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Finding your new family fit

Multigenerational living arrangements are becoming increasingly common in Australia, with households expected to host a diverse range of family members. But how do you ensure your home is set up to assist every member of the family now and into the future?

Weststyle Lead Architect Mary Ong said the floor plan was the most important factor, with custom homes best suited to meeting individual design needs.

“It’s essential to consider not only how the family will utilise the spaces now, but how they will live in the home 10-15 years from now,” she said.

“Does the family cook or eat together? Are there smaller kitchenettes required attached to some bedrooms or separate living spaces?

“It is more practical to locate bedrooms and separate living spaces that are dedicated to older members of the family on the ground floor to avoid stairs, and to include a lift if possible for easy access to other levels.”

Coast Homes Building and Design Consultant Fab Marion agreed, and said a custom home aimed to create a future-proof dwelling.

“The most common reason to customise is to accommodate specific needs, as the growing or larger family requires more accommodation to suit functionality, entertaining, living and working spaces to fit today’s requirements and those of the future,” he said.

According to Mr Marion, creating flexible zoned spaces, maintaining privacy and separation between parents’ and children’s wings, and allowing self-expression through hand-selected design elements are all benefits of a custom build.

He said not only could you build what you wanted, where you wanted – you could also maximise solar orientation or capitalise on surrounding views.

Ms Ong said it was important to consider whether everyone in the home had adequate space for parking and access.

“Extra entrances can work if some family members are after more privacy in their day-to-day lives or if they work shifts, for example,” she said.

Weststyle Managing Director Tony Ricciardello said low-maintenance aspects were also important, to allow the family to spend more time together rather than working on or maintaining their home and garden.

“Our ways of living are adapting due to varying factors – the economy and cost of living, families growing and extending,” he said.

“These are all affecting our way of living.

“Weststyle have four or five jobs in design and construction at the moment, which are all considering multigenerational living.

“Depending on the family situation, this may include a completely independent granny flat or ancillary dwelling, or an autonomous space integrated into the floor plan of the main house.”

This was echoed by Mr Marion who said everyone lived and expressed themselves differently.

“A family home should improve and complement your lifestyle, while fulfilling a practical need,” he said, outlining a recent custom-designed multi-generational home for a family in Karrinyup.

“The family of three generations decided to amalgamate their lives together into a single home, while accommodating for separate areas to suit each generation.

“Accommodating the slope of the site, we used the contours to create three separate self-contained living areas – one for the young grandchildren, one for the parents and another for the grandparents – each with its own kitchenette facility and private ensuite.”

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