CIH Blog: Adults with dependent children living elsewhere or non-dependent adult children, Cheryl Cragg

Pozzoni Architecture will be attending the upcoming Housing 2017 Conference and our Residential Team will be publishing an accompanying daily article based on our research into current UK household types. The pieces will consider how architects can create homes that both meet the needs of different family types and adapt to future changes, with each referencing a recently-completed Pozzoni project and including insight from members of the team.

 

Today, we consider an adult couple who have either dependent children living elsewhere or non-dependent adult children (either living in the household or elsewhere). We believe that intergenerational or blended families are a separate family-type and that the Office of National Statistics (ONS) annual report on families and households should recognise this.

There are two ways that this family-type (possibly with many family sub-types) is hidden in the current statistics. The first is that a couple with either dependent children living elsewhere or non-dependent adult children living in the household are considered the same as families that comprise of just a couple. The second is that, if an adult child marries or has a child of their own, they are not considered part of the same family (even if living under the same roof).

The critical issue with this family type is space, with the average three-bedroom property consisting of two double bedrooms and a box room, with one bathroom and maybe two living zones (a living room and a kitchen / dining room).

In an ideal intergenerational home, a secondary bedroom will need to be large enough to accommodate an adult, not just in which to sleep, but in which to relax and study / work also. They may also require a second en-suite or nearby dedicated bathroom. The bedrooms (or secondary living spaces) may also have to accommodate additional children or adults at key times (when children living elsewhere stay overnight or students return during holiday periods).

 

Bathrooms will be crucial, so as to allow separate washing spaces for the adult couple and the non-dependent children (including their spouse or partner and / or child).

Separate living space to allow different family groupings or activities will also be important. It would be unfair to assume that a household consisting of a couple with non-dependent children or potentially two families (a non-dependent child who has married or has a child who lives under the same roof) would want to share the same space all the time.

As this type of family becomes more popular due to the rising costs of both renting and buying a home, then new house types may need to be built to accommodate them.

 

Cheryl Cragg, Studio Administrator at Pozzoni Architecture, lives with her husband in a three-bed semi-detached house. Previously her daughter and grandchild lived with them permanently. Now her daughter and two young grandchildren often take residence with Cheryl from Thursday to Sunday to assist with her daughter’s working hours. ”A generation ago, children would leave their family home around their early 20s,” explains Cheryl. “Parents would then be able to have their own space and also have the potential to downsize, depending on their own needs or aspirations.

”Today, times have changed and there are many instances in my generation of parents with two adult children at home. This can be extremely difficult for the whole family and can certainly cause a lot of stress, pressure and disagreements, especially when queuing to use one bathroom in the morning and when adult ‘children’ who live in the box room use a bigger bedroom to change.

 

 

“As much as parents love their children, there comes a time in your life when you come home from work and you want to sit in your own space. You’ve worked for your home and you deserve this. Similarly, young adults reach a stage in their lives when they would like to come home and not be ‘nagged’ by their parents (therefore limiting their own independence and learning of key life-skills).

‘At home, we are bursting at the seams. We built a conservatory to give me and my husband a separate living space, to give ourselves the tranquil time we deserve. We have had to changeover the bedrooms to accommodate the extending second generation, but redecorating and re-planning has allowed us to get the most out of our house. However, this does not solve all the problems and it does end up feeling, for each member of the family in different ways, that we are confined in our own homes.”

Parker Street, Preston

At Parker Street Preston, for Community Gateway, we have designed a pair of bespoke family homes to suit a challenging, narrow site in a typical terrace environment. The plan provides a generous kitchen/diner/second lounge area, fully separated from the main living room, providing space for different generations to ‘do their thing’ with some privacy and personal space. In addition, the two large bedrooms can accommodate twin beds, with study/computer/TV spaces, and a third single bedroom can provide a more modest space for a younger child.

Externally the homes are two-storey to the street, but single storey to the rear, minimising the extent to which the properties overlook and are overlooked by adjacent houses.

The Housing 2017 Conference takes place from June 27-29. If you’d like to discuss any of the topics covered in this article, you can call Pozzoni on 0161 928 7848 or email: architects@pozzoni.co.uk.

*Based on the Office of National Statistics ‘Families and households in the UK: 2016’. Insufficient data is available for this family type(s).

June 30th — 2017