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Mother In Law Suite


By John McCue

A popular trend that is growing steadily in new home construction is the “in-law suite.” As our senior population continues to grow and people are living longer, professional care options can become very costly over extended periods of time. More and more families are looking at in-home care options for their senior members, and realizing that most traditional homes are not designed for comfortable multi-generational living.

Building a new home with an “in-law suite” (a private attached living area) is becoming a very popular and convenient way for two generations to live under one roof. The cost of the additional private suite is often shared or paid for by the senior or seniors who will be living in the suite rather than spending their money for a care facility. There can be many benefits to two generations combining resources to build the new home which will likely be much nicer than either could afford on their own.
Most seniors prefer to live independently as long as they can. Moving in with family under the right circumstances can prolong that independence and be a positive experience for both families. A properly designed home that provides comfort, convenience and privacy for all is a major key to the happiness of everyone involved. Sharing living expenses under one roof can be much less expensive than expenses for two separate households.

A properly designed “in-law suite” needs to be easily accessible to the main living areas, preferably on the same level as the shared areas (kitchen, great room, laundry room, etc.). Doorways, hallways, bathrooms and living areas should be spacious enough for handicap access which might be a necessity now or in the future. Sound-proofing between the suite and main living areas is also an important feature that helps create privacy for both families.
No matter how well it is designed, a major requirement for a successful and happy blending of two or more generations under one roof is family compatibility. You must get along well in order to live together. The best laid plan can turn into a disaster if the pros and cons of combining two households are not considered honestly and carefully before committing to the new home. Do your homework, seek legal and estate planning advice, and choose an experienced designer and builder to set the stage for a successful and happy new home project.
John McCue is Vice President of Scott McCue Homes. For information about building a home suitable for more than one generation, visit their website at
Mother In Law Suite

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