Accessory Dwellings

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

Lisa Florentino & Patrick Kernan’s ADU: An Asian-Mexican-Pineapple Chalet

To create their ADU, Lisa and Patrick tore their 2-car garage down completely and built from the ground up with a brand new foundation. But, of course, this happened in typical Brad Bloom style, meaning that as he deconstructed the garage, he salvaged everything he possibility could for reuse in the new space.

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ADU Design-Builder Profile: environs, llc

Holly Huntley, owner of environs llc, needed no convincing that ADUs were a good addition to her design-build company’s offerings. In fact, ADUs have been part of her business plan from the start. environs, llc works with homeowners throughout the entire process of envisioning, budgeting, and constructing their ADU.

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ADU Designer Profile: Departure Architecture

As an architect, Daniel Lajoie, owner of Departure Architecture, has always followed infill housing within great cities. Creating ADUs as a way to make cities, neighborhoods, and private properties more livable is a driving force for him.

July 22, 2016 · Leave a comment

ADU Design-Builder Profile: Design-Build Portland

Before the Great Recession, Stephen Smith was an architect working in downtown Portland, OR. When he got laid off, he decided to get his contractor’s license and start building. His first ADU project was Kol Peterson’s ADU: A Backyard Home, which has become “tiny house famous” here in Portland, especially after Kol began teaching his ADU Class for Homeowners and coordinating the ADU Tours.

July 8, 2016 · Leave a comment

Design-Build Portland ADU Profiles

To learn more about this company, check out ADU Design-Builder Profile: Design-Build Portland. For a more in-depth look, read Kol Peterson’s ADU: A Backyard Home or Susan Moray’s ADU: Updating History in Ladd’s. … Continue reading

July 8, 2016 · 1 Comment

environs llc ADU Profiles

To learn more about this company, check out Design-Builder Profile: environs llc. For a more in-depth look at their work, check out Marenda Chamberlin & Heidi Lohman’s ADU: A Bright, Modern Loft.  … Continue reading

July 1, 2016 · 1 Comment

Marenda Chamberlin & Heidi Lohman’s ADU: A Bright, Modern Loft

As Marenda and Heidi made plans for their ADU, they decided they wanted to do most of the finish work themselves. They contracted with Dan Lajoie of Departure Design – the designer of the Wine Lovers’ ADU they liked so much. They also brought Holly Huntley of environs on board to build the shell of the ADU.

June 24, 2016 · 2 Comments

Save the Date: ADU Tour–September 17th & 18th

The ADU Tour is on for September 17th & 18th, 2016. Learn more and register here. This will be the fourth city wide tour of ADUs. 10+ ADUs will be … Continue reading

June 20, 2016 · Leave a comment

ADU class for Portland homeowners, Saturday, June 25th

Kol Peterson, one of the editors here, is hosting a class called “Building An Accessory Dwelling Unit on your property,” on Saturday, June 25th. Please visit Kol’s site for more details.

June 19, 2016 · 1 Comment

ADU Design-Builder Profile: Hardline Design and Construction Inc

Adam Lucas of Hardline Design and Construction Inc. first began building in the 1970s with his father. Over the years, he and his dad built several mother-in-law suites before Portland changed the regulations to allow ADUs by right on single family lots.

June 17, 2016 · Leave a comment

An economical detached bedroom for Dad

Our guest correspondent created a “detached bedroom” to help her dad age in place. It’s simpler and less expensive than a full-blown ADU, but her thoughtful approach is something everyone can learn from.

June 14, 2016 · Leave a comment

Ground Up Design Works ADU Profiles

To learn more about this company, check out ADU Designer Profile: Ground Up Design Works. For a more in-depth look, read Stew & Lisa Hulick’s ADU: Thinking Outside (& Inside) … Continue reading

June 10, 2016 · 1 Comment

ADU Designer Profile: Ground Up Design Works

Willie’s first ADU was Tom Hudson’s ADU. It wasn’t hard for Willie to decide that ADUs were worth continuing to offer as one of his services.

June 10, 2016 · 1 Comment

Stew & Lisa Hulick’s ADU: Thinking Outside (& Inside) the Box

Lisa and Stew Hulick live in the primary dwelling and they currently rent their ADU out as a short-term rental, which wasn’t their original plan. While they were designing their ADU they anticipated that it would be a long-term rental.

June 3, 2016 · 3 Comments

ADU Storage Solutions

I’ve picked up lots of small space storage solutions over the past couple years as I interviewed ADU homeowners and designers for the ADU Case Studies Project. You may just have to read through the whole set of case studies to see ALL the clever ideas, but here I’ll pick out my top 10 favorites.

May 27, 2016 · 1 Comment

Words of Advice about the ADU Development Process, from Those Who Have Gone Before You

Question: If you completed an ADU or are in the final stages of building one, what advice would you offer to prospective ADU owner-developers?

Below are the 25+ responses to that question from homeowners who actually did it.

May 23, 2016 · Leave a comment

Shelter Solutions ADU Profiles

To learn more about this company, check out ADU Design-Builder Profile: Shelter Solutions LLC. For a more in-depth look, read Satish’s ADU: A Backyard Landlord Cottage.   ADU #1 Square Footage: … Continue reading

May 20, 2016 · Leave a comment

ADU Design-Builder Profile: Shelter Solutions LLC

Joe Robertson, owner of Shelter Solutions, has been building ADUs in Portland for nearly 2 decades. Approximately 80% of Shelter Solutions work is design-build, but they do also build for clients who come to them with a design. When a client contracts with Joe for a design after the initial consultation, they start out by enlisting Shelter Solutions to compile a Feasibility Study for a fee of $1500.

May 20, 2016 · Leave a comment

Satish’s ADU: A Backyard Landlord Cottage

These days Satish and his partner Jeff have homes in Portland and San Francisco and split their time between the two cities. As Satish did online research and learned more about the housing flexibility created by ADUs, it occurred to them that they could create a landlord suite in the backyard of their Portland home.

May 13, 2016 · Leave a comment

Tips for Basement to ADU Conversions

Read on to learn about the benefits of basement ADUs, find links to examples of basement ADUs, and become familiar with what the deal-breakers are if you’re considering converting a basement into an ADU.

May 6, 2016 · 1 Comment

Studio Cropp Architecture ADU Profiles

To learn more about this company, check out ADU Designer Profile: Studio Cropp Architecture. For a more in-depth look, read Kristy Lakin’s ADU Community: Woodstock Gardens.  ADU #1 Square Footage: 381 … Continue reading

April 29, 2016 · Leave a comment

ADU Designer Profile: Studio Cropp Architecture

For Jill Cropp of Studio Cropp Architecture, finding opportunities to incorporate clever storage is another priority of ADU design. She has two major design tricks. First, she likes to use the attic area as storage since it doesn’t count towards total square footage. Second, inspired by an efficient and well-thought-out 1940s apartment she lived in once, she’s learned that the best solution is to “scatter storage in the spaces it’s needed most.”

April 29, 2016 · 1 Comment

The Second Coming of Detached ADUs in Portland

Readers of this series may have noticed a positive tone change in the dire title of the series. That’s because yesterday, the Oregon Department of Revenue issued a draft rule that steers Multnomah County away from the misguided interpretation that they’d used this year–the interpretation that had caused detached ADUs to trigger a property reassessment– the interpretation which has caused a dramatic ADU development chilling effect in Portland in the last 6 months.

April 27, 2016 · 8 Comments

Lisa Lonstron’s ADU: An Artistic Basement Apartment

Lisa took out a home equity line of credit to fund her basement ADU and supplemented it with a portion of each month’s income from her employment. However, many of the finishing touches were a labor of love. Lisa’s key design consideration was staying on budget while using creative design and décor to make it interesting.

April 22, 2016 · 3 Comments

Tips for Garage to ADU Conversions

Garage to ADU conversions are the second most common way to create additional dwelling space within our existing building stock. Read on to learn about the benefits of garage to ADU conversions, find links to examples of converted garage ADUs, and become familiar with what the deal-breakers are if you’re considering converting a garage into an ADU.

April 15, 2016 · 1 Comment

Portland extends System Development Charge waiver on ADUs by 2 years

Portland’s City Council just extended the waiver of systems development charges on accessory dwelling units for 2 additional years.  Here’s a link to the exact language of the ordinance.  After … Continue reading

April 13, 2016 · 4 Comments

ADU Design-Builder Profile: UDU Design LLC

Katharina and Paz teamed up to create UDU Design, a design-build company devoted to creating accessory dwelling units (ADUs) – or Urban Dwelling Units (UDUs) as Katharina and Paz call their own brand of ADUs. Over the past 3 years UDU Design has created 8 ADUs in Oregon.

April 8, 2016 · 1 Comment

UDU Design ADU Profiles

To learn more about this company, check out ADU Design-Builder Profile: UDU Design LLC. For a more in-depth look, read Paz Pozarycki’s ADU: Taking it Down a Notch.   ADU #1 … Continue reading

April 8, 2016 · Leave a comment

Will short term rentals actually reduce long term housing in granny flats?

It’s not intuitive, but prohibiting short-term rentals in ADUs won’t necessarily lead to a bigger supply of long-term residential housing. This post includes new data about the number of ADUs and short-term rentals in Portland, and the longevity of short-term rental listings.

April 4, 2016 · 3 Comments

Rambo Halpern’s ADU: An New Old-Fashioned Carriage House

As he began designing his old-fashioned new home, Rambo kept a few key design criteria in mind for his carriage house. He knew he wanted it to be detached, to have good sound separation from the garage, and to mimic the architecture of the house.

April 1, 2016 · 1 Comment

How to Buy or Sell a Property with an ADU (or ADU Potential)

When it comes time to buy or sell a property with an ADU (or ADU potential), there are a few important things you should know. I’ve drawn on the expertise of ADU aware Realtors in Portland, OR to identify some key considerations for each step: selecting a realtor, searching for a property, and listing your house with an ADU.

March 25, 2016 · 2 Comments

Jack Barnes Architect ADU Profiles

To learn more about this company, check out ADU Designer Profile: Jack Barnes Architect. For a more in-depth look, read Susan Moray’s ADU: Updating History in Ladd’s, Barbara Gundle’s ADU: A 2-Story … Continue reading

March 18, 2016 · 2 Comments

ADU Designer Profile: Jack Barnes Architect

Jack’s first ADU was Susan Moray’s ADU: Updating History in Ladd’s. The project was a garage to guesthouse conversion. The garage was a contributing structure in a historic district, so it involved a whole suite of challenges. Nevertheless, Jack decided to continue working on ADUs because this first one was such a success.

March 18, 2016 · Leave a comment

The Build Small Lecture Series: Educating and Connecting the Small Home Community

This is an announcement for a new presentation series being offered in Portland by Portland Alternative Dwellings, which will cover a range of small house related topics, including ADUs. -Editor April-June, 2016 … Continue reading

March 15, 2016 · Leave a comment

Tatiana & Rafael Xenelis-Medoza’s ADU: A Hidden Gem

As Tatiana and her husband Rafael looked for a new home, accommodating an ADU was a key criterion. As Tatiana and her husband Rafael looked for a new home, accommodating an ADU was a key criterion. For Tatiana’s expert tips check out How to Find a Property with ADU Potential.

Xenelis-Mendoza ADU from Street
Xenelis-Mendoza ADU from Street
“We were looking for a house with the potential for an ADU. This particular property is a corner lot and it has a backyard that was accessible from the side street. The house sat and faced forward on one street and the new door from the ADU is accessible from the corner street.” – Tatiana Xenelis-Mendoza
The house they purchased in Portland’s Portsmouth neighborhood had potential for a basement ADU, with one major caveat: they didn’t have the code-required ceiling height of 6’-8” for a basement ADU.

March 11, 2016 · Leave a comment

How Portland Became ADU-Friendly (And How Your City Can, Too)

Portland is probably America’s most ADU-friendly city. Portland has eliminated many of the Barriers to ADU Development in two big ways: by relaxing regulation and by offering generous financial incentives.

March 4, 2016 · 5 Comments

Birdsmouth Construction ADU Profiles

To learn more about this company, check outDesign-Builder Profile: Birdsmouth Construction. For a more in-depth look, check out Barbara Gundle’s ADU: A 2-Story Garage Conversion.    ADU #1 – Melrose ADU … Continue reading

February 26, 2016 · Leave a comment

ADU Design-Builder Profile: Birdsmouth Construction

Josh Salinger, owner of Birdsmouth Construction, had his first experience building an ADU when his company converted an unfinished basement into an apartment in 2011. Josh and his team pay careful attention to energy efficiency, wall assemblies, insulation, and heating and cooling systems.

February 26, 2016 · Leave a comment

Barbara Gundle’s ADU: A 2-Story Garage Conversion

As Barbara worked with Jack Barnes to begin noodling through the design considerations for her guest house, they decided to work with the existing conditions whenever possible. Working within the existing shell was both an efficient use of materials and a way to avoid possible complications from the historic design review process.

February 19, 2016 · 12 Comments

Creative ADU Types

I didn’t realize that there were so many creative ways to make an ADU. Here are the 10 most interesting examples of Creative ADU Types I’ve encountered.

February 12, 2016 · 3 Comments

zenbox design ADU Profiles

To learn more about this company, check out ADU Designer Profile: Zenbox Design. For a more in-depth look, read Garage Sweet Home.  ADU #1 – House Divided ADU Square Footage: 240 … Continue reading

February 5, 2016 · Leave a comment

ADU Designer Profile: Zenbox Design

After living in a small space on the road, Jen and Bryan of zenbox design transformed their own garage into an ADU. Even before they completed their Garage Sweet Home, they were bombarded with compliments and questions. People wanted to know how they could do it, too, and whether Jen and Bryan could help.

February 5, 2016 · Leave a comment

Nancy Abens’ ADU: A Cluster & A Courtyard

Quick Facts Setting: urban Neighborhood: Grant Park, Portland, OR Type: detached new construction Use: owner’s mother’s primary residence Square Footage: 450 Year Built: 2015 Owners: Nancy Abens, Maggie Abens, Scott Bailey Designer: Confluence … Continue reading

January 29, 2016 · Leave a comment

ADUs Work for Multigenerational Families: The Hidden Value of ADUs

The hidden value of ADUs is particularly evident in the conversations I’ve had with multigenerational families who use an ADU to create greater housing flexibility and security. There are so many tangible and intangible benefits of creating a multi-generational housing situation that I can’t possibly catalog them all here. But I’d like to give you a sense of how ADUs are working for multigenerational families.

January 22, 2016 · 8 Comments

To DADU or Not To DADU–Seattle’s ADU Debates

There’s some lively discussion in Seattle these days about relaxing restrictions for Detached Accessory Dwelling Units (DADUs). There doesn’t appear to be strong opposition to DADUs, but some are expressing … Continue reading

January 19, 2016 · 1 Comment

Hammer & Hand ADU Profiles

To learn more about this company, check out ADU Builder Profile: Hammer & Hand and read Regan Gray & George Okulitch’s ADU: A Super-Efficient ADU.   ADU #1: Sellwood ADU Square Footage: 460 … Continue reading

January 15, 2016 · 4 Comments

ADU Builder Profile: Hammer & Hand

Sam Hagerman is one of the owners of Hammer & Hand, a construction and remodeling company with locations in Portland, OR and Seattle, WA. As one of the early promoters of the ADU concept in Portland, Sam worked hard to bring it to fruition and he and his company now help their clients create energy-efficient ADUs.

January 15, 2016 · 3 Comments

Susan Eliot’s ADU: Two Stories & A Mezzanine Office

Susan was looking to create financial freedom for herself as a single, retired woman. The idea of going into retirement with no mortgage payment – by having the rent from the main house cover the mortgage on both the main house and ADU – was very appealing.

January 8, 2016 · 16 Comments

Options for ADU Owners: Rent One, Both, or Neither

ADU owners appreciate that having two dwelling units on their property provides a lot of options. In places where there are not owner occupancy requirements – such as Portland, OR – ADU owners can use their properties in any of the following ways…

January 1, 2016 · 10 Comments

ADU Case Studies 2016 Preview

Here’s what you can expect in 2016:

We’ll be sharing 20 brand new case studies of real projects. We’ll also be bringing you a set of profiles of Designers, Design-Builders, and Builders. Finally, I’ll be sharing a set of posts that address some themes I noticed as I talked with more than 80 people about their experiences creating ADUs.

December 23, 2015 · 3 Comments