Like many homeowners, Saratoga homeowner Abhishek had long stared out at his backyard wishing he could do more with the unused space. More room for his family. Better use of the property.
And up until a few years ago, there were not any easy options. Expanding his existing home deeper into the yard would have required local design review and months—if not over a year—of permitting hassle, while paying for full landscaping would not solve his family’s need for extra space.
Enter the landmark 2019 California ADU legislation Assembly Bill 68, which legalized Accessory Dwelling Units at the state level and has paved the way for thousands of units across the state. Suddenly, Abhishek and his family had a clear path towards building more room for his family.
“What this ADU accomplishes is that it helps me bring my family closer—it also improves the utilization of the investment I have made in the main home,” Abhishek said. “It would be nice if I could do more than what I was doing before, so [the ADU] increases the utility of the property.”
A 1,200 sq.ft. Detached Cottage ADU for Family
Abhishek and his wife had searched and searched for the right team to build his detached Accessory Dwelling Unit (ADU).
Abhishek turned to prefab ADU options — but the quoted costs were high, and Saratoga’s ADU regulations and design requirements meant there would be no time savings for a cookie-cutter modular ADU unit.
“There were two buckets of people building ADUs—one was people who had already designed the ADU [as prefab units] and were merely going to install it on your property,” Abhishek said. “And these ADUs universally looked like an alien landed on your lot… and it turns out that after talking to quite a few of them, that there wasn’t a win on price either.”
“So prefab didn’t work: it wasn’t cost-efficient, it wasn’t time-efficient, and it didn’t get me what I wanted.”
The second bucket Abhishek considered was traditional local general contractors. However, the high quotes he got for his one-off ADU project were expensive and he had questions about their expertise with ADUs.
“I think there is a point of inflection where you say, ‘I am committed to this project and this looks very good, and we are going to get it done,’” Abhishek said. “I think in this case, the point of inflection came in after Cottage was involved.”
After stumbling upon Cottage via Google search, Abhishek spoke with the Cottage team and had an in-person site visit. The Cottage design team then quickly iterated through the floor plan with Abhishek and his family and connected him with a general contractor from Cottage's vetted network.
The Right ADU: Custom, Tailored, and Personal
The Cottage design team came up with an elegant L-shaped design—this created a natural courtyard space between the ADU and the main home, perfect for entertaining, family gatherings, and enjoying the day outside.
Abhishek's custom ADU floor plan created ample space for family to live closer.
“All-in-all it was a brilliant design….and to my surprise—a pleasant surprise—there were very few ways that I found that the bones of the design could be improved in any way,” Abhishek said.
Wide La Cantina doors—an expensive addition but perfect for the courtyard space—open up into an open floor plan living, dining, and kitchen space. Complete with a dining room area and kitchen island, the space is perfect for Abhishek’s large family.
The large master bedroom looks out into the courtyard. On the other side of the unit, the secondary bedroom sits directly next to the second bathroom for convenience while also keeping the central open floor plan area spacious and airy.
Bay windows—a nod to San Francisco Bay Area design sensibility—augment the living area and the master bedroom, helping expand the backyard home to feel even larger than the square footage would suggest.
Like many Cottage homeowners, Abhishek wanted to ensure that his ADU fit his family’s needs while also matching the main home for continuity. The Cottage custom design approach from floor plan to finishes ensured that the ADU would match his vision.
In addition to the thoughtful design, Abhishek also had the future in mind for his ADU.
Unlocking ADU Value and Future Resale Equity
While Abhishek and his family had been looking for space for some time before building their Cottage ADU, room for more wasn’t the only factor weighing on the homeowner’s mind. Because the finished and permitted ADU would add square footage to the property’s title report—along with the additional bedrooms and bathrooms as well—the value of his property would rise as well.
“The ADU also adds to the value of the property in the future,” Abhishek said. “When I eventually sell [my home], the ADU will still add a significant amount to the overall value.”
With his family members renting nearby, the ADU alternative would be to continue to rent another home in the area. But the rental payments would go towards someone else’s mortgage, rather than towards an ADU built to last.
Accessory Dwelling Unit value is a topic that the Cottage team has covered extensively. Sales of single-family homes with ADUs have clearly shown that the housing market values properties with ADUs significantly higher. In addition, with more and more families looking for multi-generational residences and nursing home alternatives, properties with private and detached ADUs can command a significantly higher premium.
Before he committed to his ADU, Abhishek talked to the real estate agent who helped him buy the original home. Abhishek asked, “If you had to sell the house with the ADU later, how would you feel about it?”
The answer was simple: it was a no brainer; go ahead and build it.
Ever since those conversations with friends, family, and the Cottage team, Abhishek hasn’t looked back.
“[The ADU] made financial sense, it made family sense, and it ultimately made it another step in the pursuit of happiness,” Abhishek reflected.
Customized ADUs to Fit Your Needs
At Cottage, we believe in providing homeowners the best ADU experience possible from start to finish. From the initial feasibility and planning conversations to design to permitting to construction, we're here to guide your project from start to finish.
Interested in building a similar attached or detached ADU, or converting an existing garage space? Contact us today by clicking the link below for a free, no-obligation consultation & estimate for your ADU vision with one of our ADU experts!