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As we get older, more people are welcoming their aging parents to move in with them. It’s not as simple though as unpacking some belongings for mom and dad. Extra space is often needed in the form of an in-law suite, and existing parts of the house need to be made safe and more accessible.

In-law suite designs aren’t new for Cottage Industries, and our projects have run the gamut from full suite additions to simpler bedroom and bathroom designs. We also help you look at your whole house and how we can make all living quarters safe and comfortable for your loved ones.

Below are some things to consider as you embark on your journey with in-law suite designs.

1) Decide on a plan

You know your family best. Think about the best plan for your elders in terms of privacy and their own space. Redoing a bedroom and bathroom could be all you need, or you may want a suite complete with a kitchenette and small living room to provide privacy and more independent living. Some municipalities don’t allow 2nd kitchens, so find out before spending too much effort on this.

Think long-term, too. At some point will a live-in aid be needed? Will second floor living not be possible at some point because of accessibility? Where will your elders be eating their meals?

A good design/build team will help you anticipate the evolving needs of your loved ones. Beyond just where they’ll sleep and shower, think too about the space in your house and where mom and dad will spend their mornings and afternoons. Creating spaces for sewing or knitting, reading, or any other hobbies is a good addition to your in-law suite designs.

It might seem early to think about furniture for your in-law suite, but it’s a good idea to consider what’ll be going into the space. Does your parent have a favorite recliner, china cabinet, or special bed, such as a hospital bed? Plan for these items as you design.

If you’re doing an addition, the size or placement of it will depend on your lot and how much room you have. Zoning regulations play a factor on what you can do, and where.  You can also consider creating a detached in-law suite if, again, building rules allow one.

2) Accessibility

While an in-law suite can be as simple as creating a separate bedroom and bathroom, it can be much more expansive depending on your home and your needs. No matter the scope of your in-law suite, it’s likely you’ll need to address accessibility issues elsewhere in the home too.

Look around your house, and notice all the door and cabinet handles, faucets, and drawers that could be a challenge for older hands. Are your doorways narrow, or would they allow a walker or wheelchair to pass through? See those thresholds? They can cause trips and falls.

You’ll need to consider widening doorways, using paddle handles, or installing a stair climber or elevator. If you’re doing an in-law suite addition, all of these issues should be addressed in the design, and you likely will want to make changes elsewhere in the house, too.

These measures can help your loved ones now, but also might be a major benefit for you down the line. Read more about remodeling ideas for aging in place.

3) Finances and timing

Finances to build an in-law suite can be tricky. You could be waiting for your parents’ home to sell to use the money to add an addition at your house. If finances could be tied up for awhile, consider a swing loan.

Also make sure to have open communication with your design/build team about when the finances will be worked out and the build can begin. Schedules are important whether you’re doing a remodel or addition, and you want everyone to be on the same page.

If you are planning a bigger project, read these tips on how to maximize a whole-house remodel.

Construction issues

Will your parents have moved in with you before construction begins? If so, some considerations will need to be made. Access to the home will need to remain safe, with building materials and debris kept away from entrances and living areas.

A temporary kitchen may be needed, or the project will have to be staged strategically so an accessible bathroom is always available.

Whatever your needs when it comes to in-law suite designs, Cottage Industries is here to help. We’ll study your situation and help you find the best solution to your family’s needs. Contact us today.

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