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ALL UNDER ONE ROOF: MULTI GENERATIONAL HOMES

ALL UNDER ONE ROOF: MULTI GENERATIONAL HOMES

Children, Parents and Grandchildren

I was just watching a heartwarming commercial that brought a tear to my eye. We meet an elderly Polish man who is going to great lengths to learn English. We see him practicing with his dog, in the bath and on the train. He has Post-its all over his house with English vocabulary written on them. At the end of the commercial we find out why he has been making such an effort. He wants to be able talk to his young granddaughter when he visits his family in England for Christmas. It is beautiful.

SO FAR AWAY

It made me start thinking about how many families now live miles away from each other, often  not even in the same country. Both my children live at opposite ends of the earth. There may come a time either through circumstances or choice when families want to share more of each other’s lives. The arrival of grandchildren may be the trigger for this or parents getting older and more fragile.

LIVING TOGETHER

There are many different reasons why extended families decide to live under one roof. The cost of senior care is rising all the time, a family member may become unemployed, mom may have to go back to work and needs help with child care, young adults hope to save money by living at home a little longer. Whatever the reason, you may need to remodel and redesign your home to accommodate everyone’s needs.

HOME MODIFICATIONS

Housebuilders are starting to see demand for multi generational housing and are responding to the need by creating homes specifically for these families.  However most extended families live in ordinary houses. We asked several Pasadena remodeling contractors what were the most requested changes requested by such families and what recommendations they would make.

EXTEND THE FLOORPLAN

Families want to see how much extra floor plan they can gain, particularly on the first floor. One level living is easier for both young and old. Check with your general contractor about zoning and permit requirements before embarking on any extension.

BIGGER KITCHEN

Increasing the size of the kitchen was high up on the list of preferred home improvements. Not surprising when you think of the extra mouths to feed. Families want a kitchen that is big enough so that several people can prepare and cook. In our rushed and busy society, there is something very special about several generations sitting down at the table to eat together.

ADDITIONAL BATHROOMS

Fighting over bathrooms is sure to cause friction. Adding an extra bathroom can be a real peacemaker. Elderly parents may need a bathroom designed with limited mobility and safety in mind. Follow Universal Design principles and it will work for everyone. Discuss your specific needs with your Pasadena bathroom designer

SEPARATE LIVING AREAS

If you have enough space, you may want to designate separate living areas for elderly parents who may find the high energy of little ones very tiring if they can’t get away for a little peace and quiet. A basement could be ripe for a makeover or an attached garage could be converted into a small granny suite.

TOGETHER BUT APART

With some clever planning and creative interior design ideas, you can create a home where there is connectivity in the house and communal areas, but where everyone can also enjoy a little privacy.

By Jane Noble