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Walt Quade has a knack for figuring out a work-around. The design and construction of his own ADU provided several opportunities to hone this skill. When he and his wife started looking for a plot of land on which to build their home, he skipped the property listings and directly contacted several neighbors. Walt had been building for years but was increasingly disenchanted with large homes on large lots. He knew he wanted to live in a modest home with a nice sense of community. So when he received four responses from neighbors interested in selling, he selected the property that would enable him to build two additional homes: one for himself and his spouse and one for his sister-in-law. Click for a slideshow of images.
Walt wishes that accessory dwellings were easier for the average person to design, build, and permit. A self-proclaimed Do-It-Himselfer, Walt would like to see more people building their own small homes. As he put it, “building is something you can do for yourself!” He points out that there are lots of resources available: books, videos, workshops, and websites. He has been surprised that there have not been more people building their own small homes as a result of the economic recession. He notes that although some people certainly need larger homes, many of us might actually be more satisfied by downsizing.Walt fixed up the existing home on the property, which he now rents out. Behind it he designed and built his own house and garage with energy-efficiency and accessibility in mind.
He then built an accessory dwelling unit for his sister-in-law, close enough to be in touch daily but oriented and landscaped so that the two units have privacy. The accessory dwelling is 325 square feet and includes a great room with a kitchen, living area, and dining room, as well as a bathroom and a bedroom. Special features include an arched ceiling, apartment-sized appliances, a murphy bed, and French doors off the bedroom into the garden. The home is easy to heat, cool, and maintain and suits his sister-in-law’s needs very well.
However, Walt also recognizes that the current ADU regulations are difficult to navigate and that there are efficiencies that come from experience and capacity. So Walt has decided to build small homes for those not willing, able, or interested in doing it themselves. His company Small House Oregon features small homes, garden cottages on wheels, and tear drop trailers. Check it out here: http://smallhomeoregon.net.