8/09/2017 | 3 mins read

A house for all ages

The average age of Ireland’s first-time buyer is now 33, this is according to Real Estate Alliance (REA) who are predicting that this figure is going to rise in the years to come.

The challenges faced by young people in buying their first home coupled with very high rent prices means renting or buying are simply not an option and they are left with no choice but to move back home to live with their parents.

At the other end of the age spectrum the elderly are living a lot longer and as many struggle to live on their own it is becoming far more common for elderly parents to move in with their children for support.

All of this is placing far more demands on the family home, which needs to be able to adapt to cope with this kind of multigenerational living. It’s important to plan changes carefully  to ensure your home works for everyone otherwise you might find that it becomes an incredibly stressful place to live.

Making these changes can be easier than you think. And there are a number of things you can do to gain extra space while at the same time creating semi-private and private spaces so everyone doesn’t fall out!

An attic conversion is a great way to gain an additional bedroom for children moving back in. If your parents are moving in you might want to consider a ground floor extension.


It’s a great idea to treat these new rooms like more of a hotel suite rather than a straight forward bedroom. Having a sepadditional bedrooms are designed to feel a bit like hotel rooms so they have their own en-suite bathroom, little seating/living area, their own TV and their own small desk and maybe even tea and coffee making facilities. If you want to give your kids or parents even more independence you can even design in a small kitchenette so they can cook small simple meals for themselves without having to use the main kitchen in the house.

Adding a new basement under your home, which is very much an ‘out of sight space’ is another great way of creating self-contained accommodation. You may also be able to provide a secondary entrance into the space from your front garden depending on the planning regulations in your borough. This is a brilliant way of your kids being in the same house, but in their own space beneath you, but new basements can be quite expensive.

If you can’t afford to add any significant amount of extra space to create your multi-generational home, then by simply adding en-suite bathrooms to existing bedrooms and creating small additional living/TV spaces away from the main living room can be enough for either your kids or parents to escape to can be enough for people to have their own privacy. Just think of how a small B+B works in a standard house type and you’ll begin to understand how to redesign your rooms.

Swap a bath for a shower 
Trade in your bath or, if you have the space, upgrade your shower for a large walk-in version with a low-profile or flush-to-floor tray, which will offer easy, step-free access.

‘Walk-in showers with seats look stunning and are easy to use,’ says Julia Bunbury. If you are not a fan of plastic fold-down seats, consider a wide tiled ledge that blends in with the wall tiling.

You may also like: