Why More First-Time Home Buyers Are Doing the “Uncool” Thing: Living With Their Parents
They have an important reason.
Published Feb 18, 2023 1:44 AM
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It wasn’t that long ago that moving in with your parents or grandparents as an adult was seen as sad. Now it’s the thing to do, especially if you’re looking to purchase your first home. It’s no secret that skyrocketing interest rates were a major barrier to entry for house hunters in 2022, but a recent report has revealed a work-around that some savvy shoppers are taking advantage of. According to a survey from the National Association of Realtors, more and more new buyers are embracing multigenerational homes (over the past year, it’s reached 14 percent—an all-time high since the peak of the pandemic). The reason? Twenty-eight percent of respondents who are leaning into living with family cited cost savings. Whether you’re coming together temporarily for financial reasons or just for love in the long run, interior designer Cathie Hong, who recently designed a friend’s home to accommodate three generations, shares a few tips for bringing the whole crew together comfortably.
Divide and Conquer
Properties that have an ADU are ideal, but in homes that don’t, Hong suggests providing aging parents their own “wing” of the house if possible to offer a bit more privacy and a noise barrier. Hong embraced the multigen movement herself for six months when she, her spouse, and their four kids moved into her parents’ home while they renovated their place. In order to keep the peace, they divided the house into two zones outside of the bedrooms. Her parents took the family room, where they could quietly read/chat, while Hong and her family used the formal living room as their play–slash–movie-watching hub. “It was chaotic at times,” she says. “But it worked well to establish boundaries and expectations from the get-go.”
Find Common Ground
In Hong’s setup, the kitchen, breakfast nook, and formal dining area were communal spaces where everyone could come together for meals. But sharing has to go beyond designating zones: Part of their agreement to keep things fair was also splitting cooking responsibilities every other week.
Be Intentional With Color
When it came to decorating her client’s home for eight, the trickiest thing for Hong was trying to marry the homeowners’ and their parents’ aesthetics. “I tried to keep things a bit more traditional in the common spaces,” the designer says. Their long dining table, for example, blends a classic shape with unexpected details like slatted legs. Meanwhile in the kids’ bathroom, pastel pink paint (pictured above) and cloud-print wallpaper give the littlest members of the household a place that feels all theirs.