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The Suite Way: Add Practical Livability to Your Home with an In-Law Suite

Nanny suites, in-law suites and home caregiver suites may go by different names, but they are all virtually the same: practical living spaces that allow you to live in your home comfortably for the long-term. A nanny suite that serves a young family with children can easily transition into a future in-law suite for elderly parents, and eventually, the same suite can become an in-home caregiver suite for the aging homeowners who want to age in place.

If you love your home and plan to stay in it for the long-term, an extra suite can serve many purposes with minimal alterations. In other words, a nanny, in-law or home caregiver suite is a smart and practical choice for your home. If you are interested in an in-law suite addition in Maryland, Washington, DC and Virginia area, the basement can be a viable option. Wentworth, Inc. has experience adding suites to home that maximize livability and make aging in place not only possible but extremely easy!

Murphy beds provide multipurpose use for basement suites

Murphy beds provide
multipurpose use for
basement suites

Murphy Bed for Basement Suite

Murphy beds are also an ideal space-saving solution
for suites

In-Law Suite Design Plans

In an ideal world, an extra suite would be constructed as an addition to your home, or even as a separate but adjacent building, budget permitting. Local zoning laws will determine what is allowed in your community, and if you are considering a suite addition to your home, your design-build team should walk you through your local regulations.

If you want the in-law suite to be built as an adjacent building, it is preferable to design it as a wing linked to the main house. The suite should have its own kitchenette, bath, bedroom and possibly a small living space, and it could be designed with as little as 400-500 square feet – about the size and cost of a small apartment. When the suite is constructed as a separate wing, it can have windows on three sides for the best natural light and ventilation.

In-Law Suite Options

Regardless of whether the in-law suite is an addition to your home or a separate building, a first floor location is ideal and practical. It will provide easier access for the older generations who may eventually occupy the suite. The suite’s design should also take into consideration the use of stairs and thresholds and minimize their use when possible in order to ensure the suite is livable for future aging in place. Any bath located in the suite should be equipped with a shower stall, grab bars and be sufficient for a walker or wheel chair to easily navigate.

Basement as In-Law Suite

A basement suite with
a kitchenette provides
tenants with necessary
living space and privacy

If you don’t have the land space, zoning option or budget to build a separate wing, it’s possible to utilize a basement for a nanny, in-law or home caregiver suite. Over the years, Wentworth has worked with numerous homeowners to successfully remodel basements to accommodate a nanny suite. As many homes have walkout basements, there is often ample natural light and easy access with fewer stairs. Any basement living space must meet certain requirements; for example, ceiling height must be 7’6”, and the bedrooms must have legally defined egress windows. Regardless of the restrictions, a basement suite will cost less than building an addition, and it will make use of underutilized space.

When it comes to building an apartment suite in your home, each project should be evaluated on a case-by-case basis. If and when all the stars align, your in-home suite could prove its worth over and over again throughout your lifetime. From a nanny suite where your live-in nanny can reside while looking after your growing children to an in-law suite for your aging parents to a live-in caregiver apartment for you down the road, you many never have to move from a home you truly love!

Call Wentworth today if you want to add a suite to your Washington, DC area home!

“ We had such a good experience with your studio that we are pleased to recommend Wentworth. We also hope to be back for other projects on our home. ”

D.S., Chevy Chase, MD
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240.383.1226