Join Early Retirement Today
Reply
 
Thread Tools Search this Thread Display Modes
ADU backyard cottage or granny flat
Old 12-03-2014, 12:53 PM   #1
Moderator
Sarah in SC's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2005
Location: Charleston, SC
Posts: 13,456
ADU backyard cottage or granny flat

Figured "Accessory Dwelling Unit" (their official name) was too obscure for a thread title. We are thinking of building a small (500 sqft) cottage on our property to use as a caretaker's cottage/rental/escape pod.

I searched for some old threads on this, including one where Rodi's lovely cottage is pictured (very nice, wow!) and wanted to know any tips or suggestions as we start the process, and any budgeting clues.

I was the General Contractor on our custom home build 13 years ago, and while it was an exhausting process, I'm thinking I can manage this one as well.

The timing is pretty good to do it over the next few months, since DH is still "on sabbatical" and we have a friend living with us who has a few construction skills. I'd probably use sweat equity for just about everything, as we have pretty decent experience in just about everything but framing and roofing. I do have a handful of contractor friends that will help during those parts.

It looks like from a zoning perspective we are fine, since we have 4 acres in an agricultural area, which give us up to 1200 sq feet. The only glitch might be the little neighborhood HOA, but I think I can get the other 4 homeowners to let us do it if we tuck it in the back yard as planned.

At the risk of looking like I last drew anything of substance in kindergarten, here's the first draft of my floor plan. It will be on low piers, with a simple gable roof.

Thoughts? Anyone whose done one of these and wants to share their experience? And bonus points to anyone who makes fun of my drafting skills.
Attached Files
File Type: pdf Cottage 11.19.14.pdf (233.0 KB, 128 views)
__________________

__________________
“One day your life will flash before your eyes. Make sure it's worth watching.”
Gerard Arthur Way

Sarah in SC is offline   Reply With Quote
Join the #1 Early Retirement and Financial Independence Forum Today - It's Totally Free!

Are you planning to be financially independent as early as possible so you can live life on your own terms? Discuss successful investing strategies, asset allocation models, tax strategies and other related topics in our online forum community. Our members range from young folks just starting their journey to financial independence, military retirees and even multimillionaires. No matter where you fit in you'll find that Early-Retirement.org is a great community to join. Best of all it's totally FREE!

You are currently viewing our boards as a guest so you have limited access to our community. Please take the time to register and you will gain a lot of great new features including; the ability to participate in discussions, network with our members, see fewer ads, upload photographs, create a retirement blog, send private messages and so much, much more!

Old 12-03-2014, 01:03 PM   #2
Moderator
MichaelB's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2008
Location: Rocky Inlets
Posts: 24,416
Seriously good idea. I love backyard cottages, it changes the character of extended visits, makes them mush easier.

If you have antenna or cable tv don't forget to extend it into the cottage. Hardwire internet signal from your router might also help, sometimes the wifi signals don't make it outside the primary location.
__________________

__________________
MichaelB is online now   Reply With Quote
Old 12-03-2014, 01:06 PM   #3
Give me a museum and I'll fill it. (Picasso)
Give me a forum ...
 
Join Date: Nov 2007
Posts: 7,526
Is your new granny flat invisible? I can't see anything.

As for tips, make sure to do the lowe's double dip. Buy online gift cards at 6-8% off (cardpool, giftcardzen, or comparison shop at giftcardgranny). Then buy a 10% off coupon on ebay for a buck or two. You can knock 15-18% off the cost of any materials this way.

Check out Habitat for Humanity's ReStore for what might be great condition second hand building supplies dirt cheap (or even remaindered brand new stuff). Should be 1/2-1/3 retail prices.

Get a trailer for hauling stuff if you don't already have one.

You can probably find some local obreros in the lowe's parking lot that might be able to inexpensively work on framing and roofing. It does require basic know how but it isn't rocket surgery. Your contractor friends might also have laborers that you could employ. Hauling bundles of shingles up a ladder isn't fun.

For you specifically, make sure it's up to hurricane code. Don't want that puppy to fly apart in the next tropical storm.
__________________
Retired in 2013 at age 33. Keeping busy reading, blogging, relaxing, gaming, and enjoying the outdoors with my wife and 3 kids (5, 11, and 12).
FUEGO is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 12-03-2014, 01:07 PM   #4
Give me a museum and I'll fill it. (Picasso)
Give me a forum ...
HFWR's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2005
Location: Lawn chair in Texas
Posts: 12,964
What about utilities, especially sewer?
__________________
Have Funds, Will Retire

...not doing anything of true substance...
HFWR is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 12-03-2014, 01:32 PM   #5
Moderator
rodi's Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2012
Location: San Diego
Posts: 8,802
Thanks for the complement on our casita.

I think you're smart to do owner-builder, vs hiring out a GC. Our issues were entirely related to the GC and it added significant expense, legal fees, and years of stress. It's only 7-8 years later I can be calm about this. Hiring a GC still requires managing the GC - so it's not that much of a time saver...

We had significant zoning restrictions. We would have had less if it were done as an accessory unit - but that would have meant no shower and/or no kitchen. (So a guest suite or an office studio - but not a stand alone rental.) Fortunately we were able to comply with every requirement for a full, separate address, granny flat.

If you plan on it for a rental - will you be able to get a separate address for it as an ADU? Some tenants don't want to share addresses.
What about separate metering? We have power separate but share water... so if we get a tenant that loves long showers and lots of laundry, we take the hit. We had ethernet run down there when family was living in it - so they used our broadband network... but as a rental we paid for the cable company to run a separate feed. Since we'd put in a conduit for just such stuff, and had coax already in the conduit - it was easy for the cable company to hook up the renters connection at our side of the conduit.

Another though, as a rental, is privacy... will you provide a separate entry to the yard. One of the things our tenant liked is that we have a privacy fence separating their path to the casita, from our backyard... and the side of the house they access this path is on the side of our house with no downstairs windows. (Fireplace wall).

All of these are things to think of. Our initial need was for my in-laws... but we knew that we'd be using it as a rental (and now are) so kept those design choices in mind AND we're thinking we may downsize into it, ourselves, and rent our bigger house, when we're empty nesters... (And get a killer boat that we'll mostly live on.) So I made sure we had adequate storage/closet space, in unit laundry, and nice outdoor space to get away from a spouse when you need alone time.
__________________
Retired June 2014. No longer an enginerd - now I'm just a nerd.
micro pensions 7%, rental income 18%
rodi is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 12-03-2014, 01:42 PM   #6
Moderator Emeritus
 
Join Date: May 2007
Posts: 11,032
I love the idea of an backyard "escape pod"! I seriously considered building one when we had a house and a yard. I figured I'd use it as a man cave.
__________________
FIREd is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 12-03-2014, 01:56 PM   #7
Moderator
rodi's Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2012
Location: San Diego
Posts: 8,802
Quote:
Originally Posted by FIREd View Post
I love the idea of an backyard "escape pod"! I seriously considered building one when we had a house and a yard. I figured I'd use it as a man cave.
The house next door to us has an "art studio" - 400sf detached ADU. The mom was an artist and she had her pottery wheel and kiln there. Big windows for lots of light for her paintings... It had a shower in the bathroom, but no kitchen. (Although you could put a hotplate and microwave in next to a sink in the common area). The house was on the market recently and it was listed as a studio guest suite.

I suspect the next owner will use it as a home gym or home office.
__________________
Retired June 2014. No longer an enginerd - now I'm just a nerd.
micro pensions 7%, rental income 18%
rodi is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 12-03-2014, 02:04 PM   #8
Give me a museum and I'll fill it. (Picasso)
Give me a forum ...
 
Join Date: Feb 2013
Posts: 5,326
That sounds like a cool idea. I have liked the idea for years and looked into a bit. Here is what limited info I came up with, some unique to our zoning codes:

There are some good videos at Faircompanies.com on cottages and tiny houses.

One person on a forum I read said prefabs or travel trailers might be cheaper than DIY as far as backyard cottages. I don't know - just thought I'd pass that along.

In our area water hookups to the main lines are required for each separate dwelling and they run around $30K each, so that is the big drawback expensewise from having a totally stand alone living unit where we live.

Our neighbors built one too close to the fence line and it violates zoning codes.
__________________
daylatedollarshort is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 12-03-2014, 02:07 PM   #9
Moderator
Sarah in SC's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2005
Location: Charleston, SC
Posts: 13,456
These are great, y'all, thanks...and yes, I managed not to attach the little pdf the first time, Fuego. Dang it.

I worked for HFH when we built our house, and benefited greatly from the deconstruction projects I worked on...doors, fans, tubs, sinks, cabinets, tile, and the list goes on! So I hope to purchase some of our materials from the local Restore as well. Thanks for the tips on the gift cards, as I haven't done any of that kind of stuff yet.

Utilities: a neighbor works for the septic company that installed ours, so I need to ask him more about this. I know that DHEC will want confirmation that the current tank will accommodate an additional 500 sq feet (and I suspect since it is a bit uphill, we'll also need a pump). Well is our water supply, and we've already run a line out that far, that I think is large enough.

Electricity we'll keep on our meter, likewise the address. Out here in the country, I think there is enough space for privacy, and we'll likely only plan to rent to folks we'd trust with our pets (for a discounted rent).

Internet is something else--we use DSL, but will probably need to figure this out to get it back there...thanks for that tip!

I'm hoping that the local lumberyard can help me with my materials take-off, so I can get a decent handle on costs before we launch into it.

Thanks very much, y'all!
__________________
“One day your life will flash before your eyes. Make sure it's worth watching.”
Gerard Arthur Way

Sarah in SC is offline   Reply With Quote
ADU backyard cottage or granny flat
Old 12-03-2014, 02:13 PM   #10
Moderator Emeritus
 
Join Date: May 2007
Posts: 11,032
ADU backyard cottage or granny flat

The floor plan looks good. It's reminiscent of many "tiny house" floor plans, except that the bedroom is usually above the kitchen, in a loft.

This Youtube channel offers both inspiration and advice for laying out a small space:
https://www.youtube.com/user/kirsten...s?spfreload=10
__________________
FIREd is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 12-03-2014, 03:14 PM   #11
Thinks s/he gets paid by the post
 
Join Date: Oct 2012
Location: Colorado Mountains
Posts: 2,134
I'm in the middle of building my house. Working from completed and accurate drawings has been essential. I wound up hiring an architect, but if you can find an acceptable plan online it would be a lot cheaper. Doing the framing has been fairly easy and has been fun for me. The tools I find most useful are a battery powered set of drill, sawsall, and circular saw. An air compressor and framing nailer are essential. I would recommend one that shoots full round head nails up to 3.5 inches. I'm contracting out the concrete work, plumbing and furnace/ducting. Might also contract the roofing. I worry about injury so I won't hire someone to just help. They need full insurance and workmen's comp. I will use a one man lift to do the siding, etc.

Good luck on your project. If you have any specific questions please ask.

Hermit
__________________
Hermit is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 12-03-2014, 03:21 PM   #12
Full time employment: Posting here.
 
Join Date: Mar 2012
Location: seattle
Posts: 643
Is the adu tied to your existing deck so you would share the deck?
If so, 3-4 2" conduit between the two buildings would get some utilities back there and hide them at the same time under the deck.

I installed a water submeter on an adu and it cost me about $75 for the part. Just needs to be read.

Talking to the local building department early is a good idea to avoid getting your hopes up for things they won't let you do, or things they might make you do you didn't know about..
__________________
bld999 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 12-03-2014, 03:27 PM   #13
Administrator
W2R's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2007
Location: New Orleans
Posts: 38,827
I love the floorplan! Honestly that is perfect for one person.

I don't know anything about building at all. If I needed that built, somebody else would have to do it - - I would just hire people that know what they are doing and stay out of the way.

Consequently I really can't add to the discussion other than to say, "Wow, great floorplan!"
__________________
Already we are boldly launched upon the deep; but soon we shall be lost in its unshored, harbourless immensities.

- - H. Melville, 1851
W2R is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 12-03-2014, 03:30 PM   #14
Give me a museum and I'll fill it. (Picasso)
Give me a forum ...
pb4uski's Avatar
 
Join Date: Nov 2010
Location: Vermont & Sarasota, FL
Posts: 16,409
In our area, septic systems are designed and permits issued based on the number of bedrooms so we could not add something like your tiny house without getting a revised septic system which would be big $ because it woudl add a bedroom to our property. Interestingly, when we built our new garage last year with a bonus room above that was a hobby room we could include a half-bath because were were not adding any bedrooms. The nuance of a difference with a bedroom is it has a closet as I understand it. Obviously, the rules may be different in your locale.

If you have good cell signal and running DSL out to the tiny house is a problem you might consider internet service from one of the cellphone providers. A friend does this in his main house for ~$60/month and is happy with it though he is not a heavy internet user.

We acted as the GC for our home - we had a main builder for framing and carpentry, and separately hired out plumbing, heating, electrical, air exchanger, woodstove and stovepipe, tile and masonry, flooring, etc. We did the painting. We just had to make sure everyone got along and they did for the most part.

Just the other day I saw that fyi network has a show called Tiny House Nation. I haven't seen it yet but it looked interesting.
__________________
If something cannot endure laughter.... it cannot endure.
Patience is the art of concealing your impatience.
Slow and steady wins the race.
pb4uski is online now   Reply With Quote
Old 12-03-2014, 04:01 PM   #15
Dryer sheet wannabe
 
Join Date: Aug 2013
Posts: 19
Hi Sarah,

The plans look great!

As a fellow South Carolinian, I do want to caution you about the current regulations for a homeowner who wants to be the general contractor for a building project. You may already know all this but it came as a surprise to us when we did a renovation on our kitchen last year. SC requires licensed contractors for virtually any type of renovation or building. If you as the owner want to be the GC, you need to file an owner/builder disclosure form. On this form, you have to state that you realize that you are applying for "an exemption from the law" and that you will not sell or rent the property for more than 2 years. I am not sure what happens if you violate this but I guess they could pull the C/O. You actually have to file this disclosure with your deed so that everyone can see it when they look up your property (forever I believe). I have provided a link to the disclosure from Mount Pleasant but it is similar with other cities in SC. We did this for our kitchen renovation. Your local building department should be well aware of this.

Good luck with your plans!

http://www.tompsc.com/DocumentCenter/View/623
__________________
PRSC is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 12-03-2014, 05:58 PM   #16
Moderator
Sarah in SC's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2005
Location: Charleston, SC
Posts: 13,456
Thanks for more good ideas!

The deck I'm putting on the back is an existing pressure treated deck (we built it for a band to play at our parties). The cottage will be about 1,000 feet from the existing house.

We've used Verizon Mifi at our house so I'm familiar with that, but might look into something to send the DSL out there.

Hermit, DH loves excuses for new tools, so I'm sure that this will be a chance for him to accumulate a few more. Kudos to you for your build and I will probably have more questions as we go.

PR, we are in Charleston County, so the county rules apply. I talked to a nice lady there last week who gave me the owner builder info and sent me to some good links on their website. Interestingly, we didn't have this when I was the GC on our house, probably because I hired a licensed contractor to oversee most of the subs and he pulled some of the permits.

I will need to find out about the sizing of the septic tank. Not sure how that works here, but hopefully it won't require a new system. That might be a deal breaker if so.

Always such good help here!! Thanks so much and also thanks for the kind words about my floor plan. I love tinkering with things like that...a legacy of living in 7 or 8 renovation projects during my childhood!


Sent from my iPhone using Early Retirement Forum
__________________
“One day your life will flash before your eyes. Make sure it's worth watching.”
Gerard Arthur Way

Sarah in SC is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 12-03-2014, 07:08 PM   #17
Give me a museum and I'll fill it. (Picasso)
Give me a forum ...
pb4uski's Avatar
 
Join Date: Nov 2010
Location: Vermont & Sarasota, FL
Posts: 16,409
Quote:
Originally Posted by Hermit View Post
.... The tools I find most useful are a battery powered set of drill, sawsall, and circular saw. An air compressor and framing nailer are essential. I would recommend one that shoots full round head nails up to 3.5 inches. ...
+1 ...... I am continually amazed at what I can get done with just a battery powered drill, trim saw and jigsaw. But the absolutely best new tool I have purchased this year was a Craftsman C3 battery operated 18 gauge brad nailer. It is great for finish work and other light work. You can set a brad with a lot of precision and not worry too much about splitting the wood. I used it for all the finish trim, some shelving I made from 1x3 strapping, etc. It'll handle brad lengths from 5/8" to 2". Very handy and only ~$120.

That and the two C3 Lithium-Ion batteries I purchased earlier in the year.

__________________
If something cannot endure laughter.... it cannot endure.
Patience is the art of concealing your impatience.
Slow and steady wins the race.
pb4uski is online now   Reply With Quote
Old 12-03-2014, 08:52 PM   #18
Give me a museum and I'll fill it. (Picasso)
Give me a forum ...
harley's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2008
Location: Following the nice weather
Posts: 6,422
Looks great! Let me know when I can come visit.
__________________
"Good judgment comes from experience. Experience comes from bad judgement." - Will Rogers, or maybe Sam Clemens
DW and I - FIREd at 50 (7/06), living off assets
harley is online now   Reply With Quote
Old 12-03-2014, 10:00 PM   #19
Thinks s/he gets paid by the post
 
Join Date: Jan 2014
Posts: 1,317
Does the zoning allow for the bathroom to be across from the kitchen? You may want to rework the center section. We have similar plans but it's living/dining area to open kitchen with hallway down one side with closets for coats/jackets/vac/mop to bathroom/laundry behind kitchen (keeps all water plumbing in one area) to bedroom. Is there room for chairs about the table? Good luck!
__________________
splitwdw is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 12-03-2014, 10:00 PM   #20
Moderator
Sarah in SC's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2005
Location: Charleston, SC
Posts: 13,456
You don't have to wait til it's done!!
Come on by when you trek back and forth to Florida! We'd love to have you anytime. And there's a drummer in the house now, so come prepared to make some noise.


Sent from my iPhone using Early Retirement Forum
__________________

__________________
“One day your life will flash before your eyes. Make sure it's worth watching.”
Gerard Arthur Way

Sarah in SC is offline   Reply With Quote
Reply


Currently Active Users Viewing This Thread: 1 (0 members and 1 guests)
 
Thread Tools Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are Off


Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
"Granny Pod" Is this the answer to the LTC issue? dmdunca44 FIRE and Money 18 07-24-2012 02:45 PM
Granny don't take no crap from anyone... Orchidflower Other topics 7 10-16-2010 11:43 AM
Are You a Granny Basher? Eagle43 Health and Early Retirement 6 02-20-2008 01:23 PM
the cottage tikitoast Young Dreamers 10 12-30-2006 01:42 PM
"Granny cottages" - cost per SF? MRGALT2U FIRE and Money 16 09-26-2005 10:40 AM

 

 
All times are GMT -6. The time now is 08:14 AM.
 
Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.8 Beta 1
Copyright ©2000 - 2017, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.