If you are considering a renovation this year, you may have to think about more than just your spouse/partner and children. You might also be thinking about your parents, grandparents, or in-laws. You might even be planning a renovation because these extended family members need to move in with you. In law suite renovations or construction.
If so, you are joining nearly 60 million North Americans living in a multi-generational household – which means three or more generations living under one roof. This is a growing trend that shows no sign of abating in the near future. With people living longer lives and professional jobs becoming increasingly difficult for college grads to find, it should come as no surprise that 32% of adults expect to share their home with a parent (according to Archival Design).
Planning your remodel for multi-generational living takes into account the concept of Universal Design (UD). UD essentially creates a structure that is accessible by all individuals without further accommodations.
UD addresses the needs of family members of all ages and abilities. And builders and architects are embracing the needs of designing multi-generational homes. If you are planning a remodel to accommodate your multi-generational family, here are some tips to follow:
1. Space Planning
Designing a multi-generational house is all about space planning. Ideally these homes have primary living areas and then an attached in-law suite with a bedroom, a kitchen (or mini-kitchen) and a bathroom. These self-contained apartments are designed to have a separate entry (and garage space, if available) for parents and grandparents so that everyone feels like they are coming in to their own home.
If your current home can’t accommodate an entire suite, look to your basement to solve the space issue. Today, advancements in construction materials make it possible to turn your entire basement into a comfortable living space with all the necessities. Just bear in mind that as you and your parents age, stairs present a safety hazard and can impact comfort and accessibility in the long run.
If neither of these options is viable, then consider a small master bedroom addition with a bathroom, somewhere off the first floor. This will make the rooms easily accessible to aging parents, provide personal space from the rest of the family members, while still making it easy for them to join the rest of the family.
2. Kitchen Design
If you are designing a kitchen, there are a few elements to consider with a multi-generational house.
Islands – They will give everyone enough space when it comes to food preparation
Rolling cabinets – provide extra space, and if designed properly, gives the option to sit or stand to use it
Pocket Doors – These are easier to maneuver and take up less space. They can provide immediate separation, when needed, between spaces
Sinks – Install 2 sinks in the kitchen, one in a traditional location, and another on the island.
3. Bathroom Design
The bathroom is one of the areas where you may be making the most changes to allow for multi-generational living. It might include things like:
Of these three items, a spacious, roll-in shower with grab bars and a hand-held showerhead is a must in the bathroom. Adding a comfort-height toilet, the height of the average chair, is helpful for those who have joint or balance concerns and, while widening the doorway requires a little more space and planning, they are definitely worth it to those living in the home.
4. Entry Options
When considering the entries for your remodel, ideally you will want to provide a separate entrance for everyone. This concept promotes a feeling of independence and a sense of home for everyone who lives at the residence. There should be at least one no-step entryway into the home. For an addition or add-on, all major amenity rooms like the kitchen, living room, and bath should be on the main level so that stairs are not needed to navigate from room to room.
If you are going to convert your home into a multi-generational living space, then soundproofing should be a serious consideration. Soundproofing will help to make living environments more comfortable and bearable for everyone. Your teenaged son can still enjoy his music, while grandma relaxes with a good book in another room. Or members of the family can still get up and get ready for work and school without disrupting others in house who like to sleep in.
If your family is considering moving toward a multi-generational household, be sure to contact the professionals at London Renovations for a fast, free estimate.