Baby Boomer In-Law Suites Becoming The New Building Trend

Did you know that one in four Americans is a baby boomer? The United States experienced an “explosion” of births after American soldiers returned home from World War II and sociologists define those born between 1946 and 1964 as “baby boomers”. With baby boomers starting to reach retirement age, in-law apartments, or more commonly called mother-in-law suites have become trendy.  An in-law suite is a planned area for additional adults to share living space on a semi-permanent or permanent basis. They usually feature a full bedroom, attached bathroom and a kitchenette at the very basic level which allows the ideal solution for families caring for aging parents and provides ultimate privacy. The goal of in-law apartments is to live together, without living on top of one another.

Common areas that are being transformed into in-law apartments

Basement Remodel: Will allow you more space. You could remodel the whole basement of your home to be your parent’s new living space, but you will also be losing that space for your use. We would recommend having a very large basement if this was your decision to not hinder the rest of your family into a smaller space.

Garage Conversion: Transforming your garage into the in-law suite is most times the most practical and affordable way to since you do not have to add an addition onto your home. This idea works best if you are not planning on having a full living space, rather just wanting to add an extra bedroom and bathroom.

Add an Addition or Separate Cottage: If you feel that your home is bursting at the seams with your current floor plan, it would be in your best interest to add an addition or separate cottage. By adding an addition or separate cottage, you will be able to design the space with your parents that fit their needs the best. You will also have separate entryways giving them independence and privacy they still need.

Being able to keep your loved ones close and have a multi-generational home can bring a lot of joy into your life. You need to make sure that you are providing a livable, safe design that works for their quality of life. You will want to implement wider doors and hallways that are open and easy to navigate visually. Another important design factor is having lever handles on doors as opposed to knobs. The lighting of your mother-in-law suite is also very important. Light switches should be larger than normal and have them contrast with the paint or wallpaper color for easy access. Adding a larger window for outside viewing will also add a nice touch.

Make sure that you check with your subdivision, city and/or county to see if they will allow two separate households to reside at the same address. Also, check with your zoning and building codes office regarding the correct permits that you will need for your in-law suite.

Don’t forget to consider checking with your utility company regarding your existing home’s electrical service, plumbing for waste and clean water and your HVAC system to see if they are large enough to handle the new in-law suite if you are remodeling the space in your home.

Developing the right mother-in-law suite house plan involves considering both the physical restraints of the existing property and the personal preferences of the family. As much as possible, the plans should make it possible for the family members to interact with ease but also allow everyone the option of having some time to themselves. There is a wealth of information on the internet for mother-in-law suite floor plan ideas whether you are going to convert your current living space to accommodate them or if you are going to build a stand-alone structure.

Lindus Construction / Midwest LeafGuard is a full service contractor specializing in LeafGuard Gutters, GAF Asphalt Roofing, SeasonGuard Windows/Siding/Insulation, Metal Roofing, Decking, New Construction & Home Remodeling. Call us at 1-800-873-1451 or check us out on the web at  Tune into WCCO 830 every Saturday at 9am for our Home Improvement Show with Denny Long & Andy Lindus.