The Many Shapes and Styles of ADUs

December 15, 2021

If you’ve been thinking about building an accessory dwelling unit (ADU) in California, the best time to get started on it is now. California’s current housing crisis has been met with an uptick in these popular little buildings, especially since building codes continue to change in favor of homeowners.

What Kind of ADU do You Want to Build?

An ADU is an independent living space with its own sleeping area, bathroom, and kitchen.

Depending on your wants, needs, current property layout, and budget, an ADU can be converted from a garage, built above a garage, attached to your home (or detached), or can even be an upper-level or lower-level dwelling in part of a house.

Garage Conversion ADUs

One of the most popular types of ADUs in California is a garage conversion. Converting a garage to an ADU is inexpensive and can be completed quickly. It’s a feasible project for adding livable space to a property.

Above-Garage ADUs

Many of these ADUs can be reached via stairs from inside the garage. Occasionally, stairs on the exterior of a garage building can also be implemented. Exterior entrances are on one of the sides of the garage or in the back. They’re accessed from the yard of the primary residence on the property.

Attached ADUs

Attached ADUs are ideal for those who have the space for an accessory building on their property. For maximum privacy with attached ADUs, bedrooms and bathrooms should be located as far as possible from the primary house.

Detached ADUs

Detached ADUs offer the ability to have completely separate residences close to each other on the same lot. This type of ADU is popular for people in numerous situations, especially those who want to downsize but don’t want to sell their main home. Either the ADU or the main house can serve as a rental unit this way.

Upper-Level Interior ADUs

This type of accessory dwelling unit is often created from an existing attic but can also be transformed from a different upper-level section of a home.

Depending on existing blueprints and ADU design, these independent units in a home’s interior can have access from inside the main house or stairs with exterior access. Main-level ADUs can enjoy separate entrances without the need for stairs.

Lower-Level ADUs

Many people have basements in their homes that are very underused. Transforming them into ADUs is a popular choice. Even homes with short basements, or “Michigan basements,” can be structurally remodeled to house an ADU.

Because of the location of the ADU relative to ground level, entrances are either within the main house or on its exterior.

Start Designing Your ADU with Design Appruv

Our team has over 80 years of combined experience with design, drafting, and building permit submissions. We’re client-focused, transparent, and communicative. Design Appruv can help you bring your vision for a new ADU to life, just as we did for this happy customer:

Once we heard about the new Accessory Dwelling Unit laws and reduced city fees, my wife and I became more interested in building an ADU. We connected with Seth and Design Appruv, and they held our hands and answered a considerable amount of questions for weeks prior to hiring their firm. They were always available, professional, and supportive. We are so thrilled with the outcome! Thanks for your hard work!
- Andrew Lottinger

Ready to begin? Have questions? Contact us and let us know your thoughts!