Across the country, many families are struggling with the same question: How can you best support aging family members when you live in a city with minimal housing options? Best Practice Architecture has offered a brilliant solution to multigenerational living and urban density.
The firm was hired by a Seattle homeowner to create Granny Pad: a 571 square foot detached dwelling transformed from an existing garage into a lofty, open living space. The project began when the client couldn’t find appropriate housing for “Granny”. With a growing family, they didn’t have enough space to accommodate her needs and maintain the privacy everyone in the family wanted. And with a shortage of affordable housing in Seattle, the option of moving to a larger house was out of reach.
Best Practice saw converting the client’s existing garage (previously used as storage) as the perfect solution. Design considerations included looking at a short-term and long-term timeline. Best Practice needed to address the immediate needs of the client, but they also considered future uses of the space as a possible rental unit, studio, or office. All in just 571 square feet.
To accommodate the decreased mobility associated with aging, the living area needed to be one level. The existing garage door was removed, and the old structure became the entry, kitchen and sitting room. Past that is the bedroom, closet with laundry and bathroom. A lofted space will be used as storage for now, but can be transformed into an office or sleeping loft in the future. Carefully placed windows and skylights provide lots of daylight and rafters were left exposed in the ceiling. All of these details come together to create a soaring, open feeling that makes the relatively small footprint of Granny Pad feel much larger.