Author Topic: What to look for in Multigenerational Housing  (Read 4033 times)

Offline ChrisFox

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What to look for in Multigenerational Housing
« on: January 19, 2012, 07:22:49 PM »
Last show got me thinking about what would happen if other people in my family had to live with me for a time and what it would take to accommodate them. Since I'm in the early stages of building, I first thought of multiple building on the lot but having one would be so much better. I'd like to build something I could use myself right away and maybe section off parts of the house down the road when family moves in. It would have to be separate living areas because I've tried it where everyone lived in the same space. I went mental.

Was thinking of a central area then a wing off to one side for seperate bedroom/bath/kitchen/living area. Making sure all the baths/sinks share the same wet wall to cut down on costs. Could I just plumb in connections and leave fixtures for down the road?

Hate when Jack gets me thinking, ends up costing me money  :D

Offline rogersorders

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Re: What to look for in Multigenerational Housing
« Reply #1 on: January 20, 2012, 02:52:46 AM »
Hate when Jack gets me thinking, ends up costing me money  :D

I feel your pain, started listening two years ago and have been driving my wife nuts with ideas and projects ever since.

This isn't exactly your situation, but this is our milti-generational house plan.

We are in the early stages of building a home that will house my parents, younger handicapped brother, and my family of 6. We bought the property, not too far from Jack actually, he got me into this so gets to have me for a neighbor  ;D We used a architect to draw up plans, it wasn't as expensive as I thought it would be, and the builder is looking them over now for a pricing quote.

We didn't go with a fully compartmentalized plan, but each set of people have their own space. We have two masters, on opposite sides of the house and the kids are in the back, with their own living room. My brother will be in a room off my parents room. The center is one main "great room" for the kitchen, dining room, and living room. the front is one long porch and an attached green house in the back. It's not huge but there are enough spaces to get away to, and it's going to sit on 20 acres so if it gets tight you can go for a walk.

We hope to break ground this year. My parents will move in when it is finished and my family when I retire from the Army. This way my parents will have someone to care for them as they age and my brother won't be going to a "home".

I never would have done any of this before TSP. I was planning on retiring from the military and working on some level for the government. My parents would have gone on living and would have eventually put my brother in a home when he became to much for them to handle. This idea of moving in together on a homestead has re-energized my dad to a level I've never seen. Most of the rest of the world have some sort of multi-generational housing, I think we've lost a lot by pushing aging relatives into homes.

Offline Herbalpagan

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Re: What to look for in Multigenerational Housing
« Reply #2 on: January 20, 2012, 04:21:38 AM »
If done properly, the "shared wet wall" would work pretty well. I think living room and kitchen should be shared if possible (a microwave and mini fridge can be in parents suite if they feel the need).  Parents should be on the first floor and you might want to consider wider than normal halls (if any) in case a walker or wheel chair is needed in the future. A seperate entrance to parental suite might be good as well, with the option for a ramp instead of stairs.
Hardwood floors instead of carpet also makes getting around easier and neater. Central vacuum for ease of use and noise reduction.
just some ideas...hope they help.

Offline Artos

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Re: What to look for in Multigenerational Housing
« Reply #3 on: January 20, 2012, 12:16:52 PM »
I'm in the early stages of planning this myself.  We plan to buy our property when I get back from A'stan in '13 and plan to have at least 2 parents/in-laws have to live with/near us.  We also hope that at least a couple of our kids will decide to build on our property and share in the work of the business/community we hope to build.  Part of the plan is to put the property and main house into a family trust, so that it cannot be broken up or sold off, insuring that it is available as a "homeplace" for future generations.

Ive seen a lot of these type structures around the world.  I believe we will be going towards an open courtyard design, with rooms on two sides connected by an interior hallway to a third side that is the communal living/cooking/eating area.  The fourth is enclosed with a wall, making an interior courtyard.  This allows for fairly easy expansion by adding a wing or energy savings by closing off unused wings.

Offline ChrisFox

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Re: What to look for in Multigenerational Housing
« Reply #4 on: January 20, 2012, 12:35:10 PM »
The whole first floor at least will be handicap accessible. Wide door openings, space under sinks, hand rails for bath/restroom. Might not need them now but everyone is getting older and it's easier to build it now than trying to retrofit later. Think I'm going to stick with separate closed off areas but have easy access to the rest of the house. Most of the time we'll be together but having a space to keep those crazies out is a blessing. Don't have to finish it off now. Hopefully we won't need it for awhile but will be nice to have it ready. Using alternative building, haven't decided yet which way to go, to keep this as inexpensive as possible. The idea of having a home with no mortgage sounds so nice to me.

Offline Morning Sunshine

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Re: What to look for in Multigenerational Housing
« Reply #5 on: January 20, 2012, 02:50:58 PM »
this has gone into my plans for our future home as well.  My great-grandma moved in with my parents when she was 97 "for a few years until she dies."  turned into 12 years. One thing my parents did for her was not only did she have her own bedroom/bathroom, but she had her own sitting room for guests to visit with her without involving the whole family.  She ate with the family, but she was past the point of cooking for herself, other than "throw a whatever in the microwave."  I was in college when she moved in, and after that even living there I was busy with jobs and dating, so I never really "lived" with her.  But just having her at my parents house taught me a lot, and later when my children came, they saw more of her than I ever did my first 18 years.  It was a real blessing for 4 generations - and even the 5th in there cuz my grandpa visited often to see his mother.

part of our plans is to not only have a "suite" for my FIL, but also to possibly move into that suite ourselves in 30 years and let one of the kids live in the rest of the house with their family.


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Re: What to look for in Multigenerational Housing
« Reply #6 on: January 21, 2012, 04:53:23 PM »
Good suggestions so far. I'd add a few things; 
* wide(3') doors(inside and out) for wheelchairs
* if there's multiple stories, wide stairwells so a stair chair could be installed
* step in shower stall(s) with built in seat. If seat isn't needed it's a great shelf for shampoo etc. something like
shower stall     

* in the shower, dual shower heads, one being a handheld. something like
shower head(s)

These few things have all proved invaluable in our house (a)when MIL lived with us and (b) when DH had back surgery.  An upgrade we should make(wish we'd done it while building) is a garage door opener. That garage door gets heavier every year I swear.

Offline XtraBright

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Re: What to look for in Multigenerational Housing
« Reply #7 on: January 26, 2012, 12:28:05 PM »
I live in a multigenerational housing which is quite normal in my local area (lower austria) at least with peoples living on active or former farms as there is lot´s of space.

It works pretty well if some organization is behind it.

My parents own the bigger part of the ground floor (ap. 1500 sq ft from 2690sq ft), the doorway and stairway is shared space, the utility rooms in the ground floor which are the washing room, the walkable clothing room with the "work day" clothes and sewing machine ... and on are shared.

I have the first floor (ap. 2690 sq ft).

Everybody has his own bedrooms, kitchen and bath rooms, the bath room on the ground is very elderly friendly (shower could be used in a wheelchair..)

Basically we never use "our" kitchen in the first floor very much except for guests, mostly life plays in the kitchen on the ground floor.
It could also be considered "shared space" .. we are family after all.

As usual, the men have nothing to say inside the empire of the women.

The rest of our homestead therefore is man cave, ap 3000 sq ft with hobby room, machinery and tool storage on the ground floor and empty space the same size on the first floor.

I have to say .. living alone in a flat would pretty suck compared to living under one roof.
There is always somebody taking my amazon delivery (or washing my clothes  ;) .. on the other hand there is always somebody to move the half ton flower pot the females won´t get rid off or fix the leaking stuff and dark light bulbs or flat tires.

Bills are shared and 4 people with good income under one roof is not a disadvantage when it comes to paying the bills or do some mayor renovation.
But you also have to compromise, after all it works pretty well.

And .. if things work out as planned there may be 3 generations in some time ;)

It can be done and everybody can profit from it by serving with his skills , but there should be some "retreat" available for everybody which is "his" or "hers" and for shared space there should be some working laws, like who cleans it when and on.