Accessory Dwellings

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

PCC ADU Design Wraps Up

This past weekend Lina Menard, one of our editors and the coordinator of the ADU Case Studies Project, taught an ADU Design Class through Portland Community College. The fourteen students brought a variety of project ideas, including everything from garage and basement conversions to backyard cottages, additions, and renovation of a workshop.

February 7, 2017 · 2 Comments

ADU Storage Solutions

I’ve picked up lots of small space storage solutions over the past couple years as I interviewed ADU homeowners and designers for the ADU Case Studies Project. You may just have to read through the whole set of case studies to see ALL the clever ideas, but here I’ll pick out my top 10 favorites.

May 27, 2016 · 10 Comments

Tips for Garage to ADU Conversions

Garage to ADU conversions are the second most common way to create additional dwelling space within our existing building stock. Read on to learn about the benefits of garage to ADU conversions, find links to examples of converted garage ADUs, and become familiar with what the deal-breakers are if you’re considering converting a garage into an ADU.

April 15, 2016 · 4 Comments

Creative ADU Types

I didn’t realize that there were so many creative ways to make an ADU. Here are the 10 most interesting examples of Creative ADU Types I’ve encountered.

February 12, 2016 · 3 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 · 8 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 · 11 Comments

Garage apartments in Houston

Houston, Texas has a long tradition of accessory dwelling units. It also has a unique lack of zoning rules. Could it be the next hotbed of ADU creativity?

November 19, 2014 · 2 Comments

Stradivarius violins and cigar box guitars (Making sense of ADU construction costs)

An experienced developer explains why ADUs have such a wide range of costs, and how to estimate costs for your own project.

May 1, 2014 · 8 Comments

Staircases in ADUs

When I was designing my ADU with an architect, the stairs presented the most challenging aspect of the whole design.  Stairs and their associated components (guardrails, handrails, ceiling, stair treads) … Continue reading

September 27, 2012 · 4 Comments

The many and confusing synonyms for ADUs

A quick note about language here.  One reason people get so confused, and perhaps heated, about accessory dwellings is that language about them is  confused.  The different names conjure up … Continue reading

June 4, 2012 · 19 Comments

My tiny house after 5 years: things I would have done differently

I’ve written here about how well my tiny house is working out — I converted my detached 1.5-car garage to a little “accessory dwelling unit” and have mostly rented it … Continue reading

February 27, 2012 · 7 Comments

New Energy Performance Incentive Available for New ADUs

In a post on my personal ADU blog, I described an awesome building incentive that was made available for my ADU from the Energy Trust of Oregon (ETO). My ADU … Continue reading

January 4, 2012 · 4 Comments

Building design and construction process – step by step

Reasonable people may disagree, but here are the sequential steps in designing and building an ADU. This is an approximation of the steps for my ADU project, anyway. This was … Continue reading

November 9, 2011 · 6 Comments

Energy efficiency and building size

Building residential options that use less energy is achieved most effectively by building smaller square footage units and filling in vacant urban space (aka urban infill). Building green is achieved … Continue reading

October 29, 2011 · Leave a comment

Building a detached ADU

Building a detached ADU isn’t necessarily different than building a house. Although ADUs (usually <800 sq ft) are necessarily smaller than a normal house (avg house size is 2,382 sq … Continue reading

October 29, 2011 · Leave a comment

Ten steps to permitting an ADU

Ten steps for planning, designing, and permitting an ADU Building an ADU is daunting. Here’s a quick sketch of the chronological steps to get ready to build an ADU on … Continue reading

October 29, 2011 · 9 Comments