Hammer & Hand http://hammerandhand.com INCITING EVOLUTION IN BUILDING THROUGH SERVICE, CRAFT AND SCIENCE. Thu, 02 Jul 2015 18:22:03 +0000 en-US hourly 1 Queen Anne Home Remodel: Interior Walls Come Down, Performance Goes Up http://hammerandhand.com/field-notes/queen-anne-home-remodel-interior-walls-come-down-performance-goes-up/ http://hammerandhand.com/field-notes/queen-anne-home-remodel-interior-walls-come-down-performance-goes-up/#comments Thu, 02 Jul 2015 15:07:53 +0000 http://hammerandhand.com/?p=6882 We’ve started work on a project in the Queen Anne neighborhood of Seattle, WA that we’re really excited about. The home, originally designed by a student of Frank Lloyd Wright, was built in 1912 and had about 40 years of neglect. In this neighborhood of Seattle it is common to tear down old homes like... Read more »

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We’ve started work on a project in the Queen Anne neighborhood of Seattle, WA that we’re really excited about. The home, originally designed by a student of Frank Lloyd Wright, was built in 1912 and had about 40 years of neglect. In this neighborhood of Seattle it is common to tear down old homes like this one to build a new modern structure in its place, but the new owners of this hundred-year-old home wanted to bring it back to it’s original glory while also making it habitable for their family. Together with architect David DiMarco, our team is currently working to update the home’s systems, envelope, and finishes while maintaining the home’s original profile and trim.

“It’s a beautiful iconic house in a stunning location,” said H&H CPHC Dan Whitmore. “Majority of the houses have been removed and replaced so it’s really nice to see this beautiful old structure be updated.”

 

Queen Ann Home Remodel in Seattle WA | Hammer & Hand

“The goal is to put it back to its original state, matching all exterior trim and siding and replacing windows, but we also have the opportunity to add better performance, insulation, and efficiencies to the home,” said Hammer & Hand Project Supervisor Alex Daisley.

The home has an extremely outdated radiant system and an inefficient electric boiler for the whole home. “It probably cost them $1,000 a month in the winter,” said Alex. “It’s a 400 amps service just to run the boiler.”

H&H is replacing the old boiler with a Triangle Tube Solo 110 boiler with 95% efficiency and replacing the outdated radiators with new radiant floor heating – even in the basement.

“Typically within an uninsulated slab basement we would not do this because it wouldn’t be efficient,” said Alex. “You’d be heating the ground as much as the house.”

Due to some historic settling, H&H will be able to install radiant floor heating in the basement as part of the process of leveling the concrete slab floor. The team will add aerogel in the areas with small gaps and more cost-effective EPS foam in places where there is a significant depth to insulate before applying radiant heat tubes and covering with Gyp-Crete for a level floor.

Basement Before Demo in Queen Ann Remodel | Hammer & Hand

The interior, a neglected warren of chopped up rooms, will be opened up into a more modern layout and completely refinished. The team has demoed the interior down to its studs and brick.

“We were pleasantly surprised when we removed all the finishes in the interior to find 2 x 6 framing on the exterior walls,” said Alex. “That’s quite rare for that time period – we would usually see 2 x 4 framing. That was a big win for being able to give it a better performing envelope.”

With almost six inches of cavity to fill with insulation instead of the expected 3 to 4 inches, the team will be able to create a warmer blanket for the home. Coupled with air sealing efforts, this will increase the structure’s performance and thermal comfort.

Exposed Framing in Queen Ann House Remodel | Seattle, WA | Hammer & Hand

While the majority of the interior has already been torn out, there are details that both architect and builder are being careful to protect. One example is the original tile around this upstairs fireplace:

Fireplace in Queen Ann Seattle Remodel | Hammer & Hand

Stay tuned for more updates, we’ll share more photos as the project progresses!

 

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ADU 101 http://hammerandhand.com/field-notes/adu-101/ http://hammerandhand.com/field-notes/adu-101/#comments Wed, 03 Jun 2015 21:57:08 +0000 http://hammerandhand.com/?p=6793 Maybe you’ve been watching a neighbor build what appears to be a matching, miniature version of their home in their backyard and were wondering what the deal is. Or perhaps you’ve been planning ahead for your retirement years and are looking for an aging-in-place option, or a way to fold multiple generations within one home... Read more »

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Maybe you’ve been watching a neighbor build what appears to be a matching, miniature version of their home in their backyard and were wondering what the deal is. Or perhaps you’ve been planning ahead for your retirement years and are looking for an aging-in-place option, or a way to fold multiple generations within one home while retaining some semblance of privacy and autonomy. Accessory Dwelling Units, or ADUs, are popping up all over the place in Portland and Seattle as people are looking for flexible housing scenarios or ways to augment revenue streams with renters.

ADUs are known by many names such as mother-in-law apartments, granny flats, or backyard cottages. They can take several shapes, but the uniting characteristic is a self-contained dwelling within, attached to, or adjacent to a single-family home. ADUs are generally accessible through a separate entrance and contain their own living, sleeping, kitchen, and bathroom facilities. The four main flavors of ADUs include:

  • Converting an existing living area
  • Finishing an existing basement or attic
  • Building a new freestanding structure
  • Adding to an existing structure, such as a detached garage

In addition to personal benefits, ADUs increase housing options in cities with scorching real estate markets —such as Portland and Seattle—in ways that are sensitive to preserving a neighborhood’s cultural fabric and character.

This sounds greatI want to build an ADU! How do I get started?

1. Do your homework.
Finding the right type of ADU for your home takes careful planning and research. The best path forward depends on getting to know your site, home, and city zoning codes and requirements intimately. Things to consider are the City’s regulations on square footage limits, entrance location, and building setbacks, and, if an exterior modification in Portland, Community Design Standards or historic overlays. Also consider potential impact on utilities, water or sanitary/storm sewers, and septic tanks.

Do you have enough room in your backyard to accommodate setback requirements for a freestanding ADU? If you’re adding to an existing 1924 historic home, can your galvanized plumbing handle the additional volume an ADU will bring? Can your existing electric service handle the extra load diverted to the ADU, or will you need to perform infrastructure upgrades or install new electric service altogether? These are examples of the myriad questions you must investigate and answer to be sure you won’t run into a roadblock midstream. For answers to the most common questions about things like square footage and setbacks, see our ADU FAQs for Portland and for Seattle. To continue your research, be sure to review the detailed information in Portland’s ADU Program Guide or Seattle’s Attached ADU and Backyard Cottage Permitting Guides.

Also, be aware that both Portland and Seattle require a building permit, and Portland requires a round of design review. Portland also loves its arboreal population and implemented a new tree code that you must consult before getting too starry eyed about removing that giant old Douglas Fir to make room for your sweet new secondary digs.

2. Pencil out the cost.
With the vision of your ADU taking shape, the next step is crunching numbers. It is essential to understand the cost implications of your addition and this can be a tricky calculation, with the stock answer being “it depends.” Size, type of ADU, level of infrastructure upgrades required, and quality of finishes will impact the final price. There isn’t a pat answer for how much it costs to build an ADU, but we tried to give a general idea in our blog post, How Much Does it Cost to Build an ADU?

3. Get an architect and builder on board.
Hammer & Hand has built many ADUs and can help you walk the site and flag any concerns. If you already have an architect and/or a set of plans, great! If you’re still hunting around for the right designer, though, we can refer you to an architect skilled at ADU design once we dial in your project goals and style. The architect can help you navigate through the city permitting and design review process, while we can connect you to partners that have written bank loans for ADUs and appraisers that understand the ADU process.

I’m ready to get started! Where can I start researching?

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Mind the Gap: What is a Rainscreen for Anyway? http://hammerandhand.com/field-notes/mind-the-gap-what-is-a-rainscreen-for-anyway/ http://hammerandhand.com/field-notes/mind-the-gap-what-is-a-rainscreen-for-anyway/#comments Fri, 29 May 2015 18:43:01 +0000 http://hammerandhand.com/?p=6733 Given their name, it’s no surprise that there’s some confusion about rainscreens and what they do. The “rain” and the “screen” refer to one important function of rainscreens: shielding a building from bulk water intrusion. But the term misses their other critically-important function: helping walls to dry out. It’s all about “minding the gap.” Rainscreens,... Read more »

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Given their name, it’s no surprise that there’s some confusion about rainscreens and what they do. The “rain” and the “screen” refer to one important function of rainscreens: shielding a building from bulk water intrusion. But the term misses their other critically-important function: helping walls to dry out.

It’s all about “minding the gap.”

Rainscreens, or ventilated siding, as I prefer to call them, consist of three layers: the cladding, the gap, and the weather resistant barrier (WRB).

rainscreenbpm1

Rainscreen detail from our Best Practices Manual.

The cladding’s job is to protect the WRB from the elements, such as rain and wind.

The WRB’s job (think Typar or Blueskin) is to protect the rest of the building from the elements, especially bulk water (rain) and air intrusion (wind).

When you add a gap between the cladding and the WRB you’ve got yourself a rainscreen. All it takes is a simple batten system. The simplicity of rainscreens belies their power, because that rainscreen cavity is a lifesaving detail for many buildings, especially in our damp, Cascadian climate.

Rain Screen Illustration | Hammer & Hand

Built properly, this cavity will:

  1. Introduce a capillary break between the cladding and the WRB, short circuiting the wicking of moisture between the two layers.
  2. Create a drainage plane between the two layers, allowing any bulk water that gets through the cladding to drain away harmlessly.
  3. Generate an air-moving stack effect (when ventilated at top and bottom) that creates hundreds of air changes per hour between the cladding and the WRB.

It should be noted that many rainscreens built today are not ventilated and therefore only serve the capillary break and drainage plane functions. Smart People say that works fine in some climates. But here in the Pacific Northwest we swear by ventilated cavities.

Rain Screen Detail from Portland and Seattle Contractor Hammer & Hand

This is particularly true when we’re building high performance structures. We’re making walls thicker, more airtight, and more thermally resistant, so suddenly we don’t have a bunch of air and heat passing through them like we used to. That’s a great thing for energy performance and comfort, but not for the drying capacity of walls. No matter how careful we are in detailing our walls and managing moisture in all its forms, we neglect drying capacity at our own – and our buildings’ – peril. We need to assume that walls will get wet and make sure they can dry well. Otherwise we’re tempting the gods of rot and building failure.

Ventilated rainscreens dramatically increase drying capacity. All that air moving across the face of a vapor-open WRB acts like a big fan, drawing moisture out of the wall assembly. The cladding loves it, too.

Ventilated=dry. And dry=happy.

Lest we get too happy with ourselves and our 21st century building innovations, the Romans knew about the virtues of ventilated wall cavities 2000 years ago. None other than Vitruvius wrote about them in his “Ten Books On Architecture.” We first learned about Vitruvius’ ventilated cavities during the keynote address by Mark R. Morden, Associate Principal at WJE, at AIA Seattle’s Building Envelope Forum last year. Joe Lstibruk cited Vitruvius again a couple weeks ago in his excellent “Vitruvius Does Veneers.”

Here are the quotes from the “Ten Books On Architecture” that Joe shared:

“…if a wall is in a state of dampness all over, construct a second thin wall a little way from it…at a distance suited to the circumstances…with vents to the open air…when the wall is brought up to the top, leave air holes there. For if the moisture has no means of getting out by vents at the bottom and at the top, it will not fail to spread all over the new wall.” (Book VII, Chapter IV)

“this we may learn from several monuments…in the course of time, the mortar has lost its strength…and so the monuments are tumbling down and going to pieces, with their joints loosened by the settling of the material that bound them together… He who wishes to avoid such a disaster should leave a cavity behind the facings, and on the inside build walls two feet thick, made of red dimension stone or burnt brick or lava in courses, and then bind them to the fronts by means of iron clamps and lead.” (Book II, Chapter VII)

Not to get carried away with the quotes from the classics, but “there is nothing new under the sun,” apparently. Vitruvius saw building failure in ancient Rome, and knew that ventilated cavities were a key way to avoid it.

So, in “minding the gap” in 2015, how big should the cavity be? While you can go smaller, our default at Hammer & Hand is ¾” or more, largely because we use 1×4 battens to create the gap. We’re always happy to go larger, and routinely do so, especially when we create crisscrossing battens for vertical siding conditions.

Rainscreen at Bottom of Wall | Hammer & Hand Best Practices Manual

Rainscreen detail for vertical siding condition.

(An aside: the size of battens can be played with for architectural effect, allowing the designer to easily move the exterior plane of a building outward – to hide the housing for movable exterior shades, for example.)

The key is to make sure that you always have a gap of ¼” or more at the top and bottom of the cladding (including at punched openings) so that you’re always setting up the stack effect in the rainscreen cavity. And tell your subs to keep their caulk guns away from that gap! If it ain’t ventilated, it ain’t drying your wall.

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First Floor Remodel Turns Chopped Up Rooms Into Communal Space http://hammerandhand.com/field-notes/first-floor-remodel-turns-chopped-up-rooms-into-communal-space/ http://hammerandhand.com/field-notes/first-floor-remodel-turns-chopped-up-rooms-into-communal-space/#comments Wed, 20 May 2015 16:00:39 +0000 http://hammerandhand.com/?p=6688 Hammer & Hand, architect Amy Griffith of Broken Box Designs, and interior designer Vida Shore teamed up to transform a first floor full of chopped up rooms into an open and connected space with a large kitchen perfect for entertaining. (Visit our kitchen remodeling page for more kitchen project examples, videos, and articles.) A new statement... Read more »

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Hammer & Hand, architect Amy Griffith of Broken Box Designs, and interior designer Vida Shore teamed up to transform a first floor full of chopped up rooms into an open and connected space with a large kitchen perfect for entertaining.

(Visit our kitchen remodeling page for more kitchen project examples, videos, and articles.)

Traditional Home Before & After Remodel | Hammer & Hand

A new statement piece staircase dominates the entry. H&H, Dyadic Iron Works, and Birds Eye Hardwood Floors built the staircase onsite. The team took down walls and added a substantial beam into the ceiling to create a larger kitchen and a more open, connected floor plan. Space from an unused dining room and den were reallocated to the kitchen.

Traditional Kitchen Remodel Before & After Photos | Hammer & Hand

A larger kitchen island with room to seat five replaced the previous small stovetop kitchen island. The team also added an updated stove and oven, more storage options, and a new wine bar complete with cooler and wine glass storage.

Traditional Kitchen Remodel Before & After | Hammer & Hand

Pocket dog gates (seen closed on right side, open on left side) give the homeowners the option to close off the kitchen from their two dogs when they need to.

Visit the Traditional Kitchen project page for more photos of this remodeling project.

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Remodeling Assessments http://hammerandhand.com/field-notes/remodeling-assessments/ http://hammerandhand.com/field-notes/remodeling-assessments/#comments Tue, 19 May 2015 17:37:21 +0000 http://hammerandhand.com/?p=6857 There’s a lot to consider when embarking upon a remodeling project – whether it’s for a home you already own or one you’re considering purchasing. Does the home’s condition, design, and/or location make it particularly easy or particularly difficult to remodel? What rooms should be tackled first? Does an addition make sense? What would a... Read more »

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There’s a lot to consider when embarking upon a remodeling project – whether it’s for a home you already own or one you’re considering purchasing. Does the home’s condition, design, and/or location make it particularly easy or particularly difficult to remodel? What rooms should be tackled first? Does an addition make sense? What would a remodel cost, roughly? A remodeling assessment can help answer these questions and give you the information you need to move forward with your project.

Here is a little information about the remodeling assessment service Hammer & Hand offers:

WHAT TO EXPECT FROM A REMODELING ASSESSMENT

Your home assessment will include a one-hour site visit during which a Hammer & Hand project manager with many years of experience in residential construction will examine the home’s condition and design and assess the site and its constraints. We will then spend an hour preparing a report summarizing our assessment of the property’s potential from a contractor’s perspective. The report will include rough, “order of magnitude,” estimates of remodeling costs.

Our remodeling assessment service does not replace a traditional home inspection by a licensed inspector. If you do already have a home inspection report it can add valuable information to our assessment. We can also help you understand the cost implications of issues that your inspector may have uncovered.

COST

We charge $250 for the first home you would like assessed by Hammer & Hand. If you decide to complete your remodeling project with us, we will credit this fee back to you. If you would like for us to assess another home, we will provide a discount for the second (and subsequent) remodeling assessment.

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The Watzek House, John Yeon’s 1937 Masterpiece, Employs Passive Features Ahead Of Its Time http://hammerandhand.com/field-notes/the-watzek-house-john-yeons-1937-masterpiece-employs-passive-features-ahead-of-its-time/ http://hammerandhand.com/field-notes/the-watzek-house-john-yeons-1937-masterpiece-employs-passive-features-ahead-of-its-time/#comments Tue, 19 May 2015 15:00:48 +0000 http://hammerandhand.com/?p=6707 Last week several of us at Hammer & Hand had the pleasure of touring the Watzek House, guided by Randy Gragg, longtime Portland architecture critic, journalist, and new director of U of O’s John Yeon Center. The Watzek House, designed by Yeon and built by contractor Burt Smith in 1937, became a seminal work in... Read more »

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Last week several of us at Hammer & Hand had the pleasure of touring the Watzek House, guided by Randy Gragg, longtime Portland architecture critic, journalist, and new director of U of O’s John Yeon Center.

The Watzek House, designed by Yeon and built by contractor Burt Smith in 1937, became a seminal work in the Northwest Regional Style – a design movement centered around Yeon and contemporaries like Pietro Belluschi.

Watzek House Landscape in Portland, OR | Hammer & Hand

The Watzek House, with its hilltop perch and multi-volcano views, engages the landscape.

It’s an inspiring space; check out the Yeon’s Center profile about the house, as well as Brian Libby’s Portland Architecture post about it.

In addition to landing a spot in the Museum of Modern Art’s 1939 book, Art of Our Time, to celebrate MOMA’s 10th Anniversary, the home also became just the second (after Frank Lloyd Wright’s Fallingwater) to be added to the National Register of Historic Places before the customary fifty-year waiting period.

Watzek House Exterior Vents in Portland, OR | Hammer & Hand

Two unobtrusive exterior vents.

As high performance builders, we were also impressed with the home’s early innovations. Watzek House was the first one in the region to use then-newfangled double paned windows. And Yeon developed a passive ventilation system for the house that became a fixture of much of his later work.

Watzek House Vent Panels Shut | Hammer & Hand

When closed, the vent panels look like cabinet doors.

Hidden cabinet-like panels fold out to bring outside air into a bedroom through exterior vents. A transfer grille hidden in the room’s built-in shelving facilitates cross-ventilation into the adjacent living room.

Watzek House with Open Vents | Hammer & Hand

Opened, the vents bring fresh air inside.

If you have the chance, check out one of the tours by the Center. We’ve got quite the modern gem in our midst.

Watzek House Dining Room | Hammer & Hand

The home’s dining room features a compelling connection with the forest understory outside.

Thanks to Randy for showing the house with our contingent!

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Office TI for Portland Creative Agency, Instrument, Begins! http://hammerandhand.com/field-notes/office-ti-for-portland-creative-agency-instrument-begins/ http://hammerandhand.com/field-notes/office-ti-for-portland-creative-agency-instrument-begins/#comments Mon, 18 May 2015 18:52:45 +0000 http://hammerandhand.com/?p=6694 Hammer & Hand has started work on an ambitious office tenant improvement (TI) for Instrument, a digital creative agency based in Portland. Instrument had outgrown their previous headquarters and was watching for the right space when the new One North development on the corner of N. Williams and Fremont caught the firm’s eye. Holst Architecture—with... Read more »

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Hammer & Hand has started work on an ambitious office tenant improvement (TI) for Instrument, a digital creative agency based in Portland. Instrument had outgrown their previous headquarters and was watching for the right space when the new One North development on the corner of N. Williams and Fremont caught the firm’s eye. Holst Architecture—with whom H&H recently collaborated on the Karuna House project—designed both the building shell and Instrument’s 34,470 square foot TI spanning the East Building’s top three floors.

Instrument Building in Portland OR | Under Construction by Hammer & Hand

Once inside the East Building’s distinct, curved cedar exterior, employees and guests will enter a bright, wide-open atrium that reaches approximately 40 feet to the ceiling. This area will serve as a gathering area and central hub for Instrument with open-walled floors flanking it above. The space is bathed in natural light from the atrium’s glass wall as well as ample windows wrapping the floors.

Instrument Building Under Construction by Hammer & Hand Commercial Build Out for Instrument by Hammer & Hand

What is now a sea of unfinished wood, exposed plumbing, and stacks of raw materials will soon become the inspiring headquarters for this growing Portland creative agency. We are honored to be the craftspeople bringing Instrument’s new home to life.

Stay tuned for more updates as this project picks up steam. There are some stellar design features on the way as well as serious feats of skill and daring regarding project logistics. More to come!

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How Much Does it Cost to Build an ADU? http://hammerandhand.com/field-notes/how-much-does-it-cost-to-build-an-adu/ http://hammerandhand.com/field-notes/how-much-does-it-cost-to-build-an-adu/#comments Sun, 17 May 2015 22:08:49 +0000 http://hammerandhand.com/?p=6801 There are many reasons why you might want to build an Accessory Dwelling Unit (ADU) on your property.  Some common motivations are: Generation of rental income. Providing close-but-separate housing for a family member. A retirement plan: using the “empty nest” of the larger home for income by moving into the ADU. This illustration summarizes the... Read more »

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There are many reasons why you might want to build an Accessory Dwelling Unit (ADU) on your property.  Some common motivations are:

  • Generation of rental income.
  • Providing close-but-separate housing for a family member.
  • A retirement plan: using the “empty nest” of the larger home for income by moving into the ADU.

This illustration summarizes the flexibility of ADUs nicely:

Accessory Dwelling Units | Hammer & Hand

Illustration by Ryan Sullivan of Paste In Place.

Regardless of the reason for building an ADU, everyone has the same first question: how much will it cost? The answer depends on a few factors…

Attached or detached? Conversion or new structure?

One factor that will affect cost is whether it’s an attached (a basement unit or addition) or detached (“DADU”) structure. Building a detached ADU is a lot like building a new home, complete with foundation, four exterior walls, and roof, so they can be more expensive than building an attached ADU.

Design

Don’t let their diminutive size fool you; even small structures require design work from an architect, particularly given the design puzzles that limited space can present. Figure in 5-8% of construction cost for your ADU design, depending on level of design services required and your choice of designer.

Construction Costs

Constructions costs vary quite a bit depending on the specifics of a project. Generally speaking, the ADUs we build cost between $250-350/sf to construct, depending on project location (Portland or Seattle), finishes, design details, whether demolition is required, etc.

Other Fees

In Portland the City levies System Development Charges, or SDCs, on construction projects to cover infrastructure costs for things like transportation, water, parks, etc. But the City has temporarily suspended SDCs for new ADUs that get started before July 31, 2016. This can easily save you over $10,000 when building an ADU in Portland. Learn more from the City of Portland’s ADU Program Guide.

In Seattle, the Emerald City charges sewer, electrical, and construction fees based on the square footage of the structure being built. These fees often total $4,000 – $6,000 depending on the size of the property and specific needs. Learn more from the City of Seattle’s “Zoning Tips” for Attached Accessory Dwelling Units.

Example Project Cost

Let’s look at a sample mid-range project for a “large” detached ADU: 800 square feet. Construction costs come in at between $200,000 and $280,000 (between $250/sf and $350/sf). We’ll estimate architectural and development fees at about $15,000. So, the back-of-the-envelope guestimate to build an 800 square foot backyard cottage is between $215,000 and $295,000.

More Information

For more info, check out:

ADU 101

FAQ – Portland ADUs & Backyard Cottages

FAQ – Seattle ADUs & Backyard Cottages

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FAQ – Seattle ADUs & Backyard Cottages http://hammerandhand.com/field-notes/faq-seattle-adus-backyard-cottages/ http://hammerandhand.com/field-notes/faq-seattle-adus-backyard-cottages/#comments Sat, 16 May 2015 22:16:35 +0000 http://hammerandhand.com/?p=6789 Thinking of building an ADU or Backyard Cottage (aka Detached ADU) in Seattle? Great! Check out our “ADU 101” and “How Much Does It Cost To Build An ADU?” posts as you’re getting started. You’ll also want to peruse one of these “Tips” publications from the City of Seattle: “Establishing An Attached Accessory Dwelling Unit”... Read more »

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Thinking of building an ADU or Backyard Cottage (aka Detached ADU) in Seattle? Great! Check out our “ADU 101” and “How Much Does It Cost To Build An ADU?” posts as you’re getting started.

You’ll also want to peruse one of these “Tips” publications from the City of Seattle: “Establishing An Attached Accessory Dwelling Unit” or “Establishing A Backyard Cottage.” From these publications (as of May 2015), we’ve distilled a few answers to frequently asked questions:

Q: Does my main house or ADU/Backyard Cottage need to be owner occupied?

A: Yes. For at least six months of the year, either the main house or the ADU/Backyard Cottage need to be your main and permanent residence.

Q: How big can my ADU or Backyard Cottage be?

A: Attached ADUs can be 1000 square feet or smaller (with a couple exceptions) for single family homes. For rowhouses and townhomes, Attached ADUs can be no larger than 650 square feet and may not exceed 40% of gross floor area. Backyard Cottages can be 800 square feet or smaller, including garage and storage areas.

Q: Do I have to provide parking for my ADU or Backyard Cottage?

A: Yes, one off-street parking space is required, except in some urban villages and urban centers, or in lowrise zones.

Q: How large does my lot need to be to allow a Backyard Cottage?

A: At least 4000 square feet.

Q: How much does it cost to build an ADU or Backyard Cottage in Seattle?

A: See our post, “How Much Does It Cost To Build An ADU?

Q: What else should I consider?

A: See our post, “ADU 101.

Good luck with your project. Please contact us if you’d like us to build it!

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FAQ – Portland ADUs & Backyard Cottages http://hammerandhand.com/field-notes/faq-portland-adus-backyard-cottages/ http://hammerandhand.com/field-notes/faq-portland-adus-backyard-cottages/#comments Sat, 16 May 2015 21:22:47 +0000 http://hammerandhand.com/?p=6782 Thinking of building an ADU in Portland? Be sure to check out our “ADU 101” and “How Much Does It Cost To Build An ADU?” posts as you’re getting started. Meanwhile, here are answers to a few frequently asked questions, drawn directly from the City of Portland’s ADU Program Guide (as of May 2015), a... Read more »

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Thinking of building an ADU in Portland? Be sure to check out our “ADU 101” and “How Much Does It Cost To Build An ADU?” posts as you’re getting started.

Meanwhile, here are answers to a few frequently asked questions, drawn directly from the City of Portland’s ADU Program Guide (as of May 2015), a must read for anyone considering an ADU project.

Q: Is now a good time to build an ADU in Portland?

A: Yes. The City of Portland is waiving system development charges (SDCs) for ADU projects whose building permit application is submitted before July 31, 2016 (provided that occupancy begins before June 30, 2017). This is a big deal, as the cost of SDCs can easily reach five figures.

Q: How big can my ADU be?

A: The maximum size is no more than 75% of the living area of the house or 800sf, whichever is less.

Q: How tall can my ADU be?

A: No more than 18 feet high.

Q: How much space can my detached ADU take up?

A: No more than 15% of the total site area.

Q: What are the setback requirements for my ADU?

A: Detached ADUs must be set back 60 feet from the front lot line or 6 feet behind the house.

Q: Do I have to provide parking for my ADU?

A: No additional parking is required.

Q: Do either the main house or the ADU need to be owner occupied?

A: Nope!

Q: How much does it cost to build an ADU in Portland?

A: See our post, “How Much Does It Cost To Build An ADU?

Q: What else should I consider?

A: See our post, “ADU 101.

Good luck with your project. Please contact us if you’d like us to build it!

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