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Originally published April 28, 2007 at 12:00 AM | Page modified April 28, 2007 at 2:00 AM

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More houses are being built for multigenerational living

When homebuilders and architects look to the future, they see people like Marc and Gail Scott and Vernon and Marla Alexander. The Scotts share a...

McClatchy Newspapers

FRESNO, Calif. — When homebuilders and architects look to the future, they see people like Marc and Gail Scott and Vernon and Marla Alexander.

The Scotts share a house with their adult children and grandchildren; the Alexanders live with Marla's elderly father. Both families, faced with a space crunch and determined to keep their households together, found their answers in one of the newest design trends — second living quarters.

The Scotts moved in December into the Windrose, a 3,900-square-foot house that builders Wathen-Castanos designed in development called Harlan Ranch near Clovis, Calif.

Marc and Gail Scott share the main master suite; a daughter and son-in-law share a second suite that has a living room, dining room and kitchen off a bedroom, bathroom and walk-in closet; and the grandchildren, who are ages 3 and 7 months, have their own rooms.

Previously shared

They previously shared a 2,100-square-foot house, but the addition of baby Abigail prompted the search for bigger quarters.

"We had been looking for a while," Gail Scott said. "The Windrose suited us perfectly. We love it."

The Alexanders found a similar solution in Fresno builder Granville Homes' La Mirada model. It features a master suite upstairs and a guest suite downstairs. Marla's 74-year-old father will claim the downstairs space, which contains a bedroom, shower, walk-in closet and private entrance.

Marla and her husband are living in her father's house while the new one is being built in southeast Fresno. "He has his own master suite and we didn't want him to feel like he was being taken out of his element," she said.

Trend foreseen

Experts say the popularity of additional living quarters will grow as baby boomers age. Increasingly, they will want to provide a safe environment for their parents or for their adult or teenage children. The growing number of blended families also is a factor.

A recent survey by the National Association of Home Builders found that 62 percent of the architects sampled said they expect second master suites to increase by 2015 in custom and upscale homes, according to Rose Quint, an association spokeswoman.


Kevin Mulligan of Image Homes in Fresno has had three requests for such designs in the last two weeks at the company's Fig Garden Estates neighborhood.

"One couple drove up today totally out of nowhere," he said last week, "and asked about a second master suite."

The McCaffrey Group is including two master suites as an option at its new Madison Place neighborhood in Fresno.

The plan is an expanded version of a guest suite that McCaffrey offers at other projects. The new plan has its own foyer, living area, two walk-in closets, two sinks at the vanity and an oval soaking tub and separate shower.

Veteran builder Leo Wilson of Fresno offers dual suites at his new Barclay Square neighborhood at Harlan Ranch. He's found that most buyers use the extra space as a game room, but he said the concept isn't really new; it's just that changing demographics are providing a new catalyst.

Wilson said he has built many custom homes with dual suites to accommodate spouses who snore or who have different work schedules.

Builders such as The McCaffrey Group are responding. "We're trying to accommodate the various lifestyles of our buyers," said Karen McCaffrey, vice president.

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