Transforming problem houses into Dream Homes

New Accessory Dwelling Project

With the recent changes to state law regarding Accessory Dwelling Units, you can see how various municipalities are dealing with changing their planning ordinances to come into compliance with the state legislation.

In Oakland, they are allowing development within a house, and development attached to a house. They are allowing you to convert an existing accessory structure (like a free standing garage), or add an entirely new free standing structure. Each option has it’s own set of limitations and requirements.

In Berkeley, they are allowing similar development of ADUs as in Oakland, but with different limitations and requirements.

In San Francisco, almost all ADUs have to be within the envelope of the existing structure. There are exceptions, but most projects will have to be developed entirely within the existing envelope.

At the moment, I am working on the design for a project in Oakland. In this case we are converting an existing free standing garage into a small studio cottage. The existing 2 car garage was built with permits in the middle 90’s. So long as we do not expand the garage envelope (no bumping out to make it larger or altering the height of the roof), we can make the garage into a cottage and avoid lengthy Design Reviews.

A 3-D massing model of the two existing structures. the smaller building on the left is the existing garage. Image copyright 2017 David Locicero|architect.

The new cottage will be to accommodate my client’s elderly parents. So the bathroom needs to accommodate potential future accessibility issues (grab bars, and walker and wheel chair access). This will make the bathroom larger than one might expect in a 450 square foot structure. Instead of a standard 5’x7′ bathroom, it will be roughly 8’x8′.

An interior view from the main living/sleeping area, looking toward the kitchen and the sliding glass doors. Image copyright 2017 David Locicero|architect.

The windows need to be placed to provide adequate light and preserve the privacy of the residents. And the kitchen needs to allow for some cooking, even if the reality is that the parents will be eating many meals in the main house with my clients.

We are early in the design process, but excited to see this project move forward!

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