Inside this 5,188-square-foot multigeneration house, designed by BSB Design, and built by Meritage Homes, traditional styling gives way to spare modernism. Also, the colors are unusual, and the overall ambiance is one of calming, quiet grace. That’s not usually the case with a house displayed for the International Builders Show.
The Orlando show-home displayed, demonstrates the traditional “Florida Mediterranean” style encountered throughout the state, but with some major differences. To the casual observer, the first indication that there’s something different about the “reNEWable Living Home” are the colors on the outside.
The hard-to-see feature: five geyser-type fountains that sit atop a 20-foot-long, five-step spillway on the far side of the swimming pool. When turned on, this feature creates a mini-waterfall that can be mesmerizing. Even better, it has health benefits – gazing at moving water is good for your brain.
The fountains and mini-waterfall also provide calming background noise.
At night, the fountains can perform five light shows with nine colors. Spillways with fountains and programmed light shows have become increasingly popular pool features in Florida, although more for their “wowness” than their calming effects.
Turning into the house, the visitors find the same calming color scheme extending to the spacious 840-square-foot first-floor master suite. They might also notice that ‘calming’ is a good description for the rounded shape of the white, free-standing Kohler Ceric Series tub in the master bathroom.
The first floor has a second bedroom suite, and a back stair leading up to a separate one-bedroom apartment. Here the palette is darker and more masculine to differentiate this space from the rest of the house. The scale of its areas also distinguishes the room.
The apartment connects to the rest of the second floor, which has three more bedrooms that open onto a large game room with a bar and food-serving area and a huge laundry room.
Although indeed an unusual house for the average homeowner, how does the reNEWable Living Home stack up as a home for a multigeneration family?
It meets the needs of the hypothetical household around whom the house targets; a family with parents, grandparents, younger children and an older adult child.
The home gives builders an idea of what a multigeneration dwelling might look like. Their next question is: how many home buyers fit this profile? A more significant number than their overall share of the U.S. population.
According to the 2018 National Association of Realtors Home Buyer, it’s only 13 percent. However, this varies by region. In areas with high housing costs interest in multigeneration housing is increasing among all groups of buyers.
Also, differing cultural traditions among multigeneration households can affect their preferences in floor plan configurations. This is demonstrated in the reNEWable Living Home plans.
With some modifications, houses designed for multigeneration households can have broader market appeal. Places where local zoning allows accessory dwelling units (ADUs), for example, small rental apartments can be incorporated into the main house. What would need to change? The multigeneration suite would need an outside entrance, a dedicated parking space, and a small kitchen.