Hawaiian Time

 

Isha and me at Waikiki Beach

Isha and me at Waikiki Beach

I recently returned from a much-anticipated 9-day vacation in Hawaii with Isha, The Guy Next Door. I’m in that happy in-between space where it’s so nice to have been gone and so nice to be home again! And I feel like I may still be on Hawaiian Time, which is much more easy-going but not always compatible with the mainland flurry!

We arrived in Honolulu super late on Saturday night a couple weeks ago and were greeted in Waikiki by Isha’s college pal Henry, who hosted us while we were there. And when I say we were greeted by Henry, I mean, Henry, a couple of cold beers, and a bag of Maui onion potato chips. For those of you unfamiliar with the trio, these may be the three best things to be greeted by on a hot January day in Waikiki after a long flight! The past couple years Henry has worked a few months in Hawaii and he’s told Isha that he’s welcome to come stay with him during those times. This year, thanks to some frequent flyer miles, we were able to take him up on the offer, making our vacation a relatively frugal one AND enabling us to have fabulous company!

Mmm! Tropical drinks! Soursop smoothie for breakfast, anyone?

Mmm! Tropical drinks! Soursop smoothie for breakfast, anyone?

Sunday is Henry’s one day off each week, so in the morning Isha and Henry headed out for a surf. I enjoyed a lazy start to my day, wandered Waikiki, and picked up some groceries at the market (some of which I’d never seen before – soursop smoothies, anyone? Mmmm!) I also prepped for and taught my weekly Downsizing E-Course. These call-ins are fun no matter what, but I’ve got to say it was especially nice discussing downsizing philosophies from our 21st floor Waikiki hotel room! That night Henry showed us one of his favorite Japanese restaurants in Waikiki and I enjoyed the best sushi and sake I’ve ever had. Scrumptious!

Exploring Chinatown Honolulu

Exploring Chinatown Honolulu

Monday morning we started out the week with a smoothie on the beach, a swim, and some home-cooked breakfast before packing up our stuff to head to our new lodgings on the North Shore. We stopped along the way in Chinatown where we explored shops and markets and stocked up on ingredients for a week’s worth of home-cooked meals. Then we visited Pearl Harbor, which was a fascinating encounter with rhetoric and culture. On our drive to the North Shore where we stayed the rest of the trip, we stopped at Waimea Bay because everyone and their auntie was doing the same. The waves were massive so it was fun to watch the pro surfers and speculate about whether or not the Eddie surf competition would run. As we were nearing Sunset Beach we gave Henry a ring to let him know we were close and he said “I hope you like watching whales breach in 35 foot waves, because that’s what I’m doing right now from the deck!” Um, yes, please! Don’t mind if we do! Our dinner plans were back-burnered. Instead we sat out on the deck, drinking Coronas with lime and eating peanuts (acquired in Chinatown at a preposterous bargain!) and visited with Henry while watching the waves and the sunset.

I was certain that I’d be working from Hawaii since most of my trips are work-related in some way and I try to do maintenance work to keep up. But there’s something about Hawaiian Time that allowed me to really settle into having an actual vacation. Was it the waves? The sunshine? The humidity? The tropical fruit smoothies for breakfast? The salt water on my skin after a morning swim? Whatever it was, it felt luscious.

My sis and I hiked to the top of Diamond Head one beautiful afternoon

My sis and I hiked to the top of Diamond Head one beautiful afternoon

The days started to blend together in a lovely swirl of tasty food, warm sun, big waves, dream-filled sleep, yoga classes, and visiting with friends and family. Isha and I enjoyed some quality time and the chance to make more memories of our adventures together. Another of Henry’s friends stayed for five days during out trip and the fellas all surfed together every chance they got (which means I got a crash-course in surfer lingo – nothing like immersion, right!?) My sister who lives in Kauai came to visit for three days. She and I caught up while walking in the neighborhood, hiking to the top of Diamond Head, and wandering Waikiki. My friend and former Less is More student Maile and her husband Kevin were also on Oahu so we connected for lunch one day and she and Isha participated in our Downsizing E-Course from our beach house. We also enjoyed trading tasty meals with Henry’s friends and their 6-month-old cherub (I’ve never seen such a happy baby! Then again, growing up in Hawaii does seem to have that effect on people!) We were grateful for their local knowledge and their hospitality as they shared a soft top surf board for my first lesson, clued me in on the best yoga studio in the area, and introduced us to awesome swimming spots, local produce stands, and a fabulous Waimea Bay lookout, not to mention amusing us with the low-down on local celebrities.

These are the fun folks we hung out with on the North Shore all week!

These are the fun folks we hung out with on the North Shore all week!

Although we joked about staying forever and promised to come back at the next chance, it was also great to come home to Simply Home Community, my precious little cat, and my beloved tiny house, The Lucky Penny. It feels good to be home again. And it’s been fun this week to do some project management for the upcoming Tiny House Build Blitz in Tucson and to be excited about the launch of the Tiny House Collaborative.

Nine days in Hawaii was a lovely way to get some much-needed R & R and I intend to keep a bit of the Hawaiian Time I brought back with me. I have a renewed commitment to giving myself a Secular Sabbath each week. That feeling of spaciousness is lovely and I intend for it to linger beyond the macadamia nuts and the sun tan!

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Biz503 Radio Show re: The Future of Green Building

Later today I’ll be one of the guests for a radio show on Biz503 (a segment about business in Portland on the Portland Radio Project station). This particular episode is focused on the future of sustainable building and I am honored to be one of the panelists, along with fine folks from Sustainable Northwest Wood – which provided most of the lumber for The Breathe BuildingEarth Advantage which is the standard the Breathe Building was built to, People’s Food Co-op – where I’m a member, and several more! I look forward to sharing a bit about Simply Home Community and I imagine we may also discuss The Breathe Building, the ADU Case Studies Project, the Space-Efficient Housing Working Group, and other sustainable building projects I’ve been part of here in Portland. Read on for the blog post Biz503 wrote to preview the show and tune in if you can!

BIZ503: THE FUTURE OF SUSTAINABLE BUILDING

Biz503 Sustainable BuildingSustainable building is on the rise – in Portland and across the world. The global green building market has surpassed $260 billion, and client demand is expected to keep pushing that number higher.

People are turning towards architecture that’s harmonious with nature for many reasons: economics, health, energy reduction and an overall awareness that the spaces where we live and work can be more than toxic boxes. From tiny houses to sustainable wood, to living buildings and urban forest canopies, there’s a movement to build green.

Join us Friday, Jan. 22, at 1:00 p.m. for a live broadcast of Biz503 as we talk to industry experts about the in-and-outs of the sustainable building movement. Mark Grimes of NedSpace and Cindy Tortorici from The Link will lead a discussion about the designs, ideas and visions of those who are pushing the borders of what it means to “build green.”

Our show guests include:

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Last Call for Downsizing E-Course

It has been so much fun to see students getting psyched for the upcoming Downsizing E-Course! If you’d like to get in on this round of the Downsizing E-Course, please register today so that you can get started on your first challenge! You’ll find the course description below.

 

02 Lina & Stuff

me and all my Stuff the day my tiny house adventure began – it will be so interesting to see how this compares to the amount of Stuff I have now!

 

Special Deal: Sign up with an accountability buddy and you both get $10 off when you sign up and for each week that BOTH OF YOU complete the downsizing challenge, you’ll EACH earn a $10 rebate. This means that if you complete all 6 challenges you can earn $60 back in addition to your original $10 rebate! That’s right. This class will literally PAY YOU BACK if you do the assignments. But it only works if you BOTH do your challenge, so be sure to encourage each other along!

What if were surrounded only by the things and people you love best? What if you had just the right amount of stuff and liked it all? What if you were cheered on throughout your downsizing process?

If you’re ready to take a good look at your Stuff, this e-course is for you. We’ll address our relationship with Stuff, discuss needs and wants to figure out what really matters, set priorities, and evaluate our possessions. We’ll identify old habits and clutter magnets and tackle problem areas in our homes. Then we’ll develop organizational systems and new habits to reduce clutter. And the best part is you’ll get to do this with the encouragement of other people who are embarking on a similar journey.

In this seven-week series, we’ll cover everything from keeping track of our keys to developing a wardrobe of clothes we love. This seven-week e-course will include a weekly lesson, a weekly challenge, and a weekly check-in with your fellow downsizers. The January course begins on January 17 and runs through February 28. Check-ins are Sunday evenings at 5pm PST (8PM EST). 

Please note, the reading materials for this course’s lessons will cost approximately $30 if you purchase them. They’re great books and I still have them on my e-reader. Of course, you’re encouraged to check them out from your local library to save money and space. (See, less Stuff!)

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Support Living Tiny… Legally

At the Tiny House Jamboree in Colorado Springs, I met Alexis & Christian of Tiny House Expedition. They’ve been traveling for the past several months to make a film called Living Tiny… Legally, which explores how people across the country have worked with their cities to find ways to live legally in their wee homes. They’re now running a Living Tiny… Legally Indigogo campaign to raise funds to complete the project. You can support this film so that tiny house enthusiasts and city officials have great examples of how to make tiny legal. Read on for more info from their website and then jump on over to the Living Tiny… Legally Indigogo campaign to make a contribution.

 

Tiny House Tour in Orlando

a kiddo gives the thumbs up for tiny houses at a recent tour at a tiny house community in Orlando, FL

Living Tiny….Legally!

August 7th-9th 2015: The First Tiny House Jamboree in Colorado Springs, CO. Event organizers expected a turnout of 10,000 people. 40,000+ showed up, representing all 50 states.

The biggest takeaway? People want to live tiny, legally! AND there’s a very real desire to live in tiny house communities. 

We are Alexis & Christian, the filmmakers & tiny house community advocates behind Tiny House Expedition,

Alexis & Christian

Alexis & Christian on the porch of their tiny house on wheels

and Kai Rostscheck, mover & shaker behind I Love Tiny Houses, Tiny House Lending & Tiny House Dating

Kai Rostscheck

Kai Rostscheck chilling in a tiny house loft

We are traveling the country to create a documentary series featuring case studies; exciting examples of how a handful of cities from all over the country are making legal tiny house communities a reality…

Our goal is to legitimize conversations about legal Tiny Housing and to provide a proactive, illustrative resource for those seeking to bring tiny houses to their city but don’t know where to start…

We’ll talk with founders and city officials representing these ongoing projects, in both urban and rural settings. We’ll ask city planners about local objections & potential solutions, to zoning issues, safety certifications and more.

Filming Living Tiny Legally

Filming Living Tiny… Legally

These communities are in various stages of development and each represents a unique kind of arrangement, but many of the issues and opportunities are similar.

Ultimately, we’ll determine why each city said “yes” or wants to say yes, to Tiny Housing, if the right conditions can be met, of course.

This documentary will be YOUR FREE resource, to help YOU, the people that want to live tiny, live tiny legally… With YOUR HELP, this documentary can be used as YOUR tool to proactively further meaningful conversations with your local municipal planners and help make legal tiny housing a reality in YOUR community.

Check out the Living Tiny… Legally Indigogo campaign to support this film by making a contribution!

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Less Is More 2016 Wrap Up

our Less is More students made us a card entitled Dave visits Lina (my co-instructor Dave is as crazy about bikes and little houses as I am!)

our Less is More students made us a thank you card entitled Dave visits Lina (my co-instructor Dave is as crazy about bikes and little houses as I am!)

It was great fun Kicking Off 2016 with Small Home Design by teaching Less Is More at Yestermorrow. Monday and Tuesday we went on field trips to small houses in the Mad River Valley and Montpelier. We got to see five little houses this year, ranging in size from about 120 square feet to 1700 square feet. All five of these houses were owner-built, which was neat because we had the opportunity to talk to the homeowners about their challenges and successes. I had been to each of these small homes before, but I learn something new each time I visit, so that was great!

On Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday Dave and I presented slideshows to share building basics and design tricks for small spaces. We asked the students what else they wanted to learn and ended up doing a crash course in building science, a presentation on toilet options, considerations for construction and finish materials, and sharing net zero energy information. We also introduced design exercises and drafting techniques.

One of our activities was designing a tiny house together by taping it out on the floor. I was impressed by how many different considerations came up as the students deliberated the merits of putting the door in one location or another and selecting a roof style. They were excellent at weighing their options and thinking things through. It was fun to see students design exercises morph into their individual projects as their understanding and design skills evolved. (Photos forthcoming.)

Card from Less Is More

On Thursday the students worked away the day designing their own small home projects, ranging in scale from a 200 SF tiny house on wheels to a 1800 ski house that can sleep 12. They presented their work on Friday to the class and our jurors, Paul Hanke and Kathy Meyer.

Other projects included:

  • a small home with a movement studio for dance and aikido
  • a little house inspired by medieval timber frame construction
  • a Texan live-work space with a double roof for shading
  • a small lakehouse to retire to
  • a cabin in the woods with an impressive roof
  • a round house with pop-outs
  • a multi-generational home with a turret suite

It was fun to see students design exercises morph into their individual projects as their understanding and design skills evolved. And, of course, it was great to be back in Vermont and at Yestermorrow. This was my eleventh trip out there and it looks like I may have good reason to go back again this summer to help out with a Build Blitz. One of the students in the class is excited to build a tiny house on wheels and several other students are eager to help out. Stay tuned for more about that possibility!

Meanwhile, I’m scheming my next tiny house design workshop, which will be in Asheville, NC right after the Tiny House Conference. If you’re noodling through your tiny house design, mark your calendar for April 3-8th and Contact Me to be added to the list for more information!

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The Triple Whammy of ADU Financials (And Why It Might Make Sense to Create an ADU Anyway)

Joan Grimm & Rita Haberman carved out an under-used bedroom and bath to make a studio apartment in their home

Joan Grimm & Rita Haberman carved out an under-used bedroom and bath to make a studio apartment in their home

As you can see from the ADU Case Studies, many homeowners recognize the social, environmental, and financial value of creating an ADU on their property. However, our financial system hasn’t quite caught up with the trend. As I talked with more than 80 ADU owners and professionals for the ADU Case Studies Project, I came to learn that there’s a triple whammy when it comes to ADU financials.

Here’s how it works:

#1 – You try to get a loan to build an ADU but the bank is wary, so you have to scrounge up at least part of the money some other way.

#2 – You build your ADU and it does indeed add value to your property (yay!) which means your taxes go up (maybe a lot!)

#3 – You are ready to sell your house with an ADU and you’ve accepted an offer but the appraiser isn’t familiar with ADUs and values your property at way less than the market rate.

Let’s break it down. Here’s what the worst case scenario might look like:

You’ve read up on How to Buy or Sell a Property with An ADU (or ADU Potential). You’ve found a great property and you’ve built your team of ADU Professionals. You’re ready to start building that ADU of your dreams, so you go to the bank.

#1 – Getting Financing

“Everyone agreed ADUs were a great idea, but none of the banking industries got on board for years. We were abandoned by financing. Banks are always fair-weather friends.” –Sam Hagerman

Hammer & Hand has been building (and advocating for) ADUs for several years - here is one of the ADUs profiled in the Hammer & Hand ADU Profiles

Hammer & Hand has been building (and advocating for) ADUs for several years – here is one of the ADUs profiled in the Hammer & Hand ADU Profiles

The bank is wary to loan on a project that doesn’t have good collateral. They might say ‘You’re just talking about finishing out the basement, right? Why is it going to cost $100,000?’ So it’s tricky for you to get a construction loan. After all, you’re not a known quantity. Sure, you’re good about paying your bills each month, but you’re not a developer. You’ve never built a house before so you don’t have a track record. How are they to know that you’ll be able to pull it off and that this ADU will really add value to your house? If you’re not able to get a loan for the full amount you need to construct your ADU, you’ll need to scrounge it up from somewhere else.

You might try one of these options:

Before you get too far along in your ADU dream, be sure you have a good plan to fund it! Before you buy a property with an ADU (or ADU potential), be sure the appraiser and loan officer have A Practitioner’s Guide to Appraising ADUs. Also make sure you and your realtor have reviewed How to Buy or Sell a Property with an ADU.

#2 – Paying Property Taxes

When Jane Doe built her little ADU her taxes jumped considerably

When Jane Doe built her little ADU her taxes jumped considerably

Even though the bank wasn’t sure your garage conversion would add value to your property, now you’ve added a new dwelling to your property and the value has indeed gone up. You might be able to have your property reappraised. And when you do you might find that it’s gone up quite a bit as Caleb & Tori Bruce and Bob & Adrienne Stacey did. At this point you might want to turn to your bank and say, “See, toldja so!” You might decide to refinance.

But then the tax assessors come by and it turns out they like what you’ve done with the place, too. So your property taxes go up. Even before Multonomah County’s Re-MAV, ADU owners such as Jane Doe were shocked by the increase in their property tax bills.

Before you build an ADU, be sure you understand the tax implications of creating a dwelling on your property, particularly if it’s detached and you live in Multnomah County where we have a wacky property tax system and a recent regulatory change that has tripled some people’s taxes overnight.

#3 – Selling Your Home with An ADU

Dan Gray sold his house with an ADU last year - fortunately the buyers recognized the added value of this ADU over a garage!

Dan Gray sold his house with an ADU last year – fortunately the buyers recognized the added value of this ADU over a garage!

You wrestled with the bank to get money to build your ADU and you paid the tax collector for all the years you owned your ADU. But you also made decent money renting your place out for the past 10 years. (After all, there are Options for ADU Owners: Rent One, Both, or Neither). Or maybe it was where your dad lived for his last decade. (And you’ve learned that ADUs Work for Multigenerational Families and discovered the hidden value of ADUs.) So it penciled out after all.

Now you’ve got a great opportunity somewhere else and you’ve decided you’re not going to Own Two, Rent Both or Own Two, Rent One. So it’s time to sell your place. You’ve got a great sellers agent and you’ve accepted a great market-rate offer.

The trouble is that the appraisal just came in and it’s way lower than you expected. It may be that the buyer’s appraiser doesn’t recognize the value of your ADU. Since ADUs are illegal in many places, appraisers (especially from the big banks) may turn a blind eye and pretend they’re not there at all. Or she may still be using the comps method of evaluating the property. She might have evaluated your 2 bedroom, 1 bath house and 1 bedroom, 1 bath ADU and considered it a 3 bedroom, 2 bath house rather than 2 separate units. She compared that to other 3 bedroom houses in the neighborhood instead of calculating the rental income potential using the valuation method. (The valuation method is used for apartment buildings and other income-generating properties and it’s preferred over the comp method for evaluating ADUs.) So now you’re having trouble selling your place because your buyers aren’t able to get their bank to finance your property with an ADU. You don’t want to take the appraised value, but your buyers can’t afford to pay cash.

What a mess! So THAT is what I have come to call the Triple Whammy of ADU Financials.

So why in the world might it make sense to build an ADU anyway?

THIS is why it may all be worth it! Nancy Abens' mom loves her little ADU - in her daughter's backyard

THIS is why it may all be worth it! Nancy Abens’ mom loves her little ADU – in her daughter’s backyard

The triple whammy described above is the worst-case scenario. If that was everyone’s experience there would probably be a lot fewer ADUs. However:

The financial industry is catching up with the trend, so it’s getting easier to get financing through a home equity line of credit, particularly with credit unions and community banks. So you may be able to finance your ADU with a home equity line of credit (HELOC) as Don Golden & Edith Casterline, Heidi Rose, Lesa Dixon-Gray, Joan Grimm & Rita Haberman, Kathleen Pequeno, Dennis & Stephanie Martin, John Baker, Michael Klepinger, Stephen Williams, Susan Moray did. However, you’ll learn as Susan Eliot did, that you need to live in your home for a while before you’ve built up enough equity to take some out for the ADU.

“ADU financing has only really become a reality because of economic change. Land prices have gone back up. There’s the advent of Airbnb. The writing on the wall is finally defined enough for the bankers to pay attention. If you build an ADU you can potentially raise the value by far more than the mortgage. When they know it will make sense, they’ll pour money into it.” –Sam Hagerman

In Portland you can take advantage of the waiver of System Development Charges. Additionally, Portland’s Accessory Structures Zoning Code Update Passed, which will potentially reduce costs associated with making your detached structure match the primary dwelling (such as matching the cedar shingles!)

More appraisers are becoming familiar with appraisal methods that take income potential into account. Before you buy or sell a property with an ADU, be sure the appraiser has A Practitioner’s Guide to Appraising ADUs. Also make sure you and your realtor have reviewed How to Buy or Sell a Property with an ADU.

Bob & Adrienne Stacey's grandkids come "camp" with them in their ADU

Bob & Adrienne Stacey’s grandkids come “camp” with them in their ADU

Meanwhile, in many cities market rate rents continue to hold strong and in some cities they’re increasing, so there are Options for ADU Owners: Rent One, Both, or Neither. Furthermore, ADUs Work for Multigenerational Families by providing both economic and emotional returns on investment.

So the best way to avoid the triple whammy of ADU financials is to do your due diligence and be well-educated about the financial implications of your decisions. Make a wise and informed decision that fits your lifestyle and current situation as well as your future plans.

Good luck!

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Kicking Off 2016 with Small Home Design

it finally snowed in Portland - while I'm in snowy Vermont

it finally snowed in Portland so Lucky Penny is having her first snow day – while I’m in snowy Vermont

 

 

Happy New Year!

They say that what you do on the first day of the year is indicative of what the year will bring. If that’s true, 2016 is going to bring me fun adventures! I started out the new year by hoping on a plane on New Year’s day, bound for Vermont. I’m teaching the Less is More class at Yestermorrow, which is a 1-week design intensive focused on small homes. (You can also learn about past Less is More classes.)

We kicked off tonight with introductions and a design exercise to get the creative juices flowing. It was fun to hear about all the tiny house dreams and schemes that our students have. It seems this week on the drafting boards we’re going to be seeing tiny houses on wheels, small cabins in the woods, and a smallish vacation home for 12. It should be fascinating!

Tomorrow we’ll start out with field trips and then we’ll jump right back into the design process.

It’s nice to be starting class having already adjusted to the timezone. But really I planned an extra day onto the front end of my trip for two other reasons. First, I was traveling through Chicago. In January. So, you know, contingency. The second is that I’ve made some good friends here and one of them was celebrating a birthday. We had a fabulous day of… well, mostly eating, really… but other good fun, too! Yay for homemade waffles, fresh oysters, winter wanders, and the ridiculousness that is bowling! I’ve long liked the idea of secular sabbath but the past couple years I’ve been rather lousy at unplugging! Saturday was good practice and I plan to continue that throughout the year.

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Why Does Portland Have ALL the ADUs?

ADUs in Portland

a tour of Kol Peterson’s ADU – which has inspired hundreds of others!

As you read through the ADU Case Studies on AccessoryDwellings.org, it may seem like ALL the ADUs in America are centered in the immediate vicinity of Voodoo Donuts. I’m here to assure you that’s not true. It’s really not about the donuts. It’s about the food carts, the craft beer, and the dream of the 1890s.

But in seriousness, there are indeed lots of ADUs in Portland, OR and several good reasons that Portland has become the epicenter of the small housing universe. There are also a couple reasons that Portland is over-represented on AccessoryDwellings.org. I’ll explain these in a moment.

But first, I want to make sure you know the ADUs are NOT all in Portland. Really. There are legal, permitted ADUs in cities all over the country. (And lots more practical ADUs that aren’t permitted, but that’s a different story.) Even within the ADU Case Studies Project, which is focused on ADUs in Oregon, there are several ADUs in Eugene, OR (see Bob & Jenny Harris, Robert Albano, Dennis & Stephanie Martin, and Caleb & Tori Bruce) and Ashland, OR (see Cheryl & Jim Levie and Dan Gray. We will continue to add information about ADUs to AccessoryDwellings.org so that over time it will be clear that the ADUs are not all in Portland.

So here’s why it seems like ALL the ADUs are in Portland:

  1. First, the creators of AccessoryDwellings.org – Kol Peterson, Eli Spevak, and Martin Brown – are Portland residents. They are also policy wonks and, of course, ADU owners, developers, consultants, and dwellers. These small space geeks write about what they know and love: ADUs and Portland. But, please be assured there’s a keen interest in continuing to include information about ADUs from across the country (and around the world). We Want Your Contributions to make the website representative of all the exciting projects happening everywhere!
  2. Second, the ADU Case Studies Project was funded by the Oregon Department of Environmental Quality to support building small as the best green building strategy. So the case studies written in 2014-2015 were all from Oregon. Now that the ADU Case Studies Project has wrapped up, you can contribute your own case study. If you’d like to submit your project, please contact us for the template and send it back to us with 5-10 high-quality photos of your ADU. Don’t be shy! Show off your ADU. We bet it’s awesome…
  3. Third, Portland is probably the best place in the country to build ADUs. Check out
    How Portland Became ADU-Friendly (And How Your City Can, Too). By reading through the posts on AccessoryDwellings.org, you can learn how Portland made it possible to create Discrete Density and learn Tangible Ways to Support Space-Efficient Housing, too.

Meanwhile, please look at the ADU Case Studies as a set of examples for how you, too, could create an awesome ADU. Even if the ADU regulations are different where you live, and even if it’s not practical to bring a Portland-based ADU Professional on board for your project, there are great ideas here you can borrow. The ADU Case Studies Project includes all sorts of interesting information from how people created clever storage solutions to how to buy or sell a property with an ADU. So please enjoy exploring and share your ADU with us once it’s built!

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ADU Case Studies Project Update

In December of 2013, we launched the ADU Case Studies Project on a contract with the Oregon Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ). Two years later, we’re wrapping the project up with a new set of case studies set for publication in 2016. I thoroughly enjoyed the opportunity to interview more than 80 ADU owners, designers, and builders, and I’m looking forward to sharing what I’ve learned with everyone. Below you’ll find the 2016 preview, which was originally posted on AccessoryDwellings.org.

 

AD Logo Large

ADUs are A Thing. Especially in Portland, OR, Vancouver, BC, and a handful of other cities. Maybe you’ve noticed.

Since I first started writing for AccessoryDwellings.org in the fall of 2011, it’s been really exciting to see the small house movement gain traction. I’ve had a special backseat view of this crazy ride through the ADU Case Studies Project. In 2016, I’m looking forward to sharing with you what I’ve learned along the way.

Over the past two years I’ve had the opportunity to interview more than 60 ADU owners and 20 designers and builders. Through their generosity and willingness to share their triumphs and tribulations, I’ve learned an incredible amount about their reasons for creating ADUs, the biggest roadblocks they’ve encountered, and the creative solutions they’ve developed.

Each week on Friday we’ll post a new piece of the ADU Case Studies Project. Here’s what you can expect in 2016:

We’ll be sharing 20 brand new case studies of real projects that were created through interviews with ADU owners. We’ll be including more basement ADUs, garage conversions, and backyard cottages (detached new construction). In this round we also added some really Creative ADU Types that don’t fit into any of the boxes we’ve used before, including a Carve-Out ADU, Second-Story Addition, a Future ADU, and a 2-Story Garage Conversion.

We’ll also be bringing you a set of profiles of Designers, Design-Builders, and Builders. Most of these Designer-Builder Profiles also include a link to snapshots of three ADUs that the company has helped to create. Even if you live far, far away and wouldn’t be able to bring one of these professionals on-board, reading through their profiles will give you great food for thought regarding what matters to you in an ADU and how you can enter the process educated and prepared.

Finally, I’ll be sharing a set of posts that address some themes I noticed as I talked with more than 80 people about their experiences creating ADUs. This is where you’ll get to learn about:

Reading through these profiles, you’ll see the enormous amount of creativity and care that went into creating these small homes. Chances are, they’ll also give you lots of inspiration for what’s possible as ADUs become more a part of the urban fabric.

It’s looking to be a good year for ADUs. I hope you’ll subscribe to AccessoryDwellings.org so you can come along for the ride!

P.S. Some of the links won’t be live until the posts go live, so please bear with us. You may want to bookmark the link so you can come back to it later. By November all the links will be an interconnected web!

Posted in accessory dwelling, ADU Case Studies | Leave a comment

Early Bird Special for Downsizing E-Course

I02 Lina & Stuffn 2011, I radically downsized my possessions for a short stint in a 15’ travel trailer. A year later I took on My 200 Things Challenge. I’ve now lived in a 12’ diameter yurt and three tiny houses on wheels with fewer possessions than most people keep in their kitchens! Now I’m offering an exciting e-course to help other people through their downsizing process, too.

Early Bird Special (20% off!) available through December 31st. Also, sign up with an accountability buddy and you both get $10 off when you sign up and additional incentives for completing your Challenges. (These two discounts CAN be combined until the Early Bird Special expires on December 31st!) Register here: http://www.nichedesignbuild.com/store/p22/Downsizing_E-Course.html.

Here’s the e-course description:
What if were surrounded only by the things and people you love best? What if you had just the right amount of stuff and liked it all? What if you were cheered on throughout your downsizing process?
If you’re ready to take a good look at your stuff, this e-course is for you. We’ll address our relationship with stuff, discuss needs and wants to figure out what really matters, set priorities, and evaluate our possessions. We’ll identify old habits and clutter magnets and tackle problem areas in our homes. Then we’ll develop organizational systems and new habits to reduce clutter. And the best part is you’ll get to do this with the encouragement of other people who are embarking on a similar journey.

In this seven-week series, we’ll cover everything from keeping track of our keys to developing a wardrobe of clothes we love. This seven-week e-course will include a weekly lesson, a weekly challenge, and a weekly check-in with your fellow downsizers. The January course begins on January 17 and runs through February 28. Check-ins are Sunday evenings at 5pm PST (8PM EST).

Please note, the reading materials for this course’s lessons will cost approximately $30 if you purchase them. They’re great books and I still have them on my e-reader. Of course, you’re encouraged to check them out from your local library to save money and space. (See, less stuff!)

Posted in downsizing, minimalism, tiny house | Leave a comment