In-Law suite

The Single-Family Multi-Family Home

When we help our clients design and build their custom dream home, they often have a desire for specific spaces with specific needs. Some may want a dedicated billiards room. Lighting and storage may be added for favorite crafts or hobbies. A home office is a popular request – especially over the past 18 months! Home theaters with high-end electronics have become a must-have.

These dedicated spaces often call for additional add-ons that are found in other areas of the home. They include extra closet spaces, an additional bathroom, a dedicated exterior door, and often a small kitchenette.

Many of our clients are looking at these spaces with another use in mind: Additional family members.

For generations, children grew up, went to school, and then left the home. As parents aged, they sold their homes, and senior communities and assisted living facilities proliferated.

There is a growing segment of homeowners, however, that are realizing the practicality, quality of life, and joy that comes with creating a multi-generational home.

It’s estimated that one in six Americans now live in a multi-generational home. That’s over 51 million people, and that number has increased 10% over the past decade. Sometimes the decision is financial. Young people emerge into a challenging job market and are carrying the burden of student loans. Joining their parents gives them an opportunity to stabilize their finances as they start their adult lives. People are also faced with the high costs of senior living and trying to provide care. Many studies have also pointed to the mental, emotional, and physical benefits of having the elderly live in a family home as opposed to an institutional or solitary setting.

So, what should you consider when planning for a multi-generational home?

The first question is the most practical: Can you all get along? Is your spouse or partner compatible with the person moving in? Can your family get along with their family? And what of ground rules? Are there privacy needs? Will grandma have a curfew?

What are their space needs? Is a bedroom with an in-suite bath enough or does the arrangement call for an additional sitting room? Will you need an additional kitchen or will a small counter and refrigerator do?

Where will you put it? Does the basement become an apartment? Do you give up your attic or a wing of your home to create a living space? Does it make sense to turn a garage or outbuilding into a mother-in-law cottage?

Are there restrictions or regulations governing where or how you may provide multi-generational housing?

What will this additional living space add to the cost of building your home? Many of the amenities you add were already calculated into the cost of your home, but adding in plumbing and kitchens can impact your budget. At the end of the day, it’s somewhat like adding a pool or finishing off your basement. It will add to the resale value of the home. When the living space is no longer needed, it can easily convert into a dedicated office or secondary living room.

Most of our clients have found that the pros of planning for multi-generational living outweigh the cons. Having your family under one roof adds value to your emotional life. Having that living space adds financial value to your home. Bringing in your children or aging parents can also help you manage monthly bills.

And finally, traveling for the holidays will become infinitely simpler.