Home Renovations to Consider Before Your Mom or Dad Moves In
Multigenerational housing—or households with two or more adult generations—is on the rise, and it's not difficult to see why. According to data from the Pew Research Center, a whopping 64 million Americans live with their extended family, a number that continues to grow as the pandemic rages on and the economy remains in limbo.
Fortunately, there's an array of home renovations that you can make to accommodate this type of living arrangement. "Whether it's under the same roof or on the same property, renovations create more flexibility in multigenerational homes," explains Jean Brownhill, the founder and CEO of Sweeten, an online platform that matches home renovation projects with vetted general contractors. "They offer both accessibility and a way for families to live together while maintaining separate living spaces." Curious about which renovations will provide the greatest benefits to you and your loved ones? From building an accessory dwelling unit in your backyard to renovating a garage or basement, Brownhill shares her recommendations ahead.
Turn your two-story house into a two-family home.
If you live in a bi-level, Brownhill says converting it into a two-family home is a great way to accommodate loved ones, particularly your mother or father. "Renovating the ground level floor into an apartment, with its own entrance, kitchenette, and bathroom, allows extended family members, especially older ones, to have stair-free access to their own space," she explains. "The rest of the family can occupy the top level of the house."
Construct an ADU on your property.
Similar to guest and carriage houses, accessory dwelling units (ADUs) are small, self-contained units on lots with single-family homes; they can be built from scratch, notes Brownhill. "ADUs typically measure between 600 to 1,000 square feet, depending on your local regulations, with a small kitchen and bathroom," she explains. "They're a good option for homeowners who have extra outdoor space on their property."
Convert the garage into an apartment.
Your garage has maximum potential as a permanent living space. "For a garage conversion, the existing condition of the space will be a big factor in terms of time and cost, but well-worth the extra living space added to the property," Brownhill explains. "The walls will need to be fully insulated, plumbing and electrical will need to be installed, and of course, a kitchen and bathroom should be added."
Transform your basement into an in-home studio.
According to Brownhill, renovating a basement into a livable area will benefit both you and your loved one. "Along with gaining a lot of extra square footage for family members, investing in a basement renovation can add value to a property," she explains. "To transform it into a comfortable living space, details such as current ceiling height, local egress regulations, and insulation will need to be considered."
Consider your loved one's needs before you renovate.
Along with carving out a designated living space for your mother or father, Brownhill says it's crucial to take into account his or her needs, whatever they may be. "In the bathroom, showers that have grab bars, but no curb can provide flexibility for those who have limited mobility," she explains. "Pull-down shelves (instead of traditional wall cabinets) and pull-out drawers for base cabinets allow for easier access to items in the kitchen."