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.
Heidi Rose first learned about ADUs because she was determined to figure out how she could build a home for her sister. Her twin sister was living in Seattle with her two kids and going through a divorce, so Heidi went to the City of Portland’s permitting office to explore alternative housing options. Heidi discovered that in the city of Portland an accessory dwelling unit up to 800 square feet is allowed by right on a single-family lot in most neighborhoods.