Trends: In-Law Suites for Multi-Generational Living

by | Feb 24, 2017 | Aging in Place (Thriving in Place)

Spending time with family is priceless, and bringing your entire family together under one roof is even more invaluable.  We have begun noticing more and more of our remodeling projects are around incorporating an in-law suite within the home for multi-generational living.  If you are considering multi-generational living, here are some common themes we are seeing throughout the projects we have recently built:

  1. Independent Living
    Moving in to a multi-generational home – often comprised of a set of parents with children, and one or both of their parents living within one home – is exciting. The opportunity for more quality time together becomes infinite.  Independence in this situation is still critical for everyone involved in the home.  Having a private suite with a personal bathroom is a must.  We’ve been seeing the need for privacy extend beyond the in-law suite, giving them a personal living-space to retreat to outside of their bedroom.  It produces the felt-sense of an apartment within the home, giving them a peaceful space to enjoy beyond the communal house space.
  2. Climate Control
    Everyone has experienced the discomfort of spending a substantial amount of time in a space that wasn’t comfortable for them. Imagine the ability to regulate the floor you live on separately from the other floors in the house – or even your small suite area separately.  We’ve found that introducing separate temperature zones has all but rid the need for throw blankets and sweaters.  Climate control expands beyond the thermostat and incorporates strategically placed windows or heated flooring throughout. Opening your in-law suite to an outdoor view brings the connectedness of the outdoors inside, adds better lighting to the space, and can provide a space for sun bathing on the couch.
  3. One-Level Living
    One-level living grants ease of access to family communal space. Grandchildren can be played with, dinner enjoyed, and evenings spent relaxing together on the couch.  Removing obstacles enables everyone to engage with each other more fully and contributes to a healthy lifestyle full of personal activities and hobbies. Creating the in-law suite on the same level as the home-access, whether it be through the front door or rear, allows everyone within to engage with the outdoors and the community as well.
  4. Personal Sentiment
    One of the great things we enjoy about creating in-law suites is customizing the space for those living within it. Clients come to us with a variety of needs to support their continued independence and their valued sense of the space around them. Are you moving furniture from your previous home into this new suite?  Is there a family heirloom of a specific size you want in a specific space?  If so, we strive to design your space around your family furniture.  It won’t work to design a space and hope it fits inside of it.  One family working together to accommodate a grandmother’s dementia planned their entire suite around the exact layout of their previous suite and living room space to minimize the transition for her into a new home: what could be a potentially confusing transition was made more smoothly for her.  Another client who spent her whole life in her family home wanted her new space to have similar architectural detailing as the home she was leaving.  Bringing in your personal touch to a space can make all the difference in making it “home”.
  5. Aging in Place/Universal Design
    Entering your golden years, designing space to age in place is vital for daily ease of living. There are many things that take us away from what we love to do most that can be addressed as you’re designing an in-law suite.  Small examples are surface textures (slip resistant tubs), lighting, minimizing transitions from room to room trip hazards or ease of access (heights of shelves, toilets, etc.), making a space cozy, comfortable and most of all an area that feels like home.

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We were thrilled with the work performed by Sun Design. We had used a different contractor to build a porch and it was an awful experience with long delays, so we were cautious. The Sun Design team listened to all our needs, presented multiple options to meet those needs at different price points, and delivered on time and on budget for our first floor renovation. They are exceptional at communicating with their clients on what to expect during each stage of the journey and carry our strongest recommendation.

Brendan Mahon



10/10 would highly recommend Sun Design. We found our kitchen layout was too small and wasn't working for us. We told Sun Design what our issues were and what was important to us, and their amazing design team created the kitchen of our dreams. It turned into a whole first floor transformation, moving kitchen, dining room, and living room around to a configuration that worked best for us.

Ashley Norman



I am a HUGE fan of Sun Design! The first time that we worked with them was over 15 years ago. We were ready to have a deck built, but not just any deck, and of course, Jeremy was the designer at that time and I remember how he went about designing it so that it looked like "part of the house" - It is beautiful. We recently refurbished it, and it looks absolutely beautiful!

Josie Zamolyi Caldwell



Sun Design transformed our "cookie cutter" house into a spectacular, unique home. Working with Ericka was a delight - her confidence and fun personality made the process enjoyable. Ours was a complete remodel - kitchen, family room, powder room, upstairs bathrooms, and some primary bedroom work. We loved working with Sun Design so much that we will be working with them again in the future when we are ready for an addition that will add a garage and in-law suite. Highly recommend!

Patti Ahlstrom



SunDesign came up with a creative design for our screened-in porch that beautifully fits into our existing landscape. Project was executed on budget and their craftsmanship is superb. Their responsiveness to a warranty issue we had with the door was immediately addressed. We highly recommend SunDesign — their teams are awesome to work with.

Gisela Ulmschneider



We had a fairly big project to build out part of our house. Sun Design has done a phenomenal job so far. We are getting close to complete. The design process was very collaborative and the execution of the build has gone well so far. Every part of the experience has been top quality and the team we are working with is amazing. The team is expensive but they are able to walk you through where every cent goes and why and they will look at different options to try to help reduce cost. They are well worth every penny. I would want to use Sun Design for any future projects and I highly recommend them.

Jen Navarro



Maryam and Jeff from Sun Design home care department are great to work with. Maryam is very responsive and attentive to all my inquiries. Jeff is my to go guy whenever I need work or maintenance in my property, very professional and thorough with his work. I have been a satisfied customer for 2 years now.

Brigitte Siegall



Sun Design handled the renovation of our large basement several years ago. We finished our laundry room and added two walls of built in cabinets, reconfigured a storage room and run-down kitchen into a guest room and sitting area, and finished a large rec room. Everything was redone - the floors, walls, ceilings, electrical work, etc. Sun Design did a terrific job - the rooms look wonderful. Our house was built in 1962 and we had a number of glitches along the way. But Sun Design made sure that, at the end, everything looked and worked properly. I highly recommend them.

Susan Louis



I have been working with Sun Design for over 15 years. They are a great company to work with, very friendly and professional staff. They are very clean, responsive, respectful of your property and I have nothing but the great things to say about Sun Design.

Goran Zukic



This review is to introduce you to Sun Design services and to recommend them for your next project. We used Sun Design for a deck – sunroom redesign, and the end result exceeded our expectations. Sun Design is easy to work with, thinks creatively, and effectively communicates ideas to enhance projects, and thus Sun Design has my highest endorsement. The staff is knowledgeable, courteous, and friendly. They truly care about every aspect of the projects they do. They arrive on time and leave the place spotless when the work has been completed.

H. Milton Richardson

Our experience with Sun Design has been nothing short of wonderful. From our initial meeting with Craig to working closely with Morgan & Emily, every stage of the design process has been refreshingly easy despite the fact that our kitchen restructure was complex. With thoughtful consideration to our 124-year-old home, Sun Design presented plans that maintained the character of our farmhouse & resolved issues with functionality & form— all while respecting our desired budget & overall objective.

Sarah & Erkan Orman

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