Women Power and the Changing Face of Home

“So, the cat’s out of the bag!!!” When it comes to buying power, “women count!!”

And with this statement you naturally ask: What deep sleep did Irene just wake up from?

It’s not ground-breaking news that what women want in our homes has become the primary focus for today’s home décor industry. From sparkling kitchens and fancy appliances to quiet tranquil bathroom havens, we are being wooed at every turn with promises of every kind to ease our workload and enhance our lifestyles. Not surprising when you consider the overwhelming global purchasing influence women have evolved to wield.

A read through the renowned, Poco Underhill’s latest book, “What Women Want – The Science of Female Shopping”, is certainly a call to action for anyone who wishes to capitalize on the market opportunities that abound for those who understand the significance of gender motivation in our lives. But equally important this fascinating book, based on impressive market research, takes a look at how the evolution of women continues to shape the look and “feel” of our homes and lifestyles.

It’s not rocket science to understand that a balanced life is really a delicate dance of opposites – particularly when it comes to melding the feminine and masculine. There is a decided difference in operational equipment which goes well beyond anatomy – showing up prominently in everything from the way we communicate, problem solve, and negotiate to the fundamental preferences and priorities we place on the important areas of our daily lives.

Nowhere does this gender incongruity show up more, than in how we perceive and project our needs and expectations in our homes. From the masculine “McMansion” with its up-to-date electronics and home theatres, to the growing trend of downsizing - trading square footage for usability and manageability, home design has often been driven more by our differences than our complements. As we continue to move through a new age of female dominance in the workforce, our homes are being reshaped to reflect the needs of the “nuclear family” with kitchens returning to their role as the “hub” from where communal life expands. Our feminine obsession with cleanliness and self-renewal has spurred the evolution of the bathroom from a “non-mentionable” room to one of solace and luxury. Little wonder that kitchens and bathroom renovations lead the list of upgrades for today’s homeowners spurred on by a marketplace of endless consumer gadgets to pamper our every need whatever our gender.

Those of you who have followed my Heart of Home concepts about the significance of “our unique and individual physical and emotional” connection to our space know that understanding these fundamental principles is the underpinning of successful interior design, and while we recognize that stereo-typing on any front is inappropriate, I think you will glean more than passing interest from Paco Underhill’s views, supported by his work at Envirosell, Inc about how the uniqueness of gender plays out in the evolution of our home fronts.

As a veteran in the interior design, decorating, remodelling and renovation business I can tell you there is much more to great interiors than “pretty”!. Nothing comes close to the wisdom that is garnered from hands on experience… and mine continues to confirm that men and women do think differently both at the drafting table (okay now autocad) and onsite during the construction process. It is precisely this awareness and understanding that continues to be one of my greatest assets, enabling me to ensure my clients interests are served, by interpreting and translating their expectations into gender and trade specific language, so that the talents and skills of all members of the design & renovation team are fully appreciated and harmony for the homeowner achieved.