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What You Need to Know about Detached Garage Plans with Living Spaces

Historically, home owners have been focused on building large homes with attached garages. These days however, that’s changing. Home owners are now looking to build two structures: a main home with a detached garage which can be used as a living space. If you aren’t sure which detached garage is right for you, shop around locally with reputable professionals.

detached garage with living space

These detached garages turned living spaces are called ADUs, also known as accessory dwelling units. They are good as a vacation unit, apartment, or an extended family suite. Rental income can be generated if the space has been successfully turned into that of an ADU.

Thinking about building a detached garage turned into an ADU? We have information for you to get started.

Types of Accessory Dwelling Units

Accessory dwelling units are not new. Homeowners in the past have converted their other spaces into living spaces, whether it has been a basement, backyard or cottage, an ADU has been built that is on the main property.

Since an ADU is considered part of a main house, it cannot be bought or sold separately like a condo or small mobile home. Carriage Houses in many cities such as Seattle and Washington D.C are known to have ADUs over 100 years ago, citing that this is nothing new.

Near the end of the 20th century, construction of ADUs dwindled, but they are coming back in style. Paired with an aging Baby Boomer population and older adults living with their parents, the growth of ADUs has kicked in, with people converted their other spaces into living spaces. The most common types of ADUs are apartments, granny flats and rental apartments are now built over a detached garage.

Home owners today are also choosing to live in their ADUs, providing rental income for themselves by renting the main house. This allows less upkeep of the home while earning extra income for the mortgage. Older homeowners especially have done this as it alleviates the burden of owning a home with the extra money and less maintenance to the home as they get older.

What to Know Before Building an ADU

Before doing any type of construction, verify if the planning and zoning department of your city approves the construction of ADUs. This step can be done, simply by going to to find a list of regulations by state and city.

If you are a part of a homeowners association, consult with them first to make sure it’s okay for construction to start on the ADU. Find out if there are any building restrictions in your neighbor before starting construction.

ADUs have certainly become more popular in urban areas. For instance, places like the Pacific Northwest in cities like Portland and Seattle, the construction of ADUs have been rampant. The main reason for this comeback of the ADU is the cost of living. To make it affordable to live in these urban areas, building these ADUs provide living spaces for those who in need of it while living in a high urban density area.

The city of Bend in the state of Oregon has embraced ADUs, building about 200 in the last 15 years. There have been obstacles however, as there are expensive permits to bypass if you want an accessory dwelling unit for yourself. For homeowners, this can amount of thousands of dollars, putting a dent in your pocket, before the project even starts.

Choosing the Right ADU for You

Finding the right path to long-term success will be vital in your new project endeavors, whether its renting it out to someone else or a living space for yourself. Consider the following options before you start construction.

1. Lifestyle of Those Potentially Living There

Before choosing the right garage plan, consider the lifestyle of the couple or individual who will be occupying the space. For instance, if an elderly person were to live in the ADU, making an area with large doorways and making the wheelchair accessible would be ideal for their wheelchair or electric scooter.

2. Budget and Comfort Balance

To help with the construction time frame or future headaches, plan ahead by having a budget and sticking to it. Consider the balance between your budget and comfort, especially if you want the ADU finished on time. It will help both you and the individual or people living in your new ADU unit.

3. Prioritize Storage

ADUs tend to be 1000 square feet or smaller, so make it a priority to have plenty of storage areas to hang items from the ceiling if needed, or store items under the floor. This will be done before construction while picking a floor plan.

4. Kitchen and Bathroom Features

Building an ADU doesn’t mean you have to remove total comfort. Add features you would want to use in the bathroom and kitchen to make whomever feel at home and comfortable. Floor plans tend to incorporate features such as a full size oven in the kitchen and full size refrigerators.

Contact Professionals

When in doubt of any project, contact those who know it best. Get estimates, second opinions, references and research local ADU building constructors in your area.