One in five Australians now live in multi-generational households: baby boomer couples with boomerang children and ageing parents, an increasingly multi-ethnic population with a tradition of housing three generations under one roof, and even singles who may need to double up with siblings or friends to make ends meet. This rewarding trend isn’t new but has more people considering adding on to their homes to make room than ever before. But before you start planning the perfect “in-law” apartment for your home there are a few things you need to consider.
Determine what alterations or additions you really need by objectively assessing what you already have. A balance of private and shared spaces is the most important thing to consider. Private spaces can include entrances, living areas, bathrooms, kitchenettes, dining areas (including outdoor living and entertaining) and even separate hobby or office spaces.
Carefully assess your resources and budget. It’s important to begin speaking to designers, architects and builders early in the process so you know what your options are for the amount you have to spend. These consultants can also advise you on local Council regulations and restrictions as these may impact on what you want to do.
Keep the resale value of your home in mind. While any changes are obviously for your family to enjoy now, you want to appeal to future buyers by designing flexible spaces that can be used for a variety of purposes. Make decisions that serve the life of the house not just the time your family make it their home.
Think sustainably and target the three pillars of sustainability when building or renovating. The most obvious one is economic, and multi-generational living is the perfect arrangement for this, but there is also environmental sustainability and social sustainability. Many people living under one roof places demands on resources like power and water so think about installing solar and rain water tanks for example; but also think about the impact of the house on the wider community. The project should be inclusive of the neighbourhood’s character, not stand out in the street.
Take your time. These decisions need to be made carefully so that the arrangement remains meaningful and harmonious in the long run.
If you want to talk to someone about fitting the whole family in comfortably give us a call today – our friendly team will gladly assist.