Accessory Dwellings

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

St. Paul’s first ADU goes up

Over the course of a recent Saturday afternoon open house, more than 40 neighbors, friends and family stopped in to see a new apartment on Sherburne Avenue in the Hamline-Midway neighborhood and congratulate the owners, Eric and Chrissi Larsen, on its completion. This wasn’t just any apartment — it was the first accessory-dwelling unit to be built under St. Paul’s 2016 accessory-dwelling-unit ordinance.

April 25, 2018 · Leave a 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

Nov. 3-5: Build Small LIVE LARGE summit in Portland, OR

The 2017 Build Small Live Large Summit focuses on accessory dwelling unit (ADU) development, and how these small homes built in backyards, attics and basements can offer solutions to steeply … Continue reading

August 16, 2017 · 2 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 · 6 Comments

Looking ahead, how might Portland continue to support ADUs? Learn more and get involved!

Will Portland start allowing two ADUs on residentially zoned lots (like Vancouver, BC)? Will it relax size limits on internal ADUs, so long as the entire volume of the structure is no larger than a typical home?

Join Portland for Everyone on Wed., July 27th at the SE Lucky Lab to learn more.

It’s a free event, but space is limited. Please follow this link to register. Read this full blog post for additional details.

July 24, 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 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

ADUs Work for Multigenerational Families: The Hidden Value of ADUs

The hidden value of ADUs is particularly evident in the conversations I’ve had with multigenerational families who use an ADU to create greater housing flexibility and security. There are so many tangible and intangible benefits of creating a multi-generational housing situation that I can’t possibly catalog them all here. But I’d like to give you a sense of how ADUs are working for multigenerational families.

January 22, 2016 · 10 Comments

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
ADU Summit