Home is Where Your Pod Lives
Updated: Nov 16
Economic and social factors are motivating extended families to combine households. Here’s how to do it right.
More and more, modern extended families are deciding to live together. After being separated for months or even years because of the pandemic, many American families realized that home is where their pod is.
Enter the In-Law Suite.
The tired joke about this space is that it allows us to keep an eye on grandma without interacting with her. But the (much sweeter) reality is that many economic and social factors drive loving extended families to consider sharing a home or a property. From watching the grandchildren grow up, to easing the burden of elder care, to saving more sensibly for retirement, families are choosing to go all-in with—and for—each other.
But just because we love our extended families and want to be nearer to them, even sharing a mortgage, doesn’t mean we want to eat breakfast in the same nook, garden in the same bed, or stand in the same bathroom line after years of independent living.
Here are some options that emphasize family harmony while reinforcing independence.
Same house. Separate entry.
As teenagers, we recognized that the ultimate independence is coming and going without having to talk about it. So even if you only have the space for an additional bedroom and bathroom for your loved ones, consider a separate entrance to the outdoors.
Same house. Separate outdoor spaces.
When you’re adding that separate entrance, go one better by creating access to a private outdoor space such as a balcony or enclosed patio, so your loved ones can spend time outside or in nature by themselves. If your in-laws or (other extended family members) don’t have a private place to entertain inside the house, add a cover and enough space for a few chairs and a table. Having tea in the garden with friends is a great pleasure and privilege of growing old.
Same house. Separate living spaces.
An ADU, or accessory dwelling unit, is basically a second home or apartment within a house. A legal ADU offers the inhabitant a sleeping space, bathroom, kitchen, full windows, and a separate entrance, all up to code. This area could be created in a basement or garage conversion or a full-on addition. There are countless ways to create an ADU in the existing structure.
Separate houses. Same property.
Sure, if you live on a 20-acre estate in the country, you might simply consider building another house on your property and living happily ever after. But today, there are great options for building a detached ADU, even on small city lots. In fact, the Portland, Ore., area, where Crystal Remodeling is located, has been groundbreaking (no pun intended!) in creating design standards and livable ordinances for ADUs. A separate space is perfect if you are considering a future tenant or vacation rental.
Check out these great ideas for landscaping your ADU.
Separate houses. Separate properties.
You could even buy the neighbor’s house for grandma and grandpa when it goes up for sale. That’s not our wheelhouse, but we’d be happy to consult on an aging-in-place remodel that keeps your elders comfortable and safe well into their golden years.
How you decide to gather your family into your space is a matter of personal preference, practical conversation, and a good faith effort on everyone’s part. Crystal Remodeling can help you sort through the options to choose the one that fits your budget, your lifestyle, and your unique family.
With Crystal Remodeling, the distinction is clear. Our skilled professionals take the stress out of adding a home to your house. Call 503-631-7662 or click today to get started.