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Trends: In-Law Suites for Multi-Generational Living

Posted on: February 24, 2017

Spending time with family is priceless, and bringing your entire family together under one roof is even more invaluable.  We have begun noticing more and more of our remodeling projects are around incorporating an in-law suite within the home for multi-generational living.  If you are considering multi-generational living, here are some common themes we are seeing throughout the projects we have recently built:

  1. Independent Living
    Moving in to a multi-generational home – often comprised of a set of parents with children, and one or both of their parents living within one home – is exciting. The opportunity for more quality time together becomes infinite.  Independence in this situation is still critical for everyone involved in the home.  Having a private suite with a personal bathroom is a must.  We’ve been seeing the need for privacy extend beyond the in-law suite, giving them a personal living-space to retreat to outside of their bedroom.  It produces the felt-sense of an apartment within the home, giving them a peaceful space to enjoy beyond the communal house space.
  2. Climate Control
    Everyone has experienced the discomfort of spending a substantial amount of time in a space that wasn’t comfortable for them. Imagine the ability to regulate the floor you live on separately from the other floors in the house – or even your small suite area separately.  We’ve found that introducing separate temperature zones has all but rid the need for throw blankets and sweaters.  Climate control expands beyond the thermostat and incorporates strategically placed windows or heated flooring throughout. Opening your in-law suite to an outdoor view brings the connectedness of the outdoors inside, adds better lighting to the space, and can provide a space for sun bathing on the couch.
  3. One-Level Living
    One-level living grants ease of access to family communal space. Grandchildren can be played with, dinner enjoyed, and evenings spent relaxing together on the couch.  Removing obstacles enables everyone to engage with each other more fully and contributes to a healthy lifestyle full of personal activities and hobbies. Creating the in-law suite on the same level as the home-access, whether it be through the front door or rear, allows everyone within to engage with the outdoors and the community as well.
  4. Personal Sentiment
    One of the great things we enjoy about creating in-law suites is customizing the space for those living within it. Clients come to us with a variety of needs to support their continued independence and their valued sense of the space around them. Are you moving furniture from your previous home into this new suite?  Is there a family heirloom of a specific size you want in a specific space?  If so, we strive to design your space around your family furniture.  It won’t work to design a space and hope it fits inside of it.  One family working together to accommodate a grandmother’s dementia planned their entire suite around the exact layout of their previous suite and living room space to minimize the transition for her into a new home: what could be a potentially confusing transition was made more smoothly for her.  Another client who spent her whole life in her family home wanted her new space to have similar architectural detailing as the home she was leaving.  Bringing in your personal touch to a space can make all the difference in making it “home”.
  5. Aging in Place/Universal Design
    Entering your golden years, designing space to age in place is vital for daily ease of living. There are many things that take us away from what we love to do most that can be addressed as you’re designing an in-law suite.  Small examples are surface textures (slip resistant tubs), lighting, minimizing transitions from room to room trip hazards or ease of access (heights of shelves, toilets, etc.), making a space cozy, comfortable and most of all an area that feels like home.
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