It is customary in many countries for generations of families to live together. Many times grandparents move in with families and help take care of the kids. In exchange, elders get the love and care they need for their tired bodies. Because Americans tend to break the traditions of their ancestral homelands but still care for their elders, they’ve adapted a new way of “multi-generational” living. This new adaptation goes by many names but allows for families to stay close while maintaining their own space.
What is a “Granny Pod”?
A couple in Seattle designed a small home in their backyard known as the “granny pod” for their aging loved ones. Because most retirees live on a fixed income there are limited places where they can live. The rising cost of competitive housing rates in larger cities are not feasible for someone on a fixed income. However, the desire to be near children and grandchildren increases with age so many younger couples looking for homes with an in-law unit, or enough space on the property to design and build their own version. These add-on apartments are typically designed with features that make elderly living more manageable.
What Motivated the Change?
At 66 years old, Meredith Stannard and her life partner Elyse Zandonella, aged 69, chose to downsize from their 1,300 sq ft home into a smaller, 613 sq ft cottage in the backyard of their daughter’s house. Drew, Meredith’s daughter, shares her home in Seattle with her husband Jacob. The couple, aged 33 and 37 decided to knock down an old 1960’s garage. In its place, they had constructed a tiny 600 sq ft cottage for the elderly couple to move into.
Meredith retired from her job in West Seattle and wanted to stay near the people she loves most. Elyse and Meredith began planning for retirement and agreed that they would need to eliminate a mortgage payment in order to live comfortably and still travel the way they wanted to. They still have a vacation home in Cape Cod, Massachusetts, where the elderly couple chooses to spend their summer months. Because Drew is an only child and very close to her mother, the retired couple wanted somewhere with access close by. The “granny pod” was the perfect solution!
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Finding the Perfect Home.
Drew and Jacob found an adorable home built in 1910 to purchase. They believed at first that the property was too small to add an additional unit to. However, after many discussions between each couple, and a few group chats, they came to the conclusion that the garage built in the 1960s could go. This would give them the space they needed to create a cozy little space for Meredith and Elyse to enjoy their years in retirement together.
It was of the utmost importance to everyone that Jacob was on board and comfortable with the decisions being made. When he gave his approval, it was time for deconstruction to begin. After it was clear that everyone involved was on board, they contacted an architect and began to design the adorable little cottage.
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