Accessory Dwellings

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

About us was founded, and is edited, by 3 volunteers in Portland, Oregon. You can email us at

Kol Peterson is an ADU advocate with a background in environmental planning. Kol lives in an ADU that he completed in 2011 and teaches regular ADU classes for homeowners. He also owns Caravan- The The Tiny House Hotel with his wife. Read more about Kol on his very thoroughly documented personal ADU design/build blog and at, which documents his latest ADU development project and provides resources for others who aspire to build their own ADU. In January, 2018, Kol released the book, Backdoor Revolution-The Definitive Guide to ADU Development. Kol can be reached at

Eli Spevak founded Orange Splot LLC in 1996, following a decade of work developing affordable housing with community-based nonprofits, to develop small communities of small homes.  Completed projects have been featured in the New York Times, Sunset Magazine, NBC’s Today Show, and Portland’s annual Build It Green! tours.  He has led bike tours of tiny homes, organized community residents to change Portland’s ADU regulations so more can get built, and constructed/renovated ADUs, detached bedrooms, and homes-on-wheels.  Eli is in Cambridge, MA this year as a Loeb Fellow, focusing on policy and advocacy work to remove regulatory & financing barriers to space-efficient housing.  Read more about Eli here.

Martin Brown [now semi-retired as editor] is a researcher and consultant on environment and housing.  His work has been published both in peer-reviewed journals, such as American Naturalist and Appraisal Journal, and popular outlets, like Sierra, Alternet, and MAKE.    Find out more about his work at

Financial support

Editors and contributors are unpaid for their work on the site, with a few exceptions.   In 2013 and 2014, the Oregon Dept. of Environmental Quality and the Metro regional government have contracted with several individuals to develop content that will be published on the site — Lina Menard’s series of ADU case studies, Martin Brown’s analysis of Oregon ADU survey data (though not his series of posts on policy) and an introductory video about the ADU concept executed by Paper Krane.   Thanks!

10 comments on “About us

  1. Sherry Anapol
    April 16, 2014

    I am interested in building an ADU in the back yard of my home in Los Angeles, California. Can you recommend resources(such as a consultant) to help me learn the rules that apply in my locality and maybe help facilitate the process, start to finish? I have found references to ADU’s in the city building code, but I still have many questions.
    Thanks very much.
    Sherry Anapol

  2. Martin John Brown
    April 17, 2014

    Hi Sherry, here is the link we have for current regulations in Los Angeles: . That’s all we editors here at this site know about LA. You will probably want to engage an architect or a design/build firm to guide you through the process (for a price, obviously), but there are lots of those around — it is hard for me to say who would be qualified. I guess having successfully built an ADU in your municipality would be a positive sign. 🙂 Good luck!

  3. Sherry Anapol
    April 18, 2014

    Thanks very much for your prompt reply. While I’ve visited the website you referenced, the link you provided was very helpful in that it states a lower lot size requirement, which gives me hope!

  4. Jon
    April 23, 2014

    I have 2 acres in Lake Elsinore CA ( Riverside County) and would like to have an ADU or 2 built. Where can I find out the regs for that area?

    • Martin John Brown
      April 24, 2014

      Hi Jon, when I googled “Lake Elsinore california accessory dwelling” the first thing that came up was this: . Look in chapter 6!

  5. Serita, SF Bay Area
    May 28, 2014

    Hi, I’m so surprised whenever I read the “total cost” portion of the ADU’s described here. 45K? 65K? In the SF Bay Area, I more often see 200K and up quoted. Do you know what accounts for the differences, and do you have ideas on how a homeowner in the SF Bay Area (California) could keep costs down, even if not as low as Portland costs appear to be? Thank you, Californian dreaming of an ADU

  6. Lisa Ohland
    June 2, 2014

    I have just moved to the Portland, Oregon area (from Portland, Maine) and am looking for an ADU to rent. I am checking Craigslist for rentals and haven’t found any. Any suggestions ? I bet you all have a great network in this area… I am also very interested in getting involved with the movement, and wonder who I could talk to about this. Thanks

  7. Martin John Brown
    June 2, 2014

    I’m going to close down comments on this page because the “About Us” page doesn’t seem like the best place to discuss topical matters like finding a contractor, construction costs, etc. Please browse or search the site for a more relevant place to comment ! – editor.

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