Eco-Living Magazine

An Exercise in Multi-Generational Living

Posted on the 30 September 2014 by 2ndgreenrevolution @2ndgreenrev

When I was offered a job as director of sustainability a stone’s throw from where I grew up, it was with mixed emotions that I accepted. One concern was affordability. I grew up in LA and the housing bubble that burst several years back had re-inflated. My parents still live in the area and my dad had been in the same house for more than 30 years. He lived in the quintessential empty nest and had multiple unused bedrooms. A conversation between my wife, dad, and I ensued and we decided to give it a try, living with my dad and our two kids.

Our previous home was slightly more than 2,000 square feet, coming in at more than 500 square feet per person. When we decided to move in with my dad, our square footage per person increased, since his home is a bit more than 3,000 square feet. It seemed to make a lot more sense though in terms of space usage, fiscal responsibility, and connecting our kids with my dad. Multi-generational housing made a bit of a comeback, with some home builders even constructing new houses with “in-law” suites.

My dad’s house is set up in a way that one of the spare bedrooms has an en-suite bathroom, which my wife and I moved into. Our boys share the room next to us, and have access to their own bathroom. Additionally, we’re at the far end of the hallway from my dad’s room, allowing him a measure of privacy. We’re not the first  to move in with family, but it’s definitely a new experience.

Living together has its challenges. We were accustomed to our own space, but sustainability requires trade-offs and sacrifices. For now, this is a sacrifice we’re willing to make. However, the pull to have our own space is strong. In the meantime, shared mealtimes, grandparent-grandson interactions are high, and despite the challenges, we’re figuring out this new path. One piece that’s difficult centers around finding a small(er) home. We don’t want a ton of space, but it is important to make whatever space we’re in our own.

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