As I’ve interviewed homeowners, designers, and builders about ADUs over the past several years, one thing that has impressed me is how many people are using an ADU as part of their retirement plan. ADUs can provide housing flexibility, additional income, one-floor living to age-in-place, proximity to family members and caretakers, or even just a place to call home when traveling.
Aging-in-place was a key design consideration for Andy Simon and Ruby Perry as they designed an ADU in their daughter and son-in-law’s backyard. Their one-story ADU incorporates doors with adequate clearance for a wheelchair. Ruby and Andy’s ADU was completely paid off in three years and it is now serving as Andy and Ruby’s dwelling, just as they’d intended. Three generations have created a web of mutual interdependence including childcare, gardening, and shared meals.
Bertha and her son John had always been fairly close, but they lived their separate lives in different parts of St Petersburg, Florida. Each of them owned their own home and neither had plans to sell, but all that changed in 2016 when Bertha received a surprise offer from someone who wanted to buy her house.
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.
Calling ADU Owners, Dwellers, Designers, and Builders from across America to share ADU stories for an exciting new project with AARP. The many benefits of ADUs – especially for multigenerational families – have caught the attention of AARP. They’ve commissioned a publication about ADUs, which will feature half a dozen case studies of ADUs with various configurations and uses. If you’re an ADU owner, dweller, designer, builder, or city planner and you believe you can help with this project, we’d love to hear from you! Just send me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org by February 28th, letting us know which of the four items above you’d like to assist with and send along a photo!
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.