Finding the right home in the right neighborhood is a dream for any would-be homeowner. But what happens when your definition of ‘right’ takes a turn? Miu Eng and her husband David Lee needed a space that would accommodate her aging mother-in-law. They are not alone: multigenerational households now account for nearly 6 percent of family households, up from 4.4 percent in 2010. (Source) and it is likely that this trend will continue as Baby Boomers, the second-largest living generation, get older.
They never considered selling their current home. “We thought about it 15 years ago, but when we looked around we thought. ‘Why would we want to go through that hassle when we love where we are?’ There aren’t too many lots in Arlington where you can see lovely old-growth trees from your house. We can walk to little shops, we have beautiful trees, and we aren’t looking at a neighbor. We’ve been here for 30 years. We’re convenient to a lot of things and we love Arlington.”
The challenge for this renovation: creating an addition where Miu’s mother-in-law could age in place independently, including a separate and barrier-free entry, as well as 36-inch wide doors and hallways and an ADA-compliant bathroom. The addition is on a lower level, but instead of a dark basement apartment, they opted to create the same view that the main level enjoys, with the old-growth trees that make the house so special.
Miu and David are no strangers to house renovation. They completed a kitchen renovation 10 years before this addition, but the builder has since gone out of business. This time around they asked their architect for recommendations. “Galaxy was very responsive in terms of time we’d wait to see the estimates and other things, so we felt very comfortable with Matt and Nicole. The other builder took a long time to respond. And the estimates were very close. Galaxy was competitive, but it was the communication and the aesthetic that made us want to work with them. We like the modern look.”
Still, any renovation comes with a little bit of stress. There are deadlines, decisions, and some dust. Miu and David noted that working through the options for hardware and trims during the renovation took up quite a bit of time, but Galaxy really helped mitigate the stress by holding weekly meetings to report on progress and discuss any issues that required their attention.
“They are so easygoing and very accommodating. We were able to discuss options and think things through. Matt and Nicole are very familiar with Arlington permitting, so they were able to keep things moving and work within the system.” As an added bonus, Galaxy found a solution to a 30-year leak in the dining room.
Other additions to the house include the following:
- high-efficiency heating and cooling mini-splits
- LED lighting
- Sustainable Coretec vinyl wood flooring
- Kitchenette and living space
- Spray foam for soundproofing and energy efficiency between the upper deck and the new living space
- Custom steel railing
- A blue slate walkway and a multi-tiered garden to offset the re-grading and preserve garden space.
- Pella Proline windows and doors.