Beyond the Granny Pod: Planning for Future Uses
Investing in a granny pod to provide space for an aging, ill or impaired family member can be a wise decision. It’s equally wise to look toward the future and consider other possible uses when it’s no longer needed for caregiving.
Prefabricated or custom designed, granny pods can be converted to serve a variety of other purposes ranging from a guest space to a home office, nanny apartment, rental unit, studio, ultimate man cave, workshop and more.
You want the space to suit your loved one’s immediate living and care needs, and you also want to research, understand and address as many future needs as possible. Because it requires planning to accomplish these dual goals, here are some factors to consider:
- Zoning. This varies widely by state and locality. In some, granny pods may be allowed by law or approved with minimal fuss, but other uses may not be accepted. While you’re researching or seeking zoning approval for the pod, take time to confirm your anticipated future use is either permitted or likely to be readily approved.
- Size. If you suspect the studio space you envision in the future will require a few hundred extra square feet, it’s easier and more cost effective to incorporate that into your current plan than it is to add it later.
- Design. While it’s likely the loved one you’re caring for will want or need a single-floor living space, plan for future use. Consider features like a steep roof and dormers to create attic space that can be converted into a functional second floor later.
- Layout. Because it’s easier to add walls than remove them, consider open floor plans that offer greater flexibility now and are simpler to reconfigure down the road.
- Plumbing. If you’re having a structure built on a concrete foundation, it’s especially important to anticipate plumbing needs so supply and drain lines are placed where you need them. If your future workshop requires a utility tub or you plan to have a second bathroom put in, have the piping installed now.
- Utilities. The same principle applies to utility conduit. For maximum flexibility, consider having an extra electrical conduit pipe and spare drain pipe installed for good measure.
Keep these factors in mind, whether you’re buying a prefab granny pod or having something custom built. If possible, consult an architect or builder who’s experienced with accessibility and universal design concepts, but who also understands your future structural, functional and space needs. Apart from local zoning regulations, when it comes to envisioning a future use for your granny pod, the only limitations are your budget and imagination.