Ideas for Multi-Generational Living

“Although buyers want to be close to loved ones and share their lives, they also value their independence.” That’s the yin-and-yang of multi-generational living, explains Peter Osterman, vice president of operations for Centerline Homes. In partnership with Builder Magazine, Centerline built a series of multigenerational Concept Homes for the 2012 International Builder Show.

The market is significant – and growing.  51.3 million Americans are now living in multigenerational homes.  That’s an increase of more than 10% between 2007 and 2009, the most recent data available through AARP.

For some the move is financial, triggered by the economic downturn.  For others, it’s a health situation, caring for an aging parent.  And another group is simply seeking a return to more traditional closeness.  For all, it means thinking differently about the design of a new home for living happily.

Ideas for Happy Multi-Generational Living

  1. A mini-kitchen in the guest suite.

    A small fridge, a microwave, a bit of storage and a sink for clean- ups give Nana and Grandpa the freedom of “me time” in their own space.  The morning cup of coffee, a quick hot lunch, a midnight snack – it’s so convenient.

  2. A private entrance.

    In the Builder Magazine Concept Homes 2012, architect Tony Weremeichik’s. Gen X home features a guest suite that has its own entrance as well as a doorway to the rest of the house.   In warmer climates, the guest suite may only share a courtyard.  In either case, family members are connected, but preserve independence.

  3. A ground floor bedroom.

    With seniors aging in place, a living option without stairs is a smart design decision.  And according to AARP, there are 2.2 million householders with a live-in parent.

  4. A second laundry.

    Too many loads creates a harried Laundromat feel. Each generation can handle the wash-up in their own way, and on their own schedule.

  5. Outdoors for everyone.

    A backyard the whole family can share is great, but remember to include secluded outdoor spaces, too.  A balcony off the master bedroom or private deck off the in-law suite provides welcome breathing space.

Visit the online gallery of this year’s Builder Magazine Concept Homes 2012 and check out the other multigenerational living ideas and products.