<p>Any experience- both with the living situation and the home conversion would be appreciated.</p>
<p>When we built our home, we included a MIL suite. It's a very large bedroom (30 X 16) divided into 3 "living spaces" and a private full bathroom and a big walk-in closet. </p>
<p>When you enter the room, first is a queen sized bed with side tables, etc. Across from the bed is a wide bureau of drawers. </p>
<p>Then past the sleeping area is a full-sized sofa with a coffee table and a wall unit across for TV, etc. The TV can be viewed from the sofa or bed.</p>
<p>Then, past the sofa area, on the opposite end of the bedroom is a bay window where a small dinette table sits. There is also a counter area. We don't have a sink in the counter area (there is one in the attached bath) but we do have a mini fridge, coffee maker, and microwave. IF we had to do it over, we probably would have included a sink with a garbage disposal and maybe a 2 burner stove. </p>
<p>This has worked out very well for my parents when they would come to visit. They would come for 4-6 weeks at a time, so this allowed them to have their own "private space" away from all the family commotion. My dad could nap on the couch while watching his programs. My mom could sit at the dinette working a jigsaw puzzle, etc. </p>
<p>If you have extended family that stays for more than a few days, having such space can just make things much easier! </p>
<p>If I had a situation where the relatives would be permanently staying, I might consider having one of those vertical washer/dryers in its own closet for them to use.</p>
<p>I was told that we can not have a stove but we can have everything else that a kitchen would have. The town does not want the unit to function as anything other than a in-law or mother/daughter suite. They do not want the home to become a two family. We have 3 of these set ups in our neighborhood.</p>
<p>I once lived in an above-the-garage apartment and we have friends locally who have one. The friends' place has a bedroom, bathroom and then a living room area that has a short (maybe six feet) strip of cupboards with a countertop along a small section of one wall.</p>
<p>me: "Can I live in your house when you grow up?"</p>
<p>ten year old: "Fine. Just so people know YOU live with ME. I don't want people to
think I still live with my mom!"</p>
<p>To get a little more specific- we have a two car garage with a very high ceiling which connects to our laundry room. We could raise the floor and put a bathroom and kitchenette (w/o a stove) with easy access to plumbing. The garage is about 24 x 24. Has anyone converted a garage to living space?
We would also be able to build a new 2 car garage right off of the old garage since the old garage has a side entrance so there is plenty of room at that side. I have been told that since a garage is considered unfinished space the square foot costs is lower to build.
To do the suite properly we would need one extras addition added to the back of the house off of the garage. It would be a room about 12x14. All of this work would not price us out of our neighborhood since we are currently the smallest home. We have an acre and 1/2 to work with so set backs will not be an issue.</p>
<p>Two considerations re inlaw space above a garage:</p>
<li><p>Cold weather climates (if that's where you live, as I do): Is your garage heated or unheated? If unheated, having the garage below the suite might make a difference compared to having a heated house below the suite. Less natural heat rises into the second story. Not a dealbreaker, but something to consider re: future living costs there. Perhaps there's an insulation approach during the remodeling phase that can address this. </p></li>
<li><p>Changes in mobility of the seniors. They're obviously able to handle steps now, or you wouldn't be considering a second-story solution. But things change, and it's less expensive to allow now for a future possiblity of an interior stair-lift between the two stories. Also: in any inlaw-suite, imagine wheelchairs in use someday (hard, I know). Make doorways between rooms, especially bathroom areas, wide enough now so you don't have to retrofit later. See what's on the market for a bathtub/shower that will be appropriate for a senior just beyond what you see in your current inlaws' capabilities.</p></li>
<p>I built a MIL suite in 94. 600 sq. ft. It was wonderful. She was not.</p>
<p>My D loved it, though. Wonderful apartment for a high school kid. ;)</p>
<p>The suite is all going to be ground level.
curmudgeon- what did the suite consist of? Was 600 sq ft enough- I would think so.</p>
<p>Personally I would look at an "aging in place" residence for my inlaws (or parents). These places have activities and services for seniors...and aging seniors that they cannot get in their own homes. I'd make sure I had a guest room where they could stay for special times (maybe Christmas eve). </p>
<p>We have a finished downstairs with windows and its own entrance. It has two rooms, a nice counter area (where a microwave could go). It does not have a bathroom...but it's a perfect short term place for folks to stay.</p>
<p>I'm hoping the place will be for me.</p>
<p>Tom1944, we have a MIL suite and it has been a godsend with my mom. One thing to think about is to have an extra bedroom there or place where a temporary caretaker or health aide could stay. Making sure that it is accessable (walk-in shower, ground level, wheelchair or walker sized doors) for the future. I think you will find it a good investment.</p>
<p>tom...are you saying you hope that your kids will be building an inlaw apartment for you...or are you saying that you are building an inlaw apartment and you plan to move into it someday and your kids into the house?</p>
<p>What do your kids think about that??</p>
<p>Re: space...my son lived in a great one bedroom apartment that was about 600 sq feet. Living room and bedroom were 12x14...bathroom was about 6x12. Kitchen was 12x12. It was terrific. And the closet in the bathroom was large enough for a stacking washer and dryer.</p>
<p>I have both elderly parents and in-laws so either could find the need to come with me or on my side one of my other siblings. I also have an only child who we could potentially assist by deeding her the house (we would have lifetime rights legally drawn up) and use the suite when we are back in NJ. I realize all the pitfalls of potential conflict but I have also seen it work out. We are in the discussion stage and fantasy design etc. My wife and I both take our time on things.We are not rash decision makers.
The reason I asked is I also recently read there is a growing trend in real estate for these types of homes based on the economy.</p>
<p>I built this under much different financial and life circumstances. Today she'd get a refrigerator box. ;)</p>
<p>Ours was a fully contained apartment directly off our breakfast room . Two 36" doors, locking, that could be folded back. It opened onto her living room. When we had a gathering the doors would open, and we had a huge entertaining area. She had her own kitchen, bath and bedroom. </p>
<p>She had her own front door, porch, garage entrance , garage, and exit to the backyard. The pool and spa were built so that she had a water aerobics bar, and a "elderly accessible" set of steps into the pool and spa complete with handrails. It was light and airy and decorated to her wishes. I bought her a golfcart to ride around the subdivision. </p>
<p>She still $%^%^#$. I really hope everyone has a better experience with this than we did. It was truly awful and forever damaged my W's relationship with her mom, and my D's relationship with her only living grandparent. (Our problems involved her negative attitude to my D, but quickly became more global. As she aged and became more infirm, I can say without exaggeration that I have never met a more selfish and negative human being in my life. And I have met some doozies. The one good thing is that my efforts to protect my D and W from this witch gave me brownie points for life. )</p>
<p>But our design was great!! We got nothing for it on resale IMO. Huge financial mistake. But ...on my list of financial screw-ups...a drop in the bucket. ;) I'm the original buy high, sell low guy.</p>
<p>Check with your zoning laws, around here it's almost impossible to have a mother-in-law suite in most towns. It's really too bad, because it would be a great arrangement for many families. I agree that making the apartment accessible (wide doors, no steps, roll in showers) will make it usable for much longer if the parent becomes partially disabled. 600 square feet is pretty minimal. I'm working on a ground floor living situation right now that's about that size. It has room for the laundry machines, an accessible bathroom, a bedroom with a couple of large closets, a sitting area and a double bed, but no kitchen.</p>
<p>I think I still have the plans somewhere. (I drew the house-plans myself so I was pretty proud of them.) It might have been 670 but no bigger than that. I'll check for room dimensions. It was plenty. Oh, I almost forgot. Her apartment had it's own hot-water heater and heat/ac unit. And the kitchen had a breakfast bar, full refrigerator, microwave, a range, stove, and another dishwasher (we entertained a lot).</p>
<p>Older people in general need a higher ratio of storage space:living space than active young families raising kids. They have a lot of stuff they want stored. I'm not talking about hoarders, I'm saying that normal, healthy people who've lived long lives have more storage needs for boxed ornaments,photos and memorabilia and less for runabout children to have elbow room. The senior living quarters I saw for my relatives always had floor-to-ceiling storage units wherver they might fit in, even an extra set of cabinets high above the active kitchen cabinets, up to the ceilings. My mom chose a very small studio efficiency on a campus, rather than a one-bedroom, because it had built-in bookshelves for her books, family photos, knicknacks. Floor-to-ceiling, it makes her feel more at home.</p>
<p>Also, as I learned from a great-aunt recently, cut out the windows LOW enough that when they're seated all day long, they can see out the window and have a view.</p>
<p>mathmom- zoning is okay we already have several in the neighborhood.
curmudgeon- the general disposition of the potential "tenants" would be fine. My wife will have a burden no matter what we do since she is the only one around for her parents. I am lucky I have great siblings plus two of my SIL are very close to my parents also.
I bought my first house high and sold low. The second one I bought low and hope to give it away. How is that for great financial planning.
curmudgeon - I am sorry that your D had that unfortunate experience with her grandmother. Your daughter sounds like an amazing person from all that I have read here. It is one of my great joys to see the relationship my daughter has with her grandparents. She is a very lucky young lady.</p>
It is one of my great joys to see the relationship my daughter has with her grandparents. She is a very lucky young lady.
And it is one of my great disappointments. My dad was declining mentally during my D's childhood (early onset Alzheimers. Yep. I've got a great future. Woo-hoo!!;)) and my mom and my W's Dad were long dead before my D was born (hence the effort we made).</p>
<p>edit: Gee. I didn't realize I was still this ticked. lol. But guys and gals, I am not exaggerating. She was a demon and I invited her into our home. I also invited her out. ;)</p>