Living in harmony |

Living in harmony

Brent and Suzie Daggett live their commitment to senior parents and their children in an innovative way. In fact, they all live together. More interesting, they live in what I’d describe as “animated harmony” – a term that sprang to mind when I visited their 6,400 square-foot home in Nevada City.

In other words, their home supports their needs to be creative individuals as well as a close-knit family unit.

Built in the 1970s, extended in the 1980s and 1990s, then remodeled in 2003, the Daggetts have transformed a plain, dated home into a home that’s brimming with space, light and color. “When we first saw this property,” architect Brent explained, “we saw three important factors: space, potential and convenient location. The challenge was to create a multi-generational, family home that combined personal space for everyone with plenty of communal space.”

Since the Daggett family’s age range is 15 to 82 years, careful consideration has been given to everyone.

For example, Suzie’s mother, Lorenita Weisenberg, has her own 1,400 square-foot accommodation. All on one floor, it’s safe as well as stylish ” and an ideal place to showcase her impressive collection of paintings and artifacts.

“I’ve got my own private entrance, kitchen, living room, bedroom and 1.5 baths. I’ve also got my own garden area to enjoy. I’m living independently, which I like, yet I’m still part of our family’s varied activities. It gives me plenty of comfort, privacy and personal freedom.”

Above Lorenita’s section of the home is an apartment where friends live to provide care as needed. Lorenita recently lost her husband, John, to Alzheimer’s. “He lived here too,” she told me, “and remained an important part of our family throughout his life.”

A huge, 900 square-foot multi-purpose room connects Lorenita’s section of the home with the section that houses Suzie, Brent and their children, Anna and Johnny, when he is home from college.

“I’m able to utilize this area for large meetings, entertaining, and even a recent drumming class,” she pointed out. “It offers tremendous versatility. With its garden views, it’s both energetic and tranquil.”

The next part of the floor plan is the completely remodeled kitchen. The chili pepper red walls bring out the warmth of the blonde maple and cherry trim, made locally by Comstock Mill.

Off the kitchen is an open-floor-plan living room and dining room. The living room features a dramatic fireplace, simple black furniture and 15-year-old Anna’s harp. (Anna provided exquisite musical accompaniment during my tour!)

You can’t help but notice the eclectic colors that grace the smooth plastered walls and complement the hardwood floors. Muted shades of purple, blues and rose pinks add drama, while they define the communal areas as well as Suzie’s office and the bedrooms. The master bathroom features a redwood ceiling, and the irregular-shape of the room, combined with the large slate tiles, gives it a modern ‘grotto’ look and feel.

They’ve avoided the temptation to change everything. For example, some of the countertops and cupboards have just been spruced up, yet they look trendy in a retro way. “The emphasis was placed on updating the home with energy efficient windows, appliances, HVAC systems, wiring, plumbing, lighting and interior finishes,” Brent explained.

All the rooms have views of the verdant, cedar-lined gardens that feature fig trees, tomatoes and figures of Buddha.

Perhaps the most unusual feature is the large, outdoor living room by the front door. Comfortably furnished, “It’s a very cool place for pets and people to just be together,” Anna reflected as Bubbles the cat flicked her tail. “Mamasita, my grandma, teaches me astrology here, so it’s a very special place to exchange life experiences and keep our family history alive.”

Just like the Daggett family, their home is balanced, energetic, connected ” and full of energy. “Design-wise, it may not be our dream home,” Brent said, “but in terms of meeting our multi-generational family needs, it’s perfect for now.”

With so many families having similar needs, visiting this home was an eye-opener in terms of ideas for making one home meet such varied requirements. Finding that special connection between homeowner and home is fascinating and revealing ” and keeps Courtney curious about our Nevada County lifestyles and homes.

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