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OPEN-CONCEPT LIVING MAY BE MAKING ITS WAY FOR WALLS

Could it be that the era of open-concept living is drawing to a close? Some industry seers think the writing’s on the wall.

Snapshot of the Past

The last decade has seen walls fall and borders blur. We’re not talking about world politics, we’re referring to the Singaporean interior design sphere. Arguably the single biggest trend in residential architecture and interior design has been the open-concept style of layout, where there are no fixed walls to divide cooking, dining and living areas. But if the trend forecasts are accurate, walls will be going up.

Kitchen is King (Again)

Many homes now come with an open kitchen concept. One of the trends tipped to transform our homes is the reinstatement of the kitchen as the heart of the home. There are many reasons for this forecast, but probably the major one is the global obsession with food.

Today, celebrity chefs are bigger than rock stars. TV cooking shows see millions of eyes glued to the sizzling action and gruelling bake-offs. Vegan, keto, gluten-free and plant-based are terms tossed around in casual conversations daily. Eating in is the new norm, and mastering a complex dish – or perfecting a simple one, comes with bragging rights on the side.

Keeping the Kitchen Magic Secret

The kitchen of the future is kitted out like a commercial business. That’s not to say it’s not homely, but more a reflection on the calibre and volume of the equipment. Despite the ingenuity of multi-purpose appliances which can be steamers, ovens and food warmers in one, there are still many single-function contraptions that need a space of their own. Plus, you need bench space, and lots of it – to sauté, flambé, marinate, macerate and all the rest of it.

You need a wall between you and the guests – not only to contain the cooking odours and sounds, but also to build the suspense. If your guests could see the magic happening, well, it would spoil the surprise.

Bigger Bathrooms

Aligned with the rise of the ‘home spa’ and the emphasis on the importance of ‘self-care’ by the medical, fitness and life coaching fraternities, bathrooms will become bigger and more luxurious. Not just a place to have a shower, brush your teeth and slap on some makeup, but a pampering space for some me-time.

Of course, space must be sacrificed or acquired for the accommodation of this luxury. Many homeowners are already sacrificing a second bedroom for a walk-in wardrobe and powder room. Given the growing pressure to declutter and shop more mindfully, perhaps the walk-in wardrobe will be sacrificed for a bigger bathroom, tub included? There are interesting times ahead.

A Room with a Purpose

The world is turning its back on shallow virtual pursuits and re-embracing the real thing (not the cola). We are picking up hobbies, again. Digital cameras are being abandoned for film. Digital music is being rejected for analogue, with vinyls and turntables making a comeback. Young people are sewing their own clothes, for creativity and sustainability. Etsy businesses are reproducing faster than rabbits.

With this return to the real, we need more space to pursue our hobbies. Spare rooms and storerooms will be converted into purpose-specific spaces – music rooms, sewing rooms, darkrooms, billiard rooms… It’s all part of the move toward more meaningful, mindful living.

The Suite Life

Another prediction, albeit more relevant for those lucky few who live in landed properties, is the rise of the ‘suite’ – a bedroom with a bathroom and small living area attached.

The suite caters for two groups of people – your live-at-home single adult kids and relatives, and your visitors from overseas. Industry insiders say that travel for leisure will become less about ticking off four cities in seven days, and more about visiting one place for longer and immersing yourself in local culture.

Having self-contained private quarters for your guests will make them feel free to come and go as they please and minimise the intrusion into your family life. Yes, it requires the luxury of space, but what a luxury that would be!

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