The Best ADU Layouts for Your New Addition

Looking to expand your living space without moving? An accessory dwelling unit (ADU)—also known as “granny pods,” “backyard bungalows,” and “in-law suites”—may be the ideal solution. ADUs not only go by different names; they also serve a multitude of purposes. From home offices and multi-purpose rooms to guest houses and rental units, the sky is truly the limit. Here’s a closer look at what you need to know about ADU layouts, along with several ADU layout ideas.

ADU Layouts: Key Considerations

While ADUs have been on the rise with homeowners for the past decade, the past 18 months, in particular, have led people to rethink their living spaces. ADUs have been heralded as a “saving grace” for homeowners when moving isn’t an option.

But not all ADUs are created equal. Homeowners have many different options with their ADU layouts depending on location, size, and desired features. For example, if you’re creating an in-law suite you’ll have different priorities than if you’re adding an ADU as an investment property to list on a site like Airbnb or VRBO. The former may mandate accessible design elements like slip-resistant flooring and residential elevators. Then, the latter may require luxurious touches to will attract renters in today’s competitive sharing economy.

And while adding an ADU may seem like an expensive decision, experts say the long-term payoffs are worth far more than the upfront expense. According to the New York Times, “When you look at it as an investment, the rents that these homes can fetch, especially in a hot-market location, are going to pay back the cost of building it much faster than other types of housing…from that standpoint, the economics seem like an absolute slam dunk.”  

Whatever your plan for your ADU, you’ll also need to adhere to local ordinances and zoning regulations. These vary depending on where you live, so be sure your bases are covered before starting to build.

ADU Plans and Services in the Bay Area

There’s good news on this front for homeowners in California, where ADUs face less rigorous zoning regulations. The state also offers extensive resources about ADUs on everything from funding to ideas, stories, and photos.

While it’s possible to undertake an ADU build on your own, there are many potential pitfalls and obstacles you might encounter along the way. Working with an architectural firm with experience in ADU house plans and services can help simplify and streamline the process while simultaneously ensuring optimal outcomes. In addition to helping you navigate the complexities of building an additional unit on your property, an architect will also know and execute best practices for layout, flow, and any additional considerations which you might not be aware of.

ADU Plans with Layouts You Want

Another benefit of working with an architectural firm like Drafting Cafe Architects: access to pre-designed ADU packages and projects in both modern and farmhouse exterior finish styles.

From our compact yet convenient one-bedroom Macchiato ADU, which measures in at a tidy 500 square feet, to our expansive 1,000 square-foot Latte, there’s a ready-to-go ADU plan that will best suit your wants and needs.

Looking for something in the middle? Our 750-square foot Medium Roast is a backyard bungalow right down to its design-forward craftsman details.

Whichever package you choose, you’ll also have your choice of three stylish interior finish palettes for interior materials. You’ll be able to confidently create your desired aesthetic for your kitchen, bathroom, and other spaces. Additionally, you’ll also get professional management throughout your project.

Customize your Bay Area ADU

Some homeowners also take advantage of the option to completely customize their ADUs to meet their unique and specific specifications. While this may be a more time-consuming and costly option, it’s also one that lets you bring your exact vision to life.

Whether you select one of our pre-designed ADUs or customize one, you’ll also get invaluable guidance throughout the ADU design process—from referring you to trusted contractors to researching whether you’ll need approval from your neighbors (which you probably won’t in ADU-friendly California). We’ll also make sure you’re informed about all of the costs associated with adding an ADU to prevent any unpleasant budgeting surprises along the way.

There’s a reason why so many homeowners are turning to ADUs—especially here in the Bay Area. They are highly adaptable and provide your home with lasting value, regardless of use. Investing in the construction of an ADU for your home is not only worth it, but easier than you would think!

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