A granny annexe is the best solution for you to have the best of all worlds, enabling you to have your elderly parents close by and for you to have your privacy and comfort. Generally, they should be a single storey for some reasons, but the most important one is the fact that it’s easier to live in when mobility becomes hard. It is also much cheaper than a retirement home. With an annexe, your relatives can live there for as long as they want, without these retirement costs, with you in control of what happens. Of course, you can also have your elderly relative in your spare room, but this doesn’t leave any of you with much privacy. If you’re thinking of building a Granny Annexe for your relatives, here are some tips that can help make it a successful project.
Make A Pros And Cons List
You should take into consideration everything when you decide to build a granny annexe and talking to your family is the best thing you can do. However, it can be a bit complicated, giving the differences in opinions that sometimes arise.
For example, as mentioned above, it’s a much cheaper solution than a care home. In a lot of cases, the advantages of an annexe are that you can take care of your elders when necessary. Having an annexe and bringing the family closer together is a fantastic way to spend more time with all your family, no longer will you need to travel long distances to be together at essential events like Christmas and birthdays. It’s also beneficial in many other ways with everybody living close by, yet with their privacy intact and without having to worry about space if your house is not large enough to accommodate extra family members.
Another consideration is that you should think about what happens to the house you relatives used to live in. Often the old house is sold to provide provisions for the new annexe and to free up money that is locked in the old property. This can be complicated legally, considering who owns the old property, whether siblings are in agreement with the sale of the property, and how it might affect inheritance tax etc. in the future.
While thinking of adding a granny annexe to your home, you need to think about electricity, sewage, water accessibility and so on.
Usually, annexes use electricity from the main building supply, which means it will suffer modifications to be able to support all of it and not affect the comfort of either home. Otherwise, you could end up with a broken electrical system. So, even though it should be much cheaper than any other solution, you should seriously consider hiring an expert in this domain, because this is not just like any other garden building, it’s a home.
Water and sewage shouldn’t be a problem either, because you already have them in your existing building. However, if you build the granny annexe far away from the main building, then you will have to factor in the extra cost of increased groundworks and labour. Buildings that are proposed a long distance from the main building might not be accepted by planning permission, which is another important consideration. If sewage is not possible on your property, due to a rural location or unsuitable land, then you could also think of installing a septic tank or linking the annexe’s sewage to an existing septic tank.
An annexe is another home that is to be lived in, all be it smaller and easier to build, but you usually need planning permission first, and you need it to be approved by your local planning authorities. This building should have strong enough foundations, be the correct size proportionally to the amount of land available, be under a certain height and be designed so that it fits into its local surroundings. You should think about how many people will live there and if you need to have a one-bedroom or 2 bedroom granny annexe. A kitchen and a bathroom are required and also a living space. As it’s smaller than a regular house, you should take advantage of every possibility to include storage space. Ease of access is also an issue you should think about because even though your elders may still be in great shape and able to take care of themselves, there will be a time when the most straightforward actions such as walking from a place to another would be hard or impossible. So, take into consideration the possibility of adding specialised equipment and make the doors wider so it would be easier to pass from one room to another in a wheelchair.
Design And Decorations
First of all, a granny flat will need a lot of natural light (it’s important for both physical and mental health). Velux skylights, bi-folding doors, or French doors are a great way to facilitate this. Think to include a small workspace or a reading area, a desk or an office. Having doors that open onto an attractive garden will help create a pleasant space to live in and will connect the annexe to the main house.
Storage spaces, as mentioned before, are an important consideration, so think about having multipurpose furniture like a bed with drawers, or tables with additional storage. Every corner should have spaces for storing belongings. Cupboards should be easily accessible, with pull out drawers with enough room for pots and dishes. Make all the space useful by adding baskets, a hanger, or a stool that can turn into a box and so on.
Turn It Into A Comfortable, Welcoming Space
Elders don’t usually leave their houses quickly, so the annexe you’re building for them should make them feel at home. Please include them in your discussions and decisions and help them cope with the change they’re about to make. Welcome them to your home and make them feel comfortable. It’s important to support them at any time and make them feel useful. The granny flat is not just any annexe, it’s a home for them, and it should have everything they need.