The allure of home-ownership reached new heights during the Noughties - it was a rip-roaring 10 years that for many owners brought huge price gains and thrust glamorous design into the mainstream.
The credit crunch put the brakes on the home-buying-for-profit motive but the exhilarating ride has left Londoners with more awareness about the pivotal importance of architecture and a confidence in our own ability to control and change the way we live.
In London, property prices are on the rebound and, as we enter this new decade, several dominant themes of the past 10 years are likely to endure along with fresh trends.
Eco-friendly architecture will climb higher up the agenda as developers strive to meet the 2016 carbon-neutral targets set by government. More family homes are likely to be built, buy-to-let flats and crash pads will decline as Mayor Boris Johnson’s commitment to introduce minimum-space standards means bigger homes will be introduced.
Builders are aiming to impress the young design-savvy professionals with incentives to buy. London’s capacity for reinvention will continue, spurred by the big events of the new decade - the 2012 Olympics, Crossrail’s completion in 2017, the East London line Tube extension and giant regeneration schemes for run-down districts such as Nine Elms in Battersea, King’s Cross and Cricklewood.
In two years’ time, the cityscape will be pierced by Europe’s tallest tower - the 310-metres-high Shard of Glass - a “vertical village” of apartments, offices, boutiques and a deluxe hotel that will transform the area around London Bridge station. And as the new year kicks off, a range of sparkling new developments will be launched. Here is the pick of the crop.
Ready to launch off
Avant-Garde, E1 (from £225,000)
In a 25-storey tower and adjacent blocks, there are 360 homes at Bishopsgate, which is seconds from the new East London line station at Shoreditch that opens later this year. Visit www.telfordhomes.plc.uk.
Abbey Road Apartments, St John’s Wood, NW8 (from £550,000)
A handsome baptist church has been redeveloped into 13 flats. Two side wings have been added to the listed Victorian building, and the fusion of old and new elements runs through to the flats. DTZ, 020 3296 3837.
Queens Gate Mews, Kensington, SW7 (from £4.5 million)
Three houses designed with no entrance hallway to maximise internal space. Call Jackson-Stops and Staff on 020 7664 6649.
Ivy Waterside, N1 (from £265,000)
Eco-friendly development of 24 flats overlooking the Regent’s Canal between Shoreditch and Islington. The exterior gabion walls are “planted” with ivy, clematis and honeysuckle. Call estate agent Thomson Currie on 020 7354 5224.
The Bear Pit, SE1 (from £350,000)
Next to Tate Modern and the Globe Theatre, 24 warehouse-style apartments at booming Bankside. The “sport” of bear baiting used to take place at the historic site. Call Frank Harris on 020 7620 3400.
Stanmore Place, Harrow (from £230,000)
A welcome arrival in the style-starved north-west London suburbs. The first phase of a 500-home community with lake, cycle paths, play areas and 24-hour concierge. St Edward Homes, 020 8952 2853.
Royal Arsenal Riverside, Woolwich, SE18 (from £395,000)
A terrace of eight three-bedroom houses within a listed Victorian factory with modern interiors. Call Berkeley Homes on 020 8331 7130.
The Pier, Ingress Park, Greenhithe, Kent (from £175,000)
The Pier comprises a pair of modern apartment blocks (119 homes in total) looming over the river in the Thames Gateway. Call Crest Nicholson on 0870 752 4370.
Movable walls will be big this decade, according to think-tank Future Foundation. Flexible space is necessary because by 2020, about 65 per cent of men aged between 20-24 and 40 per cent of young women will still be living at the parental home. Homes will have to be as versatile as a Swiss Army knife.
Expect more space-saving furniture; pull-down beds and foldaway tables. Technology will be used for “green” purposes as well as to provide creature comforts. Fridges will have digital read-outs on the door, listing what is inside. Houses with small or no gardens will allow window boxes of herbs to be pushed outside through the kitchen wall and back inside for cooking.
What's in, what's out
The days of neutral, impersonal interiors are numbered with a noticable trend towards individual taste and cosy comfort.
IN: air purification is in rather than air conditioning, to combat dust and allergies.
IN: electric underfloor heating is both energy and space efficient.
IN: basements and bonus rooms in the attic are here to stay as owners try to add value or to stay put.
IN: super-rooms: large, open-plan spaces where families can cook, eat and relax together are growing in fashion. “One of our design principles is that rooms should be sized according to their usage,” says Sean Ellis, managing director of St James Urban Living.
IN: separate storage lockers are a useful extra. Mount Anvil charges £2,500 for lockers at a Wandsworth development called This Space, where flats are priced from £250,000. Call 020 7409 8756.
OUT: home cinemas and media rooms are faddish and under-used.