It is with great pleasure that I share the completed Berkeley Cottage. I started this project with New Avenue Homes – I am a New Avenue Homes architect partner – in January of 2018.
The owner wanted to build an accessory dwelling unit (ADU) that she could rent for a while, and, perhaps, move into herself in the future.
The major design challenges were:
- a tight budget (only $130,000 for construction, which is tight for Bay Area Construction)
- two mature trees that she wanted to keep.
We addressed her budget in two ways: keeping the cottage small, and keeping the cottage simple.
The cottage is only 350 square feet. It has two rooms and a bathroom. She felt it was important to have a separate bedroom, so one of the rooms is a bedroom, the other is a combined kitchen/living room.
We elected to keep the form very simple: it is a rectangle with a simple sloped roof. The sloped roof allows us to vault the ceiling making the rooms feel larger, but also is the easiest roof type to build.
Another way to keep things simple: we designed the cottage so it could be built “by right”, meaning that we met all of the zoning restrictions without requiring any exceptions or additional design reviews. This means that we met all of the set back requirements, the height limit, the open space requirements, and so on. This saved us months on the schedule and several thousand dollars in City fees.
My client was fortunate in having a large-ish lot, and that her existing house had never been expanded, so there was plenty of room to locate the cottage in such a way as to minimize the impact on the two mature trees, one a maple tree, the other a fig tree. Keeping those trees, and several other mature plants, allows the cottage to appear to settle into the landscape and look quite at home.
The local utility has determined that they need to replace the 110 year old transformer that serves the street. This needs to be completed before the client can rent the property. This process could take a couple of months to happen. In the mean time, she is looking forward to the completion of the final touches: primarily building the walkway from the street and building the terrace outside the cottage front door.
I think the place looks great!by