Like the tiny circus car that keeps spewing clown after clown after clown from its little doors, sometimes we see homes that have multiple cars in the driveway and numerous people coming and going at all hours. They’re young, old and in between, and they seem to be living under the same roof.
It’s multigenerational living, and it’s becoming more popular than ever. While common practice in other cultures, the United States is just now starting to catch on – with a little push from the down economy. Adult children are moving back in with their baby boomer parents and bringing their young families. Aging parents are moving in with their baby boomer children who are just reaching retirement age. Three or four generations can be found in one home. How do they do it?
In the suburbs of Washington, DC like Fairfax, Manassas, Arlington and Alexandria, multigenerational living is prevalent. It’s important for each generation to have their space. Often, the older family members don’t want to be right in the thick of the grandchildren or share the bathroom with their children. The result: basement remodeling, in-law suite additions and separate living spaces. These spaces are fully functional for cooking, eating, relaxing and entertaining, yet they enable important cross-generational interactions. They give each generation their space, but let the others have easy access.
From the outside, the house might be like that little clown car, but a look in the window will show a family in harmony in their own individual space.