Latest trend in house design: “A home within a home” : TreeHugger
August 27, 2012 1 Comment
Lloyd Alter of Treehugger posted this earlier this afternoon and Twitter exploded. He shows a number of floorplans, including the one above, from Lennar Homes which include secondary units for “homeowners with adult children or elderly parents who want to live in the same household as their relatives without sacrificing privacy or convenience.” This is an interesting adaptation to changing conditions; this caters to the fact that a lot of college graduates are having trouble finding jobs and are moving home, but also to the fact that the multi-generational family, once common but not so much today, is coming back, partially through immigrants who are used to living that way and partially through financial necessity. This is exactly something that Christopher Alexander advocated in A Pattern Language. He encouraged homes to develop different units, or “cottages,” for both teenagers and the elderly within a family, with the express idea that they could be rented out when not in use by a needy family member. These sort of “mother-in-law apartments” are fairly rare in many suburban areas, but have been a part of New Urbanist developments since their inception. Alter questions whether cities will regulate these sort of houses to make sure that only family members live in the second unit, but it is a step in densifying the suburbs, and potentially bringing them towards urbanity.