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 diversity. 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.

Tuesday, May 25

backyard cottage design challenge award

The microhouse smart module wins big at the backyard cottage design challenge award event.  The event was cosponsored by the City of Seattle to raise awareness of backyard cottages and promote design excellence. 


What is the smart module? The microhouse smart module is a prefab unit that contains the all basic elements of a contemporary home.  Grouping the environmental systems, plumbing, cooking and sleeping in a small prefab unit reduces construction cost and maximizes space for work and play. It’s small footprint is ideal for infill lots, environmentally critical areas, and everywhere else. The smart module can be attached to existing accessory structures such as free standing garages to create a backyard cottage.The smart module can also be combined with new prefab units, on site construction, or serve as a stand alone cabin with room to grow. 


function: kitchen, bath, sleeping loft, and mechanical room.
uses: add module to existing or new construction or use as a stand alone cabin.
dimensions: 8 ft. x 16 ft. x 13 ft. tall  = 128 sq. ft.
construction: prefab, stick built or sip panel.

Wednesday, May 19

Legalize It

Included in the backyard cottage legislation is a “grace period” that allows owners of existing, unauthorized backyard cottages the opportunity to legalize their unit without penalty. Owners have until June 30, 2010 to apply for a building permit and until December 31, 2010 to obtain final inspection of the unit. The friendly folks at DPD would like to remind you that owning an unauthorized backyard cottage you may be subject to fines. Not to worry though, we can help you legalize your existing unit but time is quickly running out.

Thursday, May 13

backyard cottage design competition

We are currently developing a 128 sq. ft. prefab smart module that will contain all the basic living functions, kitchen, bath, sleeping loft, and mechanical room. The smart module can be a stand alone cabin or be "plugged into" an existing or new structure. The smart module will be unveiled on May 24 th at the Backyard Cottage Design Challenge Awards Event backyard cottage awards.  The event will feature prefab cottage designs by 35 area designers.