At the beginning of the month, we attended Building Small, Live Large: Portland’s Accessory Dwelling Unit Tour. We toured eight of the twelve sites on the self-guided tour — and it was hopping!
An Accessory Dwellings Unit (ADU) is a secondary residence located on the same site as a single-family home. Sometimes called mother-in-law units or granny flats, ADUs usually take the form of an apartment over a garage or a garage conversion (an example of the latter is shown above); a basement apartment with a private entrance; or a purpose-built structure separate from the original home.
The tour was hosted by Accessory Dwellings, and their site is full of useful information about ADUs, including numerous case studies with plenty of photographs, several guides, and a new 12-part series on ADU research and policy.
Other key resources include…
- Portland Bureau of Development Services – Accessory Dwelling Units
Includes an overview of permits, design standards, plan review process, and inspections, along with numerous downloadable handouts and forms.
- BDS Program Guide (PDF)
The Portland BDS program guide for ADUs is available from the page above, but here is a direct link.
- Getting Started
Accessory Dwelling’s own tips for getting started give you the whole process in a nutshell.
For design inspiration, try the ADU category at Small House Bliss or search for ADUs on Houzz. Many people who build these units also turn out to be prolific bloggers, so let your fingers do the googling!
By the way, the tour was so successful that the organizers had to cap the attendance and all the tickets were sold. Based on that success, future tours are sure to be scheduled. Accessory Dwellings organizes and announces other events throughout the year, so you may want to visit their events listings from time to time.