Rhonda and Jerry Carter lived in a house they thought was their final home when life threw them a curve. Her father died after eliciting a promise from her and her sister that they would take care of their mother.
The sisters decided the best way to take care of their mom was to live together in one house. But they wouldn’t be alone. The household would include the Carters’ grown son and the sister’s ex-husband – who is also Jerry’s best friend. To accommodate everyone, the Carters required a different house.
Grenadier Homes offered just what they were looking for in Wylie: A five-bedroom home with an adaptable area – a.k.a. flex space or a bonus room – and a three-car garage.
Flex space has become one of the most popular design features in homes. It allows builders to cater to a variety of lifestyle needs.
“There is no one type of homebuyer any more,” said Anthony Natale, president of Grenadier Homes.
The Carters, three additional adults, six dogs and a cat moved into their home three months ago.
“We are still having some growing pains,” Rhonda Carter said. “But this home fits our needs.”
Her mother set up residence in the flex space. She has her own sitting area, a bedroom, craft area, bathroom, patio with an arbor and access to the rest of the home.
Flex rooms come in all sizes and shapes. Those with private entrances make great home offices or apartments with kitchenettes for parents or returning college graduates. When located off the kitchen or dining room, a flex space can become a pantry or wine room. Other uses include man caves, playrooms, guest suites or additional garage space.
Ted Wilson, president of Residential Strategies, said most builders, including American Legend Homes, Grand Homes and David Weekley Homes, now offer designs with flex space.
“The idea is that you have a room that you can turn into a bedroom, den, office or workout room. The buyer can use his or her imagination,” Wilson said. “It also helps when it is time to sell.”
When Grenadier Homes introduced flex space in its single-family homes in Wylie, it was so popular with buyers that the homebuilder began offering a smaller version (7 by 8 feet) in its townhomes and larger versions (12 by 20 feet) in homes in Southlake, Natale said.
After moving from a small home in Plano when their daughters left home, Shirley and Jerry Hutchison bought a new home with flex space and planned to use it as a home within a home for her mother. When her mother passed away, the Hutchisons converted the space into a media room.
There are so many ways to configure a flex space, said Mike Atkins, Grenadier’s new home counselor. He tells buyers, “Make it your own space.”
Stewart Lytle (firstname.lastname@example.org)
is a freelance writer who divides his time
between Dallas and Newburyport, Mass.