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Multigenerational Design – A Room for the Whole Family

Updated: Nov 20, 2020

Last September, The Wall Street Journal published a timely and thought-provoking piece titled “What You Gain, and Sacrifice, When You Move Back in With Parents”. The article cleverly flipped the script on the notion of the traditional, single-family American household by profiling a young, newly married couple that made the conscious decision to move back in with their parents. Their move sought to solve a variety of logistical issues and was not motivated by any need for caregiving assistance.

The COVID-19 pandemic forced us all to quickly consider who we want to live with, and quarantine with, during a time of intense global crisis. For many of us, that meant spending unanticipated time with family. Life as planned was, and continues to be, totally upended: weddings, graduations and family celebrations postponed indefinitely or cancelled entirely, schools moved to an online/digital format, company doors shuttered, jobs and careers evaporated.

It has also prevented a large population of college graduates from beginning their professional careers. Many young adults have rejoined the family nest to regroup and strategize next steps. The share of 18- to 29-year-olds living with their parents has become a 52% majority since U.S. coronavirus cases began spreading early this year, surpassing the previous peak during the Great Depression era.

As families begin to wrestle with and adjust to these changes, the profile of the American home will evolve and change as well. In the future, I envision homes with both communal and separate quarters to support different generations providing advantages and functionality for every age group, not just its youngest and oldest members. Stress can be reduced for the middle-aged “sandwich generation” who can monitor children and elders simultaneously on site, allowing for greater peace of mind and reduced after-school costs.

Multigenerational Living in the United States has been steadily on the rise since the 1980s according to the analysis of census data from the Pew Research Center. The COVID-19 pandemic is accelerating this trend, much like the 2008 recession did, with many fleeing urban areas to establish themselves full-time in the suburbs and the country. Working from home is becoming less of a necessity and more of a preference for many businesses who are eager to reduce overhead costs.

Living In Place Design is perfectly positioned to serve individuals and families in this “brave new world”, as it creates supportive home environments that can be personalized to suit the needs of the entire household, from smallest to tallest, regardless of age or motility. It also allows for the creating a kind of canvas onto which future needs of family members can be anticipated and planned for within the new build or retrofit arenas.

At the end of the day, it is not simply about “aging in place”. It’s really about “living” well in whatever place one chooses. If this pandemic has taught us anything, it is that we are social creatures. Loneliness is a risk-factor regardless of age. Creating spaces that are safe, accessible, nourishing and comfortable is just smart design. As a trained Living in Place Professional (CLIPP), I am proud to help my clients make the best strategic, long-term investment decisions uniquely suited to meet their lifestyle needs with the most flexible future in mind.

Kick start your multigenerational home by designing a living space for the whole family. Below is a carefully curated selection of products from vendors I love and trust:

Amini Ikat Knit Throw by Apt2B: Tribal designs colored in shades of gray create a unique combination of boho and modern.

Wobble Chess Set by 2Modern: A concave landscape stabilizes freely quivering chess pieces, creating a lively interaction between chessboard and pieces.

Gaza Fringe Pillow by 2Modern: Global inspired designs. Woven construction of these pieces boasts durability and will provide natural charm into your decor space. Made with Wool, PET and Cotton.

Ferm Living Cushion by 2Modern: The special loop weaving technique to create the 3D effect and to form the unique pattern. The Kelim cushions with the unique design is made of New Zealand wool, which is an incredibly soft and itch-free quality.

Luanda Area Rug by Apt2B: Machine-woven in Belgium from silky viscose yarns and features the look and feel of real silk at a fraction of the cost. Woven from a precise, machine-loomed technique, this rug combines a rich color palette to create a sophisticated design.

Hauser Leather Cocktail Ottoman by Apt2B: The tufted leather surface is cozy enough to kick up your feet after a long day while still being sturdy enough to hold a tray of food and drinks.

Monroe Drive 3 Piece Sectional Sofa by Apt2B: Button-tufted cushions and sleek tight back 3 piece Sectional Sofa creates a dramatic and eye-catching statement in any space. Available in your custom choice of our kid friendly and pet friendly fabrics, the Monroe Drive is perfect for your family home, for your sophisticated apartment, or for your chic small space loft.

Live, Laugh, Love Wall Art by Canvas Vows: Its triptych style, or set of 3 canvases, make it the perfect size to fit over a large kitchen table or couch!

Kera 6 Basket Storage Unit by One Kings Lane: A handy addition to an entryway, kitchen, or sitting space, this pine storage chest features six removable sea-grass baskets to store and neatly organize your favorite home accents. Trimmed in a distressed black finish for a hint of rugged charm.

Looking for a bespoke approach to multigenerational design to better serve the needs of your family? Set up a e-Living In Place Design Assessment today. We’re here to help.

** Please note that this post contains affiliate links and any sales made through such links will reward me a small commission – at no extra cost for you. **



Julie and her team have a passion for creating beautiful, engaging and functional spaces, focusing on both the physical as well as the emotional well being of your environment. Click on the links below for package details:

FULL SERVICE E-DESIGN PACKAGE A design collaboration done between client and designer done entirely o​nline. Purchase the package below, submit photos of the space and existing furnishings you like to see incorporated in the design and a sketch of the space with measurements.

COLOR CONSULTATION PACKAGE Need some assistance in selecting paint finishes for your home? A design collaboration done between client and designer done entirely online. Purchase the package below, submit photos of the space and and fabrics.

FENG SHUI RESIDENTIAL PACKAGE Whether it is directing the flow of chi through the arrangement of furnishings, design or colors; Julie and her team can help you to create the spaces that support your vision of a balanced life, rich in the areas that matter to you.

HOME STAGING PACKAGE There is no second chance to make a good first impression. When the time comes to sell or rent your home, ease the transition and maximize return by helping your home look its very best.

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