Some people are turning to accessory dwelling units, or ADUs, also known as granny flats, in-law quarters, or backyard bungalows, as a solution to the country’s ongoing housing shortage.
These compact, standalone homes are often low-impact and energy-efficient. Where permitted, they can increase housing in an area with less disruption than building new apartment buildings, according to supporters.
In today’s competitive housing market, they’re receiving a fresh look. According to economists and real estate agents, the last couple of years have seen a shortage of available properties, and many of them are selling for more than their asking price.
ADUs are a trend toward smaller, more cost-effective, and energy-efficient dwellings, according to Sheri Koones, whose new book “Bigger than Tiny, Smaller than Average” (Gibbs-Smith, March 2022) has several examples.
According to Koones, who has written extensively about small homes and sustainable architecture, high ceilings, lots of natural light, built-in furnishings, and open floor layouts may make ADUs feel more livable than their modest footprints might indicate.
Scott Mooney, an architect in the Portland, Oregon, area who developed an ADU with his wife, Lauren Shumaker, a construction engineer, concurs that a little room may actually be a generous living experience.
The 624-square-foot residence has been their home for more than four years, where they also keep their dog and toddler. The larger 1950s home that originally stood on the 5,000-square-foot lot was rented out.
The key is optimizing outdoor access, with plenty of built-ins, light, and vistas, as well as pocket doors rather than swinging doors. It resembles what you might find in an RV or a bespoke vehicle, said Mooney.
A detached garage could be converted into an ADU, or an apartment could be built over an attached garage. It could have a separate entrance and be a component of a basement. If the site is large enough, it might also be a brand-new building; prefab ADUs or designs are available for purchase.
While most of the time, these flats can’t be sold independently from a house, they can be used as guest houses or as somewhere for elderly parents or adult children to live. They may be rented out in some regions or, as with the Mooneys, serve as lodging for the owners, who then rent out the primary residence.
Stone Creek Building specializes in constructing a perfect ADU to go with your property. Learn about our building process and check out some of the projects we have done in the past, and if you like what you see, contact us for a free consultation!