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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

Casitas

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. 

Search Dual Owner's Suite Plans

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

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Backstory: The Family Lounge

Backstory: The Family Lounge

A couple with young children was looking for "cuddle space." In another household, it was the need for an upstairs family area for "together time" before bed. Yet another family wanted a larger open study area where the parents would be involved with their kids' studies. 

It could be reading with the kids, board games, crayon artwork masterpieces, or a one-act play. The Family Lounge is a space for time together upstairs. The Sussex (plan #42284) offers a generous family lounge space connecting the three bedroom suites. 

The Sussex Main Level
The Sussex Upper Level

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Forward Framing

Forward Framing

Your best framers may not be part of your construction crew; rather, they just might be found among your sales team. Known as forward framing, they employ the power of suggestion to influence prospective purchasers’ expectations regarding your homes. When visitors to your model home hear, “There are so many amenities you’ll find in our (model) home you just won’t see in other builders’ homes,” those hopeful buyers are primed to notice, appreciate, and remember those amenities.

In 7 Secrets of Persuasion, James Crimmins writes, “You can completely change the outcome of a test drive by leading the driver to anticipate the positive aspects of acceleration, braking, handling, and road feel. If you don’t set the expectation beforehand, there is a good chance the driver will miss key selling points. Some key selling features are obvious – the stone countertops, for example; others might be overlooked – the pull-out drawers in your base cabinets can’t be appreciated if visitors don’t open those cabinet doors. And then there are amenities that are hidden assets – such as high-performance insulation; it’s covered up with drywall.

Visitors arrive at your model home and start in your garage sales center. Since the weather’s lousy, they begin their model home tour by entering from the garage. Maybe not the optimal first impression; however, if they hear, “Did you know, 92% of the time we go in and out of our homes through the garage rather than via the front door? That’s why we focus just as much attention on the design of the rear foyer as we do the front entry foyer,” those visitors will notice the rear foyer design and its amenities.

While visitors pause in the rear foyer, your new home sales professional uses forward framing in pointing out that the drop zone keeps clutter out of the kitchen, the bench is handy for tying or removing shoes, and lockers or cubbies for organizing the kids’ school needs for the next day helps de-stress the morning rush, getting everyone out the door on time with everything. Beyond merely noticing those amenities, this helps people appreciate, and value, them.

Your model home was built from Design Basics’ Cedar Hill (#42435) home plan. In talking with your prospective buyers, you find out his parents, who live in Oregon, come to visit every fall so they can take in a couple of their grandson’s football games. Using forward framing, your salesperson helps the visitors envision and appreciate having two owner’s suites as well as a third main floor bedroom. Then she shares her own story of moving her mother-in-law in after a fall and broken hip, and how wonderful it would have been to have an actual second bedroom suite.

The persuasive power of personal experience, and the emotion that comes through such stories, implants that thought and makes the dual owner’s suite concept more memorable. The hopeful buyers consider the fact that one day, they too, may want to move aging parents in and how desirable that suite would be. Another benefit, being more memorable, such amenities are more likely to be talked about, jump-starting word-of-mouth on your behalf. 

As your salesperson leads the visitors into the kitchen, she talks about the importance of storage as she points to the oversized, work-in kitchen pantry. Again, forward framing makes certain design features more noticeable. She goes on to point out the electrical outlets in the pantry, suggesting that’s a great place for keeping small appliances plugged in and ready to use – an amenity that might have been underappreciated or perhaps missed entirely. Ultimately, visitors have a better model home experience due to your salesperson’s forward framing… and, your company sells more homes!

At Design Basics, we have the tools to help you stand out from other builders:

Contact us today to learn more: 800.947.7526

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.

  

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