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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. 

Cropp ADU 1

ADU #1

  • Square Footage: 381
  • Year Built: 2015
  • Architect/Designer: Studio Cropp Architecture
  • Builder: Raglione Construction
  • Current Use: Guest House
  • Ballpark Cost: $130,000

The Project: The client wanted to add living space above an existing garage to use as a guest house for family.  We also took the addition as an opportunity to create some useable entertaining space, an outdoor covered bar/entertaining area and room for a sauna on the ground floor for use by the home owner. The homeowner had a very clear sense of what they wanted and tapped into the expertise of her father, an architect, to come up with a pretty well thought out initial concept. From there it was easy to create a great solution for the small space they had available.

The Challenges:

  • The owner wanted to maintain as much of the existing yard as possible, so with the existing footprint of the garage and the height restriction of the zoning code, we were left with a pretty small area of square footage to work with.
  • We also struggled with getting window orientations to match the existing house. The rear of the building only had room for square windows. Luckily the City was somewhat lenient about it, since it was in the rear of the building.
  • My client and I thought we’d encounter structural challenges, building on top of an existing structure, but we didn’t. Even assuming the worst case scenario, my structural engineer was able to make everything pencil out.
  • The height restriction was also a major challenge with this one. With a limit of only 18 feet, the entire unit has to be almost entirely in the eaves.

The Solutions:

  • The stair from outside up to the main living area really helps make the space feel larger than it really is. A stair is often just a utilitarian thing, but in this case it became the highlight of the space.
  • The small square footage available for the space really only allowed for a studio style layout. Instead of trying to fight it, we basically created one room that has space set aside at the edges of the space for the different activities of cooking, sleeping, relaxing, etc. Too much separation in a small space would have made it feel even smaller.
  • With this project we made things work by locating dormers over the main living area to get the height we needed.


Cropp ADU 2

ADU #2

  • Square Footage: 667
  • Year Built: 2015
  • Architect/Designer: Studio Cropp Architecture
  • Builder: Life and Limb Built, LLC
  • Current Use: long-term rental
  • Ballpark Cost: $100,000

The Project: This project started out as a two car garage to the main house, and then had a life as a shop for the owner’s business.  Once the business got too big for the space, the owners wanted to create a space that could be rented out. Major work was needed to upgrade a formally hardworking and dirty space into a cozy living space. The finishes were rough and there were very few existing windows.  Most of the finishes, exterior and interior, were replaced, and new windows were added.

The Challenges: The only challenges were additional costs dues to existing water damage hidden in the walls and unexpected seismic upgrades due to the existing construction that did not meet current code. That is always the risk with converting existing structures, sometimes a renovation can cost the same or more as building new.

The Solutions:

  • The client wanted two bedrooms in the existing 667 square feet which is cozy for that amount of square footage, but doable. In order not to take too much away from the main living area, we decided to design one of the bedrooms on the small size. In order to allow for maximum flexibility of the space, that room can be opened up as an extension of the living room, or closed off as a bedroom or office space.
  • Because of the previous life as a garage, the front elevation really lacked in character. A traditional front porch didn’t seem right since the entrance to the building was not up a few steps from the ground but is directly off the driveway. Instead we incorporated a simple awning roof connected to the house with brackets. It was a simple addition that makes a big impact aesthetically and functionally.

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 Niche News.

One comment on “Studio Cropp Architecture ADU Profiles

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This entry was posted on April 29, 2016 by in ADU Designer, ADU Professional Profiles, ADU Profiles, Projects and tagged , , .
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