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Building for the modern family: A guide to multi-generational house plans

Buying and Building
Today, more and more families are opting to living with extended family, so what are the best options? We look at house plans that maximise space, privacy and comfort for everyone.

Whether its grandparents moving in, or young families living with their parents, we’re seeing more families live together all under the one roof. In this guide, we’ll show you the best floor plans for a multi-generational family so everyone can enjoy their space.

Gone are the days of the rush to move out from mum and dads’ place while 8.3% of all Aussie households include extended family members living under the one roof. Today, it’s estimated that around one in five households include adults from two or more generations living together. In this guide, we’ll look at how you can build a modern home that works for your multi-generational family.

The emerging trend

With the cost-of-living increases and rising rents, it’s no surprise that multi-generational housing is taking off.  

Andy Nutton from Purple Cow Real Estate is seeing this trend gain momentum first-hand. 
“We have a tight rental market at the moment so we’re seeing multi-generational homes out of affordability,” he said. 

“Rent is expected to jump 10% a year and we expect more than 1 in 3 homes in the next five years will be multi-generational.” 

Enjoy privacy with a guest wing

Nowadays you can design your home to include guest wings, giving everyone their own space and privacy at opposite ends of the home. This option is great for multi-generational families by creating additional bathrooms and living rooms compared with the traditional two-bathroom, one living room home. Built typically as single storey, guest wings are good options for elderly family members or those who might find stairs to be challenging. 

Adding in retreats (smaller living areas), balconies or patios in addition to the essentials like bathrooms and wardrobes are just some of the ways you can improve the space, plus it’s a nice bonus for guests and extended family to enjoy.  

Andy Nutton says the guest wing is an option used in areas like the United Kingdom where multi-generational homes are more common. 

“In the UK, people do this with guest wings in their homes, where career families (two parents working full time), rely on retired families like grandparents to look after the kids,” he said.

“Guest wings are great for this because the grandparents can spend time with the grandchildren while still having their own space and privacy too.” 

This floor plan from Metricon is a great example of how to use a guest wing to combine convenience with comfort.

Alternatively, you could turn a guest wing into a ‘parents wing’ to relax and recharge after a big day at the office or for added privacy. Complete the space with a walk-in-robe, ensuite and a balcony to enjoy a morning coffee or a wine come happy hour – sounds like bliss!

Two-storey homes are a great use of space

If family live interstate and like to stay over, often tend to “pop in,” or your kids are growing up and need their own space, a two-storey home design is a great option. With a second level you have a dedicated space for bedrooms, separated by a second living area or teenagers retreat, and two bathrooms. Enjoy your own space away from foot traffic with a master, ensuite and walk-in-robe on this floor, with a separate guest room, study, bathroom and laundry on the ground floor, and come together for meals in a shared kitchen and dining space. See this great example of a two-storey floor plan from Metricon.

Two-storey homes are also great for smaller blocks – allowing you more space to enjoy a backyard and outdoor entertaining without sacrificing indoor living. Plus, you can use the extra space to create a home office or a room to kick back with a book and switch off at the end of the day.

Work with the space you have

If you’re looking to maximise space on a narrow lot, work with your builder to design bedrooms on the other side of the home. This way, family can still enjoy their own privacy and space without needing a large guest wing. With clever design, narrow lots can still include two living areas, four bedrooms and two bathrooms, accommodating kids, siblings or elderly family members. An experienced builder can bring your dream home to life and use the space constraints to either work upwards with a two-storey home or utilise every inch of space in single level homes. 

Looking for a floor plan that’ll maximise space? Check out this example from our community at Yarrabilba.

Extra benefits

Andy Nutton says multi-generational homes are also a good opportunity for young couples to save for their first home. 

“We see multi-generational homes in cultural communities, as well as mature and young families,” he said. 

“Older children are often paying lower rents when living with family so they can save money for a house and enter the property market.

“It’s a shift we’re starting to see and demand is growing, which is why there’s already a waiting list in some Lendlease communities such as Springfield Rise.”  

More options

So, have you got a dream home in mind? We work with a range of leading builders to help bring your vision to life. Depending on which community you’re looking to build in, we can offer a range of recommended builders like Metricon, Coral Homes and Plantation Homes, just to name a few. For something a little simpler, our Turnkey homes are already beautifully-designed with a floorplan in mind, so they’re ready when you are! 

Get in touch today to start your new home journey with Lendlease!