Brit Builds An ADU: Home Tour 2019 Follow-Up

The long-delayed Home Tour review post! I visited only two houses #24 and #25 on the list for 2019. Both are ADUs, but #24 was attached, and #25 was detached. Both were very interesting, and also very different from each other.

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Number 24 on the Home Tour 2019, a blue shared family home. The ADU entrance is the porch near the back/garage.

4000 12th AVE S., the twenty-fourth stop on the home tours for this year, was built by the Community Land Trust in association with the City of Minneapolis and designed by Marnie Peichel. It is an incredible use of space! Clearly designed with multi-generation families in mind. (It is currently pending sale for about 230k for the entire space.) The attached ADU is a one bedroom space with its own kitchen and bathroom that is attached to the 3 bedroom 1.5 bath main house via double (french-style?) doors in the respective kitchens as well as through a shared laundry room. The two units face different streets of the corner lot and have their own separate entrances. The separate but connected kitchens give a great opportunity to jointly cook and share meals while having separate day to day lives. The ADU itself was relatively small, probably about 400-600 sq ft, but very livable. I hope the Community Land Trust is able to build more of these kinds of homes as they clearly did a great job with this one and intergenerational or extended family living helps support seniors staying in community longer as well as providing deep housing affordability with more folks living in shared spaces. Let alone the social and cultural benefits of traditional living arrangements of family taking care of family.

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A red garage with an ADU secret. From my home tour trip. Sorry I forgot to take more photos!!

I first met Chris Strom and Alison Markowitz Chan, our architects, in person at the ADU they designed and were helping to show off at this spring’s Home Tour. The red barn-like detached ADU at 3537 37th Ave S. was striking and seemed well matched to the desires of the owners, the Erickson family, for a guest space for family and additional play space for their young kids. The vaulted ceilings gave the one bedroom guest quarters a strong feeling of space to stretch out. The main area was a kitchenette/living room combo, with the kitchen overlooking the stairway. There is a small half to three quarter bathroom and small bedroom located off the north and east sides respectively. I really liked the use of dormers on the north and south sides to provide additional natural light. As well as the window visible behind the kitchen on the west side over the stairs. In all it felt airy, Scandinavian-Minnesotan, and like a great space to spend time with grandparents and kids. However, the kitchen and general orientation of the space made it clear this was primarily intended as a garage for the homeowners and guest space for out of town relatives rather than for rental. I hope the Erickson family is enjoying their space after the frenzy of construction time and appreciate their letting us all in to see what an ADU can be. It was also interesting that despite copious signage asking people to approach from the alley, people are very unused to ADU alley orientated buildings and kept traipsing past the yellow tape across the owner’s lawn. While alleys are also our streets, we seem to have a collective “huhh??” when asked to use them on foot. After seeing this ADU and the Strom Architect’s general design aesthetic I’m excited to see what we’ll be building together at perhaps a little larger scale than this more guest oriented space.

The Minneapolis St. Paul Home Tour is a great tradition I hope we can take part in sometime in the future.

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4 Responses to Brit Builds An ADU: Home Tour 2019 Follow-Up

  1. Elizabeth Larey August 21, 2019 at 1:01 pm #

    Very cool! I tried to build an ADU on my property in WBL. I was going to let me house sitter ( older lady) stay there for free because I travel a lot and have cats and dogs. White Bear Lake changed their ordinance a few years ago to force homeowners to pay taxes as if your property was rental property. Which is taxed at a much higher rate. That seems counter productive to the concept of more density. I was just wondering what Mpls and St Paul do concerning how the property is categorized.

  2. Scott August 21, 2019 at 1:54 pm #

    I’m enjoying this series of posts. A couple years ago I visited an above-garage ADU in the Longfellow neighborhood on the Home Tour. The contemporary styling was very cool- especially the wood stairs that were stained blue. The architect who designed the ADU was there to talk about the concept. We learned that our existing 7-year old garage likely couldn’t be retrofitted to construct an ADU because frost footings need to be dug out for a foundation. We also learned that ADUs can cost $250,000+ for a 450-600 square foot apartment, which seems crazy and way out of our budget. Good luck with your project!

  3. Jack August 22, 2019 at 9:15 am #

    I would love to build an ADU above my garage, but it would cost more than my house is worth! Unless the city hands out grants or something, the dream of adding an ADU will remain just that –a dream.

  4. Andrew Evans August 27, 2019 at 2:59 pm #

    For what it’s worth after talking to a neighbor who can’t build a 2 story garage.

    If I recall correctly there needs to be 20 feet between the house and the garage to be able to build a mother in law unit. This is waved if the garage and unit are attached to the house. I’d be willing to bet that the one that’s attached has a house that’s set back a little more or on a shorter lot that may not allow an external garage and mother in law.

    Also note the height requirement that the garage can’t be taller than the house. I also thought that the roofline had to be similar, or at least not a flat roof on the garage to make up for the height.

    Not sure about prices, my neighbor said it would have added 20 to 30 thousand to his garage, which would have put it around 80 thousand total. I’m guessing that’s not finished, but it’s not too bad either. I’m not sure if a foundation would have needed to be dug though, or any of those specifics.

    The red one in the picture looks a lot like one I saw online when looking at plans on some site. Looks nice, and I’m sure the floor plan is ok.

    As with others, I’m not sure I’d have the need to invest that much into one of these. All I’d need it for is a bathroom and enough height to put one or two car lifts for additional parking and projects. Could easily rent a shop space or share a shop space for those needs and not make that large of a commitment.

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