lower-level Multi-Generational living spaces (not your grandma's basement)

in-law suite pickerington Ohio

Have you been considering turning your multi-level home into a multi-generational living space? You have come to the right place to help determine if this is the best move for your household and your family (hint: it is). 

Multi-Generational living is a housing arrangement that has three or more generations living within or on the same property. These homes can have an unfinished basement to remodel, larger square feet, or possibly a tiny home on the property that can be turned into a second home for extended family.

Read: This Mother-In-Law Suite in Pickerington, Ohio Keeps A Family Together.

Step 1: Establish your budget

When first approaching this idea, there are a couple of things to consider right off the bat. The first thing to ask yourself is: how much money you are willing to put into this project? The average home project cost will vary depending on what exactly you do. Bedrooms will run about $100 per square foot whereas dining rooms run around $90 per square foot on the lower end. Understanding your budget can help you make important decisions about the projects you’ll be undertaking. 

For example, your budget will help you decide if you finish the entire basement/lower level or just a portion of it. Perhaps you’ll use a shared bathroom instead of a completely separate one. There are many different options to consider, but your budget impacts every single decision for your multi-generational living space.

Read: The Most Popular Home Remodeling Projects And Their Costs

Step 2: Understanding what your family member needs

The second thing to consider is who you will be accommodating with this renovation. For example, are your kids moving back in after college and want their own private space, driveway, entrance, and everything else? Or are you moving your grandparent from the senior center and you want a ramp entrance into a kitchen with lower countertops and other accessible features? (More on those countertops later.) 

Depending on what your family member needs, you may need to consider the logistics of how your space is set up. Is privacy super important? Or are there safety and mobility requirements to consider? Talk with your family member about what is important to them, and write down a list of their needs. You’ll be working together on creating a space that is comfortable (and accommodating) for both of you.

multi-generational living

Why multi-generational homes work (and the overall benefits)

Regardless of the situation, turning your home into a multi-generational living space can be a great idea for several reasons. For starters, your home value will increase based on the work that you do. This can add to the appeal of future buyers who are looking to also live multi-generationally or In the future,  a buyer can split the space it into apartment units. Plus with a renovation comes upgraded appliances and details. The newer, the better! 

Another obvious benefit of being people to house so many people is to have your family close by. Having family members together in the immediate area makes health emergencies and quality-of-life care easier for everyone. It also can mean more quality time spent between family members, whether that’s grandkids hanging out with grandparents or seeing your child when they’re home from college — the options are available to you and your family.

The light dilemma

When it comes to design, one dilemma a lot of homeowners face with their basements is a lack of natural light. With an underground basement, where exactly are you supposed to get light from? 

With the right designs, you can create a bright and open space. Start by adding an egress, which is a way to get in and out of the unit, plus it can be used in case of an emergency. Additionally, adding a clear separate entrance into the lower level can add privacy. In some zoning areas, it may be required to have a separate exit for fire safety anyway. 

The next idea would be to create an open-concept space. Open concepts free up the room to make the space appear larger and have less light obstruction like walls and hallways.

Universal Design in multi-generational living spaces

All things considered, the overall theme for multi-generational living spaces should be a design with everyone in mind, which is the basis of Universal Design. Essentially, it means designed well. Universal design is simply good design. And often, this includes making your home accessible to all abilities.

This might also look like creating lower shelves and countertops, wider doorways, standing showers or rubs with a door, ramps, and so much more. We will design your home with everyone in mind.

Heitmeyer Building & Design brings over 100 years of experience in home building, design, and renovation. We make sure we meet your family’s unique living needs so you end up with the most beautiful, comfortable, fitting Columbus home. 


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