Reimag­in­ing multi-gen hous­ing


Multi-gen­er­a­tional hous­ing is de­fined by AARP as three gen­er­a­tions liv­ing un­der one roof. The or­ga­ni­za­tion’s web­site shows that 51 mil­lion Amer­i­cans live in multi-gen­er­a­tional homes. This has cre­ated new buzz words– Mul­tiGen andNext Gen. We’re wit­ness­ing times, whether spurred on by health or fam­ily fi­nances, that unite fam­i­lies un­der one roof.

Santa Fe is cel­e­brated for its his­toric fam­ily-rich cul­ture. Old city neigh­bor­hoods are de­fined by the gen­er­a­tions of fam­ily com­pounds that evolved over time into a maze of al­ley­ways that draw you into com­mu­nal lay­outs rem­i­nis­cent of iconic Euro­pean towns. Since Santa Fe’s in­cep­tion – wit­ness the East­side prop­er­ties – homes started mod­estly and rooms and sep­a­rate dwellings were added as the fam­ily ex­panded, to be­come fam­ily com­pounds.

To quote from the book To­gether again: A Cre­ative Guide to Suc­cess­ful Multi-Gen­er­a­tional Liv­ing by Sharon Gra­ham Nieder­haus and John Gra­ham: “Giv­ing ev­ery­one ac­cess to both pri­vate and shared spa­ces is the cor­ner­stone of har­mo­nious fam­ily life, but pur­chas­ing a big­ger house, build­ing an ex­tra unit or even mod­i­fy­ing a home can be ex­pen­sive and dif­fi­cult.

Zon­ing laws and mu­nic­i­pal codes of­ten pro­hibit ac­ces­sory units, or ‘granny flats.’” Gra­ham and Nieder­haus pre­dict that more mu­nic­i­pal­i­ties will fol­low the lead of Seat­tle, Santa Cruz, and Port­land, Ore­gon, which have stream­lined the per­mit process to en­cour­age multi-gen­er­a­tional hous­ing. “We need to make it easier for peo­ple to es­tab­lish these kinds of house­holds be­cause it’s a key is­sue of our time,” Gra­ham said.”

Modern op­por­tu­ni­ties for multi-gen­er­a­tional hous­ing in­clude the re-en­vi­sion­ing of larger es­tate homes to cre­at­ing floor plans con­ducive to fam­ily gath­er­ings, with sep­a­rate ar­eas de­lin­eated for use as a va­ca­tion home or in­vest­ment prop­erty. The uses are multi-faceted: ag­ing in place with guest quar­ters and care­taker set-up; ex­tended pe­ri­ods of time where sev­eral gen­er­a­tions co-habit un­der the same roof or in the same com­pound/es­tate; and flex­i­ble use for va­ca­tion cel­e­bra­tions.

This is also the one of the old­est forms of es­tate plan­ning, cre­at­ing a fam­ily legacy for gen­er­a­tions to come. As homes are passed down, small de­tails can be found as a trib­ute to ear­lier gen­er­a­tions: a mu­ral, 1950s wall­pa­per at the back of a cup­board; we leave it to you to add to the list of mem­o­ries.

For ideas and in­spi­ra­tion, check out this re­source: Ad­vo­cacy Group – Gen­er­a­tions United at

We bring a new look to real es­tate to help in­te­grate you within our com­mu­nity. A pro­found love and knowl­edge of Santa Fe com­bined with a fresh out­look, vi­tal­ity, ex­pe­ri­ence, lo­cal in­sight and fun make Pene­lope and Drew your trusted real-es­tate ad­vi­sors. Con­tact Pene­lope at 505-6903751 (pene­lope.vasquez@sothe­byshomes. com) and Drew at 505-470-9194 (drew. lamprich@sothe­

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