Multi-generational living is trending with more Australians embracing multiple family members living under one roof. 40% of young adults in their early 20s and 20% in their late 20s are currently living at home, and with an ageing population, grandparents are opting to live with their adult children for support.
Multi-generational living is certainly not a new concept – in many parts of the world, it’s the norm. We have adopted similar family dynamics in Australia, sharing the load of childcare and relishing family bonds. Financially, living with your family makes sense too.
But privacy and space are significant issues when you live in a busy home. So how do you make a multi-generational living work for you? No family is the same, and each generation will have different expectations. Children will want to play loudly, grandparents will want to potter in peace, and you will need quiet time after a long day.
Luckily, you can avoid these issues and cultivate a harmonious house if you design your two-storey home right.
We give you tips for creating a multiple-generational home every family member will love.
Family bonding vs. solo respite
Spacious living rooms are ideal for a big family, but not everyone will use the space the same way. For example, your kids may want to watch TV after dinner, whereas your parents may prefer reading with a cup of tea.
How do you avoid fights over disruptive Zoom calls and annoying sitcom laughter? You can still ensure everyone meets their needs by incorporating two living areas – easy in a considered double-storey home design. Noisy grandkids can be loud as they wish upstairs, and the rest of the family can find respite downstairs.
Alternatively, you can separate rooms by creating ‘zones’ with a sliding room divider, open display shelving or sliding doors. A sliding room divider allows you to open up the space for family entertaining or close it when people do their own thing. You can also opt for a wall divider. We love wood panelling for an organic look.
A space to call their own
As much as you all enjoy the Sunday barbecue or family movie night, there will come a time everyone will want to retreat to their respective rooms and relax. Privacy is an issue in every home, but particularly with more people in the house. This is why multiple master bedrooms are a multi-generational home must. They provide key family members with a functional space to call their own.
Two-storey custom home designs are perfect for more than one master bedroom because you can have one master downstairs and another upstairs. Separating the rooms allows for better privacy and personal space. How big do you go? It depends on who will be living with you. Small bedrooms are okay for temporary stays, but family members staying long-term will appreciate a large room with plenty of storage space – wardrobes and shelves – and room to spread out and relax.
Bathrooms, bathrooms, bathrooms
Remember the inconvenience of waiting for the bathroom in a share house? It’s OK to compromise when you’re young, but you don’t want to be lining up for the shower in your later years. Building more than one bathroom is an absolute necessity in a multi-generational home.
Access is everything if you’re planning to live with parents or grandparents or if you see it in your future. Building a bathroom on the ground level is a wise idea. You may also consider making it accessible for family members with limited mobility or who may have different needs as they age. Think wider door frames, hallways allowing space for wheelchairs, and rails near the toilet and in the shower, as well as sinks and cabinetry at a lower level.
Comings and goings
Multiple generations mean multiple comings and goings. Different schedules may result in noise, disruption and lack of privacy, which can cause family friction. To avoid fights, you can create two entry points, which work well if you’re living with teenagers and grandparents.
If you’re deciding on building a custom home with an ensuite downstairs, you can situate it at the back and create an entry point that leads to it directly. Your loved one can come and go as they please without disrupting the rest of the family.
Want guidance on building a custom two-story home design that caters to all everyone’s needs? Get in touch.