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.

Friday, September 9

backyard cottage open house

Come see what all the fuss is about at this upcoming backyard cottage open house, Wednesday September 21st, 4:30-7:00 pm. 6011 33rd Ave NE




This newly built cottage is 800 sq. ft. and includes a garage and 2nd floor 1 bedroom, 1 bathroom, carriage apartment.  This cottage will be available for rent starting the end of September. 

Friday, September 2

backyard cottage proposed changes appeal continues

After two days, the hearing concerning proposed expansion of land use code provisions allowing for accessory dwelling units, HE 16-004, is adjourned and will recommence on September 30th at 9:00 am.

Wednesday, August 31

backyard cottage proposed changes appeal today and tomorrow

The hearing will take place today, Wednesday and into Thursday if required by the Hearing Examiner. It will take place on the 40th floor of the Municipal Tower (700 5th Ave 98104) within the offices of the Hearing Examiner, room 4009, and begin promptly at 9:00 am. The hearing is public and open to everyone so please attend if you wish. The hearing room has limited seating so consider arriving early


The Office of Planning and Community Development released proposed code revisions to encourage the development of more backyard cottages on May 19th.  At that time, the Office of Planning and Community Development for the City of Seattle issued a determination that the legislation would not have significant adverse environmental impacts (DNS). The Queen Anne Community Council is challenging that determination and will appeal to the Hearing Examiner.  

If the appeal is successful, then the city must complete a full environmental impact statement (EIS) for the proposed changes. The EIS document is a collection of professional and expert studies and analysis, city department review and input, citizen review and input, multiple open and transparent public hearings, multiple drafts, and final approvals after public engagement.  

If the appeal is not successful, then the legislation is anticipated to come to the Council’s Planning, Land Use and Zoning Committee before the end of the year for discussion.

Wednesday, August 24

backyard cottage code changes




Wondering how the machinations of the Seattle City Council and the Queen Anne Community Council will impact your backyard cottage plans? Well frankly, so are we. Join us for a discussion on October 6th at the Phinney Neighborhood Association. 




Bruce Parker, Microhouse and; Stefan Hansmire, Ncompass Construction
Thursday, Oct 67-9pm
PC Blue Building, Room 3
$15 PNA member, $25 Public
 Register or 206.783.2244

Sunday, August 21

10,000+ on houzz

The Houzz community has saved microhouse photos of our backyard cottage projects to their ideabooks 10,000 or more times! 



Wednesday, August 10

backyard cottage proposed changes appeal - august 31st

The Office of Planning and Community Development released proposed code revisions to encourage the development of more backyard cottages on May 19th At that time, the Office of Planning and Community Development for the City of Seattle issued a determination that the legislation would not have significant adverse environmental impacts (DNS). The Queen Anne Community Council is challenging that determination and will appeal to the Hearing Examiner. The hearing date is now scheduled for August 30th.  

If the appeal is successful, then the city must complete a full environmental impact statement (EIS) for the proposed changes. The EIS document is a collection of professional and expert studies and analysis, city department review and input, citizen review and input, multiple open and transparent public hearings, multiple drafts, and final approvals after public engagement.  

If the appeal is not successful, then the legislation is anticipated to come to the Council’s Planning, Land Use and Zoning Committee before the end of the year for discussion.

Tuesday, July 26

backyard cottage recording studio


Jon and Rita wanted to build a recording studio that would also serve as a guest cottage for friends and family.  We worked with them and an acoustical engineer to create a simple yet elegant backyard cottage. The cottage contains the recording studio, a kitchen, bath and a loft like bedroom.






For the most part windows were kept high in difference to acoustical considerations but the cottage opens up towards the house with a cafe style table facing the windows.  During recording, acoustical panels cover these windows and movable panels are positioned on the floor and fixed panels are positioned on the ceiling.  




The kitchen window faces the house and an outdoor patio (still under construction). Exposed car decking opens up the kitchen ceiling and serves as the floor to the bedroom above.









A narrow stair serves the kids bedroom. A murphy bed on the ground floor accommodates their adults.