Home Remodeling for the “Sandwich” Generation

I just came across a statistic showing that the number of multi-generational homes in the US has risen to a 50-year high. As a home remodeling contractor, this trend isn’t exactly news to me.

Even before the recession, more and more home remodeling projects involved creating suites for college grads who returned to live with Mom and Dad for several years while “getting on their feet.” We were also doing a number of projects to create extra space to accommodate elderly parents moving in – with remodeling being a far friendlier (and economical) solution than putting Grandma or Grandpa into assisted living facilities.

Moving in together also makes good sense in our “post-recession” world when different generations may need to pull together to overcome economic challenges.

No matter why people come together, there can be enormous rewards to multi-generational living. Now, of course I’m a home remodeling contractor, but from my perspective the secret to success seems to be to adapting the house with the right blend of private and “together” spaces.

Here are three home remodeling tips that seem to make a big difference when multiple generations live together:

Bathrooms: The more bathrooms, the fewer frustrations. Ideally, bathrooms would be “in suite,” associated with each bedroom. When bathrooms are shared, good storage space is critical in creating comfort and minimizing arguments over mess and clutter.

Sitting rooms: Even small bedrooms can be remodeled to include a separate sitting area. This creates a valuable retreat where family members can enjoy a little private time away from the rest of the busy, noisy household.

Gathering rooms: It’s important to create gathering rooms – kitchens, dining rooms and family rooms – that are spacious enough to welcome the whole family. Within a great room, for example, it’s a good idea to design different areas so that the kids can enjoy jumping up and down with their video games without being right on top of Gran who’s trying to finish the crossword. The kitchen should have space for the kids to do homework or enjoy a snack while the adults are sharing cooking duties.

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