Industry Insights

Family-Style Indoor-Outdoor Living

An indoor living and dining room seamlessly transitions to a backyard living space through a multi-slide glass door.

Multi-slides give multi-generation households space to be together.

Having multiple generations under the same roof requires some thoughtful design – family members need a communal space, but also privacy. A connection to the outdoors has become a desirable component of these homes and is a growing post-pandemic trend as owners strive for a healthful home.

Even before the pandemic, multigenerational living was a growing trend and today, one in five people live in a home with a combination of adult children, their parents, and grandchildren, according to the U.S. Census.

Ken Perlman, principal of John Burns Real Estate Consulting, told the Las Vegas Business Press that coronavirus has had a big impact on the growing resurgence of multigenerational living, as people want the safety of having older family members in their homes instead of group homes or living alone, lessening their isolation from social distancing – and that younger adults dealing with economic fallout from the pandemic are also moving back home with their parents.

Builders are responding to this need. Toll Brothers, Meritage Homes, Ashton Woods Homes, D.R. Horton, Lennar, and Kolter Homes are among the companies working with architects to design homes built specifically for multiple generations – and indoor-outdoor living is key component. These floor plans call for flexible spaces that can fulfill multiple purposes, communal areas for gatherings, and separate entrances and suites for privacy.

For example, in the ReNEWable Living Home in the Orlando, Florida area, the collaborative team of Meritage Homes, BUILDER magazine, and BSB Design wanted to create a multi-generational home with a floor plan that evolves with the household and the comings and goings of various family members.

At the heart of the home is a Series 7600 90-Degree Multi-Slide Door, which opens the dining and great rooms of the house to a covered outdoor living space. The moving wall of glass facilitates fresh air flow throughout the family home and creates an outdoor gathering area for all generations.

“Meritage’s multi-generational approach to home design and its focus on creating a healthy, renewable environment is certainly complemented by the outdoor living spaces they have created using our Series 7600 Multi-Slide,” says Chet Willis, Western Window Systems’ vice president of production builder sales.

Digital media company Elemental Green praised the ReNEWable Living Home design, writing, “The multi-generational floor plan – featuring independent living quarters flowing into open communal spaces – anticipates the needs of today’s families, enhances individual dignity, and enables connection.”

Though multi-slides can be impressive in size (up to 9 and a half feet tall and 8 feet wide), they’re easy for anyone to operate, including senior family members. They also bring the security of a stainless steel, multi-point lock system and the energy efficiency of low-E, argon-filled, dual-paned glass. Using multi-slide doors in multigenerational homes design can help builders stand out from the competition with highly functional and aesthetically appealing indoor-outdoor living options for every generation, Willis says. “The energy efficient design, structural performance, and smart-lock technology of our multi-slide doors perfectly complement the contemporary design and performance needs of multigenerational home design.”