Blog Post

December 8, 2020

All under one roof: the rise and rise of multigenerational life

Architects can help you find a way to utilise your existing home to bring multigenerations of the family together. Architect and member of the Royal Society of Ulster Architects, Shane Birney considers multigenerational living.

They were once the sole preserve of the older generation; the granny flat, providing much needed accommodation for a dependant older relative. Seen as the perfect solution for multi generations of families who want to live together, a granny flat gives an older relative their own space and independence, but with the support of family close by. It allows our homes to offer much more flexible living and add extra space either by converting an existing outbuilding or building additional accommodation on adjacent family land. Now the annexe has been making a comeback for younger generations of the family as well as we shift back towards multigenerational living.  A well designed multigenerational house allows different family units to live together, whilst still sharing spaces if and when they want to.

In these pandemic times caring for our families has become paramount and there has been a surge in families looking to add additional space to accommodate both students returning home from university and elderly relatives joining support bubbles within their families. Ireland is also seeing a rise in children returning to the family home for economic reasons, some to either pay off student debt or others to save for a deposit to buy a home of their own as younger generations have found it increasingly difficult to get onto the housing property ladder.  Sharing resources between generations can make the home more affordable.

People are living longer and care costs are high.  Many people are opting for an annexe as a way to help their parents remain independent for longer. With loneliness and isolation a problem especially in some parts of rural Ireland, it brings families closer together.  It is also not just elderly parents who are moving to be closer to children but there are also many families returning home to Ireland, having lived internationally or in the UK, and they are building homes on adjacent family land to be close to elderly parents in their family home. This can give an element of independence to everyone whilst still meeting both their shared needs.

We as a practice are seeing an increase in projects with multigenerational facets to the design. We are carrying out many domestic projects with additional annexes for elderly parents who need additional support and care as well as those who simply want to downsize and live with their family. Some of these projects reflect changing mobility needs with ground floor accommodation requirements and adaptive bathrooms and bedrooms to allow for wheelchair access.

If you want to discuss your project then Find an architect today.