Guest Suites, In-Law Units, and Duplex Plans

By Dan Gregory

A compact backyard cottage for in-laws or other relatives allows complete independence. Plan 890-3 by Nir Pearlson.

If you want your new home to accommodate in-laws or other long term guests, consider these basic options.

1. Build a plan that includes a separate guest suite that can double as an in-law unit. For example: 

Plan 479-8 puts the in-law/guest suite between the garage and the rest of the house, so there is a feeling of independence and the potential for a separate entry. 



Pan 56-565 makes the in-law suite accessible from the hall off the kitchen and the mud room off the garage.


Plan 493-1 includes a master suite on each of its three floors, along with an elevator, so the ground floor suite isn't the only option for aging relatives.


2. Build a duplex plan where the separate unit has a full kitchen and living area. For example:

Plan 23-2195 is a traditional design with an in-law unit that is a smaller version of the main house.


Plan 549-5 is a modern version of the duplex idea.


3. Build a separate backyard cottage or in-law unit. For example:

Plan 507-1 -- also shown at the top of this post -- is designed specifically for aging in place, all on one level with built-in grab rails and no steps.


Plan 890-3, shown at the top of this post, is a compact two-story backyard cottage.


10/30/2013