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ADUs (accessory housing units) go under a variety of names. A detached additional dwelling unit (DADU) is a building that is distinct from the main residence. It is usually placed in the back yard, above or within a converted garage, and is also known as a backyard cottage, laneway home, alley house, carriage house, or backyard studio. Accessory housing units can also be attached to or separate from the main house. Accessory housing units can also be linked to or within the main house, in which case they are sometimes referred to as a mother-in-law suite, granny flat, in-law suite, or garden apartment.


ADUs are permitted in the majority of Seattle's residential zones, although precise criteria differ by jurisdiction. DADUs are already permitted in Seattle, and Tacoma City Council is likely to pass legislation allowing them in all single-family zones soon. The actual potential of any ADU project is determined by a variety of criteria, including the property's dimensions and area, the size of the current home and its position relative to the property border, and any auxiliary structures already on the site, such as garages or sheds.


Many individuals may ask if they need to engage an architect for this sort of project, given the abundance of stock designs and pre-fabricated choices for DADUs on the market. Even if you are confident in your ability to navigate the construction permit procedure on your own, architects add significant value to any project.

Here are some of the reasons why we advocate hiring an architect for your (D)ADU project:

  • You're putting a lot of money into your house. An architect will build a custom-tailored design to fit your unique demands and preferences for a fraction of the construction cost (typically 8-12 percent).

  • Working with an architect to create a healthy atmosphere through natural light and a connection to the outdoors is money well spent, whether you want to occupy or rent out the additional apartment. A well-designed, open and airy room fetches a premium rent.

  • ADUs are tiny apartments. An architect will assist you in making the greatest use of every available square foot in order to maximize your budget.

  • Because a tiny home or DADU has greater surface area per cubic foot of internal space, constructing a well-insulated shell is critical. If everything is done correctly, the home will take very little energy to condition. An architect will describe the building envelope and supervise construction to ensure that the finest sustainable building techniques are used.

  • Architects evaluate a building's energy usage and ongoing lifecycle expenses as part of a holistic design strategy, which saves you money in the long run.

  • A stock design or prefabricated ADU's construction orientation and window placement may be less than ideal for your site's form and views from and into surrounding residences.

  • Some jurisdictions require that you generally match or complement the exterior design of the existing main home. A stock design may not meet this requirement.

Are you ready to start creating an ADU or DADU for your property? Please contact us!

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Robby Bell
Robby Bell
Apr 14

What an innovative and slightly more palatable horrible option for those looking to buy a home but because they were born 5 minutes after someone else, they got relegated to the consolation prize that is a prefabricated modular shitbox 1/4th the size of, yet will cost more than what the owners paid for the main property when they bought it like, 2 years ago. Who doesn't want to be a serf?

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