Planning for a Multigenerational Home

Multigenerational living may be a new development for our society, but it has long been practiced in other cultures. Creating this type of household structure allows families to come together under one roof to face the many trials of life such as raising a child, caring for elders, single parenthood, and the high cost of living and housing.

According to a recent Pew research report, nearly 1 in 5 Americans live in a multigenerational household. Student loans, lack of employment and getting married later contribute to approximately 60 million Americans living with multiple generations. The inability of many people to get back on their feet after the recession, as well as increased life longevity have also boosted demands for this type of housing. Some terms you’ll hear in association with multigenerational housing are “Sandwich Generation” and “Boomerang Kids.” Boomerang Kids are named for the adult children who choose to return to sharing a home with their parents after previously living on their own. Parents of millennials who are taking care of aging or ailing parents plus their millennial children are referred to as the Sandwich Generation.

When considering the floorplan design for these new multigenerational homes, there are 2 key elements that must be included: Privacy and Flexibility. For privacy in a multigenerational household the goal is to be separate yet connected. A separate living space that is in the confines of a single family home allows for more than one generation to live together, yet still have necessary privacy.

  • For aging generations such as grandparents it is ideal, and often times necessary for this separate living space to be on the main floor. Some great examples of this multigenerational floorplan exist in our Shea Homes® Charlotte –  Kingsley, Providence, and Grayson plans with guest suites on the outskirts of the home that are also located on the main floor.

Providence - main floor guest suite

Providence – main floor guest suite


Kingsley Bedroom 2 Multigenerational Living

Kingsley – main floor guest suite

Grayson Main floor Guest Suite

Grayson – main floor guest suite


To take privacy one step further in addition to the separate living space and bathroom, having separate entrances and kitchenettes allows for added independence. Some great examples of this exist in our Hampton and Oxford.

  • The Hampton features a second private entrance for it’s In-Law Suite
  • The Oxford features an In-Law Suite complete with sitting room, a flexible area that could later be converted.

Hampton - main floor guest suite private entrance

Hampton – main floor guest suite with semi-private entrance



Oxford – main floor In-Law suite with semi-private entrance and sitting area

When considering returning millennials privacy still plays an important role, however the level of the home that this privacy is provided on is less essential. Adding an additional owner’s suite, or adding a bathroom to an existing rec or bonus room are all feasible options.

  • One of our favorite customizations was the addition of a step-up flex space off of an upstairs bedroom to be utilized by a returning adult millennial. Small storage areas are also great spaces to include.
  • Turning upstairs rec or bonus rooms into a master bedroom and bathroom for a millennial (or allowing a live-in grandparent to take the original master on the main floor) is another adaptation we have seen.
  • Our Alexander plan offers dual master suites – which can be an ideal design for collaboration between generations. This layout also works well for siblings or roommates.

additional flex and storage space for millenial

Upstairs Bedroom with added Flex and storage space


Rec Room turned master

Rec Room turned Master Bedroom


Alexander first floor

Alexander plan 1st floor

Alexander 2nd floor

Alexander plan 2nd floor – Dual optional Owner’s Suite shown

The above multigenerational  floorplans all have one thing in common, flexibility. Flexibility in the design and versatile spaces can help to support a family as it grows and changes. If your new home is not initially multigenerational but you anticipate the possibility of welcoming other family members, here are some elements you may want to think about.

  • Use 1st floor guest suites for present needs while anticipating future requirements for elderly parents. Walk in showers instead of tubs, adding grab bars, and making doorways wider will all be useful later.
  • Small details like lever door handles, raised height commodes, and rocker light switches will make a difference.
  • Keep elements simple and flexible so it is easy to adapt spaces as a family’s wants and needs evolve.

Families today are recognizing both the emotional and economic benefits that multigenerational housing provides. Although financial reasons are often cited as the primary motivator, living with your family can be fulfilling and enjoyable.

  • Grandparents stay active and feel useful helping to care for young children.
  • Adult children can save money while going to school, finding a job or saving up to buy a home of their own.
  • Caring for elderly parents at home provides both financial savings and added time with them.

Families living in multigenerational homes have built-in opportunities to build stronger, mutually beneficial relationships across generations. In 2017, we anticipate the demand for housing that accommodates several generations under one roof continue to rise across all demographics and regions. With planning and foresight bringing family members together in a multigenerational home can be a joyful time to share and treasure for everyone in the family.

Reminding you that the more, the merrier!

Your Shea Design Team

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Small Upgrades

In a new home, there are a lot of big design selections that create the overall look and feel. The cabinetry, counter tops, tile splashes, and even flooring are some of the larger items that can make a big impact on your home. What people fail to realize is that there are countless other details that can make an even bigger impression on the appearance of your new home.



We include a great lighting package at Shea Homes, complete with flush mounts, vanity fixtures, and chandeliers or pendant groupings for your Kitchen, Dining, and Breakfast areas. Lighting is an opportunity for you to showcase areas of the house and make them stand out. Try a unique semi-flush to give a hallway or bedroom a little pop. In the place of a vanity light in a powder room, consider a ceiling mounted pendant light. Gone are the days of the 2-tiered foyer light – consider a sphere, rectangular or unique shape to capture your attention every time you walk in the door! A slight lighting change can make a huge difference.


Hardware on the cabinetry may seem like a small detail, but truly they are not. Hardware can mimic the style of a cabinet, plumbing fixtures, and sometime even play into the tile backsplash. Hardware is something that designers refer to as “the jewelry” of the kitchen. It is a great way to add a pop or bling to the cabinets. They can also be minimalistic and understated to bring out the appearance of the kitchen even more!


Grout. Yep, we said it. Grout. Doesn’t sound glitzy at all, we know. It’s often forgotten by customers until we pull out the options for selection. Whether the grout lines contrast or blend they can change the overall appearance in a home that has tile. Try a dark gray grout with a white 3×6 subway tile or a light cream grout with a darker brown tile. Grout can transform a simple tile into something grand!


We open and close doors all-day, every day – why not make them look more special? Doors can add design interest to a home. They can capture the style of a home just like any other detail. Whether it’s a rustic/cottage style Cheyenne door, or a clean and contemporary Riverside door, both cater to the overall appearance of the home. Try to be bold and even paint your doors a darker shade of grey or black. Your doors will truly become a talking point of your home!


As the old proverb goes “big things come in little packages”,

April Gilmore & Your Shea Design Team


In our design studio, we have the pleasure of working with many different individuals every day. Needless to say, everyone has different tastes, styles, and even budgets. There is only one thing we see consistently across our customers, they seem to love HGTV.

Now don’t get us wrong, we love HGTV too. The shiplap and 3×6 gloss Kitchen tile designs of Joanna and Chip Gaines are lovely. The Property Brothers make flipping a house and ripping down walls look so easy. Don’t even get us started on our love for David and Hilary on Love it Or List it.

As awesome as they all are there is one common thread through them all: they’re professionals. They make the upgrades and changes to your home look so fast and easy. Please know that there are crews of subcontractors that make all those dreams and visions come true.

Wonder where we’re going with this? Your new home is not a Fixer Upper, no pun intended. It’s your beautiful new home that has been built with your specific structural needs in mind. We are here and trained to give you the opportunity to bring all your design desires come to life!

Here are three major items that we recommend you do not try DIY. (Hey that rhymed!)

  1. Cabinetry – Your cabinets are installed in your Kitchen and Bathrooms – the main focal points of most homes. So many of the other decisions in your kitchen and bathrooms are determined by the cabinetry.  Your tile backsplashes, countertops, and flooring choices typically cannot be made without the cabinet finish and style. Changing out cabinets after you close on a new home can be very overwhelming – flooring, drywall, and tile repairs could all be potential changes. Who wants to remodel a new house?

We also get a lot of feedback about the built-in options for cabinetry. We encourage you to keep in mind that even though some of the big box stores sell trash bins, roll out shelves, and other options, it may be best to do them before you close. Often the method of installation is different when the cabinet is built. You could be sacrificing the way a door closes, the interior finish, or secureness of an option by doing it after closing.

  1. Electrical – Even if you are a Master Electrician I don’t encourage electrical additions or changes after closing. Electrical changes can potentially impact your drywall, paint, and even put drywall dust throughout your home. Unless you are hiring a professional you also run the risk of messing something up or hurting yourself. Let us do it!


  1. Flooring – Flooring is such a major part of the home, and like cabinetry it impacts so many selections. If your home is already furnished and you change your flooring, you must move all your furniture around to complete this task. If your home has stairs you may need to sand and restain your handrail and tread to match your new flooring color. Also, keep in mind that the smell that can accompany new floor installation can be overwhelming! And of course, the dust….removing carpet or installing hardwoods can land dust on everything. Save yourself and do it before you close on your new home.

If you feel as if you have the skill set to change any of these three things without the aforementioned headaches, go for it. But, if you are like us (we know enough just to be dangerous), don’t risk it. Enjoy your beautiful new Shea home without the worry of having to correct or repair anything later.

Warning you against any DIY dangers,

April Gilmore & Your Shea Design Team