Storing up problems As well as homes that are too small, people are fed up with having too little storage. The Way We Live Now showed insufficient storage and utility areas was a consistent difficulty faced by households at all stages of their lives, whether they were living in new or old homes. This widespread problem reflects the failure by both house builders and consumers to predict what would be needed. A total of 13.8% of residents participating in the Homes and Communities Agency’s Quality Counts survey said storage space was the feature of their home that could be most improved, the highest score for any aspect. It was followed by outdoor space (10.1%), internal layout (9.6%), internal finish and fittings (9.5%) and room size (8%).64
A film produced for the Commission65 shows a couple in a new flat in Liverpool with so little storage space that their second bedroom is used as a storage cupboard, with an ironing board, exercise apparatus and vacuum cleaner blocking access to the guest bed. Their bin stands in the middle of their open plan kitchen and they even keep food in the car boot. This flat was “purpose built” — but to what purpose? On the positive side, the Commission saw excellent examples of storage intelligently designed into a home, often making use of awkward spaces or hallways rather than increasing the overall size. But too often sufficient storage space is not included in the original construction.
“Solutions to lack of storage are not always costly. Wellthought out layouts often are no more expensive. Builders might put technical equipment in storage space because the original layout had not anticipated the need for such large equipment. Better planning upfront at the design stage could improve this.”66 Quality Counts, Homes and Communities Agency
64_ Quality Counts: Results of the Quality Assurance and Impact Visits: National Affordable Housing Programme 2008-11, Homes and Communities Agency, 2011 65_ Films were produced during research for The Way We Live Now; watch them online at www.behomewise.co.uk/videos 66_ Quality Counts: Results of the Quality Assurance and Impact Visits: National Affordable Housing Programme 2008-11, Homes and Communities Agency, 2011
The Way We Live Now. A couple in Liverpool use their car boot for storage © Ipsos MORI and RIBA