Accessory Dwellings

A one-stop source about accessory dwelling units, multigenerational homes, laneway houses, ADUs, granny flats, in-law units…

ADU Tour, Spring 2015

We wanted to update readers about the plan for the next ADU Tour. The last ADU tour was a trememdous success, so we’ve decided to run it again next spring. … Continue reading

August 9, 2014 · 2 Comments

Repost of Housing Solution: Backyard Cottages Could Add One-Third More Homes to San Francisco

Many cities may claim to allow ADUs in their code, but in fact, their regulations prevent citizens from actually building them. In San Francisco’s case, there are ‘discretionary reviews’ and other … Continue reading

July 14, 2014 · Leave a comment

Follow up on the June 1st ADU Tour

On Sunday, we hosted Build Small, Live Large: Portland’s Accessory Dwelling Unit Tour. Over 500 people signed up for the early bird registration, and by the time 800 people registered five … Continue reading

June 2, 2014 · 1 Comment

Attend Portland’s Inaugural Accessory Dwelling Unit Tour

Update 5/28/14: There’s been a huge amount of interest in attending this tour, which is fantastic. Over 800 people have registered to attend. The tour is sold out, but you can add your … Continue reading

May 18, 2014 · 2 Comments

Repost of Little Pink Houses: Debate Regarding Zoning Laws and Accessory Dwelling Units Getting More and More Relevant

We thought this National Law Review article was interesting because it deals with the legal issues that ADUs confront in municipalities around the US. You can read more about how … Continue reading

May 12, 2014 · Leave a comment

Heard rumors about an ADU Tour?

Well, they’re true. On Sunday, June 1st, in partnership with the City of Portland, Metro, and the Oregon Department of Environmental Quality, Caravan- The Tiny House Hotel, is running Portland’s … Continue reading

March 16, 2014 · Leave a comment

Breaking Bad is over. It’s Time to Break Even.

Cooking meth is apparently one way to make money fast. But, for many of us, this option is far less appealing now that we’ve finished watching Breaking Bad. After the … Continue reading

October 21, 2013 · 2 Comments

Why Are Permitted ADUs So Rare?

From Washington DC to Vancouver BC to Boston, MA, there are more and more examples in the media of individuals attempting to build and live in smaller dwellings and in … Continue reading

March 30, 2013 · 4 Comments

Finally, A Loan Product That Works for Constructing ADUs

In most markets, financing the construction of ADU’s is notoriously difficult. When constructing an ADU, you need to have all the cash upfront to pay a contractor for the cost … Continue reading

January 28, 2013 · 3 Comments

So, You Want to Rent an ADU in Portland…

…well, join the club. Detached ADUs are in short supply, and huge demand. The fact that they are in short supply and high demand should serve as a strong indicator … Continue reading

November 15, 2012 · Leave a comment

Videos from the Build Small | Live Large Housing Summit

Here are a few of the videos from the Build Small | Live Large Summit. For more videos and presentations, check out the conference home page. The quality of the … Continue reading

November 8, 2012 · Leave a comment

Build Small | Live Large Housing – The Beginning of Something Small

On Friday, October 26th, we held an incredible event at Portland State University. It was the first summit of its kind, focusing on space efficient housing. The Build Small | … Continue reading

November 1, 2012 · 1 Comment

Staircases in ADUs

When I was designing my ADU with an architect, the stairs presented the most challenging aspect of the whole design.  Stairs and their associated components (guardrails, handrails, ceiling, stair treads) … Continue reading

September 27, 2012 · Leave a comment

Two Free Tickets for the Build It Green Tour

For fans of ADUs in Portland, tomorrow is a great chance to see some in person. I have two tickets for tomorrow’s Build it Green tour, which will feature 8 … Continue reading

September 21, 2012 · Leave a comment

Tiny Dwellings in Portlandia? (video)

The IFC show Portlandia has garned lots of attention in Portland. It even inspired a fan contest in which Portland residents submitted their own ‘Portlandia’ inspired videos. This hilarious video … Continue reading

August 28, 2012 · 2 Comments

Little is Large on Portland’s 2012 Build It Green! Home Tour

The City of Portland’s Build It Green! Home Tour and Info Fair (BIG!) turns eleven this year. BIG! is a self-guided tour of 16 green remodels and new homes around … Continue reading

August 17, 2012 · 2 Comments

A Bike Tour of Accessory Dwelling Units (video)

In June, Portland State University master’s student and Orange Splot intern, Lina Menard, organized a great bike tour of some ADUs in NE Portland. Mark Rainha compiled and edited an … Continue reading

August 2, 2012 · 1 Comment

New Energy Performance Incentive Available for New ADUs

In a post on my personal ADU blog, I described an awesome building incentive that was made available for my ADU from the Energy Trust of Oregon (ETO). My ADU … Continue reading

January 4, 2012 · 4 Comments

Documents about ADUs and appraisals

[this material may be somewhat dated, please look for newer posts about appraisals by searching the site — ed.] Link to Appraisal Journal paper published 2012: Understanding and Appraising Properties … Continue reading

December 18, 2011 · 2 Comments

Notes from a presentation on appraising ADUs

[Kol Peterson attended Martin Brown and Taylor Watkin’s presentation on appraising ADUs and came away with these notes about how appraisal issues affect homeowners. For Martin’s summary of the event, … Continue reading

December 17, 2011 · 1 Comment

Building design and construction process – step by step

Reasonable people may disagree, but here are the sequential steps in designing and building an ADU. This is an approximation of the steps for my ADU project, anyway. This was … Continue reading

November 9, 2011 · 2 Comments

Why are ADUs such a good idea?

There’s plenty of reasons why ADUs are good for personal and financial reasons, which are described below. But, before we cover that, it’s good to understand the range of reasons … Continue reading

October 29, 2011 · 1 Comment

Energy efficiency and building size

Building residential options that use less energy is achieved most effectively by building smaller square footage units and filling in vacant urban space (aka urban infill). Building green is achieved … Continue reading

October 29, 2011 · Leave a comment

Building a detached ADU

Building a detached ADU isn’t necessarily different than building a house. Although ADUs (usually <800 sq ft) are necessarily smaller than a normal house (avg house size is 2,382 sq … Continue reading

October 29, 2011 · Leave a comment

Ten steps to permitting an ADU

Ten steps for planning, designing, and permitting an ADU Building an ADU is daunting. Here’s a quick sketch of the chronological steps to get ready to build an ADU on … Continue reading

October 29, 2011 · 9 Comments

My primary residence: profitable ADU and personal palace

Fundamentally, I was seeking a residential living situation that would pay for itself. To me, dwelling in America cost too much. I sought a less expensive way to live in … Continue reading

October 26, 2011 · 7 Comments
BUTTON