Mother-In-Law, Granny Pods, In-law Floor & House Plans
What are some of the things that are important to you as you are building a home? Your answer will probably depend on what it is you are trying to achieve with the home you want to build. For a family that has 2 kids at home as well as a couple planning on living there, the needs are very different from other people. If you are looking to retire in the house that you are building, there may also be some concerns surrounding accessibility that you would want to consider.
If you are considering building a home for your mother-in-law, we have some great house plans available on this page that you might consider taking a look at. These homes also serve a range of other functions but are great when you want to have someone close by, without necessarily having them run around your house the entire time.
In this article, we will take a look at some of the features that you might be interested in, and we will go over some of the things that are usually included in the design for someone who is aging. If you already know that it is your mother-in-law who is going to be using the unit for the majority of the time, you may even want to talk to her to figure out some of the things that she believes would be good to have.
The units featured on this page also serve another range of functions. For instance, you can have a teenager living in them, if they get to an age where you are otherwise having too much friction between the two of you if you are living under the same roof. These units can also be a great place to use for your guests. Sometimes you will want guests to come over, but you would rather make sure that you aren’t starting to get on each other’s nerves, which tends to happen when people are forced into a space that is too small for too long.
These units can usually be referred to either as granny pods or mother-in-law houses, with their corresponding house plans. However, we also have various options that include mother-in-law suites, which aren’t standalone units, but rather houses that have the necessary amenities to comfortably host another person living with you. There are also people that refer to these units as mother-in-law cottages.
Benefits over having an additional bedroom inside your existing house
There are many ways in which you could choose to host guests, but having them in a separate unit will give you some advantages over other options. For one, it is easier to give them a key and be comfortable with their coming and going as they desire. If you know that your guests are coming in at a late point in the evening when you are unable to go and pick them up, you won’t have to leave the main house unlocked but can simply leave this individual unit unlocked. By doing so, if they come in after you have gone to bed, you won’t have to worry waking up in the middle of the night from the noise arising as a consequence of them entering the house. You will also feel safer going to bed knowing that you locked the door to the main unit.
Having this additional unit also means that they won’t end up having to go to a nearby hotel at the end of the night when everyone may have had a couple of glasses of wine with dinner. It provides you more freedom knowing that you can have as much wine as you want, and no one will have to drive anywhere – that is some of the freedom it allows! On top of that, you are probably more likely to let your guests stay for longer periods of time when you know that they are able to do things independently of your plans. You won’t have to coordinate and make sure that someone is home when they plan on coming home.
When the space isn’t being used, it can also serve other purposes. Building an additional unit that is close by your house can in fact be a good financial decision. If you live in a city that has a relatively high amount of people traveling through it, you may be able to generate a decent amount of side income from this unit. Our recommendation if you plan on renting it out in the future is to make sure that you are including some of the amenities that other units include as well. While you may be building a house that is very friendly to seniors, you might still want to make sure that it is still appealing to someone who may be interested in renting from you as well.
If you are planning on keeping the house for an additional 20 years before potentially selling it, you should think about balancing how modern the finishes in the house are. There is a high probability that if you go with a lot of finishes that are very modern, rather than more traditional, that they will end up going out of fashion again before you end up selling the house. If that happens, you may be stuck with a piece of real estate that you don’t end up recouping as much of your investment from as you had hoped. You are not necessarily building a big luxurious home, but you are still building one that has to serve different purposes.
Some of the most common features
Mother-in-law house plans are made with the intention that you can have different members of the family living very independently, while still interacting when it is desired. These house plans therefore have a lot of the same features that some of our smaller homes may have.
For instance, if you don’t find what it is that you are looking for on this page, we suggest that you take a look at some of our other options, including these 800 and 1,000 square foot options where we have a lot of other similar options. They’re smaller than our common L-shaped homes, that are our most popular options on this platform, but they may just be what you are looking for!
These structures have certain features that make them perfect for both your in-law, but also as a rental unit. For instance, they tend to have a kitchen that is a bit on the smaller side, but which still provides the ability to make a lot of culinary magic. They also have a small living space where someone can sit and take the time to relax.
Even if you have your in-law move in with you on your property because they are getting to the age where it is nice to have the family a little closer by, these homes are still designed in a way that ensures that there are many aspects of everyday life that can still be maintained. Just because they are reaching an age where there are certain things that are no longer as easy to do does not mean that they may not value their privacy on occasion.
Designed with accessibility in mind
There are certain things that naturally get harder as a person gets older, why the house plans on this page have a lot of the same features that you may consider if you are building a home that you are wanting to retire in.
While 2-story homes and 3-story homes may have been a great idea earlier on in someone’s life, they also do pose various problems as someone gets older. With age it becomes harder to climb the stairs of the house. Although you may have previously enjoyed the terrace that you have on the top floor, getting there isn’t quite as easy when the mobility starts being worse than it was previously.
Whether you’re building this house for yourself or someone you love, it may often be a hard truth to accept when you start feeling that you are no longer as mobile as you used to be. However, coming to the conclusion that it is better to build for function, can have significantly better outcomes. While your terrace on the top floor may have offered amazing views, there is no reason why you should be depriving yourself or your in-law of the possibility of sitting outside and enjoying breakfast. Although they may not quite offer the same views, building a home with a wraparound porch will at least ensure that you have somewhere cozy to sit in the morning, while still being very accessible.
These units are a great way to do have multi-generational living made easy, without everyone getting on people’s nerves. While our house plans on this page have been specifically designed for someone who is getting a little bit older, the final house that you end up building can still be done in a way where it serves a multitude of purposes, such as being a good place to rent out when you want to.
Building a house for someone who is getting older
It is important to remember that you are only buying the framework of the house when you end up buying the design from us, and that there are still so many things that you need to consider throughout the building process as a consequence. These are considerations that we can’t make for you. While the structure of the house may be important in order to provide the level of accessibility that is needed, so are the interior finishes that you end up installing which we have no control over.
For instance, rather than installing a normal bathtub, consider installing a walk-in bathtub instead. While these may commonly be associated with someone who is a little bit older, there is no reason not to embrace everything that they have to offer. They are a great way to significantly lower the risk that someone slips and falls, and they fill up a lot quicker than a conventional bathtub. Even if they are usually associated with senior living, they may also make it easier for you to get your kids to take a bath as they allow them the opportunity to fully sit down while doing so, while not using the same amount of water as a normal tub, nor using the usual amount of time that it would otherwise take to fill a tub!
More importantly, these bathtubs don’t require someone with limited mobility to make acrobatic moves just to get over the edge of the tub, and you are therefore largely limiting the possibility that someone ends up getting hurt. Whenever children are using the bathtub, there is no denying that they are facing some of the same issues that seniors may be facing when they are using the bathtub. They don’t necessarily have the same mobility issues, but they may rather not be quite as aware of what they are doing, and that there are potential slip hazards in the bathroom. With a walk-in bathtub, they are forced to let the bathtub drain before they leave, at which point they can simply open the door and exit through it. As you are ensuring that the bathroom is safe to use for someone with limited mobility, you will also want to ensure that there are an adequate amount of grab bars in the bathroom that can be useful in situations where someone is trying to maneuver. We recommend that you also install a couple close to the bathtub that can easily be helped for stabilizing. While the walk-in bathtub will make it less likely that they slip and fall, an additional grab bar is just an easy to fix to add a tiny bit of additional safety to the space.
For someone who is getting older, it is imperative that the bathroom is designed in a convenient way, as that is the place in the house where the biggest hazards lure. It’s not the bathtub that may be a potential issue. There are other things to think about as well. Although normal toilets are good for someone with normal mobility, they may be problematic for someone who is getting older. That’s the reason why there are toilets that are made that are taller than usual toilets, thereby making it easier to use them. Even if you are planning on renting out the space when it is not being used, no one is going to mind that an elevated toilet has been installed along with a walk-in bathtub, as long as the unit is otherwise well kept and has all the amenities that are expected.
How to finish the home with features that will help ensure the best possible functionality
The bathroom isn’t the only place where you need to make adjustments if you are mainly planning on using the space for someone who is aging, although it may be the place with the biggest safety hazards. When you are building for a senior, our recommendation is always that you build something that is either single-level, or at least has all the important features on the ground floor. By making sure that you make these adjustments as you are building the house, rather than adjusting the house at a later stage, you are saving yourself a lot of money!
One of the things that you should really consider to do is to make sure that you have doorways that are wide enough for someone to use a wheelchair to get through and still be comfortable. While a wheelchair may be able to get through a more narrow door, it doesn’t necessarily mean that it is an ideal situation, and that it will be easy for someone to get through them in a wheelchair. If you accidentally end up installing normal doorways, you will not just have to take the existing ones out, but you will have to finish the entire area around the space again afterwards. That includes new paint and drywall, and it could even end up affecting the electrical work as well, at which point it ends up becoming very expensive to do.
There are some doorknobs that are easier to use than others when a senior’s grip strength is starting to deteriorate, and while it’s an easy fix to make later on if you don’t think about it during the construction phase, you might as well just get it fixed to start off with. Round doorknobs may be very common in your average home, but they are not the ones providing the highest level of functionality for seniors as they require a twisting motion. Instead of doing round doorknobs, our recommendation is that you pick up a pair of stylish lever-style ones. While a senior may be able to deal with the round doorknobs, there is just a risk that they end up causing more frustration than anything which would be preferential to avoid.
While we mentioned that the bathroom is usually the place where most slip accidents end up occurring, they can happen in various places in the house. Even if you aren’t a senior yourself, you have probably been to places where you couldn’t understand why they would use as slippery of a surface as they did. For seniors it is even more imperative that they don’t get exposed to surfaces that are more slippery than they absolutely have to be. No one wants to slip and fall, but it is especially the case when you are at an age where it can be hard to get up if you fall. While you already know this, there are just certain surfaces that are especially slippery, and some of them are outright dangerous when they get wet. Instead of installing hard stone floors, you should start looking into vinyl and linoleum ones that are a lot safer in a lot of instances. While these types of floors may have previously been associated with low quality floor materials, that is no longer the case. Not only are these types of materials less slippery, which means that the number of potential fall accidents decreases significantly, but they are also a bit softer, meaning someone who falls won’t get injured quite as badly. On top of that, they have an advantage over carpet, and that is that they trap significantly fewer allergens and are easier to keep clean. When you are in the kitchen preparing delicious recipes, you don’t want to have to worry about stains, which will be a much smaller concern if you are installing a piece of flooring material that is not just slip-resistant but also easy to keep clean! If you are building a house for someone that will be using a wheelchair, it is also important that you are including a type of material that is in fact good for wheelchair use. Carpets simply do not make the cut when it comes to wheelchairs, and vinyl is once again one of the materials we find people gravitating towards.
While it is ideal for you to build the house so that there aren’t any steps that someone could trip over, it might not be possible to build it entirely like that. However, if you are building a house where it is elevated compared to the rest of the ground, you will definitely want to ensure that you are also building a ramp. Ramps don’t need to be overly expensive to install, and can be a great way to access that wraparound porch that you built.
Whether you like cooking at the present time in your life, or whether you are a person who prefers to eat out a lot, there is no denying that someone who is a bit older will also have more time on their hands that they need to figure out what to do with. Taking up cooking is one of those joys that you may have when you find yourself with a lot more time on your hands, perhaps as a consequence of retiring. There is a reason why you always loved your grandmother’s cooking as a child, and that is because she had the time to put the love into the cooking that it deserved. When it comes to the accessibility in the kitchen, you will want to consider things like the installation of both the countertops and the cabinets. If you have ever had to endure standing on a stool in order to reach the back of the cabinets, you will know that this task is by no means a fun one. For someone who is a little bit wobbly on their feet, this task is especially dangerous, and making the cabinets more accessible is an easy way to ensure that the kitchen ends up becoming a safer place to be in. Rather than installing cabinets at their usual height, consider installing ones at a lower height where no one will have to get on a stool in order to access all the goodies at the back of the cabinet. If someone is using a wheelchair, it is important that you have a countertop that accommodates those needs. There are really functionable ones that will allow a wheelchair to go underneath it, whereby the risks of cooking are greatly reduced.
If you are deciding that you still want to build a home that offers some of the benefits of multiple floors, the option that you may want to go with could be including either a chair lift or an elevator in the house. Some of the house plans that we have available on here offer elevators, and you can either access those by using the search function or going directly to the category with those. Alternatively, there are some of the other options that can also be retrofitted to have an elevator added, whereby you may be able to build a bigger home, even if you are building on a plot of land that is relatively small.
Just because someone is getting a little bit older does not mean that they necessarily want to be feeling as if that is the case, so the easiest way to make a senior happy is to actually be able to allow them to live as normal of a life as possible. If you have an in-law moving into the house that you are building, you can always be a bit more proactive in figuring out the various aspects of life that are important to them. Rather than assuming that they have certain hobbies, ask them what they believe their day to day activities will include, and how they would like the house to be adjusted to accommodate those wishes. If it is important to them that they can have one of their friends come over and watch football on a regular basis, be sure to include a living space where someone can comfortably do so.
There are smaller things that you will otherwise need to be looking out for as well, like installing temperature controls that help avoid uncomfortable temperatures throughout the house. Although clutter is often an issue in any home, it does present more problems when it comes to building for someone who is getting older. Clutter becomes one of the things that can lead to accidents, why it is very important that you create a space that is easy to keep clean, where there is a focus on the necessities, but keeping everything else out of the way. Because of that, we encourage you to look into storage options that are convenient for senior use.
Another thing that can be great for a senior is to make things more accessible, also when it comes to handling the automation of the house. While there are some seniors that may absolutely not want for automation to end up becoming one of the things they have to deal with, there are other seniors that may find it pleasurable learning about new technology and incorporating it into their lives. The advantage that today’s seniors have over seniors 20 years ago is that there are a lot of these options that have been conveniently designed to be easier to use, making it a breeze for a senior to learn to use it as well. Even if the current perception of seniors may be that they are reluctant to use new technology, there are ways that seniors can still enjoy many of the luxuries of the 21st century.
Although some people will have very strong preferences between a gas stove and an electric stove, the reality is unfortunately that many of the accidents that happen, are caused by gas leaks and burns. Electric stoves may not be the most popular option, but they do drastically reduce the risk of injuries. If you want to get especially fancy, an induction stove even turns itself on when it isn’t being used. There are things that change when someone gets older, but that does not mean that that person has to give up the way that they like to live. You should also be careful that you don’t accidentally install tripping hazards throughout the home. A throw rug is still one of the easiest ways for someone’s foot to get stuck, and suddenly they end up on the floor instead of casually going about their day.
If you do choose to build a house that has a second floor, and you aren’t able to have an elevator installed, you should make sure that you have adequate handrails installed. You will also want to ensure that they are securely fastened, and if you weren’t originally planning on going inside the house on a frequent basis, it is at least good to go by there every once in a while to make sure that the handrail is still providing the level of safety that it was intended to do.
At some point, you may also want to have a wheelchair lift installed by the stairs, if someone will have to go upstairs. Our recommendation is still that if you are building this house for someone older to live there, we do encourage that you have most of the important parts of the home on the lower floor. Even if you are building the space for your in-law, it is still important to make sure there is an adequate entertainment area. If you weren’t getting along with them before, missing an entertainment area is bound to create additional stress on the relationship between you guys.
All the other stuff
Even if you aren’t planning on building a place that is going to serve as your main place of residency, there are still a range of things that you want to consider in order to make the space a more pleasant one to be in. You will also want to make sure that you are actually building something that works with the piece of land that you are building on. Given your interest in building a standalone structure on your property, we are already assuming that you are not building on a narrow plot of land, but that does not mean that you necessarily have unlimited amounts of land to make use of either. It is important that you find a structure that works for the space that you are building on.
We therefore encourage you to find a drawing of the property that you own, and when you have purchased the right house plans that you are intending on building, making sure that you are correctly figuring out the best placement on the plot of land that you are building on.
Even if it can seem overwhelming to get started on this project, there is no denying that the in-law that will be living there will appreciate all the things that you are doing for them. They will appreciate how you are taking the time to ensure that they are being heard in this entire process, even if it is known that they are still moving into your lives. By working with them throughout this entire process, you are making sure that they are not feeling forgotten, and you will also ensure that it becomes a lot more smooth when they eventually move in.
The best way to get started is to have an honest conversation with the person who will be using the space. Ask them about some of the features that they want to include, while making it known that there is a certain budget you are sticking to. You can additionally ask which things are currently causing them stress in the house that they are currently living in.
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