“My husband’s parents are getting older, and we want to be closer to them,” Marlene said. “So we’re in the process of having an in-law suite designed for our Needham home. This is a process we’re doing together, over Zoom, and I have to tell you, the process is a little overwhelming. Can you share some tips for designing an in-law suite with your in-laws?”
What a timely question! We’re currently scheduling our 2022 builds, and one of the things we’re seeing a lot of interest in is house plans with in-law suites. These additions impact two families: the family who lives in the house as it is and the family who will live in the in-law suite. Here are some tips for making the design process simpler and less stressful.
Designing an In-Law Suite Tip #1: Understand How Independent Each Household Wants to Be
In-law suites typically include what you might find in a small apartment, including a bedroom, bath, kitchen, and living area. But what about things like laundry and workshops? “My father’s a tinkerer, and so is my husband. They love each other, but they can’t work on projects together. It’s essential they each have their own space to do things,” Marlene explained. On the other hand, in some instances, we’ve seen in-law suites where the kitchen is very minimal and most meals are eaten with the whole family together in the main house’s dining room. There’s no right or wrong here: what matters is what works for your family. Working with a designer who customizes house plans with in-law suites will give you more flexibility to include everything your family needs.
Designing an In-Law Suite Tip #2: Choose Surfaces & Design Elements with Easy Care in Mind
An in-law suite should be an attractive, pleasant space that doesn’t require lots of difficult, expensive upkeep. No one wants to spend their golden years scrubbing and polishing demanding surfaces. The best Needham home builders can help guide you to surfaces and design elements that are stylish without needing a lot of care. Design elements including drawer pulls, faucets, door knobs and the like can make a huge difference in how easy it is for your in-laws to live in a space independently, so they deserve special attention.
Designing an In-Law Suite Tip #3: Set and Use a Budget Together
Any home improvement project needs a budget. When two families are creating a space together, especially when both are contributing to the costs of the project, it’s important to have a budget so everyone knows where and how the money is spent. Be prepared to spend some time together selecting a builder, and make sure that there’s one family member who’s responsible for overseeing the project and communicating with the builders. This will help avoid conflicting direction, miscommunications, and other potentially expensive problems.