Will Multi-Generational Living Become the New Normal?
A custom Vent-A-Hood exhaust system and Thermador French Door refrigerator serve as the backdrop to this design build kitchen remodel. The eating bar with location for six bar stools adds flexibility to the eating space. The Owner and their married daughter’s family with two children can all eat in the same area while the son-in-law attends medical school.
by Ed Kaplan
We all know families who, for one reason or another, have recently chosen to combine households, with two or more adult generations living under the same roof. Sometimes, grown kids with their own children move back in with parents for purely financial reasons or due to family separations. At other times, families choose to consolidate in order to have loving caregivers close at hand, to assist with aging parents or to help with young children.
In some ways, and in some areas, such living arrangements are considered a return to the past, a time characterized by a more inclusive, family-oriented lifestyle. Nearly 60 percent of Americans aged 65 or older lived with their children in 1900, according to a Pew Research report. By 1990, less than 20 percent of age-65 and older citizens lived with their families. Today, although the reasons vary, multi-generational living is on the upswing.
In order to accommodate three generations in this home we opened the kitchen to the family room providing an inviting space for social interaction. A cross-cut Travertine fireplace is the focal point in this family room. The top of the coffee table lifts off and provides a storage area for the third generation’s toys while the leather couches providing seating for the adults.
Balance the need for group gathering space with a corresponding need for privacy and individual “get away” nooks. Careful planning will ensure that too much togetherness does not become problematic. A Hearth Room might be the perfect answer to your needs. Look to existing space that can be repurposed to serve new needs. If you currently have an unfinished attic or basement, start with those to find need extra square footage. Remove the traditional tags from each room.
Could an existing seldom-used guest room become a playroom? Can you enclose a covered patio to serve as a den? Might the current master bedroom become a separate apartment? Could a current storage room or oversize walk-in closet become a nursery? Is it possible to add another garage space? Or, is the idea of a freestanding “granny pod” one that you would like to explore as an option?
The open floor plan in this remodel allows multi-generational living throughout the rear of the house. One generation can be studying amongst the multifunctional walnut cabinets in the home office, a second generation cooking on the Thermador Appliances in the kitchen and a third be watching television in the family room.
With more than 40 years of experience working with Tulsa homeowners, the design staff at The Buckingham Group has the knowledge and expertise to guide you in the right direction. We’ll walk through your home with you and suggest the best ways to make adjustments, whether the move to multi-generational living is for a limited period of time, or for an unlimited future.
Kitchen, Bathrooms and Laundry
Give extra thought to assuring that your kitchen serves the needs of all residents, young and old alike. Make room for two or more cooks at the same time. Install a second prep sink and undercounter refrigerator drawers, or a dedicated snack center or coffee bar. Enlarge the pantry. Consider the need for an eating counter that could double as a homework station or provide sit-down space for food preparation. Install two microwaves, one above the cooktop, and a second below the countertop.
The curb-less entry, that is an integral part of the IBP glass block walled shower, will allow easy access for a wheelchair bound elderly parent. Since the Owner plans to age in place the shower’s design, with built in seat, grab bars and Delta personal and standard shower heads is designed to accommodate the Owner’s future needs in the event they become physically limited. Custom cabinets with an autobody lacquer finish complete the contemporary look for the bathroom.
Take a serious look at your existing bathrooms. If you see a need to renovate, enlarge or add an entirely new bathroom, we suggest following “aging in place” and ADA guidelines that will better serve all age groups. Features like curb-less showers, grab bars, and in-floor electric heating are not only smart renovations but are trendy as well.
Install a washer-dryer combo, either in a bathroom or in a closet on the second floor, to handle the extra load.
A Kohler farm front sink coupled with a five-foot Galley Sink provide workstations for two generations in this design build remodeled kitchen. Three layers of lighting provide accent, task and general lighting for the transitional cabinets by Woodstock Cabinet.
Combine Creativity with Practicality
Making room for grandparents, independent adults and toddlers under the same roof need not be stressful. Organizing living space to accommodate varied needs and routines may require some adjustment and ongoing give and take, but it can also be a lifestyle change that brings new joy and comfort to all concerned, improves relationships and allows more financial freedom.
As you plan renovations, the goal should be to make a home safe and comfortable for all generations. Practical improvements such as motion-controlled lighting, door levers instead of knobs, exterior ramps, interior elevators and similar features not only enhance livability, but also add value to the property.
A combination of a standard Kohler showerhead and handheld shower provide flexibility for this multi-generational family. A Jetta soaking tub provides a therapeutic environment to relax in. Plantation shutters control light and privacy as needed by the Owners.
When you’re ready to start planning your Tulsa-area renovation, schedule a consultation with our certified Aging-in-Place design team.
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The Buckingham Group | 4727 S. Memorial Drive | Tulsa, OK 74145 | 918-624-2666