Published: Sep 20, 2019 | Updated: May 19, 2020

Designing a Multi-Generational Custom Home

Multi-generational housing has become increasingly popular in recent years. A custom home builder can help you build your family's dream home.

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Multi-generational housing has become increasingly popular in recent years. It’s easy now to find house plans with dual master suites or with an apartment in the basement. A custom home builder can help you build your dream home to be the perfect fit for everyone in the family.

There are many benefits to having a multi-generational household. Extended families can save money by splitting home costs. They can help each other with child care and elderly care. They can divide the chores among them to make less work for each family member. 

Family members also have the opportunity to form closer bonds when they live close together. People in each generation tend to feel more connected to family and less lonely.

9 options for multi-generational house plans and floor plans:

1. Dual master suites 

  • This is a traditional “mother-in-law suite” with the family sharing common living areas and a common kitchen. 
  • Such an arrangement may be especially helpful if the older generation is helping a lot with cooking or child care for the younger generation.
  • Two master suites in the same home is also ideal when there is an elderly family member who needs increasing assistance with daily living from other family members.
  • With families who get along well and prefer a lot of togetherness, this is a great option. 
  • All of the house but the private bedrooms and master bathrooms are common spaces for everyone to share.

2. Dual master suites with multiple common living spaces in the same home

  • This gives a bit more independence and privacy.
  • Sometimes having two living rooms or two or three common areas (inside and outside) can give everyone the space they need.
  • With this multi-generational home arrangement, the kitchen and eating areas are often still common which cuts down on expenses and chores for everyone.

3. Multiple master suites with the in-law suite containing a private living area

  • The in-law suite may have a bedroom, private bath, and living space.
  • With this design, everyone still shares a common kitchen and eating area.
  • Each generation may even appreciate having their own outdoor living space, as well.

4. A duplex or townhome 

  • A huge advantage of this arrangement is that if the extra unit is no longer needed for the family, it could be rented out or sold.
  • Each generation retains a tremendous amount of privacy and independence.
  • Each generation can have their own sense of style and decor.

5. A custom home with apartment in the basement

  • Having the in-laws or grown children in a basement apartment is perfect for situations where there is a need for a more independence and privacy.
  • This design allows for young children to come up and down the steps freely without having to go outside.
  • The family caregiver has full access to an elderly loved one if greater levels of assistance are needed.
  • No one has to go outside in the night, heat, rain, or cold to access the other family members.

6. A studio apartment connected to the main house

  • This design provides a good bit of privacy and independence for an aging parent, grandparent, or an adult child.
  • It is perfect when there is only one or people living in the apartment but may be too crowded if there is an adult child with young children.

7. A cottage or custom guest house in the backyard

  • The guest house is generally much smaller than the main house. 
  • If an elderly parent, grandparent, or adult child prefers not to share walls with the rest of the family due to noise sensitivity or a different work/sleep schedule, the extra distance can be very beneficial. 
  • A small, one story home can utilize universal design so that there are no steps and everything in the home is accessible.
  • This arrangement provides a great deal of privacy and independence for families who would like to be close but appreciate a bit of separation.
  • The guest house could be rented out to others if it is no longer needed by family members.

8. A custom “in-law apartment” over a separate garage in the backyard

  • An aging parent, grandparent, adult child, or other extended family member could have a lot of privacy and independence with this arrangement, as well.
  • The only draw-back to an apartment over a garage is that there will be steps. Of course, if it is the only solution, a small elevator or chair lift can be installed, if necessary.
  • The apartment could also be rented out when family members are not using it.

9. Two separate houses

  • Another option is that the two adult generations could build completely separate custom homes next door to each other on separate lots or on one lot.
  • The homes could be connected with a breezeway, deck, or sidewalk.
  • Then each generation has maximum freedom, independence, and flexibility, while still enjoying the benefits of living close by.

Building a custom home is the perfect solution for families who want to live in a multi-generational home. Some of these options are not available in certain areas due to zoning restrictions. So be sure to check with your home builder before buying a lot.

Second Master Suite Bathroom

Looking for Home Builder Near You around Lexington, SC?

We take great pride in the 100+ luxury custom homes we have built in the greater Columbia, SC area. If you are looking for a custom home builder, Lee Blythe is a Certified Master Builder with 15 years of experience in the Midlands of South Carolina.

Let's see if we might be a great fit for you to help turn your dream home into reality.

Contact us today and let’s get started!

We build in areas including Blythewood, Forest Acres, downtown Columbia, Lake Murray, West Columbia, Pinewood, Lexington, Irmo, Ballentine, Chapin, and more. 


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