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Housing costs and COVID fears drive demand for multi-generational housing

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It is described as a “house within a house”, a multi-generational design that strikes the balance between “privacy and proximity”. As the idea of ​​multiple generations living under one roof returns, “it is an idea whose time has come.”

Builder Craig Marshall predicts that demand for the home-within-a-home concept will grow as families choose options other than nursing homes or retirement homes. Marshall Homes’ multi-generational design, the Flexhouz ™, resonated with buyers when it was recently included among potential designs in a Pickering enclave.

At approximately 900 square feet, the secondary suite is larger than many condos and features a kitchen, dining and living room, master bedroom, and bathroom. There is a fire rated lockable door between the two units, a requirement of the Ontario Building Code in homes with more than one kitchen. Zone heating means no fights over the thermostat.

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Design that accommodates multigenerational families is an urgent issue that all levels of government must address, says David DiGiuseppe of Q4 Architects, a national firm that specializes in residential design and community planning. The National Housing Strategy informs provincial planning policies, which in turn inform municipal policies and statutes, he says.

Necessary innovation

Consider the history of two cities in the greater Toronto area. In one, the desire to share homes has been “outgrowing” the legal framework that allows it, leading to numerous complaints about illegal or unregistered secondary suites or basement apartments. “Why, then, are these options infrequent?” DiGiuseppe asks.

“One reason may be the conservative nature of Ontario home developers combined with an unbridled housing market that does not demand innovation. Another factor that contributes to this lack of supply of resilient housing type may be the lack of government legislation to promote and enforce the development of this type of housing ”.

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Meanwhile, Markham’s Cornell Village developed around a network of streets in the back lane. “Pushing the garage towards the back of the house opens up tons of possibilities,” says DiGiuseppe, whose firm worked on the project. That includes creating secondary suites with façade on the rails in the form of coach housings over the garage or garden housings or level alleys.

Many Cornell residents use these secondary suites to house and share resources within a multigenerational family. Some use them as rental properties, which means that people can find affordable housing in the community in which they work, reducing the need for public transportation or driving.

Zoning statutes

“At this point, where there is not enough housing supply to meet the demand, the concern is whether the supply is appropriate in the first place,” Q4 says in a report. “There are many issues in the housing industry development framework, including zoning statutes that often limit a homeowner’s ability to add a legal sub-suite to their existing home or property.”

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His suggestions include zoning that allows for specially designed multi-generational units and creative ways to provide outdoor spaces, such as rooftop terraces and balconies. The fourth quarter also suggests reducing parking requirements so that secondary suites can replace garages, driveways and parking decks, changes facilitated by trends in ride and car sharing, more efficient transit and work from home.

“We are talking about designing garages first as living spaces and letting them exist as garages with the intention that the owner can at some point adapt them to a living space such as a media room, a game room or a storage space,” says DiGiuseppe. Insulating the exterior walls and pre-conditioning the garage with plumbing infrastructure, for example, would allow homeowners to adapt the space as their needs evolve.

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The Ontario government knows there is no “one size fits all” home, says Melissa Diakoumeas, a spokeswoman for the Ministry of Municipal Affairs and Housing. “This is why our government introduced More Homes, More Choices: The Ontario Housing Supply Action Plan, a plan that puts people first by supporting the development of all types of housing that meet the needs and needs of people. unique budget of people.

“An example is facilitating the construction of second units, such as basement apartments and upper garages. This provides more housing options for families, including multi-generational households ”. Meanwhile, his policies in A Place to Grow: Growth Plan for the Greater Golden Horseshoe, encourage municipalities to plan for communities with a diverse range of housing, including multi-generational housing, says Diakoumeas.

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Multi-generational housing design

Multigenerational housing anticipates changes in the life cycle of its users, says David DiGiuseppe of Q4 Architects.
Best practices include movable partitions, such as sliding doors, that easily transform a large room into two smaller spaces, meeting the competitive demands of open concept and private space. Straight-leg stairs rather than L- or U-shaped ones are better suited for stair lifts if needed along the way. Basements built as living spaces include safety features like windows that can be used as escape routes in an emergency, allowing legal basement bedrooms.
And the kitchen triangle? It just doesn’t work. “When appliances like the stove, sink and refrigerator are placed in an easily navigable triangle, it creates a conflict because there is often more than one person cooking,” says DiGiuseppe. Two kitchen islands and more space between an island and the countertop allow multiple cooks to move behind each other and operate different appliances with ease.

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Reference-torontosun.com

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