The rise and rise of the granny annex
They were once the preserve of the older generation, dubbed the granny flat, to provide much needed accommodation for a dependent relative.
But the annex is making a welcome return to the home landscape as people look for new ways to adapt their properties to meet ever-changing needs.
We have seen a marked increase in the demand for annex designs in the last 12 months for our clients in Shropshire, Cheshire and beyond.
The so-called granny flat was all the rage in the 1970s and 80s but went off the radar in design terms over the past 20 years. But, as the way we live our lives has changed, so have our properties.
Demand now is for our homes to offer much more flexible living space and adding extra space or converting an existing outbuilding into an annex is the ultimate in flexibility.
In just one week recently, we had three enquiries purely about annexes. They were all to be created by either demolishing existing garages or converting outbuildings. All featured one to two bedrooms, a kitchenette, living room with links to a shared garden space for family time with open plan living and level access throughout.
So why has the humble annex suddenly made such a forceful return? There are a number of reasons, including the increase in multi-generational living in recent years.
With people living longer and care costs being so high, many people are opting for an annex as a way helping their parents remain independent for longer.
It’s a cost effective alternative to an expensive care home and it’s a smart move for mum and dad who can invest their cash in their child’s property, which would increase the property’s value in the long term.
An annex can also be a useful home from home for the younger generation who, with the property market showing no signs of slowing down, can’t afford to take their first steps on the property ladder without a sizeable deposit. What better way to save for your first home by living with your parents? An annex is the best solution for both generations so you’re not on top of one another.
There’s also an element of the costs and maintenance of existing family homes. People don’t want the hassle of maintaining large three to five bed properties that are only full two or three times of the year, when they can have a smaller property with a more practical annex.
Of course, once you’ve built your annex, there is no end to its possibilities. The growing popularity of sites like Airbnb and the increase in how much you can earn for renting room in your home before paying tax, make an annex a lucrative source of income.
Alternative uses include a home office, gym, a playroom for the kids, or room for a nanny or au pair.
Whatever you decide to do with your annex, building one is unlikely to be a decision you’ll regret. An annex ticks the boxes for so many reasons for the way we live today and design has moved on apace since granny flats were first on the cards.
We’re working on some really bold and innovative plans for our clients and we’d love to chat to you if an annex is an addition you’d like to make to your home.
This was a substantial new build home near Shrewsbury but the design brief included the requirement of an annex for parents to reside in.
We carefully considered this within the design to provide a more simplified subservient ‘wing’ to the main house to give that element of separation so all generations can live independently if they wish.
It features a kitchen diner, lounge, two bedrooms and bathroom which reflect the main body of the house so they could, if necessary, be incorporated back into the property at some later stage by any future owners.
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