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.

workshops and events

meet others and learn about backyard cottages


Would you like to learn more about backyard cottages and meet others thinking about building a backyard cottage?  We periodically assemble experts in the design, construction and of financing backyard cottages.  These workshops offer a unique opportunity to have your questions answered in an informal setting.  Because our workshops often fill up we prefer it if you RSVP so we can be sure to accommodate you.

RSVP: bruce@microhousenw.com  (206) 428-8599


 upcoming workshops

Our workshops and open houses, are a great opportunity to more about and meet others thinking about building and living in small houses. 



backyard cottages for fun and profit


Backyard cottages can be used for many things including housing a family member or as a short term rental.  Join Bruce Parker from Microhouse and Stefan Hansmire from Ncompass Cottage Company to learn more about how to plan for and establish a realistic budget for your cottage. 

Next workshop Spring 2018, date and time to be determined.


Backyard cottages can be used for many things including housing a family member or as a short term rental.  Join Microhouse and Ncompass Cottage Company to learn more about backyard cottage design, construction, and use. Bring your ideas, after the presentation we will have plenty of time to answer questions about the specifics of your project. 


 upcoming open houses

From time to time we have evening open houses that we are not able to advertise. Sign up for our invite list and you will be invited to these "secret open houses".

Fremont:   October 29th 10:00 - 11:00 am.  This is our most ambitious project to date.  The cottage contains a table tennis room,for the husband, and a roof top deck where the wife can have her morning cup of coffee. 800 Sq.Ft. Studio, 1 Bath, + table tennis emporium. This cottage is the home of the owners who rent out their primary residence.  Join us for a tour of other nearby cottages afterwards.


recent open houses

In some cases our cottages are easily viewed from the street or alley.  If you would like to drive by please be respectful of the owners or those who are living there.  If you would like to see inside some cottages are available to rent and we encourage you to do so. See test drive a backyard cottage.

Crown Hill - 819 NW 90th St. This cottage features a 1 bedroom apartment above an art studio.

Ballard - 6756 11th Ave NW.  This cottage is one of our smallest 550 sq. ft. over two floors.

Ballard  5014 8th Ave NW  This cottage will serve as a short term rental and as a home office.

Madison Valley - 3001 E Harrison St  The Madison Valley backyard cottage has a collection of unique features including a powder room, mud room, and rooftop deck.


Ravenna - 6011 33rd Ave NE  The Ravenna cottage features territorial views and vaulted ceilings. We worked with the owner to create a carriage house with a one bedroom apartment over garage and shop space. 800 sq. ft. 


Portage Bay - 2622 11th Ave E This 2 bedroom, backyard cottage was designed to take advantage of sweeping views of portage bay while minimizing, freeway noise, and protecting the privacy of the primary residence. It was featured in the Capitol Hill Blog.



Seward Park - 5200 55th Ave S  The shape and form of this backyard cottage were carefully crafted to capture southern light and expansive views of Lake Washington and Mount Rainier.  Vaulted ceilings and exposed joists make the cottage feel larger than its 650 sq. ft. size. The house features a one bedroom, bath, kitchen and living room on the main floor and a granddaughter loft. 650 Sq.Ft. 1 Bedroom, 1 Bath.

Magnolia - 3448 36th Ave W:  This backyard cottage is available for rent.  800 Sq.Ft. 2 
Bedroom, 1 Bath.

self guided tours

Contact us for information on self guided city wide and neighborhood backyard cottage tours.


test drive a backyard cottage

Those considering building their own backyard cottage can test drive one of our cottages that are being used as vacation rentals.  If you decide to proceed with building your own cottage, you can apply your experience to the design and we will credit the cost of your one nights stay towards our design fees. The magnolia cottage is currently available as are the rainier valley cottage and the.Tangent Cottage


more information?

Do you have specific questions about your lot?  Email or call us with the address and your goals and questions and we can pull together background data that will assist us in answering your questions.  



bruce@microhousenw.com 
(206) 428-8599




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