Considering making your home a multigenerational living space? You’re not alone. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, approximately 11.6 % of Hawaiians share their home with more than two generations, and the Aloha State ranks No.1 in the country for intergenerational households.
Why do so many Hawaiians choose to live with grandparents, adult children, grandchildren, or extended family? While managing space for multiple families can be a challenge, the pros often far outweigh the cons. Sharing a household means sharing the cost of living, continued independence for elderly family members, in-house childcare for working parents, and most importantly, a sense of long-term familial community and support.
Of course, it’s easier to meet the needs of a big family in a home specially designed for multigenerational living. And if building a new home isn’t an option, innovative remodeling can often turn a traditional single-family home into the perfect gathering spot for everyone–from grandpa to grandkids. Here’s our room-by-room checklist to getting a multigenerational dream home.
- While a second kitchen in a mother-in-law suite or above garage apartment is a great concept, it may not be feasible for all families. If your remodel doesn’t include building a completely separate living and dining space, adding a second sink, additional counter space, (think a center island or L-shaped counter,) and possibly a second stove top and/or oven gives multiple chefs room to help prepare meals without overcrowding.
- For larger families, open-concept is key to giving everyone room to relax in communal spaces. When structurally possible, remove walls separating the kitchen, dining, and living areas to create a large open space that’s both practical and multifunctional.
- Convert at least one bathroom on the main floor into a full bath that is easily accessible to both elderly family member and small children. This means forgoing a traditional bathtub/shower combination in favor of a large shower with safety rails and in-shower seating.
- Add an additional half-bath to the main floor, or incorporate another full-bath upstairs to prevent early-morning or bedtime traffic jams when everyone needs access to bathrooms simultaneously.
- Add at least one additional covered and no-step entrance to the home, and a separate entrance to any in-house apartment-style space. (If the space could hypothetically be rented out as its own residence, it needs a private entrance.) This keeps family members safe from preventable falls and allows all family members some privacy and independence.
- Remove in-home steps between levels, such as the step leading down from the entryway into the living room, or from the kitchen out onto the patio. If leveling the steps isn’t possible, add ramps and handrails so all family members can navigate safely through the home.
- Where possible, widen doorways and hallways to at least five feet to accommodate wheelchairs, walkers, and strollers.
Making a home multigenerational ready can be as simple as a small kitchen remodel or as complex as building an addition and removing interior walls. Regardless of your remodeling plans, the experts at Home Planning Hawaii can help you find skilled professionals ready to help personalize your home. Contact us today for free project estimates, answers to frequently asked questions, and help getting the right permit for your project. We can’t wait to help make your home a welcoming a safe place for generations to come.