For the past several decades, there has been an increased movement toward building homes for multigenerational living (defined as two or more generations living under one roof). Beginning with the Great Recession of the late 2000s, multigenerational living began to increase as adult children moved back into the family home to save money while searching for a job. Today, most multigenerational households are made up of aging parents moving in with their children. According to the National Association of Realtors (NAR), the coronavirus pandemic led to an increase in the number of homes purchased for multigenerational households, which rose to 15 percent of all homes sold between April and June of 2020. In this article, we will discuss several options that suit the needs of multigenerational living.
Renovating Your Current Home
Designing a home for multigenerational living is all about using space wisely. Ideally, a multigenerational home will have primary living areas with an attached suite including a bedroom, kitchen (or mini-kitchen), and a bathroom with a separate entry. If your current home can’t accommodate such a suite, space in the basement, attic, or over the garage may suffice. When adding to your existing home, it is very important to keep in mind the safety risk that stairs may present to aging residents. If this is a consideration, consider adding a small primary bedroom and bathroom somewhere off the first floor to offer privacy and space while, at the same time, offering connection to other residents of the home.
Adding Additional Living Space
We have all heard of a “she shed” or a “granny pod.” If space allows, many families are adding an auxiliary dwelling unit (ADU) to their property. This option allows aging parents and young adults to live near their family but not fully with their family. An ADU increases the property value significantly; it is an investment in a property that easily brings in a return. It also allows flexibility—an ADU housing a family member today can easily be turned into a home gym or art studio in the future. An added bonus: adding an ADU removes the need for large-scale construction within a home when privacy and space are already in short supply.
Building a Custom Multigenerational Home
If building a new custom home to meet your family’s changing needs and lifestyle is an option, here are some things to consider:
- Smart Floorplan: Even if family members love being together, we all need our own space. More traditional home layouts, with smaller purpose-built rooms, may be better suited for multigenerational living. If you choose a more modern, open-plan concept, consider adding architectural features or pocket doors to create separate rooms if needed.
- Incorporate Concepts of Silver Architecture: Though these are not new ideas, silver architecture promotes well-lit, quiet, accessible, and safe spaces for an aging population. When building a custom home, it is easy to incorporate elements such as low-glare lighting and sound-absorbing walls into the home’s overall layout. In addition, hallways and pass-throughs need to be spacious enough to accommodate walkers and wheelchairs.
- Separate Systems: Building a home from the ground up allows homeowners to include green home alternatives and to separate home utilities into zones. For example, heating and cooling a home where everyone is comfortable is a challenge—and this is often exacerbated by the addition of multiple generations. Separate temperature controls can allow residents to keep their living areas either warmer or cooler than the rest of the home. Temperature regulation can be easily regulated with proper planning. In addition, energy-saving features can be customized for the home
Are you considering building a custom home or remodeling your current home to accommodate your multigenerational family? Contact us today to discuss your project.