What is an ADU? Also known as guest houses, mother-in-law units, or backyard cottages, Accessory Dwelling Units (ADUs) refer to units that include a kitchen, bedroom, bathroom, and living space. They are typically constructed on the same property. Detached Accessory Dwelling Units (DADUs) are similar to ADUs, the only difference is they are isolated from the main house. Oftentimes, they are constructed on a separate space of the property.

ADUs became famous during the 20th century, however, their popularity dropped during post-WWII since families have decided to move to newly developed suburbs. Recently, the construction of ADUs has started to boom again since homeowners find it beneficial.

Councilmember Mike O’Brien of New Seattle ADU Legislation made a proposal that constructing extremely large houses on small properties should be banned, at the same time, the rules and regulations for ADUs in King County should be lightened. Currently, this legislation is still under review, however, this can motivate developers and homeowners to construct additional living spaces rather than destroying their houses and constructing new large, expensive homes.

Potentially this legislation could result in the construction of more accessory dwelling units, providing homeowners with economically feasible living solutions.

Why Construct an ADU?

Constructing an ADU on your property is a great option as long as you have the funds and space for it. Adding an ADU to your property can provide you with several benefits, from environmental to personal advantages.

An ADU would be the best solution if you want to have an elderly family member stay with you. This can help them in maintaining their independence, at the same time, you can still keep an eye on them. You can provide them with the assistance that they need whenever they need it. If you have kids or a family member who needs additional assistance, then you can have the caretaker or nanny live conveniently in an ADU.

Allow Your Guests to Live In an ADU

If your friends or relatives decide to visit you, then you can let them stay in the A DU. This is great since it offers space and privacy. Letting your guests stay in an ADU can make them feel more comfortable. This is beneficial especially if you can’t offer anything else other than your own bed or the couch.

Income Opportunities

By constructing an ADU on your property, you can start earning some income, either on a short-term or long-term basis. Generally, ADUs include a kitchen, bedroom, bathroom, and their own entrance. That is why you could rent it out to tenants so you can earn some extra money which you can use for your debt, utility bills, personal expenses, or savings. Alternatively, you can also rent your space on a short-term basis on sites such as Airbnb. This is beneficial if you are living near a tourist attraction or a big city.


ADUs use fewer resources compared to your single-family home. Since it only has a small space, then it only requires less energy for cooling and heating. This means the utility costs are lower and carbon emissions are lesser.

Increased Property Value

Constructing an ADU can help in increasing the resale value of your property. Based on the study conducted by the National Association of Realtors, most potential homeowners would pay more for homes that include ADUs on their property. As a result, a lot of homeowners are now considering making these improvements in their homes.

Community Aesthetic

Building an ADU on your property for additional function and space is not much of an eyesore rather than constructing a large structure on your current space. It can help you in maintaining the aesthetic and character of your community. At the same time, it can blend well with the architecture and style of your community.

How to Build an ADU That’s Perfect for You

Today, a construction explosion is occurring in backyards as homeowners decide to swap their wonderful garden and lawn spaces for something much better, an ADU or Accessory Dwelling Unit. These structures are quite common during the past decades, however, due to strict zoning laws, the practice was stopped. Nevertheless, due to the shortage of affordable housing, a lot of municipalities have decided to reevaluate those rules and regulations. For instance, Chicago has implemented a pilot program to permit the construction of ADUs in five communities.

Apparently, ADUs can increase the housing supply. Most homeowners have discovered the great benefits of these spaces. They can be used in various ways such as a living space for older parents, as a studio or office, or as a living area for older children who want to come back home. According to architect Mary Maydan, this is about making your space work for you 24/7, especially now that more people are working from home due to the pandemic. ADUs have become a must-have for every home.

A Multi-Functional Space

According to homeowners who have ADUs, they serve a lot of functions. It can be used as a workspace, Zoom area, guest house, party pad, schoolroom, and many more. With a growing family, you will be needing more space, which is why it only makes sense to have an ADU. You can design your ADU with style and durability by using concrete flooring, porcelain countertops, and vinyl wallcovering. You can use durable, budget-friendly products and finishes on your ADU and it will still appear very high-end.

A Space for All Generations

Perhaps the idea of having an ADU on your property never crossed your mind. That is why you will be amazed by its result. It is a great idea if you have older parents that you want to move in with you. Wouldn’t it be nice to have them just right across your yard? They can even help you in taking care of your young children. As to how an ADU can affect the original value of your property, homeowners say that they’ve gotten a premium for it. According to them, ADUs are definitely a good investment.

Think Long-Term

Keeping this in mind, think about the long-term needs of your loved ones. For instance, for your older parents, consider what they need as time goes on. They might be able to live independently and do not require home support, however, they do not have sufficient income to afford independent housing. Currently, they might not require an accessible space, however, their needs could change in the future.

Consequently, if your older loved one is mobile right now, you might expect that they might have mobility issues in the future. Planning ahead for these concerns can make the transition much easier as the years go by. Keep in mind that if you are constructing a home for your loved one, make sure that they can use it for many years to come, not just for a few years. The best thing that you can do is to talk to your loved ones about their needs.

A Work from Home Space

An ADU can also be used as a writer’s retreat. Some architects reveal that they have seen an increased interest in these spaces. A structure surrounded by lush landscaping can be a great attraction. By using a folding door, your house will open on one side. A balcony built on the second floor would be a great addition allowing you to have a bird’s eye view of the property. An innovative interior includes a concealed door to the powder room, wooden floors, and ceilings, as well as midcentury-inspired furnishings. With this inspirational space, a writer could likely produce a handful of works.

An Instant Shed

If you want an instant shed constructed in your house, then you can opt for a freestanding, prefabricated backyard shed. They are made from highly efficient glass and recycled materials. These highly advanced sheds have a light footprint on the environment and square footage. There are a lot of models that are available, and you can even customize their window and door placement as well as their color combination. This is an effective, affordable way of adding high-quality square footage to your home. It is much simpler than having a remodel.

What You Need to Know When Building An ADU

With flexible-use furniture, you can have a multi-purpose space. For instance, a Murphy bed can turn your exercise studio into a bedroom. By using lightweight furnishings, you can simply move them around if you want to reconfigure your space. By adding attractive wallcoverings, your space can even look bigger than it is. Using a photographic mural can elevate the aesthetic in your ADU. With a simple wallpaper treatment, it can transform negativity into positivity.

For a long-lasting ADU, be sure to use durable finishes. When designing an ADU, be sure to keep durability on top of your mind. For instance, you can incorporate laminated oak doors, sturdy porcelain wall tiles, and concrete flooring into your ADU.

Most often, bigger is not always better. A smaller unit might fit better in your landscape. Even with a single-room studio, it can already provide you with huge lifestyle benefits. If you are considering building an ADU, then the first thing that you will do is to get in touch with your local building department so they can answer your questions.

Casci Design Works Inc. can help you in designing your ADU. We can help you every step of the way. Our company owner and designer, Steve Frkovich Casci has more than 40 years of experience in the home remodeling and design industry. Not only that, but we have extensive experience in other contracting services, including architectural designer services, room additions, and project management services. For a free consultation, just contact us at 916-216-2786 or send us an email at sfcasci@gmail.com.