Tom Hudson broke ground on his backyard cottage in March 2014. The concrete slab is finished and the underground plumbing has been stubbed out for connection once the framing is complete. Tom anticipates that his wee home will be move-in-ready by the end of 2014. Meanwhile, his under-construction ADU will be included on the ADU Tour on June 1 so that people interested in creating an ADU on their own property can see one in progress.
Paz and his business partner, Katharina Grad Steinmeyer, have recently completed three UDUs (a twist on the ADU acronym which stands for Urban Dwelling Unit). Their new design firm UDU Design LLC has been inspired by the small housing movement and the need for aging-in-place design.
An experienced developer explains why ADUs have such a wide range of costs, and how to estimate costs for your own project.
As a builder, contractor, and cabinet maker, Caleb Bruce builds boxes for a living, but he has also developed a knack for out-of-the-box thinking. Here’s the story of how Caleb turned an existing house into a secondary dwelling (or an accessory dwelling as we call them in Portland, OR).
Although their parents would have “first dibs,” the couple realized that they could also rent out the space through VRBO when neither set of parents were in town. Stephanie and Sam were interested in this additional income potential and both sets of parents liked the investment potential of the property.
7 years ago we were living in a 5+ bedroom house with garage, attic and basement- all packed to the gills. We couldn’t imagine ever living anywhere else…. but somewhere along the lines our ideals started shifting.
“I was surprised how easy it is to increase density on a single-family lot and still feel like there’s plenty of space,” says Naomi. “The entire process was one of the most gratifying experiences I’ve had.”
Derin and Andra realized that if they were going to a do a full basement remodel, including a full seismic upgrade and new bedrooms, a bathroom, and recreation space, it would make sense to add a kitchen as well to create a fully self-contained unit. As they researched ADUs they were convinced to create one in their basement because it would create housing flexibility, enable them to have family close by, create community, and provide income potential.
Lesa Dixon-Gray stumbled across ADUs as she was researching multigenerational housing options for herself and her aging mother. Lesa’s mom, Shirley, was having a difficult time deciding where she wanted to live, but knew she didn’t want to live in the same house as her children. Lesa realized she might be able to entice her mother to move to Portland by giving her a place of her own. As Lesa began searching for duplexes, she discovered ADUs and accessory structures.
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
Bruce and Carolyn were interested in universal design elements that would enable them to age-in-place. Their design includes a wide hallway, a roll-in shower, and a countertop with a top that raises and lowers to accommodate wheelchair users.
The City of Portland continues to grow its ADU housing stock. In 2013, there were almost 200 ADU permit applications received, which is about 25% of all single-dwelling permits in Portland. … Continue reading
John used a home equity line of credit (HELOC) and credit cards to turn his basement apartment into a permitted ADU. His primary design consideration was that he wanted the apartment to be a fully self-contained residence.
Boy, you know it’s been a great day for the website when Carpet Carl tweet-checks it! A few days ago, a post about ADUs by Michael Andersen on bikeportland.org got … Continue reading
When Ellen’s new university professorship required relocation to Virginia, they had to make big decisions about their SE Portland property. They knew they wanted to ultimately return to their home in Portland and for the time-being they planned to return during academic breaks. It didn’t make sense to leave their beloved home vacant while they were gone. However, if they leased their property they would have no place to call home when they returned to Portland for the holidays. A little ADU solved the problem.
Jeff and Beth knew there was demand for accommodations in this desirable area, since they built a duplex next door in 2004. But the idea of a guesthouse didn’t come to them until they were halfway through the project.
When Wally and Lara decided to get married, start a family, and start their own business, they decided they wanted a space of their own. However, they didn’t want their friends to have to have to move out, so Wally and Lara decided to convert the basement into a separate affordable living space.
Matt and Lissa were building a new home and realized that creating an apartment over the garage was a good opportunity to add extra living space. The ADU could generate rental income and create flexibility as their housing needs changed. For now the ADU serves as a rental, but it could eventually be a home for their special needs son if needed.
Jill’s little home includes salvaged materials, low-flow fixtures, three salvaged doors, no dryer, solar panels, a ductless heat pump, a Rheem water heater, rain garden, skylights, and Marmoleum floors. She also installed grid-tied solar panels on the ADU which cover electricity for her lights, appliances, and heating.
Stephen has always enjoyed the challenge of making a small space functional and comfortable. He had already built two ADUs, so it made sense that he would build an ADU on his own property when the opportunity arose. In 1998, Stephen purchased a lot in the Foster-Powell neighborhood with an existing house, which had been condemned. He remodeled the 1908 home and rented it out. He then designed an ADU for the back half of the lot, abutting the alley.
As she worked with Jack, Susan’s primary design consideration became maximizing the size of the ADU while adhering to Historic Neighborhood requirements. Prior to applying for her permits, Susan paid for a design consultation meeting with the city of Portland and Jack brought preliminary sketches to explore various possibilities.
My architect, Jack, did his homework on what could be built, given these limitations and nailed down a design that was accepted on the first try with no changes. That was impressive. We were told by everyone we would never get what he wanted past city permit without going through design review but he did. -Susan Moray
As his father’s 80th birthday approached, Scott Powers began considering next steps that would allow his parents to remain in the Rose City Park neighborhood and retain their independence.
In the summer of 2013 Oregon DEQ conducted a survey of Accessory Dwelling Unit (ADU) owners. We received an excellent response from across the state and have published the ADU … Continue reading
Inconspicuous as any other garage, this ADU is an inspiration to me. While it was built as an unpermitted ADU, like 2/3rds to 3/4ths of Portland’s ADUs, it functions like … Continue reading
Back in 2005, I was trying to figure out how to create affordable home ownership opportunities without public subsidies in a strong housing market. With a background in affordable housing … Continue reading
After living in shared housing for several years, Kol Peterson was ready for a place of his own. As he researched various options, Kol discovered ADUs and learned they could provide the kind of financially sustainable living arrangement he was seeking.
Financing your ADU has become easier. I am sure that when someone mentions financing, or budgeting, or anything to do with numbers for a project there is a slight shudder … Continue reading
Hey folks, if you aren’t familiar with New Avenue Homes, you should be. They’re a developer/builder that has created dozens of ADUs in the Bay Area, and their CEO Kevin … Continue reading
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
A survey of ADU owners in Portland, Eugene, and Ashland, Oregon is complete and now published. You can find it at Oregon DEQ’s website and AccessoryDwellings.org. This mail and web survey … Continue reading
*Editors Note: The Oregonian posted a short article about this tour* If you’re in Portland, consider joining this year’s biking tour of ADUs and tiny houses in Portland, Oregon on … Continue reading
A new survey of ADU owners has been mailed to over 900 ADU owners in Portland, Eugene, and Ashland, Oregon. The purpose of this survey is to better understand how … Continue reading
Imagine, in the abstract, the absentee landlord. I personally see him as a sort of Dickensian villain, say Sir Mulberry Hawk, coarse in intention despite his fine clothing and mustache, … Continue reading
Skinny homes on 25’ wide lots. New apartment buildings without off-street parking. Bulky 2,500+ sq. ft. ‘traditional craftsman’ homes popping up all over the inner-east side. These are Portland’s most … Continue reading
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
Oregon DEQ updated our ADU Zoning matrix recently in collaboration with Sightline Institute’s recent Legalizing Inexpensive Housing series. Read the whole series – it’s great! A few of the cities stand … Continue reading
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
Great News! This afternoon, Portland’s City Council voted unanimously to extend the waiver of Systems Development Charges on Accessory Dwelling Units for an additional 3 years. The waiver covers all … Continue reading
In the past year or two, major builders have accomplished an interesting slight of hand. They have recognized the need for houses with ADUs, and started selling them for tidy … Continue reading
Today the Appraisal Journal publishes a research paper about residential properties with accessory dwelling units (ADUs). The paper describes an income-based method for appraising properties with ADUs, and concludes that … Continue reading
…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
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
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
When measuring energy use on a per sq ft basis, large homes are often more energy efficient. The problem is that energy is actually used on a per person basis … Continue reading
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
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
Basic logic tells us that smaller homes use less energy and fewer building materials. How much less? What’s the environmental benefit of small homes? We at the Oregon Department of … Continue reading
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
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