Tips for multi-generational shared living

Multi-generational shared living homes


Land shortage, polling together of resources and grandparents around to look after the kids, not to mention having more people you love and care about nearby. Multi-generational shared living is something we are seeing an increasing trend. However for this to work successfully, careful design and planning is essential.


Tips for planning a multi generation home.


If different generations are going to be sharing common areas and facilities (such as bathrooms and kitchens) then you may want to consider the following:


  • Noise mitigation: Careful designing around reducing noise is essential, considering the location of bedrooms, TVs, bathrooms, kitchens and outdoor areas will need to be carefully considered. Utilising noise mitigating wall lining and insulation can further reduce noise.

  • Media room: This doesn’t need to be a large room at all, however consider having a designated room that can be closed off from the rest of the house to watch TV in a noise contained space. A space the kids can watch a loud movie without driving grandparents insane!

  • Master Bedrooms: Providing it works with the site, consider locating the main bedrooms opposite ends of the home to give all adults living within the house a little more space.

  • Multi-functional spaces: Having spaces that can be multi-purpose or integrated within a smaller footprint such as, window seats, study nook, covered outdoor will create more 'zones' within the footprint to allow different family members space.

  • Kitchen: If you are going to be sharing a kitchen, consider having a walk-in pantry or scullery, good ergonomics and plenty of storage to accommodate the requirements of the additional adults.

  • Bathrooms: Are you wanting to have a designated bathroom and or toilet for specific family members?

  • Parking: Ensure you can accommodate the number of cars that will be parked permanently at the residence alongside visitor parking.

  • Outdoor space: It is important to think how everyone that shares the space entertains. Do you want multiple outdoor spaces to allow different family members the option to entertain or relax within different outdoor zones at the same time?


Annique Heensens own small but smart home https://gezelliginteriors.com/. provides an excellent example of how smaller spaces can still accommodate all practical requirements with clever planning.


If budget and section size permits, then having a self-contained studio or unit would allow family members to have more space and privacy. If this the situation that you are planning, then you may want to consider the following:


  • A studio or an apartment? Budget, anticipated footprint of the home, section size and regulations will be key considerations within this decision.

  • Attached to the main home or completely separate? Once again the above will be determining factors if this feasible.

  • A separate entrance? Having a separate entrance will not only provide privacy, it will also assist with noise mitigation.

  • What facilities are you prepared to share? Would you like the studio/apartment to have its own kitchen/kitchenette and laundry? Note that some councils do not allow more than one kitchen on a site.

  • Shared entertainment area or multi outdoors? Think about if elderly people would be ok with young kids having music playing.

  • As above you will also need to accommodate parking requirements

Council requirements: If there are two kitchens then additional consenting and rates fees will apply (each council has different regulations around the number of kitchens allowed on a title). If it’s essentially going to be two homes with a party wall then the party wall needs to be fire rated.


For more information or clarification contact jon@thornegroup.co.nz​  027 2773233 www.tgarchitecture.co.nz



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