Claiming Your Life: Remodeling for Personal Space

From on December 01, 2008 in General Remodel

Trends in shared housing are changing. Changes in the economy as well as changes in family relationships and population demographics all play a part in shaping these new trends. As the old saying goes, “Necessity is the mother of invention.” Here’s a look at a couple of remodels that reflect the changing housing needs of our changing society.

A couple, married for 40 years, had long since passed the empty nest phase, but still had two guest rooms where their grown children once lived. This husband and wife decided to take advantage of this extra space by creating separate bedrooms for themselves. In their ranch home, the 3 bedrooms are along the back of the house – one, the master, with its own bathroom, became the wife’s bedroom. The other 2 bedrooms shared a second bathroom at the end of hall, and the larger of these became the husband’s new bedroom.

This remodel was largely prompted by different bedtime habits. She liked to read at bedtime; he liked to watch TV. They decided it would be a favor to both of them to have separate rooms. The larger of the 2 spares happened to be the one furthest from the master bedroom. With the third bedroom in between, still serving as a guest room, the new, second master bedroom could accommodate the volume on the TV that the husband enjoyed, without disturbing the wife’s quiet reading time.

The remodel included putting in a sliding glass door to give the feeling of more space to the husband’s new room. A covered patio was added just beyond the new doors, so he could slip out of “his own space” and enjoy the occasional cigar late at night. The couple is so delighted with these changes that they wonder why they didn’t make them years before – and they laugh and say they feel young again when they have “sleepovers” in each other’s rooms.

In another instance, a single woman retired just as her aging parents reached the stage where having someone close by to look after them made sense for the whole, extended family. The parents didn’t need total home care, but all the adult children agreed that it would be good if someone lived on the premises with them.

The single, newly retired woman agreed to be “the one,” but her conditions were that she would have her own space. So all the siblings contributed to having the large, 2-car garage remodeled into a studio apartment and erecting an adjoining parking shelter for the displaced cars. This remodel was completed before its new occupant moved in.

Now in residence there, this woman says it’s a beautiful solution. The parents retain their own home; for all practical purposes, their living situation hasn’t changed at all. But they now enjoy the benefit of having one of their daughters on the property, coming and going at intervals each day, and often sharing meals together.

The single woman says it’s a surprisingly effective solution for her, as well. It’s been easier to adjust to being retired because she has a new purpose that feels important and yet still leaves her with plenty of free time to explore new interests. And she appreciates the economy of the arrangement and the fun of having a new place for herself. In time, the added living quarters will make the sale of the home easier, as it will appeal to someone who sees the value of having a studio apartment in addition to the main house.

These are just a couple of the many creative remodels that accomplish the goal of giving co-habitants personal space in one home. They are effective and economical, with satisfying results for all concerned.