“Our architecture practice is dedicated to achieving overall client satisfaction throughout the planning, design, and construction delivery experience. Our focus is on sustainable, adaptable, accessible design and concepts of multi-generational living.” Larson Shores Architects (LSA) is a Bay Area-based architecture and design firm with a deep commitment to inspired solutions for life transitions and multi-generational living. Having worked with families for almost ten years in our practice we have seen how families are changing. Our hope is to bring creative and inspired solutions to meet the needs and aspirations of our clients. Although some of the challenges we see are the result of the current economy, innovative responses are possible. Two of the main themes we are designing for are multigenerational living and sustainability. As baby boomers enter their retirement years they are really changing how we look at retirement -- in positive ways. Retirement is becoming a time for second careers, continuing education, travel, giving back to community and being closer and more involved with family. The model of multi-generational living solves so many problems that families are facing. It allows families to pool their resources, lets grandparents help with grandkids and adult children have piece of mind that their parents are safe, allows seniors to maintain their lifestyle and avoid being in a 'home', but most importantly it gives families time together. The idea of living with multiple generations is great in theory, but for the concept to be successful the needs of each generation must be addressed. After years of focus groups to identify the needs and concerns of family members we developed the Inspired In-law, a self contained, private living unit built in the backyard of a main home. Our research shows that parents don't want to move into their adult children's home because they worry they will be a burden. Also, multiple generations under one roof can be too much stimulation for seniors. The Inspired In-law cottage is a detached cottage giving seniors their own space and privacy while being close to their family. We have used our experience and knowledge as licensed architects, green building professionals and certified aging-in-place specialists to design the cottages to be inspired environments, filled with natural light and healthy building products that allow their occupants to remain independent, require less maintenance, and achieve the independent lifestyle they want. We not only designed the the cottages to be fully accessible to someone with mobility or physical issues, but also spent considerable time devising creative alternatives to the conventional cold and institutional safety features you typically see in accessible design. It is our belief that everyone should have access to great design, and that access shouldn't be limited by physical or economic barriers. It is this conviction that has lead us to develop these pre-designed cottages. By offering architecture plans that are already designed, the plans are affordable and ready so families don't have to take on the design process and can simplify the decisions that need to be made. Sustainability has finally become mainstream, which is great for the planet, but the concepts of sustainable design are nothing new to our firm. Our architectural education was founded on these fundamental principals. Of course there is always new technology to keep up with, but the Inspired In-law cottage is sustainable on three levels. At the city level, the concept of backyard units being built in established neighborhoods, is a model for smart growth! Backyard units don't require additional roads, fire departments, sewer systems, etc and ease the burden on our cities. They also keep residents connected to existing services, public transportation and shopping districts. For families, the value of having a parent living right in the backyard is almost immeasurable. The number of adult children and spouses who become unplanned caregivers when the phone rings on your way to soccer practice saying Mom has fallen is on the rise. Adult children are finding themselves driving across town or flying across the country to care for their parents, using considerable resources such as gas but also consuming a lot of their time. The cottages themselves are designed with the principles of passive design to provide daylighting and natural ventilation. The units have thoughtful floor plans to allow you to live big in a small space and minimize the amount of resources needed for construction. The building materials maximize energy efficiency and recycled content, minimize maintenance, and create healthy interior environments for the owner. The pre-designed plans allow you to find a local builder to realize your cottage and source your materials and labor from your community. The first step in getting your Inspired In-law is to call your local planning department. Ask what your lot or parcel is zoned for and what you can do. Once you have the green light choose from one of our four plans that will work best for your lifestyle and backyard. Various rooflines are designed for the four plans so you can find the complement to your main home.