Extended family house Print

Design Outcome


Providing large houses suitable for extended family living meets a growing, unmet housing demand from a variety of groups and ethnicities across Auckland. This meets the needs of larger families (particularly Maori and Pacific Island families) who have several generations living together; extended family members who are ageing; or who want to jointly own a house. It also provides for home owners who want to generate an income by renting out part of their house.


The design of such houses usually involves more complex access arrangements; and multiple rooms and facilities may, if the design is inflexible, limit the resale potential of such houses.

Design considerations 

Understand the particular cultural requirements and expectations of potential residents. For example, Pacific Island families will want to keep their older families in the main body of the house, not in a granny flat.  

Make your design flexible and adaptable for different uses, particularly in relation to private open space, parking, access, and service rooms; so that the house may be re-subdivided or used in different ways should the residents change.  

Think about long term options for the site before building. Provide for potential extensions or ancillary buildings e.g. carports or garages.  

Provide access and parking for cars without impacting on the appearance of the property from the street. This is a key design challenge for extended family housing, which can require multiple driveways and parking areas.   

Provide multiple front doors and access to them. 

Use the Maori Design Guide and Pacific Island Design Guide. These give specific design advice which can be applied to any large family home. Research also shows that a house designed to either of these guides will appeal more to ethnic groups that prefer extended family housing. 

In Pacific and Maori houses, providing a separate entry to an informal living area is good design practice. This can often be accommodated by ensuring the back door of the house has a good relationship to the informal space, otherwise a designated side entrance may be required. 

Understand how a wide range of people, of various ages and abilities, will use the spaces in and around the building. Providing a range of rooms and spaces which can be closed from each other and accommodate a range of uses is a good idea.   

Large, formal and informal gatherings will often be an important part of life in larger homes and the ability to separate ‘formal’ and ‘informal’ spaces and service areas is important. Best practice is to design for access to one series of spaces without having to walk through the other. 

A good connection to outdoors and providing for outdoor cooking and activity is important. 

Incorporating Universal Design Principles is particularly important (see The Building), including the provision of good quality access to and from the street and the spaces around the house.

Better Design Practice

Rules of Thumb

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