Fine Homebuilding is looking for good examples of "mother in law" units that they can publish in an upcoming book (click here).
This reminded me of a project I designed a few years ago at Ron Brenner Architects. The project was actually for grandpa. A couple we were working with wanted their single 80 year young grandfather nearby, but Grandpa still wanted to live independently. The solution was to utilize an attic space that already existed above their detached 3 car garage. With a little planning we were able to create a plan which accommodated a kitchenette, media / sitting space, bill paying / desk space, bedroom zone, dining and a bathroom. See photos below.
It turned out to be the perfect space for a single guy, but by the time the project was completed, Grandpa..... well.....he found other accommodations with his new tootsie! That's alright though because the space is perfect for a college student, a young person starting their career, or even for a long weekend visit from Grandpa AND his new gal-pal!!!