In the current housing crisis, big new homes just aren’t selling. They are too big to pay when the mortgage money tightens. Existing homes are for sale below their original purchase price, depleting the homeowner’s equity. People cannot justify paying the mortgage or selling homes that are worth less than the mortgage. Adjustments must be made to find a way to make these homes more affordable.
The costs of food, gasoline and education have skyrocketed. Investments and retirement income are shrinking. Labor markets have narrowed. And the savings are non-existent. What do companies and families do? They need to rethink their lives and identify the needs to survive and the strategies to move on.
When the standards we live by are failing, we must be more resilient than ever. One method that many families are considering is consolidating their resources
combining households. The ‘Sandwich Generation’ have opened their homes to returning children (boomerang), as well as their own parents. Recent studies have shown that 65% of all college graduates return home, at one point or another. 3.4 million older people live in their children’s homes. And these trends are on the rise!
Until just 100 years ago, multigenerational living was the norm. Extended families lived and worked together on farms and started small businesses together. However, many articles have been written about the monetary advantages and social pitfalls of modern families living together after being self-employed for so long. It seems that the most important condition for success is a clear understanding of the monetary responsibilities of household members. Second, it is necessary to establish living spaces that respect the autonomy of the different members.
Many houses only have enough space to offer new occupants a bedroom of their own. A private bedroom and bathroom are a better solution, especially in a home with young children. Converting the garage, attic over garage, basement or 2 bedrooms into a study is one of the most successful arrangements. In a new build, the double master suite arrangement is ideal for multi-generational living and can also be sold as a home that can be shared by two single-parent families.
Shared dining and culinary experiences can be a wonderful enhancement to the lives of everyone involved. Or they can turn into a nightmare. Mealtime has become very difficult to schedule for many families on the go, and scheduling can become even more difficult for two families living together. A great solution is to provide a small food preparation area outside of the traditional kitchen. It can be as simple as a breakfast / snack center or it can be a fully equipped mini-kitchen that can offer complete autonomy. It can be located in a private living room or in an area shared by the whole family. Having the option of choosing when and what to eat can relieve a lot of stress in an extended home.
New or existing homes that can be designed with completely self-contained dwelling units can have lasting value. A self-contained apartment can provide a place for older homeowners to live while renting the main house for income. Having a guest can make the investment of building a studio apartment a good solution for everyone. Some senior homeowners may even subsidize the rental of the apartment to a guest who can act as caretaker for the entire property.
Tourist condos have used flexible design solutions quite successfully for years. Typically, a normal two-bedroom apartment is divided into a full one-bedroom and studio apartment that includes a mini-kitchen and a separate bathroom. Any of the units can be rented separately or combined at any time.
In many localities, however, zoning prohibits a second dwelling unit or even a second kitchen. Increasingly, many localities have changed their zoning to allow auxiliary housing, in large part due to research efforts by the American Association of Retirees that created a model for legislating Accessory Housing Units into local ordinances.
Once the zoning problem is overcome, there are many design solutions that a secondary kitchen can provide. If space is not limited, standard cabinets and full-size appliances can be used to create a kitchen of any size. When space is limited, many companies (Google Unit Kitchens) offer full mini kitchens and hospitality centers that can meet almost any special need. Adding small appliances to a built-in cabinet is another solution. Small appliance combinations including a coffee maker, microwave, and burner can sell for less than $ 50.00. Paired with a 2.7 CF fridge-freezer ($ 150.00 online), a mini-kitchen doesn’t need to break the bank.
For those who want to have a mini-kitchen but don’t want to see it all the time, most codes allow cabinets to be integrated into a cabinet with folding doors and any UL listed appliance can be used whenever needed. it has a plug and is not wired. In this way, sinks, refrigerators, portable stoves, microwaves, toaster ovens, etc. And all the mess on the countertop can be hidden in plain sight.
Another company makes special UL-certified furniture in the form of cabinets that allow the most powerful built-in appliances with wiring and everything else to be completely hidden when not in use. The closet and furniture idea is ideal for smaller rooms that have many functions, only one of which is the kitchen.
More versatile design solutions like those listed here can help homes retain their value in any market. As the demographics of our families change, the call for flexibility in the design of our homes becomes more important. The secondary kitchen is just one of the ideas that can make a real difference.