Sweetest Mother-in-Law Suites

Mother-in-Law suites

The need and desire for secondary living quarters is currently on the rise. More and more people are choosing to keep Mom and Dad close while increasing the value of their property. However, if you are in the market for a Mother-in-Law suite, there are a few considerations to keep in mind.

Locations For Mother-in-law suites

Where to place the new suite should be at the top of the considerations’ list. There are several options for where to locate this new space.

Basements

These are a few different basements that have been converted into living quarters for the in-laws.

Mother-in-Law Suites

Transitional Basement by Fort Collins General Contractors Armstead Construction Inc.

Mother-in-Law Suites

Traditional Family Room by Chantilly Kitchen & Bath Remodelers Moss Building and Design

Pros

If you have a basement, this may be a good option. Basements are generally quite spacious, and access to plumbing and electrical is usually already close at hand. With a well thought out design, basements can offer all of the amenities that any person would require for day to day living.

They also provide a connected, but still private, quarters for parents that still want their independence. In addition, these conversions can easily be utilized as usable space once mom or dad is no longer living there.

Cons

A big downside  for basements, and one that will be repeated for several other location options, is that they almost always require the use of stairs. However, if the parents are still agile this may not be an issue. Another way around this obstacle is to provide an exterior door at ground level.

Above the garage

The unused space above the garage can be turned into a studio apartment.

Mother-in-Law Suites

Traditional Landscape by Sag Harbor General Contractors S.M. CONTRACTING INC

Mother-in-Law Suites

Transitional Living Room by Long Beach Interior Designers & Decorators Sybil Jane Barrido, ASID, CID – SJVD DESIGN

Mother-in-Law Suites

Transitional Kitchen by Long Beach Interior Designers & Decorators Sybil Jane Barrido, ASID, CID – SJVD DESIGN

Pros

Just like the basement, the space above the garage is usually quite spacious. It can offer a large untapped area that can be converted into a studio apartment. If the new resident will be using the garage for parking, interior garage stairs can provide a private entrance. If  interior stairs are not possible, consider exterior stairs that lead to a small deck landing.

Cons

The space above the garage may not have easy plumbing and electrical access, and just as the basement, there is the issue with traversing stairs. Although this provides one of the more independent living quarters, it may not be the best solution for someone that is frail or may become frail in the future.

Garage

So, why not just convert the garage itself? That’s what these people did with their garage. It provides the perfect living space for their still very active parents. Kitchen and living is located on the first floor, while sleeping is just up the stairs. However, this idea can work for just the floor level as well.

Mother-in-Law Suites

Craftsman Kitchen by Maplewood Architects & Building Designers Clawson Architects, LLC

Mother-in-Law Suites

Craftsman Living Room by Maplewood Architects & Building Designers Clawson Architects, LLC

 

Pros

These are usually located at the ground level, which eliminates the hassle and worry of using stairs. Garage doors can easily be changed out for windows or door/window combinations. If the garage is attached to the home, the residents will have privacy plus the joined  connection to the main house. This can  come in handy if frequent checking in is needed.

Cons

This option may do away with much needed parking space. It also may require plumbing and electrical work to make the conversion.

Converted interior space

If you are like most people, you may not have basement or garage space that can be utilized for an in-law living quarters. In that case, looking at converting a portion of the main living quarters may be necessary. This is usually done by turning an extra bedroom or an office space into an extra living space. This room with a wet bar would make a very nice in-law suite.

Mother-in-Law Suites

Traditional Home Bar by Lake Oswego Architects & Building Designers The WhiteHouse Collection

This in-law suite has gone the extra effort to bypass the stairs by adding an elevator (hidden behind the door in the background).

Mother-in-Law Suites

Traditional Bedroom by San Jose Architects & Building Designers Arch Studio, Inc.

Pros

Electrical and plumbing is already present, and the area is already finished out. All that is left to do is to create an appealing layout.

Cons

There may be an issue with privacy, especially if the in-law takes pride in their independence.

Build to suit

If you have the space and the budget, perhaps the best plan is to build an addition. It can be attached or detached depending on the particular needs of the user. Here a beautiful addition for a mother-in-law suite, equipped with its own garage and living quarters, connects to the main house via a mud room.

Mother-in-Law Suites

Traditional Exterior by Lancaster Home Builders Metzler Home Builders (Before)

Mother-in-Law Suites

Traditional Exterior by Lancaster Home Builders Metzler Home Builders (After)

And this rustic detached guest house is a perfect place for in-laws to call home. It comes equipped with everything except a full kitchen.

Mother-in-Law Suites
Mother-in-Law Suites

Rustic Bedroom by Truckee Interior Designers & Decorators High Camp Home

Mother-in-Law Suites

Rustic Spaces by Truckee Interior Designers & Decorators High Camp Home

Mother-in-Law Suites

Spaces by Truckee Interior Designers & Decorators High Camp Home

Safety and Comfort for Mother-in-law suites

When designing or planning an in-law suite, take into consideration their comfort needs and some very important safety issues.

Comfort

Try to plan the space so that it will be appealing to the tastes of the user. Consider color options and patterns that will make the guest feel at home.

This in-law suite looks as if it were designed for the Father-in-Law.

Mother-in-Law Suites

Eclectic Bedroom by Chicago Architects & Building Designers Northworks Architects and Planners

And an elegant suite with a design that would work for both mother and father-in-law. This suite has a look that rivals even the nicest five star hotels.

Mother-in-Law Suites

Beach Style Bedroom by Johns Island Design-Build Firms Seamar Construction Group

Mother-in-Law Suites

Beach Style Bedroom by Johns Island Design-Build Firms Seamar Construction Group

And a beautiful pastel colored suite that definitely has a feminine flair.

Mother-in-Law Suites

Transitional Bedroom by Boulder Architects & Building Designers WORKSHOP8 architecture planning design

Mother-in-Law Suites

Transitional Living Room by Boulder Architects & Building Designers WORKSHOP8 architecture planning design

Think about their every day needs. Some details that should be considered in addition to bedding are:

  • Bathrooms – Try to have a bathroom close by. If a  private bath is possible that would be best.
  • Sitting – Provide a sitting area so that they are not forced to use the bed for both needs.
  • TV – If they enjoy television as a pastime, provide one.
  • Other amenities – As much as you can make the space feel like home, you should do so. Consider a kitchen or kitchenette. If that is not possible, a coffee station is a relatively simply addition, as is a microwave. (For more information on microwave options, be sure to read this article). Try to provide as much independence as possible within the bounds of what is best for your particular situation.

Safety

Don’t forget safety issues when planning for in-laws. Some areas for considerations are:

  • Flooring – Make sure that the flooring is not slippery. Choose carpeting over loose rugs and choose tile that will not become slippery when wet.
  • Cooking appliances – If cooking appliances are included make sure that they are a type and brand that the user is familiar with and will not cause confusion. Some people do not cope well with newer technology. So, consider how user friendly the appliance will be from that aspect.
  • Bathrooms – Consider future needs when choosing tubs and showers. Safety hand rails may need to be installed near tubs, showers, and toilets. Look into hand rails that do not create a hospital type feel, but instead choose hand rails that match the rest of the fixtures.
  • Storage – Place towel hooks and closet rods at a comfortable height for the user. Make sure that these items are located at shoulder height to prevent the need to stretch or extend the arms above that height. Falls are commonly attributed to an elderly person’s attempt to “reach.”
  • Other – If applicable, consider items such as intercom systems and extra land lines.

Kitchen without a kitchen

If you are concerned that you don’t have a space for a kitchenette, consider adding kitchen supplies to a cabinet furniture piece. Just about any storage unit can be converted into a small kitchen station. Here are just a few ideas.

Mother-in-Law Suites

Contemporary Kitchen by Center Valley Kitchen & Bath Fixtures YesterTec Design Company

 

Mother-in-Law Suites

Modern Kitchen by London Furniture & Accessories John Strand MK Limited

 

 hand rails that look good

Here are a few inspirational photos just to demonstrate safety rails that do not lend to a hospital effect.

 

Mother-in-Law Suites

Traditional Bathroom by Dallas General Contractors Graf Developments

 

Mother-in-Law Suites

Traditional Bathroom by Roseville Interior Designers & Decorators Katherine Kawaguchi

Mother-in-Law Suites

Modern Bathroom by San Francisco General Contractors V & Company, Fine Builders

 

Mother-in-Law Suites

Traditional Bathroom by New Hope Home Builders Worthington Custom Builder Inc.

Mother-in-Law Suites

Contemporary Bathroom by Fort Collins Design-Build Firms HighCraft Builders

Final thoughts

One thing to remember is that every situation is different, and likewise, the needs of each individual will be different. Choose an option that best fits your in-laws needs and everyone will be much happier.

Also, make sure to check with your city or township for proper zoning and codes, and get all of the proper permits before starting a project like this.

 


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2 thoughts on “Sweetest Mother-in-Law Suites

  1. the Oracle says:

    Enough with the bar-height seating. Nothing higher than counter height, please. The best choice is table height for anything in the kitchen.

    I prefer nothing but drawers beneath counters.

    Using PIC units and portable induction ovens clears counter space and can be stored in drawers below. They do not cause fires or burns, either.

    Microwave ovens need to be placed so you are not reaching up to use them.

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