granny flat

Pedalpalooza ADU & Tiny House Tours on Saturday, June 29th, 2013

Last year, in conjunction with Orange Splot, I coordinated the Pedalpalooza Accessory Dwelling Tour and Tiny House Tour, which each drew around 100 riders. This year I’m co-coordinating with Kimber, who has completed the Oregon Tradeswoman pre-apprenticeship program and now helps out with Portland Alternative Dwellings once in a while.

We decided to host both tours on the same day this year so that people who are curious about small spaces can see a wide variety of them in real life. The tours are guided by a fabulous bunch of small space builders, designers, owners, and inhabitants, so it will be a great chance to ask questions. We have a great line up again this year.

On the Accessory Dwelling Unit (ADU) Tour, riders will see:

  • A super energy-efficient basement apartment built by Shelter Wise
  • A backyard cottage built as a sister-in-law house by Small Home Oregon
  • An eco-friendly and accessible granny flat in an idyllic setting, which was My Summer Garden Cottage last year
  • A basement mother-in-law which provides flexibility for an extended family
  • A set of houses with ADUs that create a little community called Sabin Green
  • A house with two detached accessory structures in a garden setting called Ruth’s Garden Cottages

On the Tiny House Tour we will showcase:

Those who choose to join us for both tours are in for an epic adventure!

I’m still in touch with many people I met during the tours last year, so I’m looking forward to meeting this year’s riders. We have received more than a dozen inquiries about the tour, many of them from folks who are coming from out-of-state for the tour. There are no RSVPs required, so come join us if you’re able!

My Summer Garden Cottage

Garden Cottage = Home, Sweet Summer Home Those of you who joined Orange Splot for the Pedalpalooza Accessory Dwelling Bike Tour or participated in Jordan Palmeri's small home tour will recognize my new digs. It's also featured in this video about the ADU Bike tour and mentioned on my post ADU Bike Tour Draws a Crowd. (Not sure what an accessory dwelling is? Check out the Accessory Dwellings website and my posts Showcasing Accessory Dwellings in Portland and A Praising Accessory Dwellings to learn more.)

I feel very lucky to be renting Bruce & Carolyn’s garden cottage this summer. It’s energy efficient and has a plethora of sustainable design features, including advanced framing, heat recovery ventilation, cellulose insulation, dual flush toilet, structurally-insulated panels for the roof, salvaged wood for cabinets, and on-demand water heating. (The house was profiled in this Ecotrope article.) But more than anything, it’s a beautiful space located in a gorgeous garden setting. Should I attribute the great feel of the cottage to the rich red stained concrete floors, the golden earth plastered walls, or the beautiful exposed laminated beams? Or perhaps the fragrance of the splendid flowers, grapes, and berries that surround the garden cottage? Or maybe the rustle of the bamboo through the open windows or the bushes and trees that provide shade and privacy? It must be the synergy of all these features.

adjustable counters enable perfect height dishwashing

Bruce and Carolyn designed this little guest house on their property for aging-in-place. See this article about it on Apartment Therapy. The open floor plan, lack of level-changes, and adjustable counter height make it accessible for people who use a wheelchair. I’ve really enjoyed the adjustable counter height because it enables me to pick the right height for the counters in my tiny house. If they don’t have to be standard height they can actually work well for my needs since I’m not quite 5’2”.

The cottage is about 600 square feet but the open floor plan and natural light make it feel spacious and comfortable. I think I'm going to really love living here!


Accessory Dwelling Bike Tour Draws A Crowd

Artsy ADU Thanks to Mark Rainha we have a great little video of the Pedalpalooza ADU bike tour! Thanks Mark! (Bruce and Carolyn's ADU, which is My Summer Garden Cottage is the fourth property featured, so take a peek!)

Approximately 100 people participated in this year's Pedalpalooza Accessory Dwelling Bike Tour. It was hard to get an exact count since the units are small and the crowds are big! Eli Spevak, Kol Peterson, and I each lead a wave of the tour. I was lucky to have Jordan Palmeri of the Department of Environmental Quality along with my group since I find his work inspirational. DEQ's research demonstrates that small is one of our best green building tools.

The route featured five properties including a basement ADU, a garage conversion, a backyard ADU, an accessible ADU, and a couple detached bedrooms. Eli's Sabin Green and Ruth's Cottages were featured on the ride, as was Kol's accessory dwelling. We staggered the arrivals so that the homeowners could take time to explain the homes' features to each group. We were lucky to have a gorgeous day for cycling and it was fun to see so many ADU enthusiasts out for the ride. Many of the participants on today's ride are planing to build an ADU, some of them live in ADUs, and some are ADU designers and builders. We expect a similar level of enthusiasm for the Pedalpalooza Tiny House Bike Tour on June 24th.

ADU bike tour!

The number of ADUs built each year has doubled since the System Development Charges (SDCs) were waived a couple years ago. This waiver has resulted in hundreds of great infill dwellings that utilize existing infrastructure and provide flexibility for families without compromising neighborhood character. Unfortunately, the SDC fee waiver is set to expire in June 2013. We hope it will be extended. If you've been thinking about building an ADU it's a great time to do it! Kol Peterson's ADU class for homeowners on July 21st can get you started.

For more information about ADUs, check out the Accessory Dwellings website. If you were on the ride and took pictures you'd like to share, please email them to me!

Showcasing Accessory Dwellings in Portland

  A Sister-in-Law House

As part of my internship with Orange Splot, LLC, I've been doing case studies of accessory dwelling units in Portland and guest posting on the Accessory Dwellings website. Accessory Dwelling Units (ADUs) are separate living spaces on the same property as a larger house. They're also called mother-in-law apartments, granny flats, or backyard cottages. Sometimes they're build in attics or basements or over a garage. I think ADUs are a brilliant way to increase density, utilize existing infrastructure, build community, and provide housing flexibility and adaptability.

Here are the Accessory Dwelling posts I've written:

The system development charges (SDCs) that make building an ADU cost prohibitive for most

ADU over the garage

families have been waived until 2013. This can save families thousands of dollars! So I'm working with a group of space-efficient housing advocates to share ADU stories so that people consider building ADUs while the fees are waived. We're hoping that if we can show that there's a demand for them the waiver will continue, making ADUs an affordable and efficient development strategy.

This week several space-efficient dwellings were showcased on a tour as part of the Living Future Unconference. Several more ADUs will be featured on the ADU Bike Tour I'm coordinating on Sunday, June 10th as part of Pedalpalooza.