How we design and live in our homes is constantly evolving. Innovative products are being launched and adopted in our homes every day, promising to make our lives easier. But I can’t help but wonder if this evolution is at the detriment of our connection.
I am the youngest of four kids and had a very typical and happy childhood. My parents bought their humble little abode where my brother, sisters, and I grew up together. A home that they still live in today and frequented by their twelve grandchildren.
Like many homes built in the early 1970s, the primary heating source was a slotted wall furnace in the lounge room. We were drawn to this heat source on chilly days and nights, where we would engage in spontaneous conversation and easy connection.
One bathroom and one toilet are positioned in the centre of the house. I only just realised recently that that bathroom has never had a lock fitted to its door. The daily routine of sharing these intimate spaces required both respect and consideration and prompted unintentional connection.
Homes now have state-of-the-art heating and cooling systems, ensuring that every room is perfectly temperature controlled. But in doing so, we have lost our meeting place around the fireplace or furnace? Every person is comfortable enough in their bedroom or zoned living space without the need or want to seek heat.
Perhaps we have even lost our primitive urge to sleep in close contact with the person lying next to us simply because we are warm enough.
There is a dangerous trend to incorporate ensuites for every person living in the home. Not only does this negate the need for our loved ones to exit their rooms to bathe, but it also facilitates isolation and disconnection. Both of which are proving to be significant contributors to our declining mental health statistics.
We can now control lighting, heating, cooling, blinds and turning on the kettle, all with a simple tap on the I-phone or voice control. But in our quest for everyday convenience, have we compromised our connection with our most beloved people with whom we share our home?
We have stopped looking up and asking, “Babe, could you please flick the kettle on for me?” or saying, “Hey kiddo, would you mind turning the lights on?”. Instead we pick up our phone and instigate it ourselves.
There are a lot of time-saving and incredibly intuitive home products out in the market. But before you take out an extra mortgage to include all these innovative but costly products, ask yourself this- ‘Will this product encourage or hinder our connection?’
Not only might you save yourself a bucket load, but you might also be encouraging connection with those that you love the most.