As Americans continue to live longer and more active lives, a new dynamic has emerged between many homeowners and their family members. Today, more than 10 million adults help take care of an aging parent, often for years or even decades at a time. But that begs the question: Where are the parents going to live?
In many cases, the best solution is to have the parent—or both parents—come live with the rest of the family. Multigenerational living is becoming increasingly common across the country, as it offers convenience and cost savings.
If you and your family are considering upgrading to a home that can accommodate an aging parent, be sure to look into the option of adding a “granny flat” to the floor plan. Sometimes called an in-law suite or an accessory dwelling unit, a granny flat is a small apartment that is added to a custom floor plan.
An example is Adair Homes’ 512 Studio, which is a 512-square-foot flat that can be incorporated into nearly any of our customizable floor plans. The apartment is ideal for multigenerational living, giving your parents plenty of privacy and convenience, while also being flexible enough to work for grown children, long-term guests, and everyone in between.
Must-Haves for Any Granny Flat
If you’re planning on having a family member move in with you for a significant period of time, a guest bedroom simply isn’t going to cut it. Long-term guests need to have a space of their own, with enough privacy and conveniences to truly feel like they belong there. That’s why we think every granny flat should include the following features:
All the basics.
A granny flat should feel like its own separate space, with everything your family member needs for comfortable day-to-day living. For example, our 512 Studio includes a full bath, spacious bedroom, kitchenette, and studio space. It’s truly a fully-functioning apartment, which ensures that your guest enjoys plenty of privacy and independence.
A separate entrance.
The 512 Studio has its own entrance, plus an adjoining door to the main house. This design offers two key benefits: It ensures your guest enjoys privacy and convenience, and it helps him or her avoid disturbing the entire household when he or she comes and goes. At the same time, when the whole family wants to get together, the adjoining door makes it easy.
No one wants to have to drag their dirty laundry halfway across the house. It would be even more of a pain for your guests to have to leave their apartment and head to the main house every time they were out of socks. That’s why it’s important to find an accessory dwelling unit that includes room for its own washer and dryer.
Plenty of flexibility.
Of course, a granny flat doesn’t necessarily have to be used by your parents or in-laws. Ideally, this space would be flexible enough to serve a variety of purposes, from acting as your college-aged daughter’s apartment during the summer to accommodating your adult son while he works nearby. It might also work as a dedicated guest area when friends and family come to visit during the holidays.
The best accessory dwelling units can function in multiple ways throughout the many years that you live in the home. Look for one like the 512 Studio that includes everything a guest would need, but in a functional floor plan that would work for anyone.
Comfort, Above all Else
If you’re considering building a custom home with its own granny flat, be sure to consider your guests’ comfort, above all else. It’s important to create a space that will work for their needs. However, it’s also helpful to ensure that the apartment is flexible enough for future visitors and long-term guests. As with every other area of a custom home, the key is to ensure the granny flat works for your needs, both now and in the years to come.