previous
  • Read FHB on Your iPad
    Read FHB on Your iPad
  • 7 Smart Kitchen Solutions
    7 Smart Kitchen Solutions
  • 12 Remodeling Secrets
    12 Remodeling Secrets
  • Remodeling in Action
    Remodeling in Action
  • Master Carpenter Videos
    Master Carpenter Videos
  • Play the Inspector Game!
    Play the Inspector Game!
  • Basement Remodeling Tips
    Basement Remodeling Tips
  • Shorten a Prehung Door
    Shorten a Prehung Door
  • Energy-Smart Details
    Energy-Smart Details
  • Clever daily tip in your inbox
    Clever daily tip in your inbox
  • Video: Build a curved step
    Video: Build a curved step
  • The Passive House Build
    The Passive House Build
  • 7 Small Bathroom Layouts
    7 Small Bathroom Layouts
  • Magazine Departments
    Magazine Departments
  • Electrical Articles & Videos
    Electrical Articles & Videos
  • All about Roofing
    All about Roofing
  • Tips & Techniques for Painting
    Tips & Techniques for Painting
  • Deck Design & Construction
    Deck Design & Construction
  • The Hobbit House and More
    The Hobbit House and More
  • 9 Concrete Countertops Ideas
    9 Concrete Countertops Ideas
  • Buyer's Guide to Insulation
    Buyer's Guide to Insulation
  • 7 Trim Carpentry Secrets
    7 Trim Carpentry Secrets
  • How to Install Housewrap Solo
    How to Install Housewrap Solo
next
Pin It

The Rise of the Accessory Dwelling Unit (ADU)

Backyard cottages and laneway houses have become increasingly popular in the Pacific Northwest. Will they work in your neighborhood?

The Pacific Northwest is the center of a growing movement to allow auxiliary residences no larger than 800 sq. ft. to be built on lots with existing homes. These residences, known as accessory dwelling units (ADUs), include new, detached dwellings; converted garages; basement apartments; additions; and apartments carved out of an existing floor plan. In this article, contributing editor Sean Groom gives a brief history of the ADU movement, explains why ADUs are becoming popular but also how they're misunderstood, and describes the multiple benefits of the growth of ADUs. These benefits include increasing the amount of affordable housing without the need for government funding; limiting sprawl; creating multigenerational living spaces; and enhancing energy efficiency. In four separate sidebars, Groom writes about the ins and outs of financing an ADU; profiles a former finish carpenter in Vancouver, B.C., who started an entire business in building ADUs; and describes two very different ADUs: a backyard building that contains a home office and a guest room, and a 637-sq.-ft. two-bedroom cottage for guests that doubles as a painting space and a workshop.

See more award-winning homes from the 2013 HOUSES Awards.

The Rise of the Accessory Dwelling Unit (ADU)

Become a Fine Homebuilding Member

to view this article and over a thousand more

Learn More