CHOOSING INTER-GENERATIONAL LIVING
The future of housing design for everyone may be right under our own roof, writes Catherine Nikas-Boulos
As Sydney house prices continue to sky rocket, the great Australian dream of owning your own home is becoming an impossible feat for most families.
In many cases, young couples who do manage to save for a home deposit are only able to buy well outside the city limits away from their network of family and friends.
While a whole generation of young adults has failed to launch, so to speak, others are getting smart about their real estate prospects and pooling their money with their parents.
Together, they are able to buy a property that suits their individual needs or build a freestanding granny flat that offers privacy and security on the same lot of land.
While this trend might still be in its infancy, there are many building companies reporting a rise in homeowners looking for floorplans that can house two families comfortably.
Keeping it together
Greg Hendy, design manager at Elderton Homes, says there is a steady flow of families looking to build intergenerational homes.
“There are many families who don’t want to put parents in a nursing home — they look after them themselves. It is a culturalural thing with the majority of our clients,” he says.
“For many of them, intergenerational living is not a new idea — this is the norm for many cultures. However, as house prices keep rising, this is a living option that is starting to become a preference for a lot of other families.”
The idea of putting two families in the one home could be a recipe for disaster, but Greg says if you get the design right, you’ve got a good chance of keeping the peace.
Finding a floorplan
In-law accommodation could be as simple as allowing for an additional bedroom with a small ensuite and some storage space.
Greg says if catering to elderly parents, this master suite is best positioned on the ground floor of a two-storey home, and if space and budget allow, a private sitting room that is separate from the other living rooms in the home would be ideal. “We have seen clients requesting this living arrangement with our smallest homes and also with some of our largest homes,” he says. “Naturally, with the larger homes it is possible to provide much more amenity than is otherw otherwise possible with a small home. “W “With a small home, it might be ju just converting one of the living s spaces to an extra bedroom with its own ensuite. With a larger home, we see clients looking to also add separate living areas, greater sizes to the rooms.” Obviously, every family is un unique, and Greg says nearly all design designs can be juggled to accommodate every situation. “We have had a client who has designed their home to accommodate an ageing parent downstairs and a newly married sibling to the rear of the first floor.”
Greg understands that this home design approach might raise a few eyebrows, but he insists this set-up can — and does — work.
“Traditionally, for most home buyers, at first glance this lifestyle would not be the most ideal option.”
He says ideally everyone wants their own home where they don’t need to share their space, but on the flip side, buyers who combine with family, can potentially afford a home that they otherwise may not have been able to purchase.
Elderton Homes has released several designs that suit intergenerational families, including the Turon, from the small lot housing range.
The Turon design has a guest room option, which adapts a living space within the existing home to a ground floor bedroom with an ensuite and walk-in robe.
Other designs include Kurmond Homes’ Glenleigh 39, Masterton Homes’ Merlot Elite and Wincrest Homes’ Trafalgar. All offer a bedroom and walk-in robe with ensuite on the ground floor to suit intergenerational living.
For new intergenerational homes to work, Greg says the floorplan needs to be discussed upfront between all family members.
“The design is intangibly linked to the social issues created with having the whole family living together under one roof. It is important that the needs for all family members are considered and respected.”
Equally as important though is the need for compromise from all family members.
“The definition of what we need in a home might have to be questioned too — if they are really needs or are actually just wants.”
The Turon design by Elderton Homes has a flexible ground floor plan for a second master bedroom.
Masterton’s Merlot Elite has potential to convert the ground study into a second master bedroom.