influenced home trends that are here to stay:

Outdoor living: we’ve turned concrete courtyards into lush gardens, put in pools and created garden zones;

Home offices: fed-up with makeshift dining table setups, we created tech hubs and comfortabl­e, creative work and study spaces;

Nesting: furniture upgrades, room refreshes and a move from away open-plan living;

Sea and tree change; after all, why live in the city when you no longer have to? And of course, everyone is getting pets, spurring a whole new approach to how people furnish their homes.

In the past 12 months our increasing focus on home saw waves of emotional and financial investment in it.

Stuart Tucker, chief customer officer of hipages, says the first interest was security.

“Then the trend moved towards making homes more comfortabl­e,” Stuart says.

“Now, we’re seeing Aussie homeowners focusing on pools and outdoor entertainm­ent spaces.” For example, between spring 2019 and spring 2020, pool builder-related jobs shot up by a staggering 175 per cent. We couldn’t get to Bali — so we brought Bali to us, or so it seems.

A survey commission­ed for At Home found more than 40 per cent of respondent­s named a yard or garden as the most important feature of their ideal home, followed by more space in general (38 per cent). People now put more value in living close to parks (38pc) than work (20pc) or public transport (25pc).

Almost 40 per cent of people said they had renovation and upgrade plans this year, whether DIY or profession­al.

This week we meet two couples who have poured time and money into their backyards, genuinely transformi­ng their lives.

In part two of our series next week, we look at home tech hubs and offices. Cool pools: see page 8 for the latest trends.

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