What’s Important to Today’s Multi-Generational Buyers?

Today, multi-generational living is the new normal. Are we maximizing our homes to target this growing audience?  And what are their must haves?

Kay Green Design and Schumacher Homes were honored to receive a Gold National Award at the 2015 International Builders Show in Las Vegas for the elegant design and spectacular architecture of this outstanding home.

Multi-generational homes only work if each generation wants to use the space created for them, so when designing the home the question must be “will they want to spend time here?” Today’s buyers want it all; a large family room spacious enough to accommodate everyone for the weekend football game, as well as a separate retreat where family members can get away.

So what are their hot buttons?

Privacy is key

Privacy for each family member is a top priority, and enough space to buffer between the multiple generations is appealing.  Consider the location of the additional living space and its access point for maximum privacy. It should be from a low traffic area of the home such as a front hallway. For larger homes, a separate casita attached by a breezeway is idyllic, and regardless of the home size a separate entrance is preferred.

At least one large gathering area

Having a space where the entire family can get together and connect is essential. The home’s central living space should be able to accommodate everyone, and ideally the primary dining space should be large enough to host every family member as well.  If space is an issue, an open concept kitchen provides the necessary common area for families to gather.

Balance the square footage to optimize functionality

The square footage of the home dedicated to the multi-generations, especially live-in parents, should be proportional with the home’s overall size. With a smaller home, a bedroom suite with an extended sitting area is a nice option. As the home grows, consider adding a separate, dedicated sitting area with a coffee bar to the suite. To further enhance the space, add a kitchenette and a private outdoor retreat such as a balcony or patio.

Accommodate every generation

Master suites, man caves and fem dens are critical in a multi-generational home. They balance the use of space and create a nice retreat for the primary homeowners.  Creating multiple common areas allows younger generations to have their own space, providing peace for everyone in the home. This may be a study area outside the secondary bedroom for homework, or a bonus room with separate beverage stations for teenagers to hang out.

It doesn’t have to be on the first floor

With 55 percent of Millennials boomeranging back into the home, (read this article for some staggering statistics), lot sizes shrinking, and master suites growing, second floor multi-generational options must be considered. First floors have many demands placed on them, but with today’s move-in parents being more active and healthy, second floor living is a possibility. Or if needed, an elevator can improve accessibility.  With a master downstairs, the second floor living can accommodate the college kid or the twenty-something rebounders and provide the privacy both generations prefer.

Finish it right!

Many move-in parents invest their retirement dollars in the purchase of the home and their space should reflect this with size and finishes.  The quality of flooring, finishes and countertops in the secondary living space should be on par with the main living areas.  Giving the secondary living space the same level of detail as the main home sets the stage for family inclusion.

Live-in parents and returning kids alike want their own personal space, which provides a huge sense of relief for both generations. At Kay Green Design, we take a “whole home” approach to design and have been redlining plans and facilitating charrettes for our builders for over 40 years.  Please contact us for a free consultation on your upcoming home plans.