Accessory Dwellings

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

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
  • Year Built: 2015
  • Architect/Designer: zenbox design
  • Builder: zenbox design
  • Type of ADU: carve out
  • Current Use: short-term rental
  • Ballpark Cost: $40,000

The Project: The project was a complete remodel of the entire home, which included extensive demo and wall removal. The existing floor plan was awkward and had much unused space and we worked to create a floor plan that provided ample living space in the house while carving out a small studio unit that could be used as a rental to help offset the costs of the remodel. The result is a sleek, modern yet warm studio that feels huge for its size.

The Challenges: The big challenge was in the design: rearranging the floor plan of the main house while creating a highly functional floor plan for the studio. Because the space already existed and contractors were already on site the ADU construction was fairly simple and very affordable.

The Solutions:

  • The studio feels large for such a tiny space.
  • We used blown-in closed cell insulation to achieve high R-values to ensure high ceilings.
  • The Scandinavian inspired custom cabinetry is functional and also crafts the space itself by being warm and inviting.
  • The custom alternating tread stair is a centerpiece for the space.


ADU #2 – Eco ADU

  • Square Footage: 480
  • Year Built: 2015
  • Architect/Designer: zenbox design
  • Builder: Living Space Construction
  • Type of ADU: Detached new construction
  • Current Use: Guest house/Short-term rental
  • Ballpark Cost: $130,000

The Project: The project was an ADU that could allow a space for family and friends to stay while in town but could also be used for side income. Somewhere in the design process the clients started to reconsider and may well move into their ADU and rent out the house. The primary residence is a small home.

The Challenges: The clients frequently use their back yard, so we worked to create a comfortable space that would take up as little of their beloved back yard as possible. Getting permits from the city proved difficult because the ADU does not match exactly the house out front, we used as many eco friendly building techniques as the client’s budget would allow, and we used nontraditional building techniques in order to fit into the small site.

The Solutions: An eco/living roof, custom stairway and desk combo, efficient building systems, a truly comfortable, beautiful space in a very small footprint.

ADU #3 – Mini House ADU

  • Square Footage: 197
  • Year Built: 2015
  • Architect/Designer: zenbox design
  • Builder: Living Space PDX
  • Type of ADU: Detached new construction
  • Current Use: Owner’s residence
  • Ballpark Cost: 85k

The Project: The project was to convert a small (and in much need of work) garage into an ADU for the client to live in so that her aging parents could move into the main house. The result is a 197sqft “mini house” that despite its size has all the creature comforts of a much larger space as well as the addition of ample natural light and headroom.

The Challenges: The primary challenge of this conversion was the city’s requirement of a new foundation underneath the existing structure, especially since that structure sits on the property line and directly next to the neighbor’s “prize” tulips. Another challenge was that although the client was excited to move into a small home, she wanted all the comforts of the larger house…most of our design work was in trying to squeeze everything in.

The Solutions:

  • We worked with our contractor to turn the primary problem into a benefit for the homeowner. We devised a plan to keep the structure intact while using the raising of the garage (for framing/pouring a new foundation) as a chance to gain some headroom inside, all with the neighbor’s tulips untouched and friendships intact.
  • Despite being under 200sqft we also managed to design in the client’s wishes for a soaking tub, separate full shower, W/D, and fully equipped kitchen. The interior is small, but certainly not without comfort.

About linamenard

Hi. My name is Lina Menard and I'm a small house dweller, designer, blogger, and builder. I'm currently collecting ADU Case Studies for Through my company Niche Consulting LLC, I help people design and build the home (and life) of their dreams! I also tell my stories about simple living in small spaces - like a travel trailer, a yurt, a backyard cottage, and tiny houses on wheels - at This Is the Little Life.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s


This entry was posted on February 5, 2016 by in ADU Designer, ADU Professional Profiles, ADU Profiles and tagged , , , .
%d bloggers like this: