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What is Multi Generational Housing?

By Thomas Mitchell

During the Great Depression it was very common for multiple generations of families to live in one household because the economy was terrible. These days, the situation is somewhat similar, with the ripple effects of the 2008 recession leading to grandparents and children moving in with the parents. That's not the only reason for the rise in multi-generational living situations however; people also want to be closer to their family members in today's increasingly isolated society. Either way, multi-generational housing helps with all of these situations.

Multi-generational housing is obviously a bit differently designed than regular homes. Some builders are including two master bedrooms, a family area that can be changed into a bathroom, a bedroom on the first floor, or even bonus areas in which the space is flexible and can be used for multiple functions. A two-car garage might be able to function as a living space if you use half of it. Most builders have begun to add accommodations such as wider doors and hallways, little or no steps around the house, and improved lighting. Accommodations for baby strollers, stacking closets, and bathroom grab bars are also being included.

Multi-generational homes are popping up in greater numbers all over the United States. There are plans to build multi-generational communities in Washington, California, Arizona, Minnesota, Texas, Nevada, New Jersey, Florida, South Carolina, and North Carolina. The typical concept for these new multi-generational homes is basically putting two homes into one. The main home area will have three to four bedrooms usually and there is also an attached in-law unit that might have its own front entrance, or a hidden side entrance. The attached unit also comes with a kitchen, living space, bedroom, and a garage. This set up is perfectly accommodating for a parent who can't move around as well anymore, and will function for even a guest or nanny. The attached unit is typically one-fifth the size of the main house and an adjoining door is usually added so that it may stay open or closed and separate.

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