Kirsty McLuckie: Gardens and home offices have become more of a must-have during the pandemic

When it comes to dream homes, you may think that the average Joe would envision swimming pools and penthouse views, acres of land or impressive architectural features, but actually, it appears that we are a more practical bunch.

Illustration: Modvector / Shutterstock
Illustration: Modvector / Shutterstock

A survey by Rightmove has found that the nation’s dream home is a four-bedroomed detached house in a coastal village, with two living rooms, two bathrooms, a garden, garage, utility room and an office.

All of which are completely understandable desires and represent – in my opinion – a well thought-out plan for a contented life, designed to aid familial relations and minimise discord.

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Living in a detached house means, hopefully, never having to listen to your neighbour’s music, arguments or squalling children. More importantly, it means not having to worry that someone else is party to all your household noise.

Two living rooms is a definite luxury – not only do you only ever have to keep one tidy in case of guests, but you can banish family members with obnoxious tastes in TV programmes to indulge their vile viewing habits in a separate space.

Likewise, it goes without saying that two bathrooms in a home is a must for harmony, and a utility room is a luxury which allows one to hide the mountain of single socks, waiting in perpetuity for their match to come through the wash.

Utility rooms are also useful to store all utensils and Heath-Robinson type machines bought in short-lived enthusiasms for exotic cooking during lockdown.

Gardens and home offices have become less of a aspirational add-on and more of a must-have during the pandemic. The lack of a space to work form home, or get outside, has been a major cause of why so many folk chose to move house this year.

Not many of us put away the car in the garage overnight, whatever we put down on the insurance forms, but they do come in handy for general storage – or perhaps more telltale signs of lockdown hobbies that have quickly been discarded.

I wonder how many paddleboards, exercise bikes and rowing machines are currently taking up space next to the garden implements?

The study on dream homes also asked people what, ideally, they would want on their doorstep.

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And while the responses did vary slightly depending on age and location, the core desires were remarkably consistent.

Village life wins across all ages, although 18 to 24 year olds would prefer to live in an inland village than by the coast, and first-time buyers are the only group more likely to want to live in a town or city.

As for the amenities we would like to live near, most respondents mention their desire to be in walking distance of a pub, corner shop, coffee shop or local market. From my very rural and under-serviced viewpoint, to have all four would be to hit the jackpot.

In terms of choice of closest supermarket, Tesco came out on top overall, while the South of England opted for Waitrose. Scottish buyers, perhaps living up to our frugal reputation, preferred Aldi.

The whole package is subjective, but if you do live in a perfectly-sized house with ideal amenities and the shops of choice on the doorstep, count yourself very lucky.

- Kirsty McLuckie is property editor at The Scotsman