Accessory Dwelling Units: Where to Start

You may have heard about accessory dwelling units – sometimes referred to as ADUs, Secondary dwelling units, or in-law units – and you’ve been wondering if you could build one at your property. But you don’t know where to start. Here’s what you can do: Call your local Planning or Zoning Department. Ask them if […]

Design Development

The following images were made this week as I was working on a small cottage project that was recently re-started by the clients after a break of almost 2 years. In the intervening years, the building code changed and the Oakland’s planning regulations changed, so we had to make some changes. In addition, my clients […]

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 Dwelling Units – Can You Build One?

In California right now, there is a significant amount of interest in “accessory dwelling units” (ADUs). These used to be called “granny flats”, “in-law units”, or “back yard cottages”. Now they are most commonly called “accessory dwelling units” or “secondary dwelling units”. By definition, an ADU is a smaller dwelling that is attached to, or […]

Project Comes Back to Life

Every project has it’s own pace. Some are quick. Some are slow. Some hit road blocks. Some are paused and come back. One of my projects, which had been put on “hold” back in December, has come back to life. The project is in Sunnyvale. It was a project that started out as a secondary […]

Project Completed: San Francisco In-law Legalization

The project to legalize an in-law unit in San Francisco is complete! (Or at least, near enough to complete.) This project was to take an existing “unpermitted” in-law unit in a house in San Francisco, and, within the City’s legalization program, make the changes required to legalize the unit. The major changes required to make […]

Project in Progess: San Francisco Foundation Replacement and New Unit

San Francisco has a program, the purpose of which is to encourage landlords to improve the earthquake safety of their properties. If a landlord voluntarily performs a seismic upgrade to a building meeting certain specific criteria, the City allows the landlord to add one or more rental units to the building, waiving many of the […]

Project in Progress: We Got The Permit!

Oh, heavenly day! We got the permit! Pardon me while I dance a little jig in celebration. You see, this is a small San Francisco project legalizing an existing secondary dwelling. We are doing this through a special program San Francisco offers, which allows owners of houses with unpermitted second units, to legalize those units […]