Multi generational homes have long been the norm in many parts of the world and across many cultures. An increasing number of families in North America are now exploring the benefits of living in a multi generational home, in particular in large urban centres where housing and the cost of living can be very high. While the reasons for choosing a multi generational home are ultimately unique to each family, the benefits can be numerous.
It comes as no surprise then, that at My Modern Home we have seen an increase in the number of customers looking for a multi generational living floor plan or requesting custom design services for a multi generational living floor plan that suits their unique cultural or other familial needs.
In this article we’ll briefly explore some of the reasons that multi generational homes are on the rise across North America and offer you some guidance on how to achieve the ideal multi generational living floor plan for your family.
Multigenerational households are defined as including two or more adult generations or a “skipped generation,” – where grandparents live with their grandchildren who are younger than 25 years of age. Most consist of at least two adult generations. Examples include young adults living with their parents, parents residing in their adult children’s homes, or a grandparent, adult child and adult grandchild under one roof. In the United States, the share of the US population living in multi generational homes has more than doubled – from 7% in 1971 to 18% in 2021.
In North America, we would consider the stereotypical multi generational homes to include elderly parents who have moved in with adult children as they become mobility challenged, lose a spouse, or otherwise look for more companionship or require more care as they age. But statistics show that this stereotype no longer holds true, as the number of “a-typical” multi generational homes grows.
However, there can be some downsides to multi generational homes as well. These potentially include: less privacy, potential for family conflicts, and caregiver burnout.
While many aspects go in to planning a successful multi generational family home, a well-considered multi generational living floor plan can be one great tool to help achieve family unity across generations.
A well-considered multi generational living floor plan can be a very important aspect to consider for successful multi generational homes.
A great multi generational living floor plan will help address some of the potential downsides to multi generational homes we have outlined above – such as concerns around privacy – and can also make day to day life more comfortable for family members. Thoughtful attention to the needs of family members at the outset of the design and planning stage for a multi generational home can help to ensure that the great benefits of multi generational living can be achieved for your family!
A well-considered multi generational living floor plan will take into consideration the unique needs of a specific multi generational home. Depending on the make-up of a particular multi generational home, this could include considerations regarding:
Ensuring that a multi generational living floor plan takes into account the specific needs of your family will help to ensure that each generation, and each family member’s needs are met so that everyone can live comfortably and enjoy the experience of being a member of a multi generational home.
So, now we’ve looked at why multi generational homes are on the rise and considered why a good floor plan is key for multi generational living. Now – how do you achieve your ideal multi generational living floor plan?
The number one most important thing that you can do to ensure you achieve the ideal multi generational living floor plan for your multi generational home is to create a design brief.
We do a deep-dive on design briefs (also referred to as a “functional program”) in our article “Questions to Ask When Designing a House” but in brief (pun intended) summary, a design brief is simply a document that describes your background information, space needs, any specific requirements you may have for your home, and aspects that are important to you when you picture living in your new home.
A design brief will help you achieve your ideal multi generational living floor plan by:
If you are working with a design professional, the design brief helps your design team paint a picture of you, their client, and design around that picture. If you are purchasing a home design online, the design brief is the tool you can use to assess various plan options and make sure that the plan you purchase will measure up to your needs and your expectations once it is constructed.
At My Modern Home we believe that the best modern home designs strive to achieve a flexible program. While we think that flexible home design is important for every family, it is especially important for multi generational homes.
Why? Because a multi generational home will need to accommodate more “program” than a conventional home. In order to do so both effectively and efficiently, a great multi generational living floor plan will need to ensure that most rooms within the home can accommodate more than one function (referred to as a “program”) and can serve the same function differently for different generations within a family.
What is a flexible house plan? A flexible home design is one which allows for a broader spectrum of use for each of its spaces, and one which considers how spaces relate to each other to maximize their potential.
You can achieve a flexible multi generational living floor plan by:
If you start of the journey for your multi generational living floor plan with a thoughtful and well-considered design brief, and work with your designer or builder with a focus on designing a flexible home plan, we think you’ll be at least 90% of the way to a great multi generational living floor plan.
Here are some ideas that might take your multi generational living floor plan from great to amazing:
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