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.
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.
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
Joe Robertson, owner of Shelter Solutions, has been building ADUs in Portland for nearly 2 decades. Approximately 80% of Shelter Solutions work is design-build, but they do also build for clients who come to them with a design. When a client contracts with Joe for a design after the initial consultation, they start out by enlisting Shelter Solutions to compile a Feasibility Study for a fee of $1500.
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.
Read on to learn about the benefits of basement ADUs, find links to examples of basement ADUs, and become familiar with what the deal-breakers are if you’re considering converting a basement into an ADU.
To learn more about this company, check out ADU Designer Profile: Studio Cropp Architecture. For a more in-depth look, read Kristy Lakin’s ADU Community: Woodstock Gardens. ADU #1 Square Footage: 381 … Continue reading
For Jill Cropp of Studio Cropp Architecture, finding opportunities to incorporate clever storage is another priority of ADU design. She has two major design tricks. First, she likes to use the attic area as storage since it doesn’t count towards total square footage. Second, inspired by an efficient and well-thought-out 1940s apartment she lived in once, she’s learned that the best solution is to “scatter storage in the spaces it’s needed most.”
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.
Lisa took out a home equity line of credit to fund her basement ADU and supplemented it with a portion of each month’s income from her employment. However, many of the finishing touches were a labor of love. Lisa’s key design consideration was staying on budget while using creative design and décor to make it interesting.
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.
Portland’s City Council just extended the waiver of systems development charges on accessory dwelling units for 2 additional years. Here’s a link to the exact language of the ordinance. After … Continue reading
Katharina and Paz teamed up to create UDU Design, a design-build company devoted to creating accessory dwelling units (ADUs) – or Urban Dwelling Units (UDUs) as Katharina and Paz call their own brand of ADUs. Over the past 3 years UDU Design has created 8 ADUs in Oregon.
To learn more about this company, check out ADU Design-Builder Profile: UDU Design LLC. For a more in-depth look, read Paz Pozarycki’s ADU: Taking it Down a Notch. ADU #1 … Continue reading
It’s not intuitive, but prohibiting short-term rentals in ADUs won’t necessarily lead to a bigger supply of long-term residential housing. This post includes new data about the number of ADUs and short-term rentals in Portland, and the longevity of short-term rental listings.
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.
To learn more about this company, check out ADU Designer Profile: Jack Barnes Architect. For a more in-depth look, read Susan Moray’s ADU: Updating History in Ladd’s, Barbara Gundle’s ADU: A 2-Story … Continue reading
Jack’s first ADU was Susan Moray’s ADU: Updating History in Ladd’s. The project was a garage to guesthouse conversion. The garage was a contributing structure in a historic district, so it involved a whole suite of challenges. Nevertheless, Jack decided to continue working on ADUs because this first one was such a success.
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
As Tatiana and her husband Rafael looked for a new home, accommodating an ADU was a key criterion. As Tatiana and her husband Rafael looked for a new home, accommodating an ADU was a key criterion. For Tatiana’s expert tips check out How to Find a Property with ADU Potential.
Xenelis-Mendoza ADU from Street
Xenelis-Mendoza ADU from Street
“We were looking for a house with the potential for an ADU. This particular property is a corner lot and it has a backyard that was accessible from the side street. The house sat and faced forward on one street and the new door from the ADU is accessible from the corner street.” – Tatiana Xenelis-Mendoza
The house they purchased in Portland’s Portsmouth neighborhood had potential for a basement ADU, with one major caveat: they didn’t have the code-required ceiling height of 6’-8” for a basement ADU.
Portland is probably America’s most ADU-friendly city. Portland has eliminated many of the Barriers to ADU Development in two big ways: by relaxing regulation and by offering generous financial incentives.
To learn more about this company, check outDesign-Builder Profile: Birdsmouth Construction. For a more in-depth look, check out Barbara Gundle’s ADU: A 2-Story Garage Conversion. ADU #1 – Melrose ADU … Continue reading
Josh Salinger, owner of Birdsmouth Construction, had his first experience building an ADU when his company converted an unfinished basement into an apartment in 2011. Josh and his team pay careful attention to energy efficiency, wall assemblies, insulation, and heating and cooling systems.
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.
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.
To learn more about this company, check out ADU Designer Profile: Zenbox Design. ADU #1 – House Divided ADU Square Footage: 240 Year Built: 2015 Architect/Designer: zenbox design Builder: zenbox … Continue reading
After living in a small space on the road, Jen and Bryan of zenbox design transformed their own garage into an ADU. Even before they completed their Garage Sweet Home, they were bombarded with compliments and questions. People wanted to know how they could do it, too, and whether Jen and Bryan could help.
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
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
To learn more about this company, check out ADU Builder Profile: Hammer & Hand and read Regan Gray & George Okulitch’s ADU: A Super-Efficient ADU. ADU #1: Sellwood ADU Square Footage: 460 … Continue reading
Sam Hagerman is one of the owners of Hammer & Hand, a construction and remodeling company with locations in Portland, OR and Seattle, WA. As one of the early promoters of the ADU concept in Portland, Sam worked hard to bring it to fruition and he and his company now help their clients create energy-efficient ADUs.
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.
Here’s what you can expect in 2016:
We’ll be sharing 20 brand new case studies of real projects. We’ll also be bringing you a set of profiles of Designers, Design-Builders, and Builders. Finally, I’ll be sharing a set of posts that address some themes I noticed as I talked with more than 80 people about their experiences creating ADUs.
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
Do you love ADUs as much as we do? Got an ADU story or insight to share? Then contribute an ADU post to the readership of this blog (over 50,000 … Continue reading
At the Build Small, Live Large Summit on Friday, November 6th, the five panelists in the Space-Efficient Housing Policy Round Table and left the audience with tangible ways they could support space-efficient housing. A member of the audience asked us to make the list available online and we thought that was a great idea, so we’ve obliged. Read on and pick an action item to help us promote small housing choices!
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
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
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
(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
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.
(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
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.
Conference is Sold Out! Alan Durning, a long-time sustainability leader in the Northwest, is newly fired up—and for good reason. Since founding Sightline Institute in 1993, he has written more … Continue reading
by Alberto Benejam, Based on a report by Sonia-Lynn Abenojar, Alberto Benejam, and Tamar Nativ Throughout the past year, the city of Berkeley, CA has been considering changes to the city’s … Continue reading
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
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’ .