Accessory Dwellings

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

Announcing the next Build Small Live Large Summit and the next ADU Academy. November 7th and 8th, 2019. Portland, Oregon.

Two national, back-to-back events on November 7th and 8th in Portland, Oregon

August 11, 2019 · Leave a comment

Recap of 2019 ADU Tour

The ADU Tour in June was a blast. Approximately 800 people attended. We’ve made the 17 project profiles public. You can find them here.

July 23, 2019 · 4 Comments

ADU Legislative Initiatives- History in the Making

The 24-hour period from the afternoon of Sunday, June 29th- afternoon Monday, June 30th, 2019, was an important day for ADUs. 

In the future, urban planners will point to that day as a signature moment for an era of deregulation and liberalization of codes for ADUs. 

July 8, 2019 · 9 Comments

ADU Development Costs Keep Going Up

I’ve updated an extensive post about ADU development costs here. These updates are based new cost numbers that just came in from the upcoming 2019 ADU Tour in Portland, which serves as a repository of current and active primary source data for cost estimates. It turns out that current primary source data is critical when it comes to talking about the costs of ADUs, because the development cost numbers here keep escalating rapidly.

May 28, 2019 · 8 Comments

2019 is the Year of ADU Financing Innovation

Financing ADUs has remained a major challenge. But, in the future, 2019 will always be thought of as the year of ADU financing innovation. On April 29th, Portland State University convened a meeting in Washington, D.C to help flesh out some of the innovative programs that are being developed to finance ADUs. 

May 16, 2019 · 1 Comment

Seventeen ADUs!

I don’t know what I was thinking.I couldn’t help myself. I kept saying yes; I couldn’t resist. Now, look what I’ve done.Maybe you’re wondering what am I talking about. I’m talking about this year’s ADU Tour, of course!

April 29, 2019 · Leave a comment

Announcing Accessory Dwelling Academy and The ADU Tour

On June 21st, 2019, we are running a new professional education event designed for builders, designers, lenders, realtors and appraisers who aspire to up their ADU game and stand out from the competition.

February 11, 2019 · 2 Comments

ADU Permit Trends in Portland in 2017 and 2018

This post details some findings about ADU permit trends in Portland.

First, we’ll start with the big picture. Here’s the latest data on the number of permits issued by the City of Portland for ADUs from 2000-2018. In 2017, 588 permits were issued. In 2018, 660 were issued. This is a total of 1248 ADU permits issued in 2017 and 2018.

January 14, 2019 · 1 Comment

Portland’s next ADU Tour is happening on June 22nd, 2019.

Portland’s next ADU Tour will be on Saturday, June 22nd Save the date!   More tour information will be posted on AccessoryDwellings.org this winter.

October 15, 2018 · 1 Comment

ADU Legislative Initiatives Abound

SDC Waiver, Residential Infill Project, Oregon and California state legislative updates….

There are significant ADU legislative initiatives underway in California, Porltand, and Oregon at large. Each of these legislative efforts have national signficance.

May 2, 2018 · 5 Comments

Basement/Garage Conversion Open House on Thursday, April 19th

For those of you in Portland, I’m having an open house event this Thursday, April 19th at my recently completed basement/garage conversion ADU from 4-7pm. I hope to see you there.

April 16, 2018 · 1 Comment

Backdoor Revolution- Part V- Why Vancouver, BC has Done a Lot of ADU-Related Things Right

Backdoor Revolution- The Definitive Guide to ADU Development is officially live!

…Vancouver, British Columbia is the North American leader in ADU development.

Among the most notable things that Vancouver has done is allowed both a secondary suite and a laneway home on the same property. Other US cities (Portland, Oregon, and Seattle, Washington) are considering this idea now, but to my knowledge, no US cities allow it yet.

January 23, 2018 · Leave a comment

Backdoor Revolution- Part IV- Top Ten Reasons Why Basement Conversion ADUs and Detached ADUs Are Like Chalk and Cheese

Basement ADUs and detached ADUs are totally different creatures. 

As I began to write my book and researched ADUs of all types, I strongly considered writing a totally separate book about basement ADUs. I ultimately decided to concurrently capture basement ADUs along with other structural forms in the same ADU book.

January 18, 2018 · 4 Comments

Backdoor Revolution- Part III- Why Fostering ADUs is Different than Fostering other Housing Types

One of the reasons that ADUs are especially challenging to foster is that they are generally developed by average homeowners.  No other housing type is commonly developed by non-professional developers.

If you don’t develop housing as a full-time profession, housing development is complicated and challenging. Actually, even if it IS a full-time profession, housing development is complicated and challenging.

January 17, 2018 · 4 Comments

Backdoor Revolution- Part II- Informal ADUs

One significant part of my book research was about informal ADUs. While permitted ADUs are still fairly rare, informal ADU (a.k.a. unpermitted ADUs) are not.

In writing Backdoor Revolution, I discovered that informal ADUs have a lot to teach us. The book is now available for pre-order on Amazon.

January 11, 2018 · 5 Comments

Backdoor Revolution – Part I – Origin

In 2013, I was observing ADU trends in the US by tracking Google News Alerts and reading academic articles….

I’ve spent the last 2.5 years on this book, and I am proud to finally release it to the world on January 23rd, 2018.

January 8, 2018 · 5 Comments

Building an ADU in L.A.- Part II (excerpt)

Between 2003-2016, an average of one hundred permitted ADUs had been developed each year in L.A.. While 100 ADUs a year is something, it’s certainly not a lot of housing for a city with a population of nearly four million people, and 1.4 million housing units. But, 2017 has entirely changed the landscape for ADUs in California at large. And, L.A. has done something that no one expected. 

DRUM ROLL……

October 19, 2017 · 2 Comments

The First National ADU Summit on November 3-5 in Portland

The Build Small Live Large Summit is the first ever national gathering of leaders in ADU policymaking, design and development. ADU industry practicioners across the country will convene to share and showcase emerging best practices regarding the development of this rare housing type. If you are an ADU enterprenuer, designer, builder, policy-maker, or advocate, we hope that you will be able to attend. 

September 26, 2017 · Leave a comment

2017 ADU Tour Wrap-Up

The ADU Tour in Portland on September 9th and 10th was great. 600 people each day attended to see the 12 ADUs featured in NE Portland and the 12 ADUs in SE Portland. 

September 12, 2017 · Leave a comment

ADU Tour on September 8th-10th

The ADU Tour is just a couple weeks away on September 8-10th. If you are planning to build an ADU, drop whatever else you have planned and clear your schedule for this weekend. This is the largest (and best) ADU Tour in the nation.  

August 24, 2017 · 1 Comment

ADU Tour- Early bird sales end August 19th

Eary bird sales for the ADU Tour end on August 19th. You can buy tickets now.

It’s shaping up to be an awesome event! There’s going to be 12 ADUs featured on Saturday in SE and 12 ADUs on Sunday in SE. For those who are only interested in seeing certain ADU structural types, here is the breakdown by day.

August 3, 2017 · 1 Comment

Building An ADU- a new website for those seeking to build ADUs

BuildinganADU.com is a website geared to homeowners who want to build an ADU on their property, featuring posts and tips that delve into great detail about explaining how much ADUs cost to build using actual costs from recent projects,

July 3, 2017 · Leave a comment

Announcing the 2017 ADU Tour

We are excited to announce the next ADU Tour. This tour has an awesome line up, chock-full with awesome and diverse ADU types and styles.

It’s going to be a full weekend event with 10+ ADUs in NE Portland featured on Saturday, and a different set of 10+ ADUs in SE Portland on Sunday. None of these ADUs have been featured on previous ADU tours before.

April 24, 2017 · 3 Comments

The Ascent of ADUs in Portland 

Portland is leading the pack with ADU development nationally. Data provided by the City of Portland shows the rate of ADU permits issued from 2010-2016. In 2016, 615 permits were issued, 20 times the average number of permits issues each year before Portland’s SDC waiver in 2010.

February 27, 2017 · 18 Comments

ADUs’ Tiny Relatives

Editor’s note: In a stunning turn of events, Portland has actually just moved ahead with some of the ideas described in the post and video below, temporarily ending enforcement of the habitation of mobile dwellings on residential properties.

November 22, 2016 · Leave a comment

Follow Up to the September 2016 ADU Tour

The ADU Tour on September 18th was a great event! Over 700 people registered and attendees had a fabulous experience. We aim to make the tour as educational as possible for attendees. Following the tour, we received many comments in the feedback, like this one.

September 27, 2016 · 3 Comments

The ADU Tour is Less Than One Week Away

The weather looks like it will be awesome for next week’s city wide ADU Tour. The ADU Tour hosts are excited to open their doors for the tour. In addition to … Continue reading

September 12, 2016 · Leave a comment

It’s Time to Register for the September 2016 ADU Tour

The City-wide ADU Tour is less than six weeks away, and early bird ticket sales end on September 2nd. On the tour, you’ll meet homeowners who have recently completed their ADUs, who … Continue reading

August 10, 2016 · Leave a comment

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

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

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 · 11 Comments

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

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 · 2 Comments

The Death of Detached ADUs in Portland and What To Do About (Part IV)

Over Thanksgiving weekend in late November, more than thirty Portland homeowners emailed the Administrator Humphrey of the Oregon Department of Revenue with a formal request to return to the common improvement tax … Continue reading

December 23, 2015 · 23 Comments

The Accessory Structures Zoning Code Update Passed

Good News for Detached ADUs It is great to see incremental improvements being made to regulatory ADU codes across the country. Austin, TX recently made some improvements to their ADU … Continue reading

December 2, 2015 · 9 Comments

The Death of Detached ADUs in Portland and What To Do About (Part III)

Commissioner Loretta Smith from Multnomah County, District 2 stepped up last week as the first of Multnomah County Commissioners to speak out against the unfair tax re-MAV issue that has been … Continue reading

November 23, 2015 · 39 Comments

The Accessory Structures Zoning Code Update- The Vote

What seemed to be a ‘slam-dunk’ set of great, proposed code updates for detached ADUs and other accessory structures have experienced yet another potential setback, so to speak. The day before the vote … Continue reading

November 18, 2015 · 6 Comments

The Death of Detached ADUs in Portland and What To Do About (Part II)

(This is Part II of The Death of Detached ADUs in Portland and What To Do About It. Part I, Part III, Part IV, and Part V are also available.) Action Items … Continue reading

November 2, 2015 · 45 Comments

Preview of Some of the ADUs Featured on the Fall, 2015 ADU Tour

The City-wide ADU Tour is just two weeks away.The ADUs on this tour are beautiful and we can’t wait for you see them in person. Here’s a preview of some of the ADUs you’ll be seeing.

October 25, 2015 · 4 Comments

The Death of Detached ADUs in Portland and What To Do About It

(Update: Part II , Part III , Part IV and Part V are also available.) This post is complicated, thick, and heavy – it’s about property taxes. Ick! For the purposes of retaining readers’ interest, I … Continue reading

October 22, 2015 · 123 Comments

Fall 2015 ADU Tour Information

Registration for the November 7th ADU Tour is now live; early bird sales end on October 24th. For those seeking design inspiration for small houses, the ADUs on this upcoming tour are exceptionally beautiful. Here’s a sneak preview of a few of some of them.

September 17, 2015 · 6 Comments

Accessory Structures Zoning Code Amendments – An Overview and Assessment

Introduction The City of Portland (Bureau of Planning and Sustainability) regularly reviews and updates planning and zoning codes through a process called RICAP (Regulatory Improvement Code Amendment Project). Part of … Continue reading

July 27, 2015 · 12 Comments

Lay Explanation of Conventional ADU Financing Options

Financing is, by far, the biggest barrier for most homeowners seeking to build an ADU on their property. Recently, I was trying to gain some clarification about three conventional loan products that can be used to help fund the construction of an ADU: First Mortgage Cash Out Refinance- taking out extra money when refinancing your ‘first mortgage’ .

June 27, 2015 · 5 Comments

Follow up to the Spring, 2015 ADU Tour

The spring, 2015 ADU Tour was amazing! Here’s a few snapshots that will provide a sense of what the event was like.

On Friday evening, 349 people attended a 3-hour ADU 101 workshop.

June 2, 2015 · Leave a comment

Spring, 2015 ADU Tour – Final Week Updates

*Update as of 6/3/2015. Read a follow up post about the tour here: https://accessorydwellings.org/2015/06/02/follow-up-to-the-spring-2015-adu-tour/*

May 24, 2015 · 2 Comments

Updates for the Spring, 2015, ADU Tour

The city-wide ADU tour is almost here. There will be 12 ADUs to tour in NE Portland on Saturday, May 30th, and 13 ADUs in Portland SE on Sunday.

The inaugural ADU Tour in the spring of 2014 sold out a week early at 850 tickets, and drew attendees from across the country, showing the surging interest in small housing.

April 1, 2015 · 5 Comments

Ten ADU Aspirations for 2015. Let the countdown begin!

As we all know, New Years is a time to conjure up lofty ideas.  Here are a few great ideas that we, the editors of accessorydwellings.org, probably won’t have the time to … Continue reading

December 31, 2014 · Leave a comment

SAVE THE DATE—Portland’s 2nd Annual Accessory Dwelling Unit Tour – Spring, 2015

SAVE THE DATE: May 29th- May 31st!

I’m very excited to announce Build Small, Live Large: Portland’s Accessory Dwelling Unit Tour – Spring, 2015.

December 23, 2014 · 4 Comments

New ADU Class for Realtors

Following on the heels of the Value it Green tour in early September, Earth Advantage will be offering a new class called All About ADUs – A Primer Course for Brokers. … Continue reading

September 19, 2014 · Leave a comment

ADU Tour, Spring 2015

We wanted to update readers about the plan for the next ADU Tour. The last ADU tour was a trememdous success, so we’ve decided to run it again next spring. … Continue reading

August 9, 2014 · 5 Comments
ADU Academy