Adapting Your Home To Your Changing Lifestyle

The topics of healthcare and economy have a distinct impact on home remodeling and construction in ways you may not initially consider.  A Pew Research Center analysis of Census Bureau data showed that more adults are living in multi-generational households than at any time since the 1950s.  Along with that, rather than move multiple times through the years, many people are choosing to “grow with” their home by converting spaces and making accommodations to fit their changing needs. 

As many older people live longer, they may want to adapt their home to better fit their needs such as adding a walk in shower, hand railings, access ramps and additional lighting.    In some cases, families may have older relatives moving in with them and require the build out of an additional bedroom, mini kitchen or bath.  

With a fluctuating economy and job market, some parents are finding their adult children, perhaps even with a spouse and child, returning home to live for extended periods of time. A recent study found that 39 percent of adults ages 18 to 34 say they have had to move in with their parents in recent years, according to a Pew study. 

The need for home plans to accommodate more than one family unit in a single home is one that is expected to continue to grow.  As with all renovations, approach the job with a plan.   

Step one is to do a real assessment of your house and identify expected need. You want to make sure you have a comfortable space for everyone that is accessible, multi-functional and provides a bit of privacy.  It’s important for everyone to have personal space whether it be a room or even a closet to call their own. Some considerations for your family may be;

  • Opening up rooms by expanding doorways or removing walls to provide a more open floor plan.  This promotes higher visibility and better traffic flow of children, adults and those that may use walkers / wheelchairs. 
  • If you have a kitchen and separate dining room, by removing a dividing wall you will find that the dining room because more functional and will likely become the “gathering spot” for everything from hobbies to homework. 
  • Consider establishing first-floor bedrooms, bathrooms or perhaps a lift device if a downstairs bedroom and bath is not an option.
  • Adjustable lighting with dimmer controls are great for elders whose vision may require more light as they age.
  • In the kitchen, multi-level countertops and storage units allow easier access for those who use wheel chairs / walkers.  
  • In the bathroom, walk in showers, hand rails and adjustable shower heads are great for everyone.  

When your initial “wish list” is complete, talk to a contractor and get an idea of the potential costs.   This will help you set some spending parameters and, through discussions with your contractor, look at options to maximize your budget.  As you consider the options, make sure you speak with a local building inspector or planning department to ensure your planned expansion meets local ordinances.  In some cases, if you can’t build as planned, you may be able to get a variance that will allow you to move forward even though you don’t meet the current guidelines. 

Finally, talk to a local realtor about your plans.   If you should decide to move at some point, you want your renovations to add value to your house and not detract.   When thinking about the changes and your home’s value, look at renovations that are adaptable and multi-functional. Consider speaking with a local architect about your project to make sure and additions are well designed and integrated into the design of your house.

When looking at building on to your home, you’ll have a lot to consider and you want to make sure you do it right the first time.   Talk with area builders, designer and experts.  Doing the proper research and looking at options can take three to five months, but it is time well spent to have a design that meets your needs and provides value in years to come.   

If you are considering adding on to your current home, whether to accommodate additional family members or to give yourself some added space, talk to us.  We have over a dozen years’ experience in renovations and expansions throughout southeastern Wisconsin.   Our staff of designers and contractors can develop a plan to fit your family’s budget and needs.    

For a free consultation and more on Pipkorn Construction, call us at 414 916 4642 or visit our website at