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How one interior designer created the perfect multi-generational home


Designing a home with different interior design styles is no easy feat. This interior designer took up the challenge and created a beautiful living space that caters to a multi-generational home. 

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“I wasn’t only the designer of the project,” said Keith Chan, designer and founder of interior design firm hintegro. “I was also a kind of middleman, as the members of the family all had different needs.”

He’s referring to a 2,500-square-foot apartment that he designed for a family of four: a retired grandmother, her son and daughter-in-law and their young son. Originally residing in a two-storey penthouse, the family decided to move into a single-level apartment after the birth of the couple’s son and out of mindfulness of the grandmother’s golden years. They briefly considered buying two units in close proximity to each other, but ultimately decided they’d rather stay together.

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With three generations living under one roof, Chan had his work cut out for him. “I had to find solutions that all parties were happy with,” he said. “For example, the couple loves Scandinavian furniture, but the grandmother is more into Italian, French, and classic furniture, so I found some Italian brands that have a modern, Scandinavian style.” In addition to striking a balance between the family’s different desires, Chan also had to consider how the family’s needs would change over the years as the couple’s child grows up. 

“When I design a home for a family like this, which includes younger generations, I usually design it with a plan of three to five years, or even ten years,” Chan said, explaining how he drew up the home’s layout so the family would be able to imagine how best to transform it in the future. One room, for instance, is currently a multi-functional space that features home office facilities as well as a sofa-bed for overnight guests. If the couple ever has a second child, however, the room would be easily converted into a kid’s room

Chan also had to ensure enough space was dedicated to public and private areas alike. Space was taken from the overly large living room in order to open up the bedrooms. The grandmother’s bedroom features an en-suite bathroom and pantry, and houses a piano and painting equipment alongside a television, wardrobe, vanity table, and other personal amenities. At 500 sq. ft., the bedroom functions as something of an apartment-within-an-apartment. 

Want to know how to make a small living room works? Check out our article on how to make a small living room look and feel larger.

Besides redistributing space among the rooms, Chan also enlarged the windows in order to allow for more light to spill into the apartment, which was initially much too dark. A pale colour palette, with plenty of whites, woods, and blues—the grandmother’s favourite colour—further lightened up the space. The shades of blue also mirror the stunning view from the living room, which was one of the aspects that prompted the family to purchase the apartment. The view can be further enjoyed from the balcony off of the living room.

As picturesque as the living room is, however, the kitchen is very much the heart of the home, Chan observed. “Every morning, the grandma and grandson have breakfast in the kitchen,” he said, where a bar and stools in the dry area of the kitchen allow for casual dining. The space also features modern grey-blue fixtures by Poggenpohl from their former home. “I’m very happy with the kitchen, because I really designed something that enhances their life,” enthused Chan. 

For more small kitchen interior ideas, check out this article: 15 beautiful small kitchen designs and ideas you’ll love

After plenty of discussions with the entire family—including the occasional middle-of-the-night texting session—Chan has created a home that is sure to serve the family well in the years to come. 

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