CIH Blog: DINKys, Damian Utton

27 June 2017

Pozzoni Architecture will be attending the upcoming Housing 2017 Conference and our Residential Team will be publishing an accompanying daily article based on our research into current UK household types. The pieces will consider how architects can create homes that both meet the needs of different family types and adapt to future changes, with each referencing a recently-completed Pozzoni project and including insight from members of the team.

Today we consider an adult couple who are not living with dependent children. This is the most common family type* and are popularly referred to as DINKys (double income, no kids), although individual circumstances may vary. Particularly as the Office of National Statistics (ONS) consider families with dependent children living elsewhere and families with non-dependent children living at home to be part of this family type.

Behind the stats we believe there are probably three key groups represented. The first would be a couple who are planning to have children in the future and therefore would want a family home that can accommodate this. They will have similar needs to families who already have children and we will discuss this as part of our article tomorrow.

The second group are a couple who have either dependent children living elsewhere or non-dependent adult children (either living in the household or elsewhere). We believe that intergenerational or blended families are a separate family type and that the ONS annual report on families and households should recognise this. We will, therefore, discuss this as a separate family type in our article on Thursday.

The third group will be a couple who have neither dependent nor non-dependent children or function as such. We believe this family type are the more difficult to predict and we will consider this family type today.

For this family type, technically, only one bedroom is needed. If this is the case, the home is likely to be an apartment and this is likely to be a lifestyle decision, either due to necessity or choice. We would suggest that a second bedroom, either in an apartment or small house type, may offer more flexibility to this family type. Additional bedrooms may function as a dedicated guest room, a study for home working or as a hobby room.

Flexible and adaptable living space is important. It should allow each member of the couple to have both private space and time together, as well be able to be opened up to create entertainment space for social gatherings. In an apartment, this could be a second bedroom adjacent to the main living space with sliding doors to allow the two spaces to become one. In a house, this could be an open living space, where this family type can cook, eat and live, which also has direct access to the garden. Considerations should be whether this space is dividable to allow cooking and eating to be a separate activity and whether a dining room is desirable for formal social gatherings.

Finally, plenty of storage space will be critical, especially if the couple have extensive hobbies that require dedicated and, possibly external, storage space.

Pozzoni Director Damian Utton lives with his wife in a four-bedroom semi-detached house, designed by Pozzoni. Both were living in separate two-bedroom houses before they met. Having sold both their houses they needed space for their individual space-hungry hobbies, for family and friends to visit, and Damian’s wife is considering setting up a business working from home in the future. “The additional bedrooms serve us well in this respect” explains Damian, “providing the space we need for our own individual interests as well as time together and accommodating our many relatives and friends who come to stay.”

The open plan ground floor allows the flexibility to arrange furniture to suit their lifestyle. “We can have the living area at the rear opening out to the garden and next to the kitchen whilst creating a quiet library/study space to the front of the house. Our neighbours have an opposite arrangement as that suits their own lifestyle.”

Whilst, on the face of it, the space of a four-bedroom family house may seem excessive for a couple with no children; changing demographics and lifestyles require flexibility and adaptability in housing design and provision. “In the distant future when we retire we will probably downsize to a smaller property, but the space we have now suits our lifestyle and the flexibility to change in the future.”

Case study: Atkinson Road, Sale.

Laurus Homes was set up by Trafford Housing Trust as their private housebuilding arm; as with many RSL’s now, the profit from private housing development is re-invested in social housing. This site at Atkinson Road was identified as the first opportunity for Laurus Homes to develop private, for outright market sale, family housing.

The site, close to Sale town centre, was previously occupied by an outdated sheltered housing scheme. This was demolished and the first phase of the site development created a large extra care housing scheme, developed and operated by Trafford Housing Trust. The remaining area of the site at the front of the site was earmarked for the new housing.

Seven 5-bedroom detached houses plus two 4-bedroom semi-detached were designed to complete the gap in the existing road streetscape with a new cul-de-sac behind. The five bedroom houses have a room-in-the-roof with dormer windows and the four bedroom houses are future proofed to allow for loft conversion in the future.

The Housing 2017 Conference takes place from June 27-29. If you’d like to discuss any of the topics covered in this article, you can call Pozzoni on 0161 928 7848 or email:

*Based on the Office of National Statistics ‘Families and households in the UK: 2016’. There are 7.9 million married or civil partner couple families without dependent children, which is the largest family type, and 2 million cohabiting families without dependent children in the UK in 2016.

In the distant future when we retire we will probably downsize to a smaller property, but the space we have now suits our lifestyle and the flexibility to change in the future.