Creating the Perfect Multigenerational Home

Multigenerational households are exactly what the name suggests—a place for generations of families to live together under a shared roof. The typical multigenerational home includes grandparents, parents, and young children, but it can also include adult children, siblings, or other members of the homeowner’s extended family. 

And while multigenerational homes are growing in popularity throughout the country, Hawaii remains the leader in multigenerational households. And if you’re planning on remodeling or building a multi-family home of your own, there’s a few things to consider in order to meet the diverse needs of everyone in the house. 

Types of multigenerational homes

First, it’s important to understand that multigenerational homes come in all shapes and sizes, including: 

• Adult children and their senior parents

• Minor and adult children

• Uncles, aunts, and/or cousins

• Recently graduated college students

• Recently divorced adult children

• Family members with acute healthcare needs

Because every family dynamic is unique, designing a multigenerational home can be challenging. Yes, the individual needs of each family member need to be considered, but the home should still function as a cohesive whole.That’s why hiring an experienced architect, contractor, or designer is particularly important. 

The “Ohana” Multigenerational Home.

One of the simplest ways to create a multigenerational home is to include or add an Ohana or “in-law” suite to your home. While still technically being a single family dwelling, the inclusion of an Ohana space creates the feeling of two seperate residents. 

Ohana-style multigenerational homes have two seperate entrances, which are convenient for the privacy and independence of both family units. A minimal approach to an Ohana suite allows residents to have their own room and bathroom, while still sharing communal spaces like kitchens and living rooms. 

However, some families opt to include a kitchen, kitchenette, and private living room to their plans, especially if the intended residents do not require physical or medical assistance from other family members. 

Note, the regulations for Ohana units vary by county, so make sure to work with an experienced professional to determine if your Ohana unit qualifies for a full kitchen, meets the parking requirements, etc. 

The All-Inclusive Multigenerational Home. 

Given Hawaii’s challenging real estate and construction market, you may not have the space or budget to include an Ohana apartment in your design plans. In that case, you’ll need to design or remodel your home in a way that makes shared spaces equally accessible to every family member. Here’s a few things to consider: 

1. Review your floor plan. Will everyone have access to shared spaces like the living room and kitchen?Are there any barriers such as stairs or narrow entrances that would prevent the space from being accessible to someone using a wheelchair or other type of mobility assistance?

2. How will you give everyone privacy outside of shared spaces? Do you need to include additional bathrooms or bedrooms to your design plan? 

3. How will planning for the needs of  multiple generations impact the budget? What compromises are you willing to make in terms of materials and design in order to ensure everyone can live in the home safely? 

4. Don’t forget the storage space. Multigenerational living means many people, each with different hobbies, food preferences, and a lifetime’s worth of belongings. Which means you might need to plan for enough storage for Mom’s kitchen appliances, the kid’s toys, and grandpa’s woodworking tools. 

 Get started today

Ready to create your multigenerational dream home? Let us help. Contact us today for help finding the best professionals for your project, including assistance in navigating the permitting process. And don’t forget to start your construction budget with our free online estimator!

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Honolulu, HI 96817

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