Multigenerational living arrangements — where several generations of a family live under the one roof — have been popular in countries around the world for millennia. It’s only in recent times that the lifestyle has been gaining traction among Aussie households. 
 
In 2019, Metricon built more than 5,000 homes across VIC, NSW, Queensland and SA. Of those, at least 30 per cent of those homes were for Australian families needing to accommodate intergenerational households, including grandparents, parents and grandkids.  
 
According to Metricon design manager Ricky D’Alesio, demand for this way of living has risen significantly over the last five years, which he says is due to a combination of housing affordability and changing family values. 
 
A happy family practicing multigeneration living in Australia.
As both D’Alesio and the classic Australian TV drama Packed to the Rafters will testify, it’s becoming more and more common for children to stay in their family home for longer, and for people to want elderly family members at home rather than in aged care. 
 
Much of Australia’s migrant population also embraces multigenerational households, which are the norm in their country of origin. 
 
“There’s less financial pressure when there are more adults in the home,” D’Alesio says. “You have more people to help with childcare, share the load of cooking or shopping, and sometimes it allows people to afford a bigger or nicer home if they’re pooling resources.” 
 
Of course, it’s not all about the bottom line either. “Another reason for the growth in popularity is our desire to keep our loved ones close in today’s busy world,” he says. 
 

The second master bedroom in this family home.
Each master bedroom has its own ensuite.

Certain designs have two master bedrooms - one at each end of the home - both with their own ensuite.

 
Designing homes for multigenerational families 
 
So, what exactly does it take to accommodate multiple generations on one property? 
 
These days, about 70 per cent of Metricon’s home designs can be tailored to suit this popular way of life, so it’s safe to say we have a pretty good idea of what big families need. 
 
“One of the major concerns people have about multigenerational homes is living on top of each other. That’s not the case at all,” D’Alesio says. 
 
“We take space, privacy and amenities into consideration when designing our homes. Our most popular multigenerational homes are ones where most bedrooms, if not all, have their own ensuite and several distinct living areas.” 

A home with multiple sitting areas, so there's room for everyone.

Opt for homes with multiple living areas so everyone has a space to call their own.

 
Features of a multigenerational home 

  • Multiple living and sitting areas 
  • Dual ovens and butler’s pantries 
  • Plenty of bathrooms, and ensuites for all adult bedrooms 
  • Multiple master suites 
  • Ground floor rooms for older family members 
  • DualOcc properties (side by side or at rear dwellings) 
  • Nooks and quiet corners to read or study 

 
The common mistake that people make when building a multigenerational home? According to D’Alesio, it’s not allocating enough space for everyone who will be living there and not allowing for further growth of the family. 
 
“Before building a new multigenerational home, consider which option is right for you. Whether it’s one big family home or a duplex design, there are plenty of options available,” he says. 
 
Metricon has plenty of designs across its Freedom, Designer, Signature and DualOcc ranges that can accommodate different generations living in one home. 
 
Single storey homes such as the Langdon 32 have two master suites, one opposite a living space, making it easy to segment or make private from the rest of the homeDouble storey homes like the Glendale and the Savannah have up to four living spaces so that there’s room for everyone to relax. 
 
Dual Occupancy homes are also a great option for people looking for multigeneration living with the autonomy of private residences. 
 A dual occupancy home with a white weatherboard look.

Choosing dual occupancy allows you to stay close to your family without sharing the same spaces.

 
And for those homeowners who shudder at the idea of living with their parents once again, D’Alesio says it can never hurt to at least factor your extended family into your new home. 
 
“You never know how circumstances might change, and having family move in with you is a great way to cater for unexpected situations,” Ricky says. 
 
“Even if you simply opt for an extra bedroom or ensure that there are enough bathrooms for growth – you don’t have to change your plans completely.” 
 

The Langdon 32 in Werribee, Victoria – an example of a multi-generational home with two master bedrooms.

 
D’Alesio’s three golden rules of multigenerational homes:     

  1. Ensure there is a main bedroom and bathroom on the ground floor, so elderly family members do not have to travel up and down the stairs.     

  1. Build a home with at least two living spaces. That way, you aren’t living on top of each other in the one living space, and there’s less fighting over the television!            

  1. You don’t necessarily have to be in the same home – you can opt for a dual occupancy home so that you’re on the same land but still have your own space, garage and front door. 

 
Metricon builds homes in Australian cities Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane and Adelaide, and in regional hubs across VIC, NSW, QLD and SA.