Small is the new green
Increasing environmental awareness along with economic and demographic trends favor smaller house sizes. Many cities are doing their part by updating zoning codes to allow cottage housing and small backyard cottages (detached ADU's) on residentially zoned lots. Seattle and Portland are two cities which allow backyard cottages up to 800 sq. ft. in size. These small houses provide opportunities for families, while increasing housing stock, density and affordability. Continue reading for more information about small house design and Seattle's backyard cottage ordinance or contact us to find out if your lot is eligible for a backyard cottage.
Wednesday, February 25
It has been a busy week for microhouse in the press with the lake washington cabin featured in Seattle Magizine and a send up on Portlandia. Portlandia fame aside, we don't actually design houses on wheels. Our houses rest on foundations and are usually between 400 and 1,000 sq. ft. in size. In fact we frequently work with people who are up-sizing from a boat or small apartment, people who are looking for are looking for a comfortable place to live that is efficiently designed.
If you would like to tour our 400 sq. ft. cottage on capitol hill please sign up for our open house invite list. The final pieces of the construction are coming together and we anticipate hosting an open house in mid March.
We also have announced a date for our spring workshop April 15th at the Phinney Center workshop info.
Sunday, February 8
Thursday, October 9
The capitol hill backyard cottage features one bedroom, living room, kitchen and bath on one floor and a sleeping loft.
The tangletown backyard cottage is Seattle's 100th built backyard cottage. It features an open first floor plan with a living room and kitchen. The second floor contains a bedroom, bath and study.
The Madison Valley backyard cottage has a few bonus features that we usually able to feature like a powder room, mud room, and rooftop deck.
The Broadview backyard cottage will be roughed in by a general contractor and the owner's will complete construction. The cottage features a garage which will be converted to a bedroom at a later date.
The Portage Bay backyard cottage has great views and an open contemporary plan. One bedroom is located on the first floor but the kitchen and living room are on the top floor to take advantage of the views.
High windows bring natural light into the living room.
Monday, September 8
This is perhaps a good time to reflect on the permitting process for backyard cottages in Seattle. In Seattle backyard cottages otherwise known as detached accessory dwelling units, require a full building permit. The building permit process usually takes 3 months for a simple project and can take considerably longer if one is interested in pushing the boundaries of what is allowed or the site is in an environmentally critical area.
Pushing the boundaries is not hard to do because of what is and what is not included in the actual wording of the land use code and inconsistency in interpreting the code from Seattle DPD. Backyard cottages haven't been allowed for long and the code section allowing them is brief and not well vetted. In addition because of the relatively small number being built it isn't a high priority for the city to fix the shortcomings.
Tuesday, July 15
Wednesday, June 25
Would you like an opportunity to see inside a backyard cottage (DADU)?
Microhouse's newest backyard cottage has a footprint of 14 ft x 22 ft but features two full floors on three levels and has one bedroom, one bath a kitchen living room and sleeping loft. For this project we worked with the owner to create a cottage with a small footprint that would be simple to build and love the sun. The project will serve as a rental property for the owner and in Seattle's tight market was rented out before the construction was even completed. The tenant has graciously offered to host an open house on Tuesday July 15th from 4:00-8:00 pm. 3273 McClintock Ave S, Seattle, WA. Entrance is off of the alley west of McClintock.
Open houses are a unique opportunity to see inside a backyard cottage, meet the design and construction team, and others thinking about building backyard cottages. Please follow our blog or contact us for updates.
Considering building your own backyard cottage? Contact us with your address and your goals and we will run an preliminary analysis and talk you through the design and permitting process.