Feels like home24th Feb 2020
When driving into your estate feels as if you’ve taken a chill pill, it’s not random. It’s a thought-out design element.
Hear that hum under your wheels as you turn into your estate? No? If David Talbot, founder and principal of Platform, a multidisciplinary property consultancy, had his way, you would. It’s a way of signalling that you’re home, baby!
‘A simple change in paving texture under your wheels as you approach an entrance can be an audible as well as vibrational signal that you’ve arrived home. Exposed aggregate pavers make a distinct hum under your wheels as you move off the tarmac.’
With rising stress levels thanks to hectic work schedules, a Moody’s rating in the wings, kids’ school fees or even just avoiding crazy drivers on the roads, home should feel like a sanctuary from the second you drive though the gates. Well, even before, says Talbot. ‘From the entrance, considered view lines into the development framed by green landscaping, established trees, flowering plants and some modest signage will be the first point of achieving just that,’ says Talbot.
‘Even the custom-designed entrance gate should create a sense of arrival and pride, as well as a feeling of safety. It should make you feel welcome and safe.’
He says shared spaces that will make a difference to your state of mind can range from simple walkways taking in scenic views with benches at resting points, or lush gardens with shade, to more active and formal spaces like walking or running tracks, gyms and swimming pools.
Tim Johnson, principal of Seeff North Coast, believes that our spaces have a huge impact on our emotions. ‘While people may find it difficult to verbalise, great spaces can uplift and invigorate as well as help relieve stress – especially when re-connecting people with nature.
‘It’s so satisfying seeing families interacting, exploring and connecting with each other and nature. Many estates offer a sanctuary and the space to do this, which instantly makes people feel relaxed, safe and at home.’
He says examples include eco-estates like Simbithi, Dunkirk, Brettenwood, Palm Lakes and Zimbali in KZN’s North Coast. ‘They’ve created vibrant communities, challenged traditional building practices and protected some of our most precious fauna and flora.’
Many of these estates, he says, are placing emphasis on their entrances, road networks, facilities and other common spaces. ‘Rather than being merely practical, these key areas have been carefully designed to make use of natural textures, materials, landscaping and space, which ultimately sets a calming and welcoming tone for residents.’
Talbot agrees that architectural design is all-important. ‘The way it articulates the space, the quality of the environment, the buildings’ relationship to one another and to the space in between, light, orientation, landscaping – all these factors contribute to the overall experience.’
And then it all contributes to the bottom line: ‘If you feel good when you’re in a space – even if it’s subconscious – you’ll want to spend more time there. And if you want to spend more time in a space, the appeal of investing in your own lifestyle translates to value.
‘It also makes good financial sense – a well-designed, feel-good space will appeal to future investors as well.’