When considering a multi-general household, there are some important factors to consider. One of the easiest way to make changes is to add an in-law suite on to the house you’re already living in. You can have a professional contractor to help you plan to make a separate living area that will easily accommodate one or two people. When considering the plans for the in-law suite, you may want to consider a separate bathroom, bedroom, a living area and a separate entrance. Where the problem may lie though is if you install a separate full kitchen.
Because in some states, if you install a full kitchen, it may cause a zoning problem issue. Some zoning codes consider an addition with a full kitchen as a rental. If your neighborhood isn’t zoned for rentals and just for single family residence, this could pose a major problem. However, there are ways to get around that particular problem and still be able to have your parent or parents cook.
The idea is to actually install a kitchenette if your area is zoned residential. A kitchenette is everything but a cook top-oven. It would include having a dishwasher, refrigerator, a sink and a microwave. You can have table and chairs and countertops and cabinets for storage. The kitchenette would be very functional except for items needing baked in an oven. For that, you can always have your parent or parents use your oven and then, their microwave for reheating the food item when necessary.
Another option is not to include a kitchenette but to have your parent or parents use your kitchen when needed. However, the convenience of this suffers on both sides. You may want to cook when your parents do or they may want to use the kitchen when you’re using it. Plus, it isn’t convenient for late night snacks or for entertaining if they have guests.
You can make an in-law suite work for both you and your parents, all it takes is some construction and decisions.
One of the things you should think about when installing an in-law suite is in having a separate entrance installed if possible. When talking with your professional contractor, get his or her opinion on where the best place to install a separate door would be. Now your in-laws may be in your part of the house often, but it’s important that they have their own privacy too. So it may be good to have a door to close off their section of the house as well as a separate door for their comings and goings.
Adding an in-law suite, if it’s done correctly then, won’t mean a loss of privacy. If you have enough room, you can have a separate bedroom, sitting room/living room area, private bathroom and a kitchen or kitchenette area added. Also by adding a separate entrance, your in-laws won’t feel as if they are invading your privacy every time they have to go in and out of the front door. So by having a separate door to the outside, it can give them independence and freedom.
Another thought too is to have a separate door that can be closed by your in-laws to separate their section of the house from yours. This gives your in-laws, as well as you, privacy so each family can go about their own lives independently and follow their own schedule. It’s important also that your in-laws have a way to shut off the rest of the house if possible; especially if you have children and the grandparents need a break from the noise and confusion.
In addition, with a separate entrance, your in-laws will have more freedom to entertain guests without interfering with your schedule or interrupting whatever you have going on. Plus; with a separate entrance, both on inside and the outside, the grandkids will have a place to visit their grandparents and be able to do so with all the joyful shouting being away from you. Then you have quiet time as you can see, this privacy works both ways.
Installing private entrances can give privacy to both parties involved and make for a better relationship.
Your mother is getting older, and you want her to come and live with you. She prefers her own space; however, even though she is having difficulty keeping up with her household cleaning, reaching cabinets and keeping up with the maintenance of her home now. So the answer may be to add a mother-in-law suite, also called a secondary suite to your home so that she will move in with you. So what is required to add a mother-in-law suite to your home?
- You will need to check the building codes in your area. Some building codes may limit what you can add to your home. You can usually add a bedroom, bath and a sitting area; but if you add a kitchen, then it’s considered a rental. To get around this, you can add a wet bar with custom cabinets and a small refrigerator. Also, adding a microwave for heating leftovers is a good idea.
- If you have a septic tank, you should check your permit. Most septic tanks will only allow for three bathrooms. You may have to increase your system though if you have more bathrooms than that after an addition.
- Look around your property for the best location to add on. You may be able to convert a garage or porch which is already there here. If not, look for an area of space on the first floor next to a room which is used rarely such as that holiday dining room. By combining this room with a built on room then, you can make a suite which will work nicely.
- You may want to have separate power lines for the addition. One reason is that if it isn’t used in the future, you can shut the suite down when it doesn’t have an occupant. The other reason is that the person living there may want to pay for his or her own utility usage.
- When building the suite, keep who is going to live in it in mind. So if the person is in a wheelchair, will the hallway need to be wider to accommodate it? What about the shower? Should non-slip floors and easy access showers be installed? What about guardrails? Also, keep in mind how much privacy your occupant may want.
Being able to take care of the parent who used to take care of you can be a blessing.