COLUMBUS, Ohio– Multiple generations of families living under the same roof is the new norm these days. In fact, at least one in five Americans live in a home that's multi-generational. Here in Ohio, architects see the trend mainly in rural and suburban areas, with some adding on entire apartments to accommodate relatives. 

  • Some families add on one room, while others add one bedroom apartments
  • More than 60 million Americans live in multi-generational housing
  • Reasons for renovating or building homes this way include cost savings and easier care for loved ones

Living with family has become one of the best solutions for a number of people looking to retire, save money, and spend more time with family. Architects here in Ohio say they are seeing an increasing demand for those who are wanting to build or even renovate their homes for multi-generational purposes. While living with your family doesn't always work out so well, it is working for some families. Donna Young and her family are one of many.

Better known as Donni, Young showed us her Columbus apartment that's just over one thousand square feet. She said, "It's just like my home. I brought everything with me, all my antiques, all my things. So, I have my own dining area. I have my kitchen. What I call a kitchen cause I don't cook." She's even got her own bathroom, laundry, and an entire storage closet that holds all of her knitting materials. Young lived in Florida for 50 years, working in corporate America and then left to run a knitting business for 20 of those years. She said, "I decided it was time to retire, and my family, I never got to see 'em, so my niece said come home, Aunt Donna." Coming home initially meant Young finding her own condo in the Columbus area, but that plan changed when her family decided to renovate their home and add a second story just for her. She said it allowed her to keep "My mother's antique's like one of the most important things I ever wanted to keep....was here...I got to bring it home and here it is. I have everything with me that I wanted."  

Stepping out on the balcony, Young says it took lots of conversations with family before making a move, but it turned out to be the best decision she made. She said, "Never would have thought I would be here. I thought I'd live out my life in Florida. A Florida girl coming back to Ohio is like unthinkable." But not now, since life for the last two years has gotten even better. She said it feels like she just took her home in Florida and brought it to Ohio.

Closing a few doors, so the dogs don't get in, Young headed back down the hallway meeting her pooch Tucker who has his own hideaway​ too, before sitting down to knit. Young's move-in with the family has not only saved her money but brought her the comfort of family who she says is there to laugh with her, cry with her and hug her.

The idea of multiple generations living in one home is something architects say is a continuous upward trend across the US. More than 64 million families live under the same roof with two or more adult relatives. That's two and a half times the number of families from 1960.

Her niece Natalie Dick said renovating the home and having her aunt move in couldn't have been better. "It's just been fantastic having her here, letting the kids you know grow up with somebody from a different generation, hear all sorts of stories you know about her, and my dad growing up." She said the living situation works since the renovation, which includes a separate entrance to the home. It gives her aunt a sense of independence, allowing her to come and go as she pleases, yet still, be with family when she wants. Dick said, "There will be days where we don't see each other. I know it seems strange since we're in the same house, but you know we're each doing our own thing."

Back upstairs, Donna Young knits away. Enjoying the peace and quiet. She's not sure how things would have turned out had she not moved in, but she's glad she did. 

Young still sells her yarn to different companies and works at her convenience. She even makes time to go back to Florida when she gets ready. Research shows that families building or renovating homes are often creating multi-generational housing on top of garages, in alleyways, or with duplexes on the same lot.