The Evolution of the British Family Home

Posted: 17 July 2014 by Higgins Homes

british family home

The concept of the family home has seen some startling changes and developments over time. It has run in parallel with whatever financial, social and technological progressions have occurred, whilst for the most part always staying true to its most basic functions to give shelter from the elements and provide privacy for its occupants. 

Of course a full history of evolution would require volumes, and no matter which trend we choose to follow there have always been exceptions to the rules. So for now let us take a look at the more obvious shifts across the last century or so, particularly focusing on large-scale designs for the masses. From the likes of the Victorian terrace to the bay-windowed 1930's semis; the flat-pack suburbs of the 70's to the redbrick estates of the 90's there is the recurring theme of having separate rooms for separate functions.

In the standard two-story home, the kitchen is always downstairs, as is usually the living room, with the bedrooms upstairs. For the average family however, the bathroom has seen the greatest change in setup since the introduction of flushing toilets and hot running water. The outside loo was commonplace, and most often a pit into the ground that could be emptied and used as fertiliser. The bath was a freestanding tub, filled with water heated on the stove and shared by numerous people.

Having plumbing that connected everything meant all water-based utilities were better off close together. Showers were the latest addition and have evolved from simple attachments to bath taps, to freestanding, high-tech features. How we power our homes has also changed with the times, thanks to easy access to fuel sources and a growing awareness of their finite supply and effect on the environment. Coal and oil were once used to heat and light just about everything, but have since been ousted by electricity and gas.

Efficiency is a significant aspect of modern design and even things like double-glazing are now a normal feature. What we fill our homes with however is probably the greatest reflection of the times we live in. Things such as microwaves and televisions were first introduced as luxury items and yet are now fully integrated into our daily lives. Mass production has made things cheaper, but also disposable.

Pots and pans that would have been polished to perfection are now replaced when they get too dirty or scratched. Factory made flat-pack furniture is the new preference to hand-carved solid wood pieces, passed down from generation to generation, and allows people to change their interior more easily. General knick-knacks are just about everywhere and it is safe to say that our world is filled with 'stuff' that doesn't always serve a purpose.

Even colour schemes go in and out of fashion as frequently as the food in the fridge and are often dictated by a plethora of magazines and home-improvement television shows. Yet we have also been pushed us into an age of cool technologies and sleek design, with open-plan living becoming increasingly popular and greener, more sustainable options a new priority. The real question however is not where we are going with the future, but what will happen to all the homes of the past. Head to our developments to check out our available properties.  

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