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Last modified: 2020-12-08 | Approximate reading time 7 mins
A few decades ago, it was expected that several generations from the same family would share the same home. Grandparents, parents, grandchildren, uncles and aunts lived together, as services like housing for the elderly or daycares were not commonly available.
As time passed, single-family homes became the norm and the tradition of living between several generations in the same property was lost, at least in the West. However, these days, there is a certain upswing in the popularity of intergenerational (or multigenerational) homes. These types of properties are also known as in-law suites, granny pods or secondary suites, among other names.
There isn't a unique type of intergenerational home. We can find something for all tastes and preferences. Here are a few examples:
The first example that attracted our attention in this list is a property that hosts two individual homes. The main home is occupied by the family with children, whilst the smaller home is used as a dwelling for the grandparents.
There is a disparity between the sizes of the homes, but these perfectly suit the needs of each person. The yard is shared, with a pool, a spa and a welcoming patio for all to enjoy.
Photo: House and Home
In some cases, an individual accommodation is built in the basement of the home. This involves having to find a way to create a living space that is welcoming and full of natural light. If you are already a homeowner, you may consider a basement refurbishing project.
Otherwise, if you decide to work with a real estate agent to buy a new home, the presence of a basement may become one of your requirements.
Photo: The Design Files
This house contains two living spaces that can be separated or connected, according to the needs and preferences of the occupants. The property is modern, luminous and built according to eco-friendly principles.
The design of the building also makes it possible to create spaces that foster shared moments with family and other sections that allow the occupants to enjoy satisfying privacy.
Photo: Howeler Yoon
Are you fans of contemporary architecture? Here is an intergenerational home that you should like. All the members of this extended family share the same property. However, this does not mean that they are stepping on each others' toes!
The house is big, airy and designed with three main volumes, including the bedroom section, the living area section and another part for bedrooms.
Photo: Minicucci architecte
If you're having a hard time finding the ideal multigenerational home, why not buy land and install a new dwelling that will fulfill your needs? You can hire an architect to create the plan from scratch or buy a factory-built pre-designed home, as shown in the example hereabove.
Photo: Apartment Therapy
When looking to build a multigenerational home in a densely populated area, one needs to be daring and creative. It's even more complicated when you want to integrate green spaces, a veritable "tour de force" that has been achieved in this case by the builders of this home. There are no fewer than four terraces and garden areas around the home.
These spaces become meeting spots for members of the family that share the home. The building is split into two sections, including the main area where the young family lives and the independent suite that houses the grand-parents.
Most of the examples that we have presented in this article are located around the world, but here is a multigenerational home that has been designed and built in Canada. TERGOS architecture + construction is the firm that is behind the conception and development of this impressively-designed home.
The building is divided into two sections, including a part that is a single-story section and another part that is spread out over two floors. The young family lives in the second part whilst the parents are housed in the single-story dwelling.
Photo: TICA architecture
Four generations shared this lovely property. Like in several examples presented in this article, the building is divided into two dwellings, the difference being that in this case, several areas are shared between the occupants, such as the cellar in the basement, the workshop on the ground floor as well as an exterior terrace.
The building was also designed to maximize the amount of land available so that the family can enjoy the outdoor area. Located on the edge of the water, the house is also very airy and luminous. These are some great characteristics that should please several generations!
Photo: Williamson Williamson
Would you prefer to share a yard while having separate homes? Here is a type of multigenerational home that you may like. The two homes are connected in the middle, but they are still almost completely independent one from the other.
In their daily lives, the families can live separately. They only meet up when they want to. This is perfect for people who want to maintain their autonomy and remain close if someone needs help.
Photo: Ben Rahn / A-Frame Inc.
Here is another example of an intergenerational home that is located in a somewhat dense urban area. Among the other challenges that one may face when choosing to build this type of house in an urban setting, one must also think about the fact that municipal by-laws can act as a barrier with which we have to deal, or that have to be bypassed in some way or another.
This is what happened during the building process of this property, and the architects found great compromises that pleased the homeowners whilst abiding by the law.
If you decide to start working on a construction or transformation project for an intergenerational home or an in-law suite, it will be important for you to be aware of the rules that are currently in effect. Each city has its own rules and laws, so you shouldn't rely on any vague information that you may have found on the internet.
Get in touch with your municipal authorities and have written proof of all the information that you receive. Normally, architects and contractors with whom you do business should be aware of these rules, but you cannot take this for granted, especially since the rules can change over time!
Here are a few articles published in the past few years that cover the different realities of building in-law suites in cities across Canada:
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