How to Build for 2 Families Under 1 Roof

The data is in; from 2012 inter-generational living has been on the rise in Australia.

Experts say higher living costs, an increased aging population, and multi-culturalism has a lot to do with this trend. And although many may shake their heads at the thought of having the folks move in, there are plenty of Aussies who choose to live harmoniously in inter-generational households.

This week we’re delving into the benefits of inter-generational living. Plus, tips for building the kind of home both you and your parents, or adult children will love.

The benefits of having family moving in

  • They say it takes a village to raise a child. Well, having grandparents under the same roof as children is likely to make it easier to take time out. Hopefully, this means spending less on babysitters too.
  • Peace of mind is a big one for people who live with their parents. Retirement homes are expensive, and some don’t always have the resources to care for your parents the way you’d like them to be looked after.
  • Having an extra set of hands around the house isn’t such a bad thing either. It may be the case that your mum or dad help out with the garden, or take care of your family pets when you’re away.
  • The one benefit you may not have counted on? Community. Many people report that when living with their parents as adults, they feel a sense of closeness they wouldn’t have otherwise enjoyed, especially during their parent’s twilight years.

How to make your home ready

The ideal way to create a harmonious inter-generational home is to build one. Given the rise of owner-builders, especially in WA, we’re seeing more people plan and design their home for inter-generational living.

The result is a purpose-built abode that works for the immediate family, and the grandparents. Don’t forget, they want their privacy too!

Building options

While building a granny flat is an obvious choice for living with the grandparents, there may be space considerations and other issues that restrict the viability of this option.

If this is the case, you may find the solution lies in building a 2-storey home. In this scenario, you and your immediate family inhabit one level, while the grandparents take the other.

What are the benefits of the 2-storey approach?

  • Space is optimised on your block. This is especially great for smaller blocks, where a ‘granny flat’ is not possible or zoning does not allow for one.
  • Good investment potential. 2-storey homes have greater curb appeal, and tend to attract a higher selling price, if you ever do want to sell up.
  • Separate yet communal living. You and the grandparents each enjoy private zones, but can still come together when you choose to.

What you need to consider

  • Ideally, your parents should live on one level, while you live on the other. You may even have 2 separate entry-points, known as dual-key, for complete privacy.
  • Each level can be self-contained. This means a separate bathroom, kitchen and laundry on both levels.
  • If your parents have limited mobility, you may need to live on the second storey, and allow them the ground floor. Or install a mechanical chair or lift, which will help them upstairs, if required.
  • Consider sharing the electricity, gas and water bills. Or have separate connections for both levels, so you only pay for what you use.
  • Many inter-generational families choose to share common areas of the home, for example, a garden, living room or come together as a family in the kitchen. This will depend on the level of privacy you desire.
  • And finally, we recommend finding a builder who understands how to build this special style of home. Ask them if they’ve built any similar homes in the past, and check the quality of the build before moving forward.

Getting started

So, if you’re considering building a home for you and your parents, or adult children, consider speaking with one of our consultants. We can custom design to suit inter-generational living to your unique situation.

If you’re interest in multi-generational homes, contact us to get started.

Enjoyed this article? Click here to read Turn Your Two Storey Home Upside Down.