July 22 – 28, 2022Vol. 24, No. 7

Limited Space for Multiple Generations: Now What?

Throughout the 1900s, the family bought or built a lakeside retreat in the Belgrade Lakes Region as a place to get away with the kids during the summer. Fast forward many years, and the dynamics have changed. Several generations of children are grown with kids of their own, and they all want to spend time at the family lakehouse…together! While the house sits on a beautiful piece of land on the shore of the lake, it’s a camp with a funky floor plan and limited space for multiple generations. Now what?

Plan A: Update What You’ve Got.

Many older camps were not designed for larger families. The size of the cottage may be adequate, but the sleeping quarters and bathrooms don’t match the guests. It’s possible that the floor plan can be re-arranged by utilizing the space to offer better sleeping arrangements. Turn a bedroom into a “bunkroom” for the kids. The cousins will quietly whisper themselves to sleep every night in their own space.

Lofty idea? Many camps have vaulted ceilings or un-utilized attic space. Think about creating a loft space to put additional bunks and beds.

Existing porches and decks can be enclosed to become additional bedrooms. If there is a basement, can it become a bunk room, or a living space instead of just storage?

Plan B: Expand What You’ve Got!

A lot of older camps are close to the water, so the potential to add on to the existing structure is limited…but not impossible. Find a reputable builder and work with the local code enforcement officer to see how much expansion is possible. Remember in some cases you may be able to go up, if expanding a footprint won’t work. You may be able to add enough extra space to work in the necessary bedrooms and bathrooms to accommodate the family.

How about a bunkhouse? For a lot of properties, there are bunkhouses, garages or secondary structures that already exist on the land. You may be able to update what is already there into comfortable living space. You also may have the option to build a new bunkhouse on the land. Again, a question for the local code enforcement officer.

Remember, we are here to spend time on the lake with family. Building luxury accommodations are not always needed as long as we’re all together.

And as a last resort, try to find something new on the lake that works for the entire family or will accommodate the overflow — now and in the future. Or, find something that has more potential for updating and expanding.

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