Gerstad offers ‘special ranch’ with sweet senior suite

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From the front, no-one can tell this is “almost” two homes. This 2,100-square-foot ranch home has a private in-law suite conveniently tucked behind the third bay of the garage. It is available any of Gerstad Builders communities in Richmond, McHenry, Pop

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Liberty Trails: in McHenry, offering 1,292- to 3,177-square-foot ranch and two-story homes base-priced from $178,990 to $285,990. Location is on Lincoln Road, about one mile west of Chapel Hill Road and north of Route 120. Call (815) 385-4495.

The Trails of Dawson Creek: in Poplar Grove offers semi-custom ranch homes with 1,292 to 2,170 square feet and base-priced from $156,990 to $222,990, and two-story homes with 1,872 to 3,177 square feet base-priced from $185,990 to $244,990. Location is on the north side of Orth Road, approximately 1/2 mile east of Route 76. Call (815) 547-0800.

The Trails of Pheasant Ridge: in Richmond ranch plans starting in the $160,000s and toping out in the $220,000s. The sales center is open Saturday and Sunday from Noon to 5 p.m. and week days 10 a.m. to 4p.m. or by appointment, Location is on Route 12 (Rand Road), approximately a mile north of Route 173 Call (815) /385-4495.

Bailey Estates: Located along the northern shoreline of Lake Geneva, in Williams Bay, Wis., offers homes with 1,800 to 3,177 square feet and base-priced with a basement from $220,990 to $284,990. Sales center location is at 438 Ashley Drive off Bailey Road, approximately 3/4 mile west of Highway 67. Call (262) 903-5555.

We like to think that as we age, we will easily move from one home to another, to another. Each step along the way the house reflects changes in our. In reality, life is not that simple, and does not move in a straight line from the first apartment, to condo or townhome, to a two-story single-family home, to an age-targeted community, to a fully-staffed retirement center with 24-hour assistance, and so on.

The transitions between housing types become difficult when a loved one’s family member doesn’t fit neatly into any of these categories.

To help families during these tough emotional housing transitions, Roger Gerstad, president of Gerstad Builders, has created from a clean sheet of paper a solution for families looking for something in between.

“Recent issues in my own family brought to light the difficulty of dealing with loved ones who can no longer live on their own, but are too healthy for an assisted living environment, got me thinking about this dilemma. It seemed that there must be other families out there like mine, that simply couldn’t find a housing lifestyle that met the family’s needs,” said Gerstad. “Then it came to me, and I took one of our successful ranch plans and started sketching a room that could easily be built onto our ranch home and provide a maximum amount of privacy. We call it the ‘Multi-Generation Prestwick plan’.”

For this new plan, the builder started with the 1,567-square-foot Prestwick plan available at all four of Gerstad’s communities in Richmond, McHenry, Poplar Grove and Williams Bay, Wis. In its typical format it includes three bedrooms, two bathrooms, large great room with vaulted ceiling, a breakfast room and kitchen with vaulted ceiling. The home also includes a two-car garage and a full basement.

“From this starting point, I wanted to make sure that any addition to the house was more than just a third bedroom. In order for it to be a viable solution for both sides of the family, independence and privacy had to be of utmost importance, and when you look at the suite we have designed for the Prestwick, you can see the devotion to these concepts,” said Gerstad.

The “in-law” suite blends with rest of the Prestwick floor plan. First, a third garage bay was added with a direct entrance to the in-law suite. Measuring 566 square feet, tucked behind the third bay, and immediately adjacent to the standard home’s laundry room, kitchen and breakfast area, the suite consists of a bedroom, large walk-in closet, handicap-accessible bathroom, and a sitting room. Bedroom and sitting room measure larger than 15-by-10 feet.

Between the kitchen and the suite is a 36-inch-wide door fitted with a sound proofing gasket.

“We know that the transmission of sound can negatively impact the sensation of privacy. Thus we designed the shared wall and its door opening to keep as much sound as possible from transferring from one living area to the next,” said Gerstad. “To further enhance the feeling of independence, we also added a private entrance leading outside into the suite’s sitting room, so guests can visit their loved ones without interrupting the rest of the family in the main house.”

As a result of careful design and clever architecture, the Prestwick Multi-Generation Plan will look good from the front yard, back and side yards as well.

“No matter what angle this house is viewed from, the overall impression is one of style and grace. It will blend in with every other home in the community,” said Gerstad. “From the outside, no one will be able to tell that two generations are living under the same roof.”

Gerstad believes that this “in-law” suite option, which adds $65,000 to the base price of the Prestwick model, is a win-win for families. Depending on the community, The Prestwick is base-priced from $174,990 to $214,990 ($239,990 to $279,990 with suite

“We have not had an opportunity to build this home yet, after all, we just got done designing it, but we believe there are families out there that will see merit in what we have to offer,” said Gerstad.

If the Multi-Generation Prestwick Plan is a success, Gerstad plans to offer this “in-law” suite option on all its other ranch and two story plans in Liberty Trails, Pheasant Ridge, Dawson Creek and Bailey Estates.

Homebuyers can also customize their homes by adding options like skylights, three-car garages (per plan), additional volume ceilings, custom millwork, imported ceramic tile, Corian or granite counter tops, hardwood flooring, and English or walkout basements.

For more information, visit www.gerstadbuilders.com.