Imagine a little home away from home… on your own property. Commonly known as guest houses or granny-suites, accessory dwelling units (ADU) can provide a sense of calming privacy for yourself or an additional revenue stream to help fund your mortgage. ADU layout ideas and design concepts don’t have to be a daunting task and can be easily accomplished as long as they are approached carefully while following proper zoning guidelines.
First of all, you need to consider that big requirements exist for this space to be habitable. Does this ADU need air conditioning? Will there be any large plumbing requirements? What type of renovations will you need to contract? Figure out the bare-bones basics first and from there you can get into the fun part; the accents and ADU design ideas that can be accomplished. Explore some of these reliable ADU layout ideas and start planning your ADU today.
Design Idea #1: Converting a Garage to an ADU
One of the first spots in our homes with the opportunity to convert into an ADU is the garage. At A-List Builders, we’re seeing this trend become part of the new normal for Los Angeles homeowners looking to increase the function and value of their home.
One of the more accessible and common ADUs, converting a garage into an alternative space doesn’t have to be hard. Some tips for converting a garage into an ADU include:
- Expanding. While still respecting the proper city codes and electrical permissions, renovating sections of the property can allow space expansion so consider consulting a professional construction company that specializes in ADUs to see what can happen.
- Elevating. Garages can have some of the most square footage in regards to pre-existing ADU spaces. Consider adding a kitchenette or a private bathroom in the space to enhance the area even further.
Design Idea #2: Converting a Shed to an ADU
The shed in the backyard doesn’t have to sit in silence for most of the year. A shed makes for an easily-adapted and private ADU. Perfect for the in-laws or as a temporary living space for loved ones, shed conversions provide simple options in order to convert them to an ADU depending on the existing square footage. ADU layout ideas to renovate a shed into a desirable space are pretty manageable with proper guidance and professional consultation.
- Furnish with Function. Since space needs to be taken advantage of intelligently within most sheds, it’s a smart idea to select furniture pieces that can serve multiple purposes. Fold-away bed designs or futons create more space and function as well as ottoman storage chests. Note if you are going to have temporary or long-term residents in this space, windows and proper ventilation will be required, in addition to other parameters to make the space legally habitable.
Design Idea #3: Pool House ADU Enhancements
ADUs are not only pre existing spaces within the property, sometimes they can be opportunities to raise the value of your home as well. If your home has the luxury of having a pool, as many homes in Los Angeles do, you may want to consider a glamorous pool house as your accessory dwelling unit. Some simple ADU design ideas and questions to consider for creating a well-designed pool house are:
- Pool Host or Pool House: Do you want this pool house to serve as a swanky spot for friends to spend a pool day or would you like it to house one friend for a few days for a perfect pool getaway weekend? Would you be renting out the space for tourists seeking alternative accommodations? These affect your ADU design plan tremendously.
- Consider Poolside Perks. Many pool houses include separate showers or wet bars to make the trips to the main property not only minimal but in many cases optional. Additionally, the existing plumbing makes it somewhat easier to approach remodeling the space for residence.
Design Idea #4: Optimizing a Basement ADU
Another common ADU that one might not think of first is the basement. While the infrastructure of the space is already set in place, there are many innovative and creative ways to optimize and capitalize on the space available. In some of the most well-thought out basement ADUs people feel they’re in an entirely separate home while not being detached from the main property. Some efficient basement ADU design ideas to contemplate:
- Create Sound Barriers. This increases the guest’s sense of privacy and allows the people in the main property the ease of not worrying about the basement area, which can be perfect for rental situations.
- Renovate with Purpose. While basements often feature many things that need to be added in less practical ADUs, including standard renovations within the ADU layout idea allows the opportunity to add separate bedrooms or office areas.
Design Idea #5: Designing a Mini-Cabin from a Barn
If your property or estate happens to have a barn or greenhouse of any kind, these make for the perfect cabin-like ADU space sure to please guests and family alike. Embracing its rustic roots and organic atmosphere, barnes and greenhouses can be converted to at-home cabins fairly simply. Consider these helpful approaches to designing a mini-cabin from a barn or greenhouse to get started.
- Stay Eco-Friendly. With a clear love for nature embedded in the core of cabin creation, it’s a great idea to consider solar-powered operations within the ADU.
- Expand the Outside, Accessorize the Inside. Adding a nice porch to enjoy the outdoors is a perfect compliment to a preexisting barn or greenhouse, while adding functional shelves and dining areas on the inside set your mini-cabin up for amazing memories to come.
There are countless ways to create a functional yet comfortable ADU space within your home. Whether you want to capitalize on an unoccupied basement area or you want to elevate the value of your property by adding a mini-cabin or pool house on the grounds, your future ADU is a manageable and exciting task; you’ve simply have to start.