Have you been thinking about adding an in-law suite to your home to accommodate a loved one? This endeavor can be quite tricky to navigate because not only must you consider all the emotional aspects of such a transition, but the technical aspects of the project as well.  


1. Most importantly, will your space accommodate their needs?

There are many considerations to make when you begin planning to build an in-law suite. Generally, in-law suites should have a private, full bathroom and be distinguished from the rest of the home by either a door or separate entrance. Ideally, the addition of a private kitchen would add to the comfort and homey-feeling for your loved one. A garage, basement, or enclosed porch area are all great options to convert. If it’s in your budget and ability, you may also consider an add-on or separate standing structure.

2. And, Will the City Accommodate Your Goals?

Depending on your goals, you may need to take into consideration the zoning ordinances that may affect your project. If you’re planning on building a free-standing unit, separate from the main house, you may run into some heavy restrictions. This could mean extra money, time, hassle and headaches if not done properly. Call your local zoning offices to get more information and get answers to your questions.

3. Don’t Forget About Accessibility 

If possible, create the suite on the first floor. If that’s not an option, there is always the possibility of adding an elevator or chair-lift to help improve accessibility to all the floors of the house. Hallways should be wide enough to comfortably accommodate wheelchairs and walkers. Remember that the needs of your loved one may change in the future, and the need to create a space that is flexible with those needs should be high on your priority list.

4. Or, Safety 

Even the smallest details could ultimately have big consequences. As you try to pick a type of flooring, you should look for something that is not too slippery, to minimize the risk of falls. But, at the same time, not too textured, which may make moving wheelchairs or equipment more difficult. Thick, plush carpets may sound wonderful but can make mobility for your loved one much more difficult. Safety in the bathroom is another area of high consequence. Showers with a low threshold or walk-in bathtubs may be important for your loved one and should be considered.

5. Remember, Keep it Simple 

Overall, keep it as basic a design as possible. If you decide to sell your home one day, you want the addition to be attractive to potential buyers, not viewed as a potential liability. This means paying close attention to your customization, following all local laws and ordinances, obtaining the right permits, and hiring professionals to complete the work. Customize it too much or do shoddy work and you risk losing buyers, or worse.

Have questions? Need design ideas? Contact us and our knowledgeable staff will guide you through the many considerations you may be facing. We’ll help you design an in-law suite that your loved one will be excited to call home!