Three Generations Under One Roof posted on the 11th May 2016

This week, Ipswich and Logan Granny Flats, the largest supplier and builder of granny flats in SE Qld, bring to you a lovely article that strikes similarities close to home.  We are finding that about 1 in 4 of our own granny flat projects follow much the same story line as the Berne families …

Looking at downsizing yourself?   Look no further than Ipswich & Logan Granny Flats.

Read and enjoy :

The Daily Telegraph | Brooke Williamson
May 10, 2016

The Berne family downsize and move in with their children and grandchildren.

THE Berne family have just celebrated their first anniversary of three generations living under the same roof.

John and Anne Berne, their son Mick, his wife Prue and their two children Jack and Ruby made the big decision to leave their respective homes to buy a large, five-bedroom house with a pool, in Cromer on the northern beaches.


It’s a growing trend, according to census figures from the Australian Bureau of Statistics — although most intergenerational families living together include widows, or single parents.

According to the statistics, 73 per cent of older people living with their children were widowed. This was more common for women than men (77 per cent compared with 60 per cent). Among this group, 1.9 per cent of older people were living in a multi-generational household where the older person lived with their child and grandchildren, with or without their partner.

At Cromer, the elder Bernes have two of the bedrooms — they sleep in one and use the other as a sitting room — as well as a bathroom which is set off from the main area of the house.

Prue and Mick have a bedroom and office which is upstairs, while the children’s rooms are located together and closer to the main living area and kitchen.

John, 62, and Anne, 63, had lived in Coogee and had downsized from their house to a unit. They jumped at the chance to pool resources with Mick, 34, and Prue, 32.

John and Mick also work together in the family business, Jackeroo Cleaning Supplies.

“I love being back in a house, with a lovely backyard and a normal clothesline,” Anne says.

The family had many discussions, set some clear ground rules and agreed that the new arrangement was a five-year-plan.

“And we all knew that if it doesn’t work, it doesn’t work but at least we knew we’ve tried,” Anne says.


One year in, things are going marvellously and many more families these days are looking to replicate the Bernes’ success in different ways.

With vacant land in Sydney becoming more scarce, many homeowners are demolishing an old home to make room for two new dwellings.

There are many councils in NSW which allow duplexes — two separate homes with a common wall — to be built to cater for multiple generations.

Home builder Masterton Homes has 14 duplex designs and the company’s dual occupancy consultant Carol Charlesworth says they are being built by a mix of people.

“It is a combination of families where the parents live in one side and the children on the other, or it could be an investor wanting to capitalise on the potential of onselling each unit or taking advantage of a very good rental return,” she explains.

Granny flats are also an extremely popular option and NSW Government statistics show that more than 100 granny flats are being built each week in Sydney. This is three times the rate of construction five years ago.

NSW also allows for “Fonzie” flats, named after Henry Winkler’s character Arthur Fonzerelli in the 1970s television series Happy Days, who lived above the Cunningham’s garage.

“Fonzie” flats can be included over a garages in new homes, and sold separately to the primary residence.


Some things to bear in mind if you are considering have several generations live together on the one property :

  1. Have a meeting set and have clear boundaries in place
  2. Be open. If something isn’t working, don’t leave it — have a chat
  3. Be open to the fact that it might not work
  4. When you are being a strict parent, have boundaries in place but also respect the fact that grandparents want to spoil the children
  5. Learn to let the little things slide









For more information

CALL SONIA 0403 309 136

Written by Sonia Woolley

Popular Posts

Recent Blog Posts