Portland ADU Tour 2016 – Part 1

I normally save the best for last, but I loved this ADU so much that it just has to come first! We could drop this ADU in our backyard tomorrow and I would be so pleased with it. It sits behind a 1920’s bungalow, very similar to our 1910 cape cod. It’s also a garage conversion with a footprint very similar to our current garage. So, it was all too easy to visualize creating a similar situation on our lot.


One difference was the orientation of the roofline. Tipping the roofline towards the front and back of the lot rather than to the sides, creates more privacy – both in the ADU and in for the main house – a critical consideration when living in such close quarters. This family also used clever fencing to create a private entry for the ADU, while maintaining a small dedicated yard for the main home. A patio and small patches of gardening space connect to the ADU.


Also in the ADU entry was an enclosed storage area constructed in the same style. My guess is that it’s most likely shared with the homeowners – you still need a place for your lawnmower, after all.


This stairwell and loft literally made me purchase tickets for this year’s event. They were featured in preview materials and I was instantly smitten. Several folks have told us that we don’t have space for a legit set of stairs in our garage, and this 100% proves them wrong!


Love it! Turns out, changing the orientation of the roofline is just the ticket. You might notice that there are no windows behind the stairs or in the kitchen area to the right. These just so happen to be the sides facing the directly adjacent lots. Also perfect for us, since we don’t have much in the way of setback on those sides.


I will say that the living area with furniture in place is “cozy”…code words for small. Alas, this is a small house – 540 square feet. Cozy is what you have to expect.


Here are a couple of images looking towards and past the tv into the kitchen.


Oh man, that kitchen! For such a small space, the kitchen lives very large.


Here are a couple of overhead images that give you a better sense of the room. I’m not sure we have that much counter space in our house! That’s not a mini-fridge, btw…it’s a full-size dishwasher.


The fridge is around the corner, across from an awesome pantry. As ADU’s go, this one definitely had decent storage.


This door leads to a pretty darn luxurious bathroom for such a diminutive home.


Full size shower/bath. Oh, and hidden behind those curtains…a stacked washer/dryer.


Plenty of room to move around. In fact, once again, larger than the bathroom in our 1910 bungalow.


Let’s back up a minute and talk about the loft.


We have also faced skepticism about a loft bedroom…and, again, the height challenge in this home was solved in part by the orientation. I can’t deny that it seems tempting to center the bed around the point of the room, but that really doesn’t make a lot of sense. Most of the time, you’re laying your head down on your pillows. Or, at the very least, sitting propped up at the head of the bed. By directing the bed in this way, you get maximum height where you actually stand by the bed. Makes total sense!


How about those big windows?! Love the light that they bring into the overall space. (But, I’d probably want remote blinds for 4:30 am summertime sunshine…)

There are times when we debate the need for many amenities in our own ADU. Why go all out for a rental? Well, Seattle’s ADU requirements include a stipulation that property owners live on-site at least 6 months out of the year. Given my penchant for gallivanting around the world, I could see a time when we rent our main house for the full year, airbnb the ADU while we’re overseas, then live in it ourselves the remainder of the year. If we’re the tenants, I want amenities. Plus, amenities will garner higher rents – and, hopefully, more responsible tenants as a result.

So, overall impressions…

Pros: perfect size for our goals, open/spacious feel, overall sense of privacy, lots of light, separate bedroom space, full-size appliances, legitimate stairwell, dedicated outdoor space, storage

Cons: lack of privacy in open bedroom.

Seriously, I can only come up with the one con. I’m completely serious when I say that this ADU could be dropped in our backyard tomorrow and I would be pleased. It’s about as close to perfect for us as it gets.

Best Homeowner Lesson: Get a bid, not a budget. This ADU was budgeted at $70K, but the final cost was $120K. Having a clear, detailed list of expectations and timelines for scope and deliverables can prevent unexpected (often costly) scenarios.

Catch up on all Portland ADU Tour posts:

Portland ADU Tour 2015
Part 1
Part 2
Part 3
Lessons Learned

Portland ADU Tour 2016
Part 1
Part 2
Part 3


7 thoughts on “Portland ADU Tour 2016 – Part 1

  1. Pingback: Portland ADU Tour 2016 – Part 2 | year of months

  2. Pingback: Build Small, Live Large – 2016 ed. | year of months

  3. Pingback: Portland ADU Tour: Lessons Learned | year of months

  4. Pingback: Portland ADU Tour – Part 3 | year of months

  5. Pingback: Portland ADU Tour – Part 2 | year of months

  6. Pingback: Portland ADU Tour – Part 1 | year of months

  7. Pingback: Portland ADU Tour 2016 – Part 3 | year of months

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