A new report by the Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA) has revealed the average new build is a mere 947sq ft* meaning the UK has the smallest new homes in Western Europe.
The average three-bed new build is 86sq ft short of the recommended space and according to RIBA, far too small for the modern family. In their research, RIBA found that over 70%** of microbuild owners did not have enough space to store all their possessions and many stating they do not have enough space to socialize at home. Despite these findings the microbuild is on the rise, so what is the solution to make these small spaces work?
A small home doesn’t need to be cramped; with clever design and a few tips and tricks the microbuild could be much more liveable-in. For example, open plan living, sleeping platforms, large windows and high ceilings create a feeling of space – something of a commodity in today’s building world.
The real key to making the microbuild work is clever design by ensuring the space works for the needs of the owners. Piers Sweetingham, Design Manager at Carpenter Oak & Woodland said “when we design an oak framed house on a small plot we ask our clients how they live and how they want to live so we can design something that really works.”
Sweetingham goes on to say “Apart from space, the microbuild often lacks character – this is where an oak frame comes into its own – with a vaulted ceiling a room is transformed into a light and airy space, full of character.”
The future of the microbuild needn’t be bleak, cramped and void of character – with the right design anything is possible.
* RIBA 2014 The case for space
**RIBA 2009 New-home buyers’ survey
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E-mail: Laura Martin