What is an "Accessory Dwelling Unit"?
A second, separate dwelling on a single family lot, usually smaller. than the primary residence. May be located within the main house, as an addition to it, or may take the form of a detached structure. Hence the monikers 'granny flat' or 'back house'.


What is a "Tiny House"?
There is no single definition. Broadly speaking, the concept is about living simply, with less— but more thoughtfully designed—'stuff'. Some of these smaller-is-better homes are on wheels; others are on foundations. Some have a footprint as small as, say, 150 sq.ft.(14 sq.meters); others range to over 500 sq.ft.(±46 sq.meters)

The Tiny House Community website has a helpful FAQ section.

And Wikipedia also has an entry (somewhat U.S.-centric) describing the roots of the modern movement towards smaller homes.


Tiny Houses + ADUs (Accessory Dwelling Units)
Tidy + Better Neighborhoods

Once common in cities aross the U.S., accessory dwelling units are an old idea that is slowly coming back. The revival faces challenges such as revising zoning and buildng codes, creating new bank financing procedures, and educating public perception. Our non-profit sister organization Design Coalition Institute has been promoting ADUs as an exciting means to creating affordable living and opportunites for aging-in-place, while simultanelously re-animating good walkable neighborhoods and increasing cities' tax base.

Neighborhood ADU
A few years ago when the City of Madison, Wisconsin re-wrote it's outdated zoning code, ADUs became permitted in all residential districts. Not long after we discovered to our surprise that 2 of the 3 first buildings permits granted had been designed by our office.
The ADU below is detached from the main house, renovated from an original garage-workshop structure ~ click here for more.

(Above & below) An example of an ADU to be built over a new garage as an addition to an existing home, in a well-established neighborhood.

DC Cottage ~ a Garver Microlodge
We're on the development team for the Garver Feed Mill project. Under development starting in 2015, the grounds of the massive historic brick mill will eventually include the hospitality concept of 50 "microlodges" arranged in clusters throughout an 'edible landscape'. For more on the Feed Mill…

The first three of these tiny homes are currently being built offsite by the students of the Madison College construction program. The DC Cottage (below) embodies 3 primary goals: universal ('barrier-free") design, thoroughgoing energy efficiency, and low-toxin, resource-efficient construction. Conditioned footprint area: 520 sq.ft. (48 sq.meters).

Hinged trusses will allow this home to be trucked to the site via flatbed on city streets.

The DC Cottage under construction. Click for a short video from the Madison College Construction Program

Cold Climate Tiny House

This very energy-efficient small home has a partial loft and a 512 sq.ft. footprint, plus a screened porch. The traditional version (above) with lap siding and solar panels is currently under construction.
A contemporary, eaveless variant (below) uses the same interior wrapped in a different exterior style.