A significant number of homes in the greater Winnipeg area are defined as multigenerational – where at least three generations live together in a house. For some, it’s a cultural thing. For others, it just makes good economical sense. This movement is growing exponentially after the events of 2020-21, as people no longer want their parents living in longterm care facilities.

However, cramming everyone into a traditional residential build is often a problem. For children, primary homeowners, grandparents, and in-laws (yes, them too) to happily cohabitate and coexist under the same roof renovations will need to be made. But what should you include in the multigenerational house plan? Let’s review.

5 Must-Have Features to Include in a Multigenerational House Renovation

Age-in-Place Retrofits

Senior members of the household have the hardest time fitting in. They may (or will eventually) have mobility issues that prevent them from being self-sufficient in the home, especially in the kitchen and bathroom. They may also have a difficult time going up and down stairs. Age in Place (or AIP) renovations will remove these limitations so that elderly family members can be more self-reliant and less dependent on you to help them through the daily activities. AIP renovations can include the installation of walk-in showers, ramps, more accessible countertops and vanity mirrors, wider doors, and even stairlifts. View more about aging in place upgrades (click here) along with trends in baby boomer homes (click here), in addition to bathroom updates for seniors (click here).

Play Room for the Kids (with integrated storage!)

We asked one of our team’s kids (Kaileina, who happened to be visiting the Vulcan office) what they thought would be needed when making additions to a multigenerational home. She said “play room”. Nailed it. Just like the senior members of the household require their own retrofits to make the home more functionally friendly, your children need a space to create, make, read, play, and have fun. The room can be outfitted with built-in storage compartments for toys, installed shelving units for books, and other thoughtful features that free-up area for them to let their imaginations run wild. Plus it will help keep the rest of the family from stepping on excruciatingly painful LEGO blocks and LOL accessories.

Home Office

If someone in the home owns a business, or works remotely, then a home office which is as detached from multi-occupant traffic flow as possible is key. The space must also be made more soundproof than the other places in the home, yet offer access to natural light via large windows and/or a skylight installation to encourage higher cognitive functioning. Better access to electrical outlets is important, and you may also want to consider smart-home installations for greater productivity and energy efficiency. Since there are a larger number of people in the home using WiFi at the same time, walls must also be conducive to internet signal connectivity, which requires careful planning when it comes to thickness, material, and cladding. The good news, is that because it’s all for the home office you can write-off a significant amount of the renovation when tax time comes around.

Man-Cave She-Shed / She-Cave Men-Shed

Need an escape from the designated role of husband, wife, mom, dad, grandfather, or grandmother? Then you need make a man-cave or she-shed (or vice versa) a part of the renovation. This will give you or another in the home a place or workshop to enjoy their unique tastes and/or hobbies that others may not quite appreciate as much as they do.

What the room or shed addition may consider are recessed shelving or appropriate wall and ceiling material for displaying collections and hanging decor. Semi-soundproofing the walls to protect the ears of others in your family from power-tools or even questionable tastes in music is also a good idea. These are just examples of what the addition may include. If it can be envisioned, it can be done.

Family Entertainment Room

Everything above solved the individual needs of each generation within. But let’s not forget that you’re a family. Once all of the work, homework, and “to dos” have been done you deserve a place to congregate to watch a movie, play a board game, or sit down for a family meeting. Traditional living rooms rarely have the square footage and/or layout required to fit kin that span three generations. To make this happen you may need to completely upgrade your basement, knock down a wall to expand the existing living room, or take it a step further by building an extension leveraging available exterior square footage.

No family is the same, and no therefore there is no cookie-cutter multigenerational renovation plan. Give us a call at 204.816.8699 to discuss the unique needs and tastes of everyone in your brood and we’ll come up with a custom blueprint to make your home an oasis for all within.

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