The granny annex trend is far from being a new one. Its origins date back to the Victorian era, where English, Scottish, as well as Welsh families, we’re building them for the widow of the estate owner. This means that if you were a rich widow in that period, you would let your children live in the main house together with their family. Still, they would, in return, build you an annex where you could continue to live on the property you have been using for years while still being able to keep your privacy.
Nowadays, granny annexes are becoming more and more popular, especially for families that want to keep their elders close and not move them into an elderly care facility. Besides being able to care for your parents or in-laws when they can no longer live independently, granny annexes are also an affordable option for those who don’t want to care for two houses at the same time. Your relatives can sell or rent their property and come and live with you in a newly-built annex.
Many people fear to invest in building a granny annex because they won’t have any use for it once their elders are no longer with them. However, this is not something to worry about, and I want to show you the many uses a granny annex can have and why these fantastic investments are worth it.
What You Need To Know About Building A Granny Annex
Before we discuss the many ways that you can use a granny annex, there are some things you need to keep in mind when building one.
An annex is adjoined to the main house, meaning all the facilities, such as sewage, electric power, and heating systems, will be connected to the main system. This is why you need to build the granny annex close to the house, to be able to connect everything without monumental costs. Being an addition to the main house, it means that it will have the same address and can not have a different house number.
Based on your local laws, you will most certainly need to apply for planning permission, to be able to build an annex, but do check with the local planning authority to make sure you comply with the regulations.
Usually, granny annexes have a bedroom, a living room, and a kitchen area, as well as a bathroom. All the space is necessary for one or two people to live comfortably. Of course, no one is going to tell you to limit the construction to just that, but since we are talking about an annex, you need to make sure the building is smaller than your main house; otherwise, the plan may be refused by the authorities.
Now that you have a better idea of what it takes to build a granny annex let’s move on to the uses you can have for it.
Have Your Elders Move-In
The primary purpose of a granny annex is to have your elder relatives move in closer to you so that you can care for them. Based on their needs, you can furnish the annex pretty much like you would a normal house.
The keyword when it comes to furnishing and interior decorating for senior citizens is a comfort. Soft textures, comfortable couches, and beds, maybe even a recliner so they can relax or take a nap in front of the tv. Make sure the rugs are non-skid, to avoid tripping and falling and that you install the furniture at a proper height so that they can easily reach whatever they might need.
Let them bring their personal touch into the decorating of the house. After all, they are going to be the ones inhabiting it. Making sure they feel at home is the purpose of this, after all.
Turn It Into A Guest House
A granny annex is, basically, a guest house, so turning it into an actual place where friends and family can stay when visiting is not hard at all. This way, you can still enjoy each other’s company, while at the same time giving some privacy if they want to relax or spend some time on their own.
Choose some neutral décor and furniture, to make sure they will feel comfortable, but not overwhelmed by an abundance of pastels, or darks. For the amenities, make sure you have a bathroom, and maybe a small dining area. You can also build a small kitchen area, but that is optional.
A guest house can easily be put up for rent on websites such as Airbnb, especially if tourism is high in the area. Or, you can rent it to students, if you live near a university campus.
Turn It Into A Home Office
If you are working from home, instead of locking yourself up in the bedroom, or a small office, why not turn the granny annex into a fully functional office space? Depending on your professional field, there are unlimited options that allow you to build an office, a workshop, maybe including a meeting area, to properly welcome clients.
Usually, a granny annex has a living room and a bedroom, so turning the bedroom into the actual office is the best option. The living area can become a meeting space, or a showroom if you have a business that requires displaying the products. A small kitchen with a coffee machine, a fridge for drinks, and some storage should be enough to fit anything you need to make clients feel comfortable.
Turn It Into A Separate Home For Your Kids
If your kids are growing up and starting to seek independence, be like the Beckhams and turn the granny annex into a house where they can live on their own. They should have all the amenities necessary to live independently of the main house.
In terms of decor, since it’s going to be their home, let them decide how to furnish and decorate it to make the place feel like their own. This is a chance for them to find out what living on your own is and what independence feels like. Of course, they will have you close for when they need you.