Friday, 22 April 2011
In-Laws, Outlaws and Granny Flats
We have been talking a lot this past week or so about housing – home maintenance, home safety, decorating, updating, painting and all. There is also, in our awful economic times a question, perhaps, of doubling up.
Parents may need help in daily living. Or their home has become too much for them to care for on their own. Or, given the unemployment numbers, sometimes adult children have nowhere to go but home to their parents, often with spouses and kids.
What to do?
For several weeks, I've been perusing a new book, in-laws, outlaws and granny flats, by Michael Litchfield who has been renovating houses for 30 years. It is a treasure trove of practical information and advice on turning a single-family home into two independent living units.
This 360-square-foot space with a Murphy bed, started out as a one-car garage. Now, a couple lives here, when not traveling, while they rent the main house where they had raised their children:
The first few chapters of the book thoroughly cover the considerations, navigating permits and permissions, plans, materials and fixtures including the surprising number of options for items all homes need. I was shocked to see how many types of toilets there are. Who knew?
The majority of the book details 26 case studies, each with gorgeous color photos, floor plans and tips for just about every contingency I could imagine.
I was impressed with this bed space in a dormer on the second floor of a garage where built-in shelves were included because there is no room for night stands.
Because most of the spaces are small, the book includes many clever accommodations such as these two small sinks in a corner kitchen.
At the back of the book, there is an excellent primer on universal design elements to consider – wide doors for wheelchairs, adjusted countertop heights, shower seats, etc. And there is a section of resources for green and special needs building and a long list of websites of manufacturers of products for small spaces.
I doubt much of what this lovely book offers is inexpensive, but you don't need to be doing a total renovation or building an addition for an aging parent or adult child in need to find it worthwhile.
For several months off and on, I've been searching for a photo to match the picture in my head of how I want to remodel my bathroom that currently has an execrable plastic tub/shower. I found what I've been imagining in in-laws, outlaws, and granny flats:
Author Michael Litchfield maintains a website, Cozydigz, with more photos and useful information.
At The Elder Storytelling Place today, Nancy Leitz: Fashion Plate