A college graduate seeking refuge in a tough economy. • An older parent who needs help getting around. • A single mom who wants room for an au pair. • No matter what the situation, more families today are considering home additions. • Since the end of World War II, American home lifestyles have tended to revolve around the nuclear family: parents and children living together in a single-family home. • Grandparents, aunts, uncles and cousins usually live in separate houses, often faraway. Guests who come to visit either use one of the kids' bedrooms, sleep on a pullout sofa or stay in a motel. • The standard houses built for this nuclear family have three bedrooms, 1 ½ to two baths and an attached garage with a yard. There is plenty of room, but not enough to comfortably accommodate friends or family who come for extended stays, whether by choice or by reason of a stressed economy. • The guesthouse is an architectural solution that can help families adapt to changing lifestyles. Though the concept has had many names — mother-in-law apartment, maid's quarters, carriage house — the basics are the same: bedroom, bathroom and kitchenette (or sometimes a full kitchen). The guesthouse can be attached to the main house or built next to or over an existing garage. • Here are some examples of dilemmas Tampa Bay homeowners have faced and how they added guest quarters as a solution.
Timothy Rhode is an architect in St. Petersburg. He can be reached at (727) 823-1566 or through his Web site, trhode.com.
Live-in au pair | Garage apartment
The woman who owns this property wanted to create space for an au pair (). A single parent raising twins, she had hired someone who would provide child care help in exchange for room and board and a small salary. She had no bedroom for the au pair to use. Her solution? Add space above an existing two-car garage (). This was done by installing columns within the existing garage walls to hold up new beams and framing that would support the second floor ().
Artist with adult kids | Studio, apartment
This project was done for a single woman who is an artist and teacher and whose children are grown and living out of town. She wanted to provide a nice space where her children would feel comfortable. She also wanted room for an art studio for herself. An existing single-car garage () was torn down and a new, larger one-car garage () was built with an art studio beside it and an apartment for her children on the second floor ().
For the boys, etc. | Going vertical
A couple with two boys entering their teens wanted to provide space for their sons to hang out with friends () and a place for out-of-town guests. They also wanted more storage space in an existing two-car garage (). The solution was to raise the ceiling in the garage to provide storage above the cars (), and add columns, beams and framing to support a new second-floor apartment/hangout space ().
Frequent guests | Apartment above garage
The owners of this property wanted to provide a space separate from their house for frequent out-of-town guests. They also wanted to expand an existing one-car garage to incorporate a laundry area. They chose to tear down the garage and build a larger one-car garage with concrete block walls. An apartment () built above the garage includes a wall bed (), a small bathroom, a kitchenette () and a cantilevered window seat () overlooking their yard.