What South African homeowners want in a home

A recent survey by Saint-Gobain Gyproc to better understand what South Africans want in their homes revealed that 79% of people want their homes to be more flexible, 75% like the versatility of working from home and 77% want their homes to be comfortable all year-round.


These learnings and insights will be used by Saint-Gobain and Thomashoff & Partner Architects to develop a set of criteria for building better homes by informing the design of Stand 51, a model for improved house design. The show house will be built in 2018 at Val de Vie Estate in Franschhoek, and follows its predecessor, Stand 47, which was used to test people’s experiences around home comfort.

The survey revealed that South Africans want their houses to be tailored to the ever-changing needs of their families, with an overwhelming 81% of people understanding that a spare room can create flexibility for the future, as homeowners’ needs change.

Michelle Cerruti, Saint-Gobain Gyproc’s marketing and communications manager says, "A spare room has a multitude of potential uses depending on the homeowner’s stage of life. While it could be transformed into the perfect home-office or TV room now, there might be more pressing needs in the future such a bedroom for a child or an elderly parent. The value of a spare room becomes evident when that space can be modified and utilised to suit a family’s changing needs, without doing any major renovations."

But 60% of people also know that too many bedrooms can lead to wasted space. "A single, adaptable space or room is an incredibly useful feature in any home," says Cerruti, who reveals that 75% of people would rather invest in this, than build too many dedicated bedrooms.

True flexibility is about avoiding the need for costly renovations as one’s needs change, and the Stand 51 design aims to encompass this. It takes into consideration that by using the correct materials, a single space can transform throughout the day to perform various functions that support the family’s needs.

The study also reveals that home design must simplify the lifestyle of homeowners. South Africans want their homes to help make life more enjoyable and easier to live in. For 78% of people this means being able to work from home. Cutting out travel time and eliminating a stressful office environment translates into a more balanced life.

"In a country like South Africa where the summers are hot, and homes aren’t necessarily built for winter, thermal comfort is important to homeowners," says Cerruti, who explains that people prefer to live in spaces that makes them feel good, no matter the season. "And so, with flexibility, versatility and comfort in mind, the Stand 51 prototype will do more than address the modern requirements of homeowners. It will create a truly better home model that showcases how the evolution of design and technology can influence future-proof home design and living," Cerruti concludes.