Happy Monday, y’all!
Kevin and I are on our way to Haiti today, so I invited my friend Jessica over to share a guest post about multigenerational living! XO
Hi everyone! I am so happy to be here and have the chance to meet all of you! My name is Jessica and I’m the ring leader of our family blog, Four Generations One Roof. We are a crew of four generations all living together under one roof and, somehow, we haven’t killed each other yet. 😉 Our multigenerational living arrangement started almost 8 years ago when my family (husband and kids) moved in with my parents (my childhood home) temporarily while we were house hunting. Shortly thereafter, my grandparents moved in and, well, we are all still together!
(photo courtesy of Woman’s Day)
Many people email and ask if we all get along. Most of the time we do, but we certainly have our moments where chaos ensues. It usually stems around my grandfather and me. We are both alike and sometimes we butt heads. 🙂 One of the keys to our success is that we have multiple family rooms and more than one kitchen. We started our kitchen renovation in late summer and finally just finished a few weeks ago.
This is the house I grew up in and the prior kitchen consisted of old dark cabinets from the 1960’s and had minimal lighting. Long story short, we tore down walls to create an open concept and added an additional 250+ square feet to the existing kitchen. Cabinet space and smart storage solutions are key when you are sharing a space. We are fortunate- we have more than one kitchen, but the one pictured above is where all the big meals and family gatherings happen. We also restructured the space to have a new island and 2 additional peninsulas for additional seating. One thing I would suggest for families that do not have more than one kitchen, is to find a space for a second refrigerator. Even if you have to stuff it in the garage!
I also highly suggest you have multiple TV rooms. It doesn’t matter if you convert a basement, add TVs to bedrooms, or add on a completely new room. You NEED to create private spaces for each family. I know it’s not quite Christmas yet but I love this picture of our family room from last year:
As you can see, we have a desk and a large sofa for everyone. (Yes, dogs and kids are allowed on it- ha!) Multipurpose rooms are very important when you are living with 9 people!
Here is another multipurpose room in our home. It’s a playroom/study/tv room:
We also are in the process of making over another family room in our finished basement that will be finished in early 2016.
Another important space, that isn’t that glamorous but is completely necessary, is the laundry room. We are lucky to have more than one but until recently, they were not very pretty or functional. We converted this closet to a laundry space last year and added DIY shelves and a folding table:
When you are setting up your home for multiple generations, you need to take into consideration any available space that you have where you may be able to add an additional washer and dryer.
Here is our basement laundry room inside of another closet.
If you can afford to have more than one bathroom, that is definitely money well spent too. We have added on 3 additional bathrooms and made two of them handicap accessible for my grandparents. On a different note, a second driveway is also important. We started with one and quickly realized that playing musical cars was a pain in the you know what, so we added a second driveway that leads to the walkout basement entrance. That additional driveway makes life so much easier when you have 6 adults driving in the home.
Multigenerational living has so many benefits. It’s great because there is always someone around, and that is especially important for my grandparents who are in their 80’s. Having built-in babysitters is also a nice benefit- ha! The kids have such a different perspective of family, too. They have had so many more family experiences than if we had we not all been living together. They’ve grown up alongside their grandparents and great grandparents and I think that is, hands down, the best thing in the world.
Be sure to come visit us over at Four Generations One Roof, we would love to have you!