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Designing an accessory dwelling unit (ADU)

Designing an accessory dwelling unit (ADU) floor plan can be an exciting and challenging process. To help you avoid common mistakes and create a functional and efficient ADU, here are six pitfalls to watch out for:

Neglecting Local Zoning Regulations: Before designing your ADU floor plan,

familiarize yourself with the local zoning regulations and building codes. Failure to comply with these guidelines can result in costly revisions or even legal issues. Pay attention to setback requirements, height limitations, and any specific design

standards in your area.

Ignoring the Primary Dwelling's Aesthetics: ADUs are often built on the same property as the primary dwelling. To maintain visual harmony and enhance property value, avoid designing an ADU that clashes with the architectural style or appearance of the main house. Aim for a design that complements the existing structure.

Overlooking the ADU's Purpose: Define the purpose and target occupants of your ADU early on. Whether you plan to use it for rental income, accommodate family members, or serve as a home office, consider the specific needs of your intended occupants. This will help inform your floor plan decisions, such as the number and size of bedrooms, bathrooms, and common areas

Insufficient Storage Space: Adequate storage is often overlooked in ADU designs. Incorporate ample storage solutions into your floor plan, including closets, cabinets, and built-in shelving. Utilize creative storage options such as under-stair storage or multipurpose furniture to maximize space efficiency.

Neglecting Natural Light and Ventilation: Proper lighting and ventilation significantly contribute to the comfort and livability of an ADU. Avoid the mistake of not incorporating enough windows or neglecting cross-ventilation opportunities. Strategically place windows and consider skylights or light tubes to bring in natural light and fresh air.

Lack of Privacy: Privacy is crucial for both the main dwelling and the ADU. Ensure that the design of your ADU floor plan takes privacy into account. Orient windows and entrances to minimize sightlines between structures and create separate outdoor spaces for each dwelling. Consider using landscaping or privacy screens to enhance privacy for both units

By avoiding these common mistakes, you can design an ADU floor plan that adheres to regulations, meets the needs of occupants, maximizes functionality, and enhances the overall aesthetics of your property.


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