Wellbeing in a Post-Covid World
November 27, 2020|
he impact of Covid-19 this year has seen domestic, work and leisure aspects of life all combined into our homes. With the requirement to work from home and our lives increasingly digitalised, the value of a home that is centered around wellbeing is even more apparent. For today’s Ultra High Net Worth (UHNW) buyers, a spa, gym or swimming pool simply isn’t sufficient to meet their wellness needs. This growing trend for wellness continues to influence space planning and design, with luxury developers integrating wellness into the core DNA of properties through innovation and advanced technology. In the first instalment to our three-part series on super-prime property in a post-Covid world, we focused on the role of technology in the luxury home. In this second instalment, we speak with Trevor Kearney (@superprimesurrey), Director in Savills’ Country Department and Instagram influencer, and share our predictions on how wellbeing is being placed front and centre in the design, build and finish of super-prime homes.
'As we experience increasingly hectic schedules, demanding workloads and the pressure of an “always on” lifestyle, the toll on our mind and body is clear.’
Renowned wellness expert Deepak Chopra defines health as the absence of disease. ‘Wellness is much more than that. It includes fitness, and optimisation of emotional and social wellbeing’. Trevor adds: ‘as we experience increasingly hectic schedules, demanding workloads and the pressure of an “always on” lifestyle, the toll on our mind and body is clear.’ This coupled with the psychological impact of the pandemic, has meant our homes need to provide a sanctuary of calm more than ever before during these uncertain times. We are adopting a much more holistic approach to wellness in the design of our super-prime homes as a result of Covid, encompassing not just physical health, but also intellectual, emotional, spiritual and social wellbeing. This mirrors our ethos of ‘Thoughtful Luxury’, that design should go beyond the aesthetic to reflect deeper values and meaning. The idea is that by finding a balance between these interconnected dimensions of wellness, we can experience ultimately healthier, happier lives.
At a fundamental level, the way a property is built plays a vital role in how we live, feel and sleep in our homes. This includes space planning, acoustics, air quality and access to natural light, which all play a part in the overall look and feel of a residence. Furthermore, biophilic design can help to promote wellness, by bringing the outside in and enhancing connectivity with nature. Energy efficiency, sustainable construction and non-toxic materials and finishes elevate a home further, maximising a property’s sustainability credentials.
'Colour therapy is also an important consideration; we prefer calming tones, but bold colours can also have a role to play in energising a space or creating a specific mood.'
On a finer level, the design scheme and selected finishes should be chosen to promote balance and harmony. By pairing a neutral palette that flows throughout with understated materials and textures, it creates emotional reassurance. Colour therapy is also an important consideration; we prefer calming tones, but bold colours can also have a role to play in energising a space or creating a specific mood. Layering this with mood-enhancing art, fresh flowers and soft and tactile furnishings helps to further stimulate the senses and offer a sanctuary to retreat to.
Air quality is a key element of achieving wellness in the home. Clearer, cleaner air is a growing priority for our clients, with advanced air purification systems being installed in our super-prime homes to eliminate toxins, allergens, pollen, pathogens and other air pollutants. Modern ventilation systems are designed to measure and benchmark air quality, changing the air in a home up to 12 times a day and working to extract fine particles. This extends to the installation of special vents which extract air from hidden areas such as the back of cupboards where odours typically develop. Trevor observes: ‘buyers want to know more about the air they are breathing. Advanced technologies are meeting this need, enabling luxury residences to be more health-centric than ever before’.
A private gym has long been a key requirement in our clients’ homes, even in our London residences, such as our Regent’s Park Townhouse. However, in country estates that come with more available space, we are seeing a larger portion of the home dedicated exclusively to physical wellbeing. With public gyms facing unexpected closures due to ever-changing government guidelines, it is essential that luxury private residences and developments can offer the same wellness amenities that would be found in the most exclusive gyms. ‘Indoors this includes a yoga studio, expertly curated state-of-the-art cardio and strength equipment, treatment rooms, a steam-room for post-workout relaxation, a heated pool and spa-quality saunas.’ Trevor says. For after the workout, showers with best-in-class water filtration systems infused with vitamins further promote health and wellbeing.
'In country estates that come with more available space, we are seeing a larger portion of the home dedicated exclusively to physical wellbeing.'
Outdoor space is also designed to address physical wellness, with spacious courtyards in city residences and attractive landscaped gardens in country properties providing designated areas for outdoor workouts. An example is our Park Crescent residence, which features an inviting courtyard framed by a spectacular water feature and a verdant green wall. The soothing sounds of running water provides a peaceful soundtrack to exercise outdoors to. A private golf course, outdoor pool or tennis courts provide further spaces to stay fit and healthy, all within the comfort of home.
‘My clients not only have a kitchen fully equipped with the very finest appliances, but also a personal chef based on site and a nutritionist to ensure their eating plan is fully tailored and optimised to meet their individual health requirements’
Another important space in the home dedicated to wellness is the kitchen. We are thoughtfully designing luxury kitchens that encourage healthy and clean eating for our clients, as dining out at restaurants becomes less popular. Our clients usually have two kitchens; the primary kitchen is the heart of the home, positioned front of house and showcases the very best in contemporary kitchen design, with Sub-Zero and Wolf refrigerators, Gaggenau and Miele appliances and Quooker taps. Steam ovens are also proving particularly popular for retaining vital vitamins and minerals, as well as using less fat and oils. ‘At the top end of the market, my clients not only have a kitchen fully equipped with the very finest appliances, but also a personal chef based on site and a nutritionist to ensure their eating plan is fully tailored and optimised to meet their individual health requirements’ adds Trevor. The second kitchen -concealed from view- is equipped with commercial grade appliances and is where the chef prepares the food ready to be served directly or to be used to create theatre when entertaining guests.
Alongside physical and mental health is social wellbeing, which is even more important during this period as we are temporarily separated from our friends, family and colleagues. Technology has been instrumental in maintaining social connectivity, with WhatsApp, Zoom and Houseparty popular apps for staying in touch virtually. However, this increased reliance on technology can also have a negative impact on our mental wellbeing, disrupting sleep and making it difficult to fully switch off. As a result, our clients are requesting technology-free zones in the home. These spaces feature a deliberate lack of audio-visual gadgets and tech, to provide a dedicated area in the home where it’s possible to fully disconnect from the outside world. Soundproof meditation rooms with no WiFi provide a space to fully relax and unwind. The soothing effect is further enhanced if the walls are constructed from glass, to offer a sense of connection to nature and the outside world, as well as maximising the amount of natural light the space receives.
Wellbeing no longer simply refers to a lack of illness, but describes a more holistic state of being, ensuring mental, physical and emotional health are all perfectly in sync. With an increasingly younger generation of wealthy millennials viewing wellness as a daily, active pursuit, we are always working on new and innovative ways to advance in this area. Intangible investments such as wellbeing are now viewed as the new luxury, allowing our affluent clients to safeguard their future health, as well as that of their loved ones. As such, we predict that spaces dedicated to wellness will no longer be concealed from view or occupy the basement but will move to core areas of the home.
In our final instalment in this series on super-prime property in a post-Covid world, we will be exploring the top amenities that feature in our luxury projects.