Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Look into the English Home

Although in the last year and a half I have physically been in only a few British homes, because I have a love affair with magazines that I indulge when traveling, I have been in many more virtual English homes and I have discovered a few things:
  1. Most British homes are not open concept.  There are doors to close off basically every room in the house.  The reason:  It is then easier and cheaper to keep the space you are in warm.
  2. Insulating drapes are often hung just inside the door to block cold air from having a pathway into the room.  These could take the shape of traditional drapes or even a quilt or heavy blanket.  Result, a warmer room without a larger heating bill. We have a quilt at the bottom of the stairs from the cockpit to do the same thing on the boat.
  3. Almost all British homes are much smaller than a home in the U.S.  A blog I read this week said that about 500 to 1000 sq. ft. is the average.  Less to heat.  Less to clean.  Less to maintain.  Less to furnish.  A closer family dynamic since people cannot hide from each other.
  4. The British tend to have fewer " formal" areas in their homes.  They usually have kitchen and diners or what we would call eat in kitchens and their living rooms are more like our family rooms.  You can see why when you take into consideration the average square footage of their homes. They don't have room to have a formal living and dining room used only 2 or 3 times a year.  Their rooms, their spaces must earn their keep.
  5. Most of their furniture is multifunctional:   think storage ottomans; or smaller scale with a smaller footprint to fit the smaller sized rooms.
  6. Most homes have one or one and a half bathrooms.  Sharing the bathroom with other family members is the norm (as is the sharing of bedrooms with other children in the family). Their personal space needs are much diminished in comparison with the average U.S. resident.
  7. Their refrigerators are under the counter models as are their washers, which are usually located in the kitchen. And for many a dishwasher means a person standing at the sink and doing them by hand.
In this time of increasing interest lowering fuel bills, in minimalism, simplicity and decluttering we could definitely learn a thing or two from our "mother country".

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