Interior designers are now planning for multi-generational living
Editor’s note: Joseph Pubillones takes leave. This column was originally published in 2018.
As more baby boomers reach their golden years and younger generations pay off college loans and save for their own homes, many homes are becoming more multi-generational.
Once commonplace, in recent years multigenerational living was less likely to be the case. But thoughts about it are changing, and appreciation for living with family or friends is on the rise.
Living in community offers great opportunities to learn about the lives of others. Designing for more than one client has its own set of rules. Here are some points to consider.
Any home envisioned for multi-generational living should have as many bedrooms and bathrooms, or bedrooms that share a bathroom in a Jack-and-Jill arrangement. Sharing bathrooms is quite tricky and can be the source of many aggravations, so when possible, keep similar users together. A great suggestion for any bathroom is to separate the tub or shower from the toilet and vanity. This will allow more than one user to access a bathroom during peak hours, such as before school or work.
Relaxation and other activities such as watching television and computer stations should be arranged close together, but somewhat separated so that several activities can take place at the same time. Each member of the household should feel free to use any part of the house, with no specifically designated areas for anyone; the rooms must be designed for common use.
If you’re building or renovating from scratch, it’s a good idea to group bedrooms next to each other. They are quiet areas, and as such can coexist in close proximity to each other.
Flooring is an extremely important choice. Your choice should be durable enough to handle foot traffic, yet flexible enough that if a toddler or senior falls, they won’t be hurt. Hard surfaces such as marble, granite, and terrazzo are best avoided, in favor of wood floors, cork, vinyl tile, and other laminate flooring.
The kitchen is invariably the heart of the home and as such requires careful attention to detail. Many homes now incorporate double dishwashers, double refrigerators and larger stoves so that several family members can cook at the same time. Kitchens are the real testing ground for living with large groups.
Another trend that is used in multi-generational homes is the small counter with a small refrigerator, coffee maker and sometimes even a small sink in bedrooms. This allows for a small snack, early morning coffee, and even medicine in the bedroom without disrupting the family kitchen.
• Joseph Pubillones is the owner of Joseph Pubillones Interiors, an award-winning interior design firm based in Palm Beach, Florida.
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