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What is a multi-gen home (and why it might be perfect for you)

Posted on September 22, 2023 by Miller and Smith Blog Team

The basic concept of a multi-gen home isn’t new: Its importance is just being rediscovered.

All our lives we’ve heard the word “generation.”

The Greatest Generation. My Generation. Generation X. Gen Z.

And that’s what multi-gen means: multiple generations living in one home.

The U.S. Census Bureau officially defines a multi-gen household as one with “three or more generations under one roof,” but we think it’s a little more complicated than that.

For us, a multi-gen household can be a family and their older parents. It can be older kids who have moved back home. It can be grandparents and grandchildren. It can be grandparents, parents, and children. It can even be a family and friends who feel as close as family living together. What this household definitely needs, though, is a special sort of home: the multi-gen home.

By 2021, in fact, the number living in multi-gen households quadrupled from how many there were in 1971. This is especially eye opening when you realize the number of other types of households had only less than doubled during the same period of time. And it’s not just the number of multi-gen households that have increased dramatically, but also the number of people living in one (from 7% in 1971 to 18% in 2021).

Multi-gen homes are, indeed, becoming popular again, and we wanted to illustrate some of the benefits of such a living arrangement. Here are our four best ways multi-gen homes can be a great choice, especially if they’re a Miller & Smith multi-gen home!

Aging Parents Can Live Close to Family

Sometimes aging parents get to a point where they need a little extra help to carry on their normal lives. Sometimes their home becomes too much for them to easily take care of. Sometimes they realize they live too far away from their kids and the family they love. Multi-gen homes can be the answer.

In a multi-gen home, aging parents can have their own space (bedroom, bathroom, storage, etc.), while sharing common areas such as the kitchen, dining room, and other family rooms. This means no one feels isolated, alone, or unwanted. The whole family stays together, interacts, and enjoys all their extra time together. A Pew Research poll found that in multi-gen households, 58% say they find this type of living convenient and 54% say it is rewarding.

It’s convenient and rewarding because family remains family, rather than people you visit every so often. Stories and life experiences can be more easily shared, as wisdom and knowledge pass from the old to the young and vice versa. The makes family ties all the more woven together.


Adult Children Can Move Back Home

In today’s world, many adult children finishing their further education find that moving back home with their parents is the most economical thing to do. In fact, among young adults in their mid-to-late twenties, 31% live in multigenerational households, often in their parents’ home.

Parents get to continue to help their young adult child find their footing in the adult world. Not only can this keep the whole family together a little longer forging more grown-up connections, but it can also allow the young adult children the time needed to save up money for their own home.

It’s a beautiful way to transition the entire family from one type of living arrangement (all together) into a brand-new one (separate in their own households). A multi-gen home can also be helpful should any unforeseeable circumstance (loss of job, divorce, etc.) befall the adult children, as it gives them a safe space to retreat to and regroup from. It’s the epitome of family helping family.


Room For a Live-In Nanny, Au Pair, or Nurse

Everyone’s “family” is a little different. Sometimes as young children age or older adults mature, a little extra help of some sort is required. This can be a live-in nanny or au pair for the young, or a nurse or family caregiver for the more mature.

With a multi-gen home, there is no guessing or trying to make room for the caregiver: a suite is already available. This private space will allow the caregiver to live their own lives while being entwined in the lives of those they have been hired to assist.

Knowing that a caregiver is right on hand 24/7 can give those being cared for and their families more piece of mind, when compared to a caregiver who just visits during certain hours of the day. It also makes life easier for the caregiver, saving them travel time and providing a comfortable place for them to stay near the family.


Better Than a Guest Room

Multi-gen homes are also perfect for those who often have guests come to stay, especially if their visits are longer than just a night or two. Couches don’t need to be turned into beds. Living rooms don’t need to be turned into bedrooms. And no one needs to give up their room to a guest.

For this use, think of a multi-gen home as always having a guest suite available. By being set separate, it offers your guests a little privacy while always making them feel at home with the rest of the household. They can come and go with ease, sleep in when they want, be with the family on their own schedule, and feel well cared for to boot.

The best way for us to demonstrate how well a multi-gen home can work as a guest room (as well as the other uses above) is to showcase one of our multi-gen homes. This way, you can see an example of the features you can expect in a multi-gen home by Miller & Smith and how they will enhance the lives of those living in them.


Exploring a Multi-Gen Home by Miller & Smith

The Bradburne Multi-Gen at Patapsco Crossing has been expertly and conscientiously designed to give more space, comfort, flexibility, and joy for not only your immediate family, but also your extended family, holiday guests, and other stay-over visitors.

We start with the additional 1-car garage, providing your guests with their own parking space as protected as the ones in your 2-car garage. There’s also an optional door on the 1-car garage which could give your guests their own keyed entry into the home.

The garages both enter the main home in the family foyer. A closet there is roomy enough for everyone’s coats and there’s also plenty of extra space for other organizational options (bench, lockers, etc.) to hold things like boots and umbrellas.

Exiting the family foyer is where the magic of the multi-gen home truly shines. To the left, the rest of the main floor can be accessed: the grand kitchen, entertaining room, dining room, and stairs to go up to bedrooms and down to a super-spacious recreation room. Straight ahead, though, is the doorway to the multi-gen suite.

Inside, there is a very roomy bedroom with an attached sitting room. A walk-in closet put everything within reach, be it the clothes and suitcases of your temporary guests or the full wardrobe of your live-in family members. And next to the closet door is the door to their private full bathroom.

And from this suite, they’ll easily be able to access the kitchen and other areas of the house while you are upstairs in your primary suite. They will have all the autonomy they desire and all the immediate shared spaces (for guests) or assistance (for live in nannies and caregivers) they need.

The best way to learn more about a multi-gen home by Miller & Smith is to come for a tour! Contact us today, because one visit really can change everything: especially when you are a family that needs just a little bit more!