How to design and build a mother in apartment

How To Build A Mother In Law Apartment


At a time when many people want to care for their parents and in-laws in their own homes, the idea of turning part of their living quarters into a stylish apartment for say your mother in-law is catching on across America.

For instance, an AARP survey noted that more and more seniors are opting to remain with family than moving into more traditional care facilities. In fact, the act of transforming a section of one’s home or even a backyard cottage into a home for Mom is proving to be a great idea in this day and age when senior care homes are charging more than most seniors can afford.

Steps To Building An In-Law Living Space

When consulting an architect — about the task of building a proper living space for in-laws – this building expert first raised the red flag about these important steps:

  • Make sure local zoning rules allow you to increase the square footage you desire for adapting an existing structure on your property.
  • Make sure you have the budget to afford the building of a new living space.
  • Make all decisions with the help of the person (mother, father or in-laws) who plans to move in with you, and live on your property.
  • If the mother in-law apartment is detached from your home, make sure there is a proper bedroom suite, a spacious lavatory (when possible), and a way or means for the senior to make his or her own meals or have access to a kitchen.
  • Make sure you use the concept of “universal design” to make sure the new mother in-law apartment is safe, comfortable and accessible for the senior especially when there is some physical disability.

How To Transform A Space In Your Home For Mom?

How to design and build a mother in apartmentAccording to experts at the popular PBS TV program “This Old House”, the first step in planning a mother in-law apartment for one’s home is to sort out the best location for Mom and her things. For instance, many seniors prefer to live downstairs or even in a garage suite since climbing lots of stairs is difficult for them. For instance, one couple turned an unheated barn tucked along the side of their home  into a lovely apartment for their parents when visiting. In turn, they later converted this space into a mother in-law living area when it was needed.

Another aspect of transforming one’s home into a place for Mom and Dad to stay during their senior years  is the idea of creating a manageable place of their own, explained a daughter. In turn, the daughter pointed to her mother’s newly converted apartment that’s within earshot of the main family home. The daughter said Mom needed her own space. She also said Mom needed someone to watch over her.

When seniors decide to sell their home and move they usually have problems with relocating to an elder care facility because they frankly miss the freedom of living at home. Thus, more and more Baby Boomers are already making plans to design and build their own style apartments on the same property that may become a home for their children. For instance, one Boomer commented online about making a deal with his son to give him the family home if he could hang around and live nearby in a converted apartment.

Getting Expert Help For Senior Living Quarters

The architect informed the family that building typical mother in-law apartment on the property had the advantage of working with a clean slate because it’s far easier and efficient to create rooms from scratch than adapting an existing structure. However, building from scratch costs more. Thus, the plan for many children who want to have their parents live at home with them is to simply covert and existing space into a place for Mom or Dad.

Overall, the task of creating practical living arrangements for an aging mother and father is not easy because there are many options and decisions that need to be made before planning how to build a mother in-law apartment.


About the Author

Tom BillsTom Bills is a Realtor/Broker with TBillshomes.com as well as the President of T. Bills Construction Co. since 1979. Tom is dedicated to helping people with buying, selling, or remodeling their homes and properties in the best way possible for each familie's unique needs. Read more about Why Tom and his wife Barb started In-LawSuite here. Find him on Facebook and TwitterView all posts by Tom Bills →

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