The Making of a Multigenerational Home

How do you remodel your home or build a new one for three generations to live under one roof? Find inspiration and ideas to create a home that accomodates everyone in the family.

By Gene And Katie Hamilton

Open Living Space

More than One Generation Living Under One Roof

The simple definition of a multigenerational household is a home with two to three generations living together in one house. A multi-gen home can be any combination of moms, dads, grandparents, aunts, uncles, nieces, nephews, kids, adult children with their partner and/or kids. And don’t forget friends who find it more convenient to share the cost of housing with a compatible companion or a way to provide at home care for a loved one. Pew Research Center reports 64 millions Americans live in multigenerational households and the trend has been growing steadily since the 1980s.

One trend observed at the International Builders Show in Las Vegas recently was that multigenerational living is on the minds of home builders and remodelers. Homes are increasingly featuring designated multigenerational suites or transition spaces that can be quickly transformed into additional bedrooms, providing for the increasing number of multigenerational households in some parts of the country.

Today's TV shows like Black-ish and Fresh Off the Boat are examples of multi-gen households; in the 1970s and 1980s it was The Waltons.

Creating a safe and comfortable home environment for such diverse ages means making it safe for everyone. Whether it’s an arthritic adult or a soccer-damaged teenager who have difficulty safely getting in and out of a bathtub or a toddler taking his first steps or an elder with poor eyesight, removing a stylish area rug that can cause a tripping accident will prevent it from happening.

With that in mind, here are links to simple ideas and home improvement projects to make a multi-gen home comfortable and convenient for all generations of a family.





Remodeling and Building a Multi-Gen Home Ideas and Inspiration

In general, a multigenerational home has a separate entrance with an inside door to the main house and a garage with a parking area. After that it can be customized according to your budget and individual needs. Follow the link to home plans for a starting point to inspire you with ideas to create a multi-gen home that works for you and everyone in your household. MULTIGENERATIONAL HOUSE PLANS

Good Books About Multi-Gen Homes

Hive: The Simple Guide to Multigenerational Living explains how the author Lisa M. Cini and her family made it work. With four generations living under one roof in Columbus, Ohio she explains how they divide responsibilities and chores re-designing some physical spaces for privacy and reconfiguring others into common areas for all to share. (2017 Universe)

All in the Family: A Practical Guide to Successful Generational Living by Sharon Graham Niederhaus and John L. Graham covers the financial and emotional benefits of living together, and designing and remodeling your home to accommodate adult children or elderly parents, overcoming cultural stigmas about interdependent living, financial and legal planning, and making cohabitation agreements. (2013 Taylor Trade Publishing)

In-laws, Outlaws, and Granny Flats: Your Guide to Turning One House Into Two Homes by Michael Litchfield covers everything from planning and permitting to specifics such as sound-proofing, space-conserving appliances and dealing with damp basements. This highly-illustrated book includes attic, basement and garage conversions, bump-out additions and free-standing structures. (2011 Taunton Press)

Articles about Multigenerational Living:

New York Times (July, 2018) What to Know Before Buying a Home With Your Parents

the balance (January, 2018) How to Find Multi Generational Homes

For family members who live in a multi-gen household here are links to easy crossword puzzles to work together and woodworking plans for an adult and child from our book Build It Together.