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Flexible Living: Changing Households

Flexible Living: Changing Households

With more than 60 million Americans living in multi-generational households, the tremendous popularity of home plans with two owner’s suites is easy to understand. In fact, 20% of Design Basics’ top-selling home plans last year have two owner’s suites!

Caring for aging parents, shared finances, and bringing the family together are the most common reasons for these plans’ popularity. With grandparents or even great-grandparents in the home, the suite they use will usually be located on the first floor, allowing them to mostly avoid climbing stairs. The Cedar Glen II (plan #42229) features both owner’s suites on the main floor. Secondary bedrooms are found upstairs as well as possible expansion over the garage – there’s even a version enhanced with skylights.

With its streamlined foundation and modest 42-foot width the Cedar Glen II (plan #42229) is affordable and accommodating for multiple generations.

Independent entertaining can call for a somewhat different layout, well-illustrated in the McAllister (plan #42027). Here, the original design’s Bedrooms 2 and 3 can be reconfigured as a second owner’s suite complete with its own entertaining area and possible private access from the front covered porch. This is a great layout for times when your parents are having a few friends over at the same time you’ve planned on a get-together with neighbors in the great room.
Frahm Cottage - #42355

Frahm Cottage - #42355


Even more independence can be found in our plans with Casitas, such as the Frahm Cottage (plan #42355). Positioned behind the garage, the Casita is in effect a small apartment, complete with its own kitchenette, laundry area, and gathering area. This Casita has its own outside entrance, though a door could be added from the main home’s rear foyer.

Petaluma - #42290 UL

Petaluma - #42290

Casitas can also be the perfect solution when a live-in caregiver will be part of the household. The Casita in the Petaluma (plan #42290) is located atop the home’s garage. Adding a door off the second-floor hallway means immediate caregiver help is just steps away. Or maybe your situation involves adult children. Forty-five percent of college graduates move back in with their parents after college, often due to the huge student debt they have taken on. Perhaps it is the loss of a job or other life circumstance. Casitas can provide the togetherness AND separation these households crave. Casitas may also provide some rental income. A surprising number of Millennial home buyers look to rent out part of their home from the day they move in.

Whether it’s a desire to grow closer, sharing expenses and upkeep, or life-altering events, households are changing. New homes designed with two owner’s suites are meeting the need and facing little competition from resale homes.

Livability at a Glance™ is our proprietary color-coded floor plan system that highlights four different lenses especially important to women: Entertaining, De-stressing, Storing, and Flexible Living. Discover your Lifestyle Profile by taking our Livability at a Glance Quiz.

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Multi-Generational Households

Multi-Generational Households

Today, about 1 in 5 Americans live in Multi-Generational households.

By definition, multi-generational households have at least two adult generations living under the same roof. Traditionally, in-law suites were the design solution - in a pinch, mom and/or dad moved into a secondary bedroom. A secondary bedroom with direct bathroom access is preferable, but better for achieving both independence and togetherness is a home designed with two owner's suites. Buyers who wish for a little more independence may also prefer a "Casita" layout or their own level of the house. With private access, bedroom suite, laundry, kitchen, and entertaining area, mom can have the ladies over without having to "schedule" the primary entertaining space. 

Dual Owner's Suites Example
Cedar Grove - Plan #42339

Casita Layout Example
Frahm - #42357

Separate Levels Example
Strasser Pointe - Plan #42420FB

Dual Owner's Suites. Aging parents...children returning home...widowed siblings...even lifelong friends looking to share a home...American households are changing. This is often out of economic necessity, such as a suddenly single widow(er) or even older couples wanting to split housing costs. 

An important consideration for older homeowners, is a no-step entry as well as interior passage doors at least 32" wide, ensuring this home can welcome visitors of all abilities. You may want to consider zoned heating and cooling for everyone's comfort. And, while tile continues to be the preferred flooring choice in bathrooms, falls are the leading cause of fatal injury among seniors. Selecting slip-resistant tile flooring just makes sense. 

Though the scenarios vary, all involve bringing people together. Beyond the home design aspects, there are lifestyle, social, and financial considerations to work through before choosing such a home. A widower may be looking forward to spending lots of time with his adult daughter, but she is already stretched between her job and family. Your college grad moves back and then you remember how loud those video games are. Your sister doesn't drive, and all those doctor appointments will make it hard to commit to classes you want to take. The joys of being together can be wonderful, but you'll want to have discussed and agreed upon certain ground rules for dealing with such issues before they arise. 

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Note: Design Basics offers more than 350 plans with the option of a no-step entry. 

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Safe and Stylish Bathroom Accessories

Safe and Stylish Bathroom Accessories

Accessibility is a concern for many homeowners, and the bathroom is of significant importance. According to the National Safety Council, slip and fall accidents in the bathroom are the most common accidents in the home.

Adding grab bars to your bathroom are a safe solution for those with mobility issues as well as for anyone using the bathroom. But how do you choose between a safe or stylish bathroom? Invisia offers a beautiful collection of grab bars that double as towel bars, corner shower shelves, and even toilet paper holders--bathroom accessories that also happen to be grab bars hidden in plain sight!

Read more articles in our latest edition of Her Home™ Magazine.

Learn more about Invisia.
(Product spotlights are for informational purposes.)

Photos courtesy: Invisia
Cover photo: Freepik

Multiple Generations – One Fabulous Home!

Multiple Generations – One Fabulous Home!

Design Basics was recently featured in the Omaha World-Herald's Timeless Living section, showcasing the Strasser Pointe (#42420FB) home plan. This plan was designed for a couple and the wife's parents; the ability to share a home, yet have separate living quarters. Read about this home design by clicking on the image below.


Options for Independent Living

Options for Independent Living

Live-in Caretaker

Design Basics 56564 Bauer CreekForbes reports that women have a 1 in 7 chance of celebrating their 95th birthday (sorry guys, you only have a 1 in 14 chance of blowing out 95 candles). Today’s longer lifespans, scattered families, and the desire for independence coupled with the fear and high cost of nursing homes has made live-in caretakers a viable option. Similarly, accident victims and wounded veterans may need around-the-clock aides, which, not surprisingly, are often parents moving in. Home plans like Scholz Designs® Bauer Creek plan 56564 are more than dual master suite homes, they really “live” independently for the caretakers with separate garages, entrances, and living spaces, plus direct connections from one side to the other.

Unrelated Adults

Design Basics House Plan 50039The median age of widowhood is 59.4 (U.S. Census Bureau, 2011). After a lifetime together, it’s no surprise that many of these “suddenly single” widows (and widowers) desire homeownership AND companionship. They’ve told us they’re looking for separate owner’s suites with shared living spaces. Take Design Basics’ Tucker Terrace plan 50039. The owner’s suite and suite #3 achieve maximum separation for desired privacy, meaning neither individual needs to be annoyed by the other’s loud TV programming. The common entertaining space + sunroom + rear covered porch provide plenty of opportunities for togetherness. While more modest, suite #2 could accommodate a third companion.

Related Adults

Design Basics 50037 ToulouseParticularly due to the aging baby boomer generation, there is a growing number of households with siblings or sometimes cousins moving in together. In addition to the desire to be with family, we often hear this is out of economic necessity, such as a suddenly single widow or even older related couples wanting to split housing costs. Not surprisingly, these are two of the driving forces behind the surging popularity of plans with dual owner’s suites on the main floor such as Design Basics Toulouse plan 50037. Each of that design’s first floor bedrooms is generously sized for a couple. An important consideration for older homeowners, the Toulouse features a zero-threshold front entry, ensuring this home can welcome visitors of all abilities. Similarly, interior passage doors are at least 36" wide, easily accommodating a walker or wheelchair. And the over-sized flex/hobby space off the garage entry has another welcome amenity – a shower stall; originally en-visioned for pet care, but equally adept as a wheelchair wash-off station.

Design Basics 24297 GarlandSpecial Needs

We recently spoke with a woman with a special needs teenage daughter that will likely be living with her mom for many years to come. This homebuyer wanted a home with an owner’s suite, a separate adjacent suite (so she could hear her daughter), a third bedroom for frequent guests, and a room for her home office – all in less than 1800 square feet. Our search narrowed to the Garland plan 24297, where bedroom #4 was a perfect fit for her and her daughter’s needs, and bedroom #2 being re-purposed as the home office she wanted.

Search more plans with multiple owner's suites to find the one that fits your lifestyle.

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