You are surely familiar with Mother’s Day celebrated in May, but did you know that there’s another national day set aside just to celebrate the mother-in-law? The fourth Sunday in October is designated National Mother-in-Law Day and in 2021 it falls on October 24. This national day’s purpose is to honor all that a mother-in-law does to support their children’s families. So, on this day, we pay honor to the special woman who brought the love of your life into this world. 

In the housing construction industry, the term “mother-in-law” suggests a related subject: a mother-in-law house. A “mother-in-law house” or “in-law suite” is a small, apartment-like living space specifically designed for the long-term stay of a family member. These dwelling units are located on the same property as the single-family home, either as a separate structure or as an independent space under the same roof.

As the name implies, the resident of the dwelling unit is usually the homeowner’s parent. The goal is to enable multiple generations of family to live in the same house while respecting everyone’s privacy and independence, promoting intergenerational living. While the concept is old, it is getting new traction with a growing trend. The number of households in the U.S. with multiple generations living together has been steadily rising from 7% in 2011 to 26% in 2021 ( 

A Growing Trend

Most of the U.S. housing was built as single-family homes, which now provides a challenge for families seeking to live together. Currently, one out of every four American adults live with more than one generation under the same roof. If you are looking to combine your family into one home, this is an opportunity to add value to your property by building or renovating to create an independent space.

There are many reasons to create a mother-in-law suite on your property. The most popular reason, as mentioned above, is intergenerational living – having a parent or adult child live with you. As the cost of living and housing prices increase, families are making accommodations to house an elderly parent. Young adults continue to live with their parents rather than moving into a separate residence. And while family members may desire to live together for both closeness and cost savings, everyone still wants privacy and independence.

Things to Consider

So then, what things should you consider when building an in-law house or suite? The primary needs of the space are comfort and privacy. While the family member will live closely on the same property, there should still be some separation to allow for independence. The size of your unit will depend on the available land to build on, space inside the home that can be reconfigured, and the local regulations of your city or county. As you plan out the construction of this in-law suite, also consider other great uses to repurpose this space when it is not occupied, such as a private office for working at home or as a short-term rental for vacationers.

Depending on your home or land, the size of a comfortable unit can range from 300 to 1,000 square feet. The floor plan typically includes a small living room, kitchen, bedroom, and private bathroom. The most significant feature that truly makes the dwelling space independent is a private entrance. A design with all these features also makes a great guest house.

When you look at your options to build, consider the possibilities:

  • Build a separate structure on the property
  • Reconfigure a detached garage or existing structure
  • Build an addition to the house
  • Finish the basement
  • Remodel the existing floorplan inside the home

A walk-out basement or ground-level addition that has an exterior door makes a perfect private residence and may eliminate the challenge of stairs for an elderly parent.

How Turnkey Homes Can Help

The best way to get started on this intergenerational living project is to determine what can be built on your property. Turnkey Homes is a custom home builder and experienced remodeler in the Appleton-Green Bay area. With our experience in renovating and building home additions, we can help you create the perfect in-law house or suite to accommodate your family. Give us a call to discuss building your custom mother-in-law house, a home addition, or renovating your property. Reach us at (920) 470-4315 or contact us through our website at