Accessory Dwellings

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

Jill’s ADU: A Home of Her Own

Jill’s little home includes salvaged materials, low-flow fixtures, three salvaged doors, no dryer, solar panels, a ductless heat pump, a Rheem water heater, rain garden, skylights, and Marmoleum floors. She also installed grid-tied solar panels on the ADU which cover electricity for her lights, appliances, and heating.

January 24, 2014 · 3 Comments

Stephen Williams’ ADU: An ADU on the Alley

Stephen has always enjoyed the challenge of making a small space functional and comfortable. He had already built two ADUs, so it made sense that he would build an ADU on his own property when the opportunity arose. In 1998, Stephen purchased a lot in the Foster-Powell neighborhood with an existing house, which had been condemned. He remodeled the 1908 home and rented it out. He then designed an ADU for the back half of the lot, abutting the alley.

January 17, 2014 · 9 Comments

Susan Moray’s ADU: Updating History in Ladd’s

As she worked with Jack, Susan’s primary design consideration became maximizing the size of the ADU while adhering to Historic Neighborhood requirements. Prior to applying for her permits, Susan paid for a design consultation meeting with the city of Portland and Jack brought preliminary sketches to explore various possibilities.

My architect, Jack, did his homework on what could be built, given these limitations and nailed down a design that was accepted on the first try with no changes. That was impressive. We were told by everyone we would never get what he wanted past city permit without going through design review but he did. -Susan Moray

January 10, 2014 · 11 Comments

Scott Powers’ ADU: 3 Generations at Home

As his father’s 80th birthday approached, Scott Powers began considering next steps that would allow his parents to remain in the Rose City Park neighborhood and retain their independence.

December 31, 2013 · 7 Comments

La Cabina Urbana

Inconspicuous as any other garage, this ADU is an inspiration to me. While it was built as an unpermitted ADU, like 2/3rds to 3/4ths of Portland’s ADUs, it functions like … Continue reading

December 23, 2013 · 2 Comments

Sabin Green – A community of 2 ADUs and 2 modest homes

Back in 2005, I was trying to figure out how to create affordable home ownership opportunities without public subsidies in a strong housing market. With a background in affordable housing … Continue reading

December 23, 2013 · Leave a comment

Kol Peterson’s ADU: A Backyard Home

After living in shared housing for several years, Kol Peterson was ready for a place of his own. As he researched various options, Kol discovered ADUs and learned they could provide the kind of financially sustainable living arrangement he was seeking.

December 20, 2013 · 9 Comments

Tiny Dwellings in Portlandia? (video)

The IFC show Portlandia has garned lots of attention in Portland. It even inspired a fan contest in which Portland residents submitted their own ‘Portlandia’ inspired videos. This hilarious video … Continue reading

August 28, 2012 · 2 Comments

Little is Large on Portland’s 2012 Build It Green! Home Tour

The City of Portland’s Build It Green! Home Tour and Info Fair (BIG!) turns eleven this year. BIG! is a self-guided tour of 16 green remodels and new homes around … Continue reading

August 17, 2012 · 3 Comments

A Bike Tour of Accessory Dwelling Units (video)

In June, Portland State University master’s student and Orange Splot intern, Lina Menard, organized a great bike tour of some ADUs in NE Portland. Mark Rainha compiled and edited an … Continue reading

August 2, 2012 · 1 Comment

The Granger House: Own Two, Rent One

When I biked up to Bob and Julie Granger’s place I was greeted by their ten-year-old grandson, standing sentinel across the street. The young man asked a few questions about … Continue reading

April 22, 2012 · 4 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

A Sister-In-Law House

Walt Quade has a knack for figuring out a work-around. The design and construction of his own ADU provided several opportunities to hone this skill. When he and his wife … Continue reading

February 14, 2012 · 3 Comments

Shawn’s Live-Work Accessory Dwelling

Shawn Busse bought a 950 square foot ranch house on a long, skinny lot with the intention of building an accessory dwelling unit behind it. His plan was to live … Continue reading

February 11, 2012 · 1 Comment

Reflections on Six Years in “temporary housing”: a mobile detached bedroom

From 2003 to 2009, I lived in a tiny home on wheels located in Iowa City. I built the home with Jay Shafer, proprietor of Tumbleweed Tiny House Company. The … Continue reading

January 26, 2012 · Leave a comment

Dwelling in the Urban Alleys of DC (Part II)

Part One of this post ended with the restoration movement’s success in fending off an outright ban on existing alley dwellings in Washington DC. In this follow-up, I’d like to … Continue reading

December 11, 2011 · 4 Comments

Dwelling in the Urban Alleys of DC

A book review of Alley Life in Washington (Editor note: this is part one one of a two part series. You can read part II here.) Alley Life in Washington … Continue reading

December 5, 2011 · 5 Comments

Detached Bedroom as Tiny Home

A few years ago I had the opportunity for my mother-in-law to move in with my family in our NE Portland home. We didn’t have space in our home for … Continue reading

November 29, 2011 · 41 Comments

My garage apartment — a place that redefines family

I’m pretty much an obsessive planner when it comes to big projects.  I researched and penciled out a lot of scenarios before I developed my garage into a little apartment, … Continue reading

October 29, 2011 · 11 Comments

My primary residence: profitable ADU and personal palace

Fundamentally, I was seeking a residential living situation that would pay for itself. To me, dwelling in America cost too much. I sought a less expensive way to live in … Continue reading

October 26, 2011 · 7 Comments