What’s the most significant home design change in the last century

Photo of an outdoor dunny

What’s the most significant home design change in the last century?

Picture the Australian homes of 100 years ago, and you could say a lot has changed in home design over the last century.

Contemporary homes like our architecturally-designed, $1.2million Yaroomba Prize Home, are a stark contrast to the English-inspired early Australian homes that line the streets of our inner suburbs and rural towns.

Photo of Endeavour Prize Home 420 Yaroomba Sunshine Coast
Australian homes home have come a long way in the last century. Take our Yaroomba Prize Home for example.

But of the many big changes that have come with each decade to make the modern Australian home, which of them has had the greatest impact on not only the look of our home but the way we live within it?

Anyone who remembers making a midnight dash to the outhouse (and checking under the dunny seat for night time visitors before sitting down) might suggest that bringing the toilet indoors was a fairly significant turning point in Australian home design. In fact, in very early homes even the kitchen was found in a completely separate building or at least segregated out the back for fear that fire may spread to the rest of the home. Hard to imagine now, isn’t it?

Travel forward a few decades and the inclusion of built-in cupboards, instead of free-standing wardrobes, would have been somewhat life changing for the neat-freaks (or hoarders) among us.

And most of us would agree that the evolution of the master bedroom ‘suite’, complete with the enviable luxury of an ensuite bathroom, has certainly taken things up a notch.

A ‘hot’ (well, maybe ‘cool’ is a more appropriate word) contender for the most impactful design change, particularly for Queenslanders, is the addition of the deck or alfresco area. With decks seemingly sprouting off the back of every second Queenslander home over the last couple of decades, and virtually every new home including some kind of ‘Alfresco’ area, it would appear that the concept of indoor/outdoor living has most definitely become part of modern day life. Add a set of bifold doors or stacking sliders and the transition from indoors to out is seamless.

Photo of outdoor alfresco area  in Endeavour Prize Home 420 Yaroomba Sunshine Coast
Is the modern alfresco area the greatest change in home design?

However, there is one big design change that has become so intrinsic to our everyday life that it is easy to overlook.

Open-plan living.

“Oh, that,” we hear you say almost anti-climatically. And yes, it may seem far too obvious. But that is exactly why we rank it as the number one change in home design. Ultimately, no other change that has been so completely embraced or made such a difference to our everyday lives.

Before the plans opened up and the walls began to come down, life was a much more compartmentalised affair. Each room of the home had a very specific purpose. Kitchens were for cooking. Dining rooms were for eating. Sitting rooms were for, well, sitting.

You get the picture.

If guests were invited around, they were welcomed into the sitting room (or formal living room) but definitely no further. Then the hostess (a.k.a. Mum) would mysteriously pop out the back, work some magic and graciously appear with tea and sandwiches or hors d’oeauvres. And when it was time for dinner, the family or guests would excitedly gather in the dining room where a three-course dinner would magically appear before them.

Thankfully, architects like American legend Frank Lloyd Wright believed there could be a better way to live. His open-plan approach signalled a new era in home designs. In Australia, Robin Boyd and Harry Seidler led the charge in the 40s and 50s, embracing the open-plan ethos with their often modest, but confronting modernist dwellings.

After the end of the second world war, a shortage of land and building materials, meant it was time to get creative if Australians were going to continue the ‘Great Australian Dream’ of home ownership. As a solution, the Small Home Service was created in Victoria in 1947 to offer people inexpensive and compact home designs that could easily be followed and constructed. Headed up by Robin Boyd, the service’s range of home designs used modernist ideals and open-plan design to make the most efficient use of space. Open dining and living areas were created to save space and have the flexibility to be used for multiple uses. While the kitchen, still seen as a predominantly functional space, was often separated, the notion of open-plan living had still been born.

Photo of modernist open plan house
Those modernist architects were onto something

Since these early days, the plans have gradually become more open and the walls fewer. Today, it’s rare to find a new home plan that doesn’t include an open plan kitchen, dining and living space. While many home designs still include opportunities to break away when the need arises (such as a media room) most day-to day-living is still done in one shared space.

This free-flowing approach reflects our more relaxed but busy modern lifestyle. With the kitchen now the hub of the home, families have more incidental opportunities to spend time together while still getting about their daily business. And when entertaining, the time spent cooking and preparing can be shared as well as the actual eating.

While you may need a butler’s pantry or Marie Kondo on hand to keep things tidy, most of us agree we wouldn’t have things any other way.

Our $1.2 million Endeavour Prize Home at Yaroomba, is a spectacular example of open-plan living done right. With a huge kitchen, dining and living space that flows seamlessly to a separate media room through wide sliding doors, this stunning home really does capture the essence of relaxed modern living.

Photo of Yaroomba prize home living area
Open-plan living done right at our Yaroomba Prize Home.

In fact, the home literally takes the idea of open-plan design to the next level, with an impressive double-storey void above the living area, capped off with spectacular vaulted ceilings. Huge floor to ceiling windows further open the space to the outdoors and the panoramic ocean views beyond. The overall effect is an an amazing sense of light and space that really has to be experienced in person. Luckily, you can do just that. This amazing Endeavour Prize Home at 10 Binnea Street, Yaroomba, is open to visitors every day from 10am to 5pm until Wednesday, April 3. You can find out more details about the home, here.

If you can’t make it to Yaroomba and see this home in person, there’s no need to worry. Take a look at our image gallery to get your imagination running or explore this modern masterpiece right now with our video tour.

Just imagine the possibility of calling this designer home yours. Buy a ticket today and your dream could become your reality. After all, you’ve got to be in it to win it.

But where on earth is Yaroomba?

Just south of Coolum on the Sunshine Coast and only 90 minutes from Brisbane, the beachside community of Yaroomba is the perfect location for luxury living. Flanked by spectacular coastline to the east and Mount Coolum to the south-west, Yaroomba truly is a beautiful part of the world. Interestingly, it also has an incredible past and an even more amazing future. To find out more about this up-and-coming suburb of the Sunshine Coast, read our story about Yaroomba, home of shipwrecks, prize home treasure and future riches.

Don’t miss your chance to be in the draw

To make sure you’re in the draw to win this modern masterpiece, click here to purchase your tickets online or call our Customer Support team on 1800 63 40 40 (Australia Free Call); 0800 44 22 35 (New Zealand Free Call); +617 3908 7295 (International).

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