A Design for Life… The Kevin McCloud Column

Designer, writer and television presenter, Kevin McCloud leapt into our consciousness with his vastly successful Grand Designs show on Channel 4. This month, the affable architectural business owner talks about whether our desire for tech-driven homes is distracting us from what’s really important.

It’s astonishing how much we lean on technology now, from the impressive to the mundane. Homes have become ecosystems of automation, where smart fridges keep tabs on our groceries, and app-controlled systems regulate temperature, lighting, and even security. It’s as if our homes have taken a leap into the realm of science fiction, and we’re living the dream of a future once only imagined.

Yet, with all these advancements and novelties, we must remember the essence of what makes a house a home. It’s not the flashing lights, the touch screens, or the voice commands. No, it’s something far more intimate, more visceral. It’s how the space makes us feel.

It could be the view from the living room window, where the morning sun dapples through the leaves of the old oak tree in the garden. Or perhaps it’s your favourite chair, worn and weathered, but moulded to you in a way that no other piece of furniture is. It’s in these small, earthy connections that our homes come alive.

Who hasn’t enjoyed that moment of sinking into a warm bath after a long day, or savouring a hot cup of tea while nestled into that favourite nook with a book? Or perhaps it’s that cherished painting, the one that transports you to a different place every time you look at it.

As we hurtle towards an increasingly digital future, I urge you to remember the real treasures of home. These are not found in microchips and touchscreens, but in the quiet moments of comfort and joy that these spaces afford us. It’s the laughter that fills the dining room during a family meal, the peaceful solitude of a garden view, or the simple pleasure of curling up in a loved armchair.

The trend, I agree, is to envelop our homes in technology. It’s exciting, it’s convenient, and it’s impressive. Yet as we embrace this digital revolution, let’s not forget the beating heart of our homes. It’s the simple things, the tangible, the personal, that truly make our homes special.

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