The Ultimate Beach House, as Coastal Living’s 2011 Idea House is also known, is now open for tours in East Beach Norfolk. Wanda and I are very excited to have designed this house for several reasons. It has many cool new ideas, including the fact that it’s designed as a multi-generational house. Here’s how it works:
The house has two master bedrooms; one upstairs and the other one down. At the beginning, the downstairs master bedroom wouldn’t even have to be built out. Rather, it could be a large open room for your home office, if you even built it at all at the beginning. This is because you’ll be upstairs near your young children. They’ll occupy the Children’s Realm, where each has a curtained bed alcove. The Children’s Realm has no door so you can easily supervise internet usage.
Eventually, the kids are old enough that you won’t feel the need to be near them at night. Matter of fact, they probably would like a little distance from you, and you might like the distance as well. So you build out the downstairs master bedroom and move downstairs. The oldest kid gets the bedroom you just left.
Time passes, and your kids grow up and leave home. But that’s about the time that one of your parents needs a place to live, so you move back upstairs and your parents move into the downstairs bedroom. A few years pass, and your parents pass on, but one of your kids is starting a family, so you move back to the downstairs master bedroom, and your kid and their spouse moves into the upstairs master, with their kids in the Children’s Realm. Eventually, of course, you pass on, and the cycle continues.
Oh, and I didn’t mention that there’s a suite over the garage for an office or bedroom, so it’s even more flexible than that. The bottom line is that for the past hundred years, we’ve been designing homes for the nuclear family. Once, however, we built homes that could stay in the family for many generations. The Idea House re-opens that grand American tradition.
One other thing… there were even more cool ideas in the design than in the house that was built, so we're going to try something interesting: Coastal Living will sell a double set of the house plans. One set will be the as-built version; the other will be the as-designed version. We'll spell out the differences, and you can choose which of the ideas works for you.