I should explain that this approach and the subsequent design solutions I am proposing I hope will be a contribution to the problem of estate house design. I have obtained feedback along the way from a variety of professionals, and whilst many have challenged my ideas, in general they are supportive. Before any design proposals are considered, it is important to understand the functions of the home and how they have changed over the past few decades. The domestic activities are examined in two ways: firstly, in relation to each other spatially, and secondly, the kind of facilities necessary to support those activities. Out of all the sectors in the design industry, domestic design is probably the most problematic in the sense that everyone lives in a home and it is so easy for designers to make assumptions based upon their own experiences. The failing of ‘design’ today in a general sense is well put by Alison J. Clarke in the Introduction of her book ‘Design Anthropology’:
Observational techniques, human focus and emphasis on the machinations of the every day are essential in interpreting the complex implications of consumer culture, technological interaction, and media. As the values of expanding new markets challenge homogenous, globalised understandings of product worlds and users, the desire for indigenous, grassroots, and nuanced insights has never been more acute.
This of course can dangerously make a design proposal prejudiced without the proper unbiased research to support it. I could be guilty of being in such a position, but I would quickly come to my defence by saying that a lifetime’s work of study, designing, teaching, observation and a missionary zeal to make things right should place me in a good position. I am well aware that some of my recommendations have never been made before (to my knowledge) or that they may have a mixed reception, as long as something constructive comes out of the book. In designing an estate home for the masses, there is no Mr and Mrs Average, and there is no such thing as a tailored solution except if you were designing bespoke for one client. For example, family life is complex and varied depending upon income group, culture, religion and working role in society. Therefore, decisions and conclusions are drawn up that would appear to cater for all, or at least provide a basis for adjustment to suit.