In-Law Suites, a Sweet Addition to Your Home

Considering adding an in-law suite to your home? Given the changing landscape of the economy, in-law suites are becoming a popular choice for many homeowners. Particularly, with multigenerational housing increasing as well. Whether you are converting a room, adding a free-standing apartment, or building a bedroom and bath addition, one common attribute is the ground floor accessibility and added sales appeal (generally, in-law suites increase property value).

If you’re like the majority of Americans over the age of 45, you want to continue living in a familiar environment throughout your maturing years. As you think about your parents’ future and those of your in-laws (and even your own), some initial planning can ensure both you and your loved ones are comfortable, independent and safe.

Consider these helpful tips before you build:

1) Location, Location, Location

Decide where to build the in-law suite. You’ll want to assess your home to determine the best possible location. Do you have a garage or enclosed porch that can be converted into a living space? Do you have two bedrooms that can be combined into one, or a basement that can be converted into a separate living area? Or, perhaps you have adequate space to build a room addition?

If a room addition is necessary to accommodate your new in-law suite, you’ll want to make sure that the new space blends seamlessly with your home’s exterior. A design build contractor will work with you to ensure the addition flows with the original architecture of your home.

Basement Remodel 2 Basement Remodel Bedroom 4

2)  Accommodations

Once you have identified where to add your in-law space, you will need to decide what you want to include in the space and how it should flow. Typical in-law suites include a living room, full kitchen and a separate bedroom and private bathroom with adequate storage in both. Ideally, an in-law suite will also have a separate entrance. In this case, zoning restrictions may come in to play and determine what you can or cannot do. Your design/build contractor will help you navigate this process.

We’ve collected some in-law suite ideas for you on our Pinterest board. Enjoy!

Basement Remodel Living Room 3 Basement Remodel Bathroom 5

3)  Universal Design Principles

When designing an in-law suite, it’s important to incorporate universal design principles, to ensure whoever occupies the space is safe, independent and comfortable for years to come. The National Association of Home Builders defines universal design as “the design of products and environments to be usable to all people, to the greatest extent possible, without the need for adaptation of specialized design.” A universally designed space considers aging-in-place needs, whether you are young or old, short, tall, healthy or ill. These amenities include, but are not limited to:

  • No step entries and non-slip floors
  • Wider doorways to accommodate wheelchairs and walkers
  • Wider hallways (36-42 inches wide)
  • Extra floor space
  • Easy open, lever door and drawer hardware
  • Larger bathrooms with hand-held shower heads and level-entry, curbless showers
  • Good lighting to include well-lit outdoor walkways and entrances
  • Lower light switches and thermostat controls, within easy reach of the bed.
  • Easy access to separate heat and air conditioning controls as well as smoke, fire and carbon monoxide detectors.

For questions about incorporating an in-law suite into your home, contact Riverside Construction today! Take the first step by scheduling an in-home meeting with your very own personal design consultant.

8 Critical Remodeling Mistakes to Avoid

It doesn’t take much to run a home remodeling project over budget. If it’s important to you to keep your savings intact, avoid these common mistakes before construction begins.

We interviewed Riverside Construction’s owner, Andy Haste, to find out what breaks people’s budgets when they remodel their homes. Here are some helpful tips to help you circumvent those errors:

  1. Changing Your Mind After Construction Has BegunOne of the biggest, most costly remodeling mistakes a homeowner can make is making changes after construction begins. One advantage in working with a design/build firm is that every detail is thought through and even previewed, and fixed to a budget, before construction begins.
  2. Failing to Define Your Project Scope (Not Creating a Master Plan)Every home remodeling project should start with a clear project scope. A professional contractor can help you define your master plan and make sure every detail is accounted for. When meeting for the first time, expect to answer a lot of questions, especially WHY you are remodeling. By flushing out this deeper understanding of your home remodel, a remodeling contractor earns his weight in gold by coming up with creative, cost-effective solutions that you might never have thought of.Other questions you should be prepared to ask are “What are your needs, wants and desires for your new space? What do you love about your home? What don’t you like about your existing space? What is the size of your family? Is it expanding or will you be empty nesters soon? How often do you entertain? Where do you and your family spend most of your time? The more details you can flush out up front, the more precise a professional remodeling contractor can be in coming up with ideal solutions for your new living space.
  3. Choosing a Contractor Solely on PriceEveryone loves to save money! But the old adage “You get what you pay for” is never more true than when you hire a remodeling contractor. Choose a remodeling firm that has a stellar reputation in the industry. Start by asking for referrals and evaluate new companies by reading their online reviews and client testimonials. Some companies even provide direct access to their client survey results. Pay attention to the comments and how issues are handled.Instead of choosing a contractor solely on price, pay close attention to the overall value you will receive. Are they likely to still be in business five years from now when something needs fixing? Do they offer a workmanship warranty, and will follow up on their commitment to stand behind their work?Choosing a contractor shouldn’t be so much about “can they frame a wall or put in a sink”. It should be more about whether or not they have established trust in doing the job you need them to do. Emphasis should be placed on HOW the work is done. Will they protect your home? Will they do what they say they’re going to do? What measures will they put in place to protect your family or pets? Can you reliably trust them to carry out your vision?
  4. Failing to Create a Realistic BudgetOne of the key advantages in working with a design/build firm, in particular, is that they can help you determine a realistic budget up-front before construction begins. Make sure you work with a remodeling contractor that listens to your needs, develops a scope of work, and guides you in a design that realistically fits your budget. No time or money is wasted when you design to a budget that you can afford right from the start.
  5. Taking Too Little Time to Consider Specialty ItemsThe last thing you ever want to experience after spending valuable time and money on a home remodel is regret. “I really wish I’d put in that glass tile I wanted,” or “I’m really disappointed that we didn’t put in quartz countertops,” are statements that a quality contractor will ensure you never say six months or three years after your remodel is complete.Creating a list of ‘must haves’ and ‘nice-to-haves’ is a helpful place to start. A design/build firm will incorporate these items into the design discussion early on, before a conceptual design and budget proposal are presented to you. This allows you to incorporate your needs into your overall plan and specifications right away. Be prepared to address why you want your ‘must have’ items as well. A reputable contractor will want to know WHY you want these items so they can present you with alternative options and steer you in the right direction.
  6. Not Knowing the Process Going Into Your RemodelHaving a clear understanding of the home remodeling process you’re about to embark on is a smart and effective way to alleviate anxiety. You should know approximately how long your project will take, what date it will be done, how your home will be managed and protected (both the construction and non-construction areas), when and how your ideas will be incorporated into the design process, and more. When you are looking for a contractor that is right for you, be sure to get a thorough understanding of their design and construction process.
  7. Not Being Prepared for the UnexpectedAny time you embark on a home remodel, no matter how old your home, you want to go into your remodel with a clear understanding of what to expect. Be prepared for dust and noise, for starters. And, have a plan in place for your pets.Unexpected situations can also rear their ugly head as soon as you start tearing down walls. Whether there is dry rot found behind a soffit, or dangerous electrical wiring that needs to be replaced, it is important that you prepare yourself for these types of surprises also. A reputable contractor will be able to set all of these expectations up front and help you set a realistic budget.
  8. Not Exploring ALL Options for Adding Space in Your HomeDon’t want to move, but desperately need additional square footage? One obvious solution is adding a new room addition to your home, but there are other options as well. You can maximize storage and reclaim space by creatively reconfiguring your existing space. Do you have a basement or attic that can be refinished? Do you have a wall that can be knocked down to improve traffic flow? By discussing your needs with a reputable remodeling contractor, you can explore all options that add square footage to your home, without breaking the bank.

Contact Riverside Construction today, for more information.  We would love the opportunity to help you with your next remodeling project.  Take the first step by scheduling a conversation with a design consultant.

ADDING ON: SHOULD YOU BUILD A HOME ADDITION?

Is your house starting to feel small? Does it lack vital amenities, like a spacious kitchen, which is negatively impacting your family? Perhaps you’ve been thinking about moving, but don’t want to take on the added stress and exorbitant costs associated with such a decision. Not to mention you like your neighborhood, the school district and the amenities that are close to home.

If you’re happy with where you live, perhaps building additional square footage is the right decision for you.

Capilano After_72dpi

To get started, explore your options

Consult a remodeling professional who can help you explore all of the many possibilities of expanding your house, including alternatives to a major renovation (referenced below).

Building Outward

A true way to “create space” is building out. This new space is unhindered by existing structures and usually pays for itself emotionally and financially. Homeowners don’t typically need to move out during construction.

Building Upward

Arguably better than building out, is building up—“the sky is the limit”. This usually is an expensive undertaking, but worth the investment, and might involve vacating the home for a period of time.

Here are 10 ideas for expanding your house out and up, courtesy of Houzz.

 

Know what you’re getting into

A successful addition is made to look like it was part of the original structure. It involves everything you would find in new home construction, including the foundation, framing, zoning, permitting, flooring, plumbing, electrical, etc.

It’s also one of the smartest ways you can add space to your home. Adding a new space is like designing a whole new house, but without the expense of a whole new house. But, it’s not something you can take on yourself. Ideally, consult a professional designer who can help you determine the feasibility of your vision, making sure your addition will add the desired value to your home.

Alternatives to a Major Renovation

If your home is too small or in need of a new room, there are alternatives to maximizing your home’s existing space without building more square footage. Here are a few examples of how you can simply reconfigure your home’s existing space, to save time and money:

Finish the Basement or Attic—Turning an attic or basement into a guest room, family room, or home office suite is by far less costly than expanding your home. All you )need to do is build finish details inside the shell.

Remove Wasted Square Footage—Take a look at the original footprint of your house and determine whether it’s feasible to remove a wall, eliminate a closet or reconfigure traffic flow to allow for the extra space you need. Designers are trained to help you discover your homes hidden potential.

Knock Down Walls—Many homeowners today are remodeling with an open floor plan in mind. Open layout floor plans foster family togetherness and provide lots of options for entertaining. By eliminating doorways and removing walls that separate the kitchen, dining room and living room, homeowners can obtain the space they need at a fraction of the cost of an addition.

Repurpose Existing Rooms—If you have rooms in your home that don’t get much use, now is the time to consider repurposing that unused room and turn it into space you can use. Turn that unused living room, for example, into a TV/media room; or convert a storage room into a much-needed home office that doubles as a guest room.

Whether you are considering a room addition or an alternative to an addition, Riverside Construction can help you develop a plan that fits your needs.

For inspiration on how to build a room addition onto your home, visit our design gallery. To schedule a free consultation with one of our designers, call 765.838.1644 or fill out our contact form.

We will also be scheduling a seminar on room additions this Spring. Let us know your interest in attending by signing up today.