BY HERB LAGOIS
Over the last few years we’ve noticed a couple of trends coming to the forefront.
One is staying in place; the second is multi-generational living. In fact, the two trends often interlink as one.
Staying in place is interesting because it could mean different things – from not doing anything with your home (except for basic upkeep) to making small or substantial changes.
It’s the substantial changes that seem to be trending. Baby boomers happen to be the biggest demographic influencer. With financial aspects to consider, like moving-related expenses, they have an incentive to stay in place. Add other incentives like enjoying their neighbours and neighbourhood, or larger properties with mature trees and landscaping, or the proximity to family and amenities, or a fear of crowded living in a pandemic era – and you can see why staying in place seems like a good idea.
Often homes simply get “tired”. Things wear out; things become dated. Maybe you never had time to do renovations you really needed because of the sacrifices you’ve made. Staying in place is an opportunity to get exactly what you need, and with the latest up-to-date finishes.
Staying in place can also imply “aging in place”. Regardless of the reason, however, designs should consider a holistic outlook. This can be simple things like wider doorways, seamless one-level flooring, accessible showers, curbless showers, stairs that can accommodate future lifts. It can even be design considerations for future elevators or a flex design where one can live on the main level if need be.
Furthermore, local organizations like *ROSSS (Rural Ottawa South Support services – rosss.ca) offer transportation, meal services, even services like Uber Eats that make living in place more manageable if mobility becomes challenged.
Cultural preferences, housing markets, economics (including health care) are the main drivers for multigenerational living. And from our experience, caring for an aging parent or parents tops the list.
Tips for multi-generational designing:
Your designer must listen to, understand and respect everyone’s needs. Even furnishing a space can have vast differences of opinion. An experienced designer can help.
Not only is practical design important (noise and temperature are just two examples), but emotional boundaries are important too – it’s important to have any difficult conversations up front and to establish ground rules for decision making.
Multi-generational living can take on a lot of different forms – for example, carriage homes or garden suites; garage conversions; lofts above garages; basement renovations; main or second level accommodations. A qualified architect/designer RenoMark® remodeler can help guide you if you are considering multigenerational living or staying in place.
Whether you choose to stay in place or be part of multigenerational living, there are plenty of good options for loving where you live.
Herb Lagois is the founder of Lagois Design-Build-Renovate.