In the United States, multi-generational living is making a comeback. Many older Americans are moving in with adult children and their families as a way to minimize the costs of retirement, and as a result, an in-law suite is becoming an increasingly common addition to a custom home design.
If you’re interested in adding an in-law suite to your custom home design, building a separate small cottage or “guest apartment” on your property at the same time as you build your custom home, or you’re thinking about potentially having a loved one come to live with you in the future, we have a few tips on how to make the most of an in-law suite when building a custom home in South Carolina.
Obviously, the idea that location is everything is a big one when it comes to real estate and buying a home, but that goes for the space you’re adding for your mother-in-law or relative, too!
The design of your in-law suite needs to take into account the preferred lifestyle and personal comfort of the individual who will be living there. If you have an aging parent who loves to be right in the middle of things, an attached in-law suite that is just an open door away may be just what she or he was hoping for. On the other hand, someone who prefers to live privately may appreciate a detached “in-law apartment” that allows them to maintain independence while also staying close by in case of emergency.
When designing your custom home, include your loved one in your conversations with an architect or builder, and be open to their suggestions and preferences. You may find that a parent you thought would want to live right inside the house is more interested in having their own space. The more suited the location of the in-law suite is to them, the happier they (and you) will be with the end result.
Most in-law and “guest” suites are initially built as a result of a parent or relative who is aging or facing health issues. Any in-law suite should be designed and built so that further changes may be made cost-effectively over time as the relative’s health or well-being changes, too.
For a separate, detached in-law apartment, consider building an entrance that will be handicapped-accessible or can be quickly changed to be so, even if your relative does not currently require it.
In the case of an in-law suite positioned inside the home, we generally advise adding it on a ground floor level, so that your relative is able to easily access the shared living spaces in your home without having to climb or descend stairs, which can become risky over time.
One of the most important things you can do when designing an in-law suite is to make adapting it to changing health or lifestyle needs as easy as possible.
In-law suites can range in size from 200-square-foot “studio”-style spaces to larger-scale 500-700 square foot “apartments”. Even if you are designing an in-law suite that is attached to your main home, we’d advise considering setting up a separate source of heating/cooling and electricity.
An in-law suite is, ideally, a semi-private space that allows relatives or loved ones living with you to maintain independence. With a separately controlled thermostat, your relative will feel in total control of their space. An older relative who generally ‘runs cold’ will be able to set their own heat to the temperature they prefer.
This is also advisable if your loved one will only be staying in the in-law suite part time, as you can easily simply turn off heating/cooling and minimize any use of electricity when they are not at home. This is also a great idea if you intend to use your guest suite as an AirBnB or sign up for any other “room-sharing” service.
When you decide to build an in-law suite into your custom home design, or build a separate guest apartment on your property, you’ll need to strictly follow local and state building regulations while also keeping in mind the comfort and independence of your loved one. With Five Star Construction, our three decades of experience in building custom homes in South Carolina puts us head and shoulders above the rest.
Our Design Center will work with you to seamlessly integrate your guest apartment or in-law suite into your desired house plan, and we’ll involve you in every step of the process of building your custom home..
To get started building your dream home in Upstate South Carolina, give Five Star Construction a call at (864) 303-9143 or contact us online at any time!