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Lennar's New "Superhome"

Lennar's New "Superhome"
The surprise inside the new "Superhome" by Lennar in Denver is t
It’s expensive for elderly parents to live alone these days. Which makes it easy to understand why more builders are focused on providing home designs that accommodate multi-generational families. The latest iteration to hit the market is Lennar’s Superhome, appropriately billed as two homes under one roof. The Superhome is a larger version of the Next-Gen suite that Lennar has been offering in select communities since the housing recession. I recently walked a Superhome in the Thornton suburb of Denver, a few days after it opened. I have to say that the floorplan is impressive. The home would appear to deliver on the lifestyle and financial benefits touted in brochures and on the web.

The major difference between the Superhome and the Next Gen home – which is also offered in the subdivision – is the size of the suite. The Superhome suite is designed to comfortably hold a couple, not just a single. The Superhome itself is also larger, in concert with the need to accommodate more people in common living areas. In both the Superhome and Next Gen arrangements, in-laws have the option of entering their suite through a separate front door with a small private porch. But the suite is also 

accessible from the main living area of the home through what looks like a hall closet door. The separate-yet-combined approach gives seniors the privacy that they cherish even as it connects them to family activity in the main home.
  
Ten years ago, I commissioned market researchers to visit multi-generational households and find out how they actually lived. The ethnographers were mildly surprised to find grandparents cooking family meals and driving carpool – they were an integral party of everyday activities. But they also communicated a desire to retreat into their own space, and even slip outside unnoticed to a private porch for a smoke, a drink, or to read a book or the paper. Another thing the Next Gen suite and 
Superhome have in common is that neither has a conventional oven. What they do have is a microwave with a convection setting. Adding a range would make the home a multi-family building subject to different codes and regulations. The sitting area/kitchenette is larger in the Superhome. There’s enough room for two people to comfortably sit and watch television. Two people could also dine privately at a small dining table by a window. A floating island provides enough space to prepare simple meals. But what really separates the Superhome from its predecessor is a larger master bedroom suite that includes – 

get this -- a retreat. The retreat is shown as an office/hobby (as in photo above). But an option sheet in the sales office illustrates how it could be converted into a second bedroom, in case someone snores. The bathroom includes two lavatories, separated by a privacy door from the toilet and shower. The two-bedroom option reconfigures the bathroom to include separate hall entries. The suite includes its own hall laundry and access to a private split garage bay. Lennar is offering the Superhome on one of its largest models, the 4,200-square-foot Grantham, starting in the mid-$500,000s. Available in Craftsman, Shingle and Old World styles, the home includes five bedrooms and three and a half baths, excluding the private suite.
  
It’s easy to imagine an extended family living comfortably in this home. A large wide-open first-floor space accommodates a large kitchen with supersized island eating space for five, a dining table with 

seating for eight  and a great room with enough couch space for everyone to share a movie. The requirement for a first-floor accessory apartment relegates the master bedroom to the second floor. It’s spacious, at roughly 18 by 17, adjoined by a nicely appointed master bath. Four additional upstairs 
with two bedrooms share a large bathroom with two toilets, each closeted behind a door. There’s still enough room in the plan to include an optional 17-by-17- foot loft. One possible drawback to the plan is the minimal amount of useable outdoor space -- besides the covered entry porch, there are two tiny decks at the back, which are listed as optional.

Lennar does a good job in its brochures and merchandising of adding up the benefits of housing two families under one roof. Families can share the cost of the mortgage, utilities, and yard care. More savings are to be had if grandparents provide childcare. And transportation costs are saved because families don’t have to travel to see their grandparents. The elevations of these homes, while respectable, aren’t likely to win any design awards. But it’s tough to imagine that large families buying these homes would care about that. They are looking for as much comfortable space as they can afford. The Superhome certainly delivers on that. (Plan images courtesy Lennar.)

Boyce Thompson is the former Editorial Director of Builder Magazine, and the author of The New New Home.

To browse a collection of plans with in-law units click here.

Lennar's New "Superhome" Inspiration

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