We’ve responded to the questions that homeowners ask most. This video clears things up!
We believe it is your lifestyle in addition to your lot’s physical attributes that determine size. Bigger isn’t always better.
Historically, local planning codes made it next to impossible to build an ADU, requiring a “magical number” based on minimum lot size, maximum lot coverage, and minimum open space, making it extremely difficult for homeowners to answer the question, “How big can my ADU be?”
Therefore, ask yourself (or work with us to answer) these questions:
- How much space do you want to give up to build an ADU?
- Who will live there? And how will occupancy change over time?
- How will you plan for both privacy and connection?
Separate from primary residence
Custom/Existing Design, Panels & Prefab
No impact on main home - endless choices
Can be expensive and/or timely
Free standing cottages are our most popular offering. The reason: They can be built without impacting your main house, which means no construction mess or structural or building code upgrades required for a primary residence.
They provide great privacy for both the primary residence and the ADU occupants. They have no shared wall or living space, so each unit can operate independently without disrupting the other. It allows for greater flexibility in terms of design and placement.
Attached to primary residence
Structural upgrades to the main house
Merging with the primary residence is ideal if you have unused rooms. Incorporate existing built space (aka already paid for) with newly constructed space. Keep in mind that your main house may need structural and building code upgrades. Note: Not always a must!
Junior ADU Resides within the current footprint of your home, a Junior ADU can legally share a common bathroom, but must include a separate exterior door and kitchenette. Rules around Junior ADUs are evolving, so please give us a call for more information.
Portion of primary residence repurposed
Fast turnaround - can be very affordable
Can require fire separations
Garage conversions: You can now convert your garage into an ADU and not replace the parking. While garages offer enough space to create a nice ADU, they often require substantial structural upgrades, especially if you add the ADU above the garage, which is allowed in some areas.
Attic/basement conversions can be cost-effective, although, if your attic/basement ceiling height is lower than 7’6”, costs to excavate down or raise the house up will skyrocket. Building department requirements such as fire separations also come into play.
Our firm is conscious about what we’re putting in the world. ADUs are a sustainable way for cities to grow. We use sustainable design practices and green architecture, densifying single-family areas gracefully – one backyard cottage at a time.
Reasons why ADUs are a sustainable housing method:
- You're building on existing property rather than using up green space.
- You're tapping into existing infrastructure (eg: roads, utilities, schools, fire department, police, etc), rather than adding more.
Inspired ADUs is a multidisciplinary firm. We are experts in architecture, engineering, and interiors, with an emphasis on aesthetics, accessibility, functionality, and integrated design thinking for the built environment. During construction, we partner with independent, local builders who match our massive commitment to excellence, further strengthening the economic base of our whole community.
California’s successful ADU reforms, including several bills recently signed into law by Governor Newsom, provide the latitude homeowners need to build backyard cottages and in-law units. Inspired ADUs works with jurisdictions throughout the Bay Area. We understand the similarities and differences from one to another, which streamlines the entire process. This is an evolving landscape. Our team is on top of the process.
Small houses are expensive, but the math works! Because you’re incorporating everything required for a big house, but within a tinier footprint, the cost per square foot is around $500+. New-construction ADUs range in size from the smallest at 280 square feet to the largest at 1,200 square feet. Just like a primary residence, you’ll need some big-ticket items, including the kitchen, bathroom, foundation, windows, roof, plumbing, electrical work, and an HVAC system. The living room and bedroom help maximize cost per square foot.
The San Francisco Chronicle reports that ADUS, “…help stabilize cost-burdened homeowners by creating a new source of income.”
People never ask "Do I want an ADU?" Of course, they want an extra, separate space. A space where they can imagine family coming for an extended stay or an adult child returning home and having independence. What they do ask is "How am I going to pay for this?"
We can help!
Over the years of running our architecture practice, we have developed business relationships with numerous financial partners. Historically, they have been a great resource for our clients. But our goal is to support the building of as many ADUs as possible, by us or others. Given this, we realized it's more useful to share their information upfront as you explore building your ADU. Which financing option is right for you depends a lot on your personal financial details. It is important for you to talk to the experts and explore what will serve you best.
Mortgage loan originator NMLS #256946
+ 1 (760) 777-0200
Revolving credit line allowing homeowners to borrow money against the equity of their home. Although HELOC is a line of credit and not a fixed loan, borrowers can withdraw money from the HELOC as needed rather than borrowing one lump sum. It is fast, inexpensive with variable interest rates.
Branch manager/SVP of mortgage lending, NMLS #304682
+ 1 (510) 541-1622
Type of mortgage refinance loan that allows you to tap some of the equity in your home if you need extra cash. The terms can be 30 years or shorter, and the interest rate can be fixed or variable.
Mortgage loan originator NMLS #256946
+ 1 (619) 954-7816
A short term loan or "self-build loan" used to cover the costs of the project before obtaining long-term funding. Construction loans are typically for people with less than 20% equity in their home.
We fired our previous ADU company when we realized they couldn’t deliver as promised. Switching to Inspired ADUs because of Carrie’s longevity in the field. We wanted a backyard cottage that would enhance our living experience and make the most of the space. Every aspect of what she did brought value to our small 5,450 sq ft backyard and our ADU.