What you need to know about remodeling for multi-generational living.

It’s a fact, families are choosing to move in together for a variety of reasons – childcare, to care for ill, disabled or elder family members, or simply to pool family resources. One very common situation we see today is the college graduate moving back in with mom and dad, as many graduates are finding it difficult to find a job with sufficient income.  All of the sudden, the nest isn’t so empty anymore.

When more than two generations of a family are living under the same roof, you have what’s defined as a multi-generational household.  This trend is on the rise and we don’t expect it to slow down any time soon.  Most homes were not built to accommodate comfortable or functional living for multiple family units so many homeowners are looking to complete a multi-generational remodel. Although you may not find yourself in a multi-gen situation today, it always makes sense to think about your future needs when embarking on a remodeling project.  You might be wondering what kind of things you should be considering and we’re here to help.  We’ve put together a list of things to consider to make your home multi-gen ready.

1. Adding an independent suite or apartment. If you find your children back in the nest or have in-laws that need an independent space, adding a suite or apartment with its own entrance, kitchen and bath is a perfect solution.  This can be done with an addition, conversion of a garage or other space, or complete reconfiguration of a lower level.

2.  Adding a first floor bedroom. If you have more than one level in your home, you may want to add an addition or reconfigure your first floor for a bedroom.  This bedroom can also have it’s own entrance, making it semi-private for the user. 1st floor bedrooms are great for aging parents with a limited ability to climb stairs. They can also provide privacy for returning adult children.

3.  Make the kitchen functional for people of all ages and ability.  There’s a lot you can do in the kitchen to improve access for people of varying ages and abilities. Suggestions include providing wider walkways, using base cabinets with drawers instead of shelves, adding second sinks or dishwashers,  and installing easy-to-reach under cabinet microwaves.  Kitchen islands can be designed to add lots of storage, additional prep areas and seating for larger families.

4. Maximize space and function in your bathroom. Bathrooms are the most important spaces to adapt for multi-generational living. Walk-in showers with benches or  low threshold bathtubs make bathing  safer.  Consider allowing plenty of room between the toilet and bathing space for a wheel chair or care giver.  You may want to install grab bars or at least make sure the walls or showers are able to accommodate them at a later date. Touchless faucets and tilting mirrors make sink use easier.

5.  Wide entryways and doors.  Ensure that one entry into your home is step-free.  Use double, french or pocket doors on wider doorways or leave them open and create an arched opening for visual interest.

6. Don’t skimp on lighting. Proper lighting is critical for all types of remodeling.  Make sure your design maximizes natural light and adds the appropriate amount of overhead and task lighting especially in kitchens, bathrooms and bedrooms. Add dimmers to overhead lighting so that you can adjust it as necessary.

If you are considering a multi-generational living situation and need assistance planning a remodel, please contact us.  We can help you create a functional and beautiful home to suit everyone’s needs.



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