Amy Magyar’s ADU: Friend Next Door & Nest for Me
When Amy Magyar and her partner parted ways, her house felt too big. So she took out a home equity line of credit (HELOC) and transformed her carriage house into an ADU, doing most of the design and building herself, while preserving the building’s historic character. Amy’s friend from Baltimore, a self-declared “Covid refugee,” moved into the primary house, providing rental income for Amy.
Owner-Builder ADU by Kat and Dad
When we saw this fixer-upper on a half-acre plot of land, I knew right there and then: we were going to buy it. That was back in 2018, and my father started plotting the renovation strategy while exploring the property. One of its best features was the enormous unoccupied front yard, which seemed like a good spot for a second house. We were about to discover the secret world of ADUs and embark on an exciting journey of building one.
Designing an “oversized tiny” home for real-world, full-time living
As CEO of Backyard ADUs, a company that builds small homes and ADUs, I think about living in small spaces a lot. There are tons of cool and clever 200SF … Continue reading
Roger & Martha’s tiny house — economical, artistic, and prefab
Prefab dwellings seem like a great way to create ADUs — but they’re not as common as you might think. One Portland resident shows how it can work.
Accessory dwelling units and the coronavirus: can ADUs help?
The author is quarantined in his own accessory dwelling unit, during the coronavirus pandemic.
Evelyn Brom’s ADU: Another House for the Other Street
In 1995, Evelyn Brown purchased her property in Seattle, WA and immediately imagined building a second house on it. The property was a through-lot, meaning that it spanned the distance between two streets. Her house, at one end of the property, fronted on one street and her garage, on the other end of the property, fronted the other street. Twenty years later the city caught up with Evelyn’s vision and she now lives in an ADU she has plenty of time to dream about.
Diane Owen’s ADU: A Carriage House at My Daughter’s Place
A few years ago, Diane Owen was sharing a house in Denver, CO with her daughter Mara, and Mara’s partner Andrew. Diane’s one bedroom, one bathroom multi-generational household also included three dogs, so it was a full house! Diane had been living with Mara and Andrew for three years and they got along really well, but there were moments that a little more wiggle room would be nice.
Walt Drake’s ADU: A Father-in-Law Unit in My Own Backyard
When Scott Drake bought his father Walt’s property in Decatur, GA they struck a deal. They’d build a carriage house for Walt so that he could remain on the property and have Scott and his wife and kids move into Walt’s old house.
Asmund & Jenny’s ADU
Asmund and Jenny had been considering building an ADU for quite a while and finally decided to take the plunge at the end of 2016. They were drawn by the potential for passive income, the need for more space for their growing family and guests, and they wanted to lock in the SDC fee waiver benefit before its scheduled expiration. They were particularly drawn to the short–term rental model to maintain the most flexibility.
Deborah Kelly’s ADU: Mossy Cobbles
This week’s ADU Case Study was written and contributed by Deborah Kelly, the owner of an ADU called Mossy Cobbles. Deborah worked with her son, Justin S. Kelly, who is an architect and engineer, to design the cottage for Deborah’s mother to occupy when she lived in Portland for half the year. It was constructed by the next door neighbor, Tony Kikes with hardscaping by another friend and neighbor, Steve Carruthers. The cottage is now available as a short-term rental.
Natalie & Justin Strom’s ADU: Two Bathrooms & An Attic
Major design considerations for Natalie and Justin Strom included creating a feeling that their ADU is more like a single family home than an ADU and fitting the ADU into the aesthetic of the traditional neighborhood while bringing in modern elements in the interior. It was also important to Justin and Natalie that the design be flexible enough to allow for multiple use and that they utilize sustainable and energy efficient building materials and techniques.
Catherine Butler’s ADU: Two Bathrooms, Please
Quick Facts Setting: urban Neighborhood: Rose City Park, Portland, OR Type: stand-alone detached unit (new construction) Use: owner’s residence Square Footage: 800 Year Built: 2015 Owners: Catherine Butler Designer: Dave Spitzer of ADU PDX … Continue reading
Al & Shannon Elizondo’s ADU: A Houston Carriage House
The key factor that convinced Al and Shannon to build their own garage apartment was increasing their housing flexibility. They built the ADU first with the plan to eventually build a house on the front portion of the lot which would allow them the option of using the ADU as a potential income property. The ADU was constructed in 2013 and the primary dwelling in 2015.
Sharon Nielson, Keith Pitt, & Stephanie Mix’s ADU: A Miniature Mansion
Because Keith & Stephanie’s home is located in an historic district and their garage was considered a contributing structure, they had a few additional design considerations. They were required to go through a Type II Design Review and retain two walls of the existing garage.The guiding principle for this project is to build a miniature Irvington home with all the features.
ADU PDX ADU Profiles
Three profiles of ADUs created by ADU PDX.
Rainbow Valley ADU Profiles
To learn more about this company, check out Design-Builder Profile: Rainbow Valley Design & Construction Inc and read Stephen Williams’ ADU: An ADU on the Alley. ADU #1 – … Continue reading
Sheila Butler’s ADU: From Shack to Guesthouse
Sheila Butler and her husband Brad first learned about ADUs when they purchased a piece of property that had a half-built shell in the backyard. The previous owners had begun construction of a guesthouse and never finished the project.
Steve Snyder & Jackie Ellenz’s ADU: An Energy-Efficient Guest House
For Jackie and Steve, there were lots of good reasons to build an ADU. They like the idea of supporting density and infill and they’re also committed to energy-efficiency. Greg is especially interested in how building technology can help us ameliorate climate change.
Tom Hudson’s ADU: The Newest House on the Block
Tom Hudson worked with Willie Dean of Ground Up Design Works to design an ADU in his backyard. His has served as his own general contractor for the project, doing most of the work himself and hiring out projects to local subcontractors.
Victor & Kendra Duong’s ADU: Doubling Rental Opportunities
Editor’s note: this ADU is featured on the upcoming ADU Tour
Kendra and Victor Duong, a wife and husband architecture team, have always dreamed of one day designing their own ADU. In 2015 they built an ADU in the backyard of their existing rental property.
Ray Chirgwin’s ADU: Carlton Street ADU
Ray Chirgwin first learned about accessory dwellings through his work as a licensed architect. He had familiarized himself with Portland’s zoning code, so he knew that ADUs are allowed by right in Portland and was familiar with their requirements. As Ray and Natalie explored design criteria for their ADU, they landed on a design that allowed them to have a living space above and a shop below.
Lisa Florentino & Patrick Kernan’s ADU: An Asian-Mexican-Pineapple Chalet
To create their ADU, Lisa and Patrick tore their 2-car garage down completely and built from the ground up with a brand new foundation. But, of course, this happened in typical Brad Bloom style, meaning that as he deconstructed the garage, he salvaged everything he possibility could for reuse in the new space.
environs llc ADU Profiles
To learn more about this company, check out Design-Builder Profile: environs llc. For a more in-depth look at their work, check out Marenda Chamberlin & Heidi Lohman’s ADU: A Bright, Modern Loft. … Continue reading
Marenda Chamberlin & Heidi Lohman’s ADU: A Bright, Modern Loft
As Marenda and Heidi made plans for their ADU, they decided they wanted to do most of the finish work themselves. They contracted with Dan Lajoie of Departure Design – the designer of the Wine Lovers’ ADU they liked so much. They also brought Holly Huntley of environs on board to build the shell of the ADU.
An economical detached bedroom for Dad
Our guest correspondent created a “detached bedroom” to help her dad age in place. It’s simpler and less expensive than a full-blown ADU, but her thoughtful approach is something everyone can learn from.
Stew & Lisa Hulick’s ADU: Thinking Outside (& Inside) the Box
Lisa and Stew Hulick live in the primary dwelling and they currently rent their ADU out as a short-term rental, which wasn’t their original plan. While they were designing their ADU they anticipated that it would be a long-term rental.
Shelter Solutions ADU Profiles
To learn more about this company, check out ADU Design-Builder Profile: Shelter Solutions LLC. For a more in-depth look, read Satish’s ADU: A Backyard Landlord Cottage. ADU #1 Square Footage: … Continue reading
Satish’s ADU: A Backyard Landlord Cottage
These days Satish and his partner Jeff have homes in Portland and San Francisco and split their time between the two cities. As Satish did online research and learned more about the housing flexibility created by ADUs, it occurred to them that they could create a landlord suite in the backyard of their Portland home.
Rambo Halpern’s ADU: An New Old-Fashioned Carriage House
Editor’s note: this ADU is featured on the upcoming ADU Tour…. As he began designing his old-fashioned new home, Rambo kept a few key design criteria in mind for his carriage house. He knew he wanted it to be detached, to have good sound separation from the garage, and to mimic the architecture of the house.
Barbara Gundle’s ADU: A 2-Story Garage Conversion
As Barbara worked with Jack Barnes to begin noodling through the design considerations for her guest house, they decided to work with the existing conditions whenever possible. Working within the existing shell was both an efficient use of materials and a way to avoid possible complications from the historic design review process.
Nancy Abens’ ADU: A Cluster & A Courtyard
Quick Facts Setting: urban Neighborhood: Grant Park, Portland, OR Type: detached new construction Use: owner’s mother’s primary residence Square Footage: 450 Year Built: 2015 Owners: Nancy Abens, Maggie Abens, Scott Bailey Designer: Confluence … Continue reading
Susan Eliot’s ADU: Two Stories & A Mezzanine Office
Susan was looking to create financial freedom for herself as a single, retired woman. The idea of going into retirement with no mortgage payment – by having the rent from the main house cover the mortgage on both the main house and ADU – was very appealing.
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.
Nan Haemer’s ADU: Crepe Myrtle Cottage
Nan Haemer’s neighbor convinced her to build an ADU on her property and she spent the next several months salvaging materials at the nearby ReBuilding Center.
Regan Gray & George Okulitch’s ADU: A Super-Efficient ADU
Regan Gray and her husband George Okulitch were looking for a way to increase the value of their rental property and landed on building an ADU on the alley in the backyard. Regan likes that with the ADU they created more housing without changing the look and character of the neighborhood.
Billy Hines’ ADU: Modernizing the Carriage House
The first time Billy Hines saw his three bedroom house in Portland’s Alberta Arts District, he decided that someday he’d make the old carriage house into an apartment. In 2006 he went through the process of converting the existing accessory structure into a permitted ADU.
Kristy Lakin’s ADU Community: Woodstock Gardens
There are a handful of developers who are using ADUs as part of their toolkit to create unique housing options. Kristy Lakin is one of these developers. She is currently constructing Woodstock Gardents, a pocket community with three primary dwellings, each with its own ADU. Kristy explains that her interest in developing small housing options like these comes from an interest in creating additional housing without compromising neighborhood character.
Isabel Johnson & Brad Creel’s ADU: A Backyard Guest Room
She anticipated that once it was complete, the backyard cottage would serve as a guest space for visiting family. However, she decided to go through the process of converting the garage to an ADU officially so that she could keep her options open. She liked the flexibility of being able to rent out the little space.
Kathleen Pequeño’s ADU: La Casita & La Casota
The old woodshop on Kathleen Pequeño’s property had “a sense of being useful.” It took a lot of work, but she turned it into a nice small house.
Cheryl & Jim Levie: Recreating a Period Piece
Cheryl and Jim Levie of Ashland, Oregon transformed an old chicken coop into a nice little guest house. But the fact that their home was in a historic district caused some complications along the way.
How much do ADUs cost to build?
Some survey results about ADU costs… and some thoughts about why ADU developers aren’t usually real estate “pros.”
Dan Gray’s ADU: A Retreat Above the Garage
Dan Gray was used to living in the mountains with lots of room around, so when he built his Ashland ADU, he put it above the crowd.
Dennis & Stephanie Martin’s SDU: Trading Places with Our Daughter
Dennis & Stephanie Martin’s ADU has helped their extended family stay together through life changes.
Don Golden & Edith Casterline’s ADU: A Front Yard Cottage
Don Golden and his wife Edith Casterline built an ADU an unusually public place: their front yard. The new structure serves three main functions: generating rental income, giving Don the woodshop he wants, and bringing activity back to the street.
Rex Burkholder & Lydia Rich’s ADU: Own Two, Rent Both
Rex and Lydia owned a house with a garage that was falling apart. They decided that rather than rebuilding “a home for a car,” they would create an ADU in their backyard.
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