Writer / Kristen Pawlak, DDCD
Not that long ago, it was typical for a whole family to live in one home. For grandma and grandpa to live in a lower flat, and for one of their adult children to live in the upper flat with his or her young family – three generations in one building.
Also consider farm families, with the patriarch or matriarch living in one home, and second and third generations living in other homes on the same property.
The lifestyle is returning today in the form of multigenerational homes, also known as multi-gen or next-gen homes. Do an internet search on those terms and you will find a wealth of ideas related to the concept. With many 25- to 35-year-olds staying in their parents’ homes, and increasing numbers of boomers over 65, this leaves 40- to 60-year-olds providing for multiple generations under one roof.
It is estimated that 64 million Americans live in multigenerational homes for reasons of practicality, affordability and quality time with family.
It’s practical because when needed, there are additional caregivers for either older or younger family members. It can provide an alternative to assisted living for aging parents. It can provide an alternative to day care or after-school care for children. It’s affordable because it allows for the sharing of expenses and maintenance. If you’re building, it can be less costly to build one structure than two, or to purchase one lot instead of two.
Fostering better family ties, building more memories for children, and having greater commitment in caregiving are just some of the relational benefits gained in a multigenerational home. There are many options.
While some may wonder about privacy or separate entrances, there are many floor plans that provide a wide range of choices. Some are as simple as including a suite for parents. More elaborate plans are multilevel, or even include two houses on one lot.
A good way to start the planning is to gather everyone around a table or on a Zoom call and talk about what’s most important for your family. Listening to every family member and respecting everyone’s needs and preferences for multigenerational living will guarantee harmony in your new home.
Another step is to consult with a knowledgeable interior designer when you are still discussing layouts. The interior design community has developed special expertise for those seeking accommodations for aging in place. There are a multitude of design factors to be considered – sizes of doorways, bathroom accessibility, height of outlets, windows and shelving, the use of motorization on window treatments or seating, and more. In addition, you may need to consult residential and commercial roofing contractors like Krumm Exteriors KangaRoof for Roof repairs in New Richmond that specialize in roofing replacement projects. You may also need to put a new seamless gutter installation around your home. Experts like these winter park roofers can guide you about the project and roof replacements. In addition, if you need professional fiber cement siding services, then you may hire an expert in Fiber Cement Siding Repairs in Boise.
Whether you are planning new construction or adapting a current structure, doing ample research and working with a knowledgeable design professional can increase confidence. You’ll want your new spaces to be long-lasting, functional for changing lifestyles and ages, and so enjoyable that your home is a constant reminder of the good choices you made.
Kristen Pawlak is the owner/interior designer at KP Designs/Decorating Den Interiors. For more info, visit kpdesigns.decoratingden.com.