Accessory Dwellings

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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) the BoxTom Hudson’s ADU: A Sneak Peek at an ADU Under Construction, and Tom Hudson’s ADU: The Newest House on the Block

Tom Hudson ADU

Ground Up Design Works ADU 1 – Hudson ADU

ADU #1 – Hudson ADU

  • Square Footage: 360, 450 with loft
  • Year Built: 2014
  • Architect/Designer: Willie Dean (Ground Up Design Works)
  • Builder: Owner acted as GC
  • Type of ADU: detached new construction
  • Current Use: owner’s primary residence
  • Ballpark Cost: $95,000

The Project: This project sits on a corner lot and was designed to look like just another small house on the street. Many people can’t even tell it’s an ADU when they see it from the street. It features traditional craftsman details, has a large covered front porch and two south facing dormers that let in a huge amount of daylight. Inside the ground level is laid out as one large room with the only walls inclosing the bathroom. There is a large storage loft that will eventually be turned into habitable space with the future addition on a code stairway.

The Challenges: We struggled with the stair design and I finally told Tom that we would leave the loft as storage space in order to move the rest of the project forward. We wouldn’t be allowed to do this now because of new interpretation of the zoning code anyways, but I wish we had pushed through and worked a little harder to get a stair that made Tom happy and was legal.

The Solutions:

  • I think the vaulted space and overall soaring volume along with the amount of natural light provided inside this little house are it’s great strength.
  • That and the fact that we made it look like a regular house from the street while still pretty small in terms of square footage.


Hulick ADU

Ground Up Design Works ADU 2 – Hulick ADU

ADU #2 – Hullick ADU

  • Square Footage: 600
  • Year Built: 2015
  • Architect/Designer: Willie Dean (Ground Up Design Works)
  • Builder: Callum Clark and Patrick Hickey
  • Type of ADU : detached new construction
  • Current Use: guest house/short-term rental,
  • Ballpark Cost: $130,000

The Project: This is a big project in a small backyard. The client wanted a flexible open floor plan on the ground floor with a sleeping loft above.

The Challenges: The biggest challenge with this project was getting the amount of space inside the building without it becoming totally overbearing to the adjacent outdoor space.

The Solutions:

  • We used a roof with an offset gable to bring the roof edge down to a single story level on the side of the building that the exterior living space will exist. The same offset creates the needed headroom in the loft space on the other side of the building.
  • We used a half wall with sliding panels to separate the loft from the rest of the space. There is also a door at the top of the stairs so it’s possible to close the loft off completely or leave it open and connected to the rest of the space.
  • We included a small half bath on the loft level which is a big hit with guests.
Ground Up ADU 3 - Hoffer

Ground Up Design Works ADU 3 – Hoffer


ADU #3 – Hoffer ADU

  • Square Footage: 450
  • Year Built: 2015
  • Architect/Designer: Willie Dean (Ground Up Design Works)
  • Builder: Manx Design Build
  • Type of ADU: detached new construction
  • Current Use: long-term rental
  • Ballpark Cost: $120,000

The Project: This is a small backyard cottage which is influenced by traditional craftsman design. It has a compact ground floor living area with a cozy sleeping loft above.

The Challenges: We had originally planned to use the “storage loft” loop hole to avoid having to build a stair in such a small unit. Right about the time I was ready to take this in for permits the city started requiring people to enclose or wall off storage loft space. We decided to add a legal stair to the project which caused it to grow in size and budget but in the end I think the project is better for it.

The Solutions:

  • This house is going to provide a super private, garden living environment for whoever gets to live in it.
  • The porch, bedroom and kitchen have great connection to the yard/garden and should rally help bring the outside in and make this small place feel comfortable and full of light and life.
  • It’s sited so that it can hardly be seen from the street and will provide a private garden living space with a covered porch and a lot of natural light inside.



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 “Ground Up Design Works ADU Profiles

  1. kerry oconnell
    June 10, 2016

    Hi – where are you located? I need a plan to bring my Mom to my house. We’re in Huntington Beach CA

Comments are closed.


This entry was posted on June 10, 2016 by in ADU Designer, ADU Professional Profiles, ADU Profiles, Projects and tagged , , .
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