What to Consider When Building a Guest House Addition
Thinking about adding an in-law or guest suite to your property? Here are a few things to consider before breaking ground:
- How will it connect to the main house? If you’re building a structure that isn’t directly connected the original home, figuring out how the two will link is key. Will there be an enclosed or covered walkway? Will the two spaces share a courtyard? Design is important, of course, as you want the two spaces to flow seamlessly, but so is comfort and safety, especially if you have parents or in-laws with mobility problems.
- Will you need to incorporate aging-in-place details? If your parents or in-laws will be staying in this space permanently, it’s important to consider aging-in-place details that can help the transition into their new home feel comfortable and welcoming. Examples of these are grab bars around the shower or tub, ramps leading up to the suite, and slip-resistant floors. Finding a designer who is ADA or CAPS certified can help you make smart choices for your new suite.
- Does your municipality have zoning requirements? Some cities have restrictions regarding secondary dwellings on lots zoned for residential use. For example, they may require special approval for separate spaces that have a full kitchen, as it can be considered a second “home” on the property. Looking to avoid the hassle? Stick to smaller appliances like a coffee maker, an under counter fridge, a microwave, and a small sink. But no matter what you install, it’s best to check with your municipality’s permitting office beforehand to be sure you’re in the clear.
- How will you allow for privacy? Privacy is a pretty intuitive design feature to figure out, but nonetheless it’s still important to consider! Blinds and opaqued glass are a great option for windows and doors, but if you’re concerned about rambunctious kids or noisy pets keeping guests awake, sound-proofing might be a good consideration as well.
Of course, there are more “fun” things to mull over, like paint colors and linens and how to decorate the walls, but these questions are important and can help ensure that all of your guests (temporary or permanent) will have an enjoyable and comfortable experience.