Multigenerational 453 sq. ft. apartment is home to couple, mother & two pets

Patrick Lam
© Patrick Lam

A couple, their parrot, plus one mother-in-law and her cat have their own private and communal spaces in this renovated apartment in Hong Kong.

The number of multi-generational households is growing in North America, thanks to a variety of socio-economic and cultural factors such as young college graduates moving back into the family home, or elderly parents moving in with grown children to look after the grandchildren.

In Asia, having one's aged parents move in is a relatively common phenomenon, as care and respect for one's elders is thoroughly engrained in traditional Eastern cultures. This can prove difficult if one is living in a small space such as those found in the dense urban centre of Hong Kong, especially if there are pets added into the mix. In revamping a 453-square-foot (42-square-metre) apartment to accommodate a couple, one mother-in-law, a parrot and a cat, Hong Kong's Sim-Plex Design Studio managed to skillfully balance the necessity of private spaces for both generations, in addition to including communal spaces that bring them together.

Patrick Lam© Patrick Lam

Patrick Lam© Patrick Lam

The flexible layout of the Pets Playground apartment delineates separate zones of privacy for the couple and the mother-in-law -- for the couple and their parrot, this zone includes the master bedroom and living room, as indicated by the greyish maple wood; for the mother-in-law and her cat, her zone of the dining room, kitchen and bathroom is indicated by the use of white oak. These two zones are mediated by a sliding glass wall, which can be closed when either generation needs privacy, or opened up for family dinners and other communal activities.

Patrick Lam© Patrick Lam

Patrick Lam© Patrick Lam

Even the pets have their own space, and care has been taken that neither parrot nor cat will get in each other's way. For instance, the couple's parrot has its home and cage on the cabinets in front of the main living room windows, where the light is best and where the parrot can come out of its cage during afternoons when the sliding wall is closed to protect it from the cat. To separate it from the kitchen, this living room area is also raised up on a platform, which incorporates storage drawers underneath.

Patrick Lam© Patrick Lam

Here is the master bedroom -- lots of built-in cabinetry, and the bed pushed to one side, to save space and augment storage.

Patrick Lam© Patrick Lam

The cat, on the other hand, has its own spaces hidden within the cabinetry: it has its own cubby integrated into the dining room area, which also features a neat pull-out table that can expand to seat more guests.

Patrick Lam© Patrick Lam

Patrick Lam© Patrick Lam

Patrick Lam© Patrick Lam

Patrick Lam© Patrick Lam

The cat also has a variety of cat-holes in the furniture that allow it to move around freely, both in the communal spaces and in the mother-in-law's bedroom, where there is an integrated "cat-house" and cat-sized holes in the shelving for the cat to enjoy. The wood is an eco-friendly melamine-faced board that reduces the amount of toxins that might be off-gassed, and at the same time, is resistant to scratches from cat claws.

Patrick Lam© Patrick Lam

Patrick Lam© Patrick Lam

Patrick Lam© Patrick Lam

Patrick Lam© Patrick Lam

So can two generations and their pets live under one roof? Apparently, it can be done, but only with a bit of forethought to ensure everyone has the opportunity to have their own space, but also a chance to come together too as a big family. To see more, visit Sim-Plex Design Studio.

Multigenerational 453 sq. ft. apartment is home to couple, mother & two pets
A couple, their parrot, plus one mother-in-law and her cat have their own private and communal spaces in this renovated apartment in Hong Kong.

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