7 Things to Consider When Building a Multi-Generational Home


Americans today are part of a growing housing trend that hasn’t been seen since the 50’s. Nearly 1 out of every 5 of us is living in a multi-generational home. That’s right, one in five. It’s not uncommon for builders to get requests for mother-in-law suites or wheelchair accessible units. People are creating houses with their parents in mind. Here are 7 features you can mention during the design process if you’re considering them too.

1. Fewer Stairs

Where was your room growing up? For many, it was on a second floor or in the basement. Flying up and down the stairs when you were a kid getting ready for school may have been alright 30 years ago, but now it just doesn’t seem as appealing. Single level homes are a great option for families of varying needs.

2. Curb-less Showers

The look of a shower floor that seamlessly transitions to the rest of the bathroom is not only trendy; it’s a lifesaver for members of the family who depend on a wheelchair to get around. This small adjustment to your overall vision for the bathroom may not be necessary now, but could save a few thousand down the road should you need it.

3. Wider Doorways

A walker or a wheelchair most comfortably fits through doors between 32” and 36”. It’s a couple extra inches wider than your average door. But as more people are opting for “open spaces”, having wider doors (or no doors at all) may already be your first choice anyway.

4. The Driveway/Garage

Don’t discount the fact that more people can mean more cars. If you plan on having a driveway that leads up to a two car garage, be prepared to shuffle around a lot. Consider adding driveway space for a car to be parked to the side or extending the garage if you budget allows.

5. Flooring

While Tom Cruise in Risky Business may look really cool sliding around on wood floors, the same probably can’t be said for your folks. There are all sorts of options out there (see our most recent post) but keep in mind what could pose a possible threat to slippered feet. Carpet, textured tile, or a rougher hardwood may be the way to go.

6. Mother-In-Law Suite

Legally, they are known as Accessory Dwelling Units (ADUs) and they need to pass several requirements if you plan to build one in Durango. The design of a mother-in-law suite can range from lavish to simple. The essentials, however, include a bedroom, a bathroom, and a kitchen. If you do decide to opt for the “Granny-Pod” think about opening up a conversation about utilities. Asking your builder to route in separate meters from the get-go will save you a headache

7. Flex Rooms

You may be at the point in your life where you have no idea if your in-laws or parents will be staying with you for an extended period of time. Having a “flex room” could be the answer to your problems. These rooms can be used for anything: guest room, play room, studio, office, you name it! But they are ready to be converted to full time living quarters should they need to be. Make sure to mention to your builder that you’d like this room to have and extra full bath attached. It may not be the full on Mother-In-Law Suite, but it should still provide privacy and space for whoever inhabits it.