Accessory Dwelling Unit For Parents

Accessory Dwelling Units Can Provide Good Quality of Life

Sisters in Dundee, Oregon contacted me because I’m a Certified Aging-in-Place Specialist, although they didn’t know what a C.A.P.S. designer normally does to improve the quality of life for residents.

I learned that one of the sisters was willing to dedicate a portion of her home’s property for a new accessory dwelling unit (ADU) for their parents. Their father has been living with Parkinson’s Disease for several years, and his wife can no longer take care of him in their San Diego home. They had explored alternatives and decided that building an ADU would be the best solution, but they didn’t know about anything that might be involved in getting the ADU built.

Timing is Everything!

Fortunately, the City of Dundee was in the process of creating land-use regulations for ADU’s. We hoped that this would speed the permit approval process. I attended Planning Commission and City Council meetings as an advocate for quality-of-life issues and accessibility for elderly and disabled people. If adopted, the regulations would limit the size of an ADU to a maximum of 800 square feet. I provided plans with documentation about the space required for wheelchair mobility and made a case for increasing the size of ADU’s to 900 square feet. The additional 100 square feet would allow the space for a guest bedroom.

There was also the issue of separation between existing homes and ADU’s. The concern of building and city officials was that most units would be used for rental, or for family. A good example of this is students who want a feeling of autonomy without paying exorbitant rental fees. City Council members were concerned that the parents’ ADU would have a full kitchen and we were requesting direct access from the existing home to the unit for convenience and emergency health issues. One of the council members asked if we would be willing to have adjacent exterior walls be special firewalls, with a covered breezeway between the home and the ADU. That suggestion was the key that unlocked the door for our ADU! I’d already planned a covered breezeway, so adding the required firewalls wouldn’t cause a problem.

The Lessons Learned

We proceeded with the plans and my clients engaged a structural engineer to prepare the framing details and required calculations for the new structure. The plans were approved and my clients hired a local contractor they found who prepared a detailed estimate. The sisters moved their parents to Dundee so their home in San Diego could be sold and the money could be used to fund the ADU. We are all hoping that their parents’ home will sell. The 897-square-foot ADU was scheduled for construction in 2019. The housing market in southern California had been in freefall since early 2018, and the family had to reduce the asking price three times. It lingered on the market for almost nine months. Unfortunately, this made moving ahead with the project unrealistic. The sisters and their parents made the difficult decision to rent an apartment in a senior center in Dundee.

Although this story didn’t end the way any of us wanted it to for the family, we all feel grateful for the opportunity to have a positive impact on accessory dwelling units that will be built in Yamhill County in the future. This experience verified that it’s worthwhile to fight for things you believe in. Members of the County Commission and the Planning Department learned about the importance of providing good quality of life for everyone. Hopefully, they’ll use what they learned to help other counties adopt humane regulations.

See virtual-reality perspectives of the proposed ADU.

 “See the Possibilities. Create a Positive Difference.”

If you are considering an ADU or wondering how to create an accessory dwelling unit for family use or rental, I can help you. If you want to stay in your home and make it accessible, I can provide you with the information you need to make it livable and safe while maintaining the feel and look of your home. Call me today, so we can chat about your needs!

Diane Plesset, CMKBD, C.A.P.S., NCIDQ is a Homeowner Advocate who specializes in helping homeowners with remodeling and addition projects. She has been the principal of D. P. Design since April 1984. Diane is the author of the award-winning book “THE Survival Guide: Home Remodeling” and many design awards.

© 10/2018 D. P. Design – All Rights Reserved; Rev. 1/2021

 

 

 

 

A Professional Designer Is Easy To Find

A Professional Designer Will Help you In Many Ways

A professional designer is easy to find!

The right professional designer knows where to find the products that reflect your personal taste, products that are compatible with your home. He or she can help you fit each product into your budget priorities. Designers like this do make a difference. How do you find the right designer for your project?

The best way to find a professional designer is referrals from family, business associates, friends, and neighbors. The next best way is through professional organizations such as NAHB, NARI, IDS, or NKBA. There may also be local design organizations, or local chapters of the national organizations that you can find in an internet search. Tell them the type of remodeling project you want, and they will provide names and contact information for up to three professional designers.

You can contact the designers by phone or through an email message. Provide detailed information about what you want to achieve, how much you want to invest, and when you want your project completed. Here’s an example: (more…)

A New Basement Bathroom Will Enhance your Life And Your Home’s Value

Improve An Ugly Basement With A Beautiful New Bathroom!

A new basement bathroom adds value and enjoyment

This is a home built in the 1950s, with the living room, formal dining room, kitchen, small bathroom, and bedrooms on the main floor. Only one person could occupy the bathroom at a time. For a family of three, that presented a scheduling problem. There wasn’t enough room to expand the existing bathroom, and the full basement was under-utilized,. The Homeowners wondered if it would be possible to have a new basement bathroom with a two-person shower that looked and felt luxurious. They had an idea, had done some research, and had talked with a couple of contractors, but they were still confused about what to do.

The best location for the new bathroom was below the main-floor bathroom, so plumbing supply, drain, and vent pipes could be extended.The unfinished basement had enough space to comply with ceiling height codes, but there was a large furnace duct that hung below the bottom of the joists. If left like this, it was going to look awkward. An HVAC specialist verified that new wider and shallower ducts would maintain the required air flow. Most pipes and wires wouldn’t be a problem, but the main drain had to be re-routed so it would comply with the slope required by the plumbing code. (more…)

Kitchen Remodeling Process: A Series Of Logical Steps

The Kitchen Remodeling Process Guarantees Progress

the remodeling process will help you if you understand it

The kitchen remodeling process is misunderstood by most Homeowners. This article assumes that you have completed the design process, hired a contractor, and have acquired permits for your kitchen remodeling. The following list includes all steps for a complete remodel that may or may not include an addition. Most of the studs and joists will be exposed for required insulation, for electrical wiring and plumbing.

1.    Get your home ready for construction as soon as you have a definite starting date for your kitchen remodeling from your contractor.  Most homeowners don’t realize how much “stuff” they’ve accumulated until they start to pack it up for storage.

2.    Immediately before demolition begins, the dumpster arrives.  You’re on the Roller coaster!

3.    Demolition starts.  Most homeowners are amazed about how quickly a crew of workmen armed with crowbars, screwguns and hammers can tear their kitchen apart.  The full dumpster will be replaced with an empty one at least twice during your kitchen remodeling. (more…)

Kitchen Remodeling Rollercoaster

Kitchen Remodeling Can Be An Emotional Rollercoaster Ride

Kitchen remodeling can be an emotional rollercoaster ride

Preparing for, and living through a kitchen remodeling is similar to a roller coaster ride. You’re waiting with excited anticipation and some trepidation, preparing to get on the ride. You’ve heard from others that it’s scary; it’s even made some of them physically sick. But none of them can tell you details about the ride. All they can tell you is how they felt.

The Roller Coaster Ride

It feels like an eternity as you move ahead slowly toward the loading area, step by step. Then you get seated, strapped in, and you’re ready to move forward. But instead of rushing ahead fast, the roller coaster goes up a steep, never-ending climb. You think, “When will we get started?” Then, WHOOSH! you’re propelled down the first of many exciting dives at break-neck speed. You’re jerked around, back and forth, through every sharp turn. You never know which way the ride is going until you’re there.

Without warning, you’re upside-down, going through a series of surprising loops, G-force that makes it hard to breathe. You’re screaming your head off, but no one can hear you. Part of you wants to get off, but another part wants to stay, hoping that the ride will get less scary before it ends. You know it’s over when your cart pulls back to where you started and comes to an abrupt stop, jerking you forward. You’re dizzy, a little nauseated, but exhilarated. “That was fun!” Later, someone asks you how soon it will be until you get on another roller coaster ride. With a weak smile, you reply, “It’ll be a long time until I do that again!” (more…)

Kitchen Style: The Pure Essence Of Your Home

Your Kitchen Style Must Complement Your Home and You

Whether your home is traditional, transitional, Craftsman, contemporary, or some other style, your kitchen must have Architectural integrity is important for the flow of your home as you move through it.architectural integrity with your home. Why? Because your kitchen is the heart of your home, it needs to blend with and complement the surrounding rooms. You may like many different styles, but you chose the style of your home because it represents and fulfills you. With emphasis on ROI, it makes sense to have your kitchen style be consistent with your home, so you can sell it faster and for a higher price. Can you imagine how out of place the kitchen project featured in this tip would be in a traditional home — or as out of place as a cat at the Westminster Dog Show!

Generally speaking, the cabinets, countertops, backsplashes, and flooring determine your kitchen style. Accent lighting can also be a visual cue. Here are some characteristics of different architectural styles, and features that will help your kitchen style blend with your home, with links to show examples: (more…)