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The Ultimate Silicon Valley ADU for Senior Living and Work-from-Home

1 bed | 1 bath | 520 sq. ft.
A Silicon Valley tech executive wanted a space to provide elderly, overseas parents somewhere to stay while visiting California, and a place to be productive while working from home. She turned to Cottage to guide her through the ADU journey, and got stunning results.

Creating Room for More at Home

Some months into the pandemic, a busy tech executive in Hillsborough, California had grown weary of working out of her crowded house, which she now shared with her remote-learning children. At the same time, she yearned for more space to allow her overseas parents to enjoy during extended visits with her family.
Thus, the concept for an ADU was born: why not transform an underutilized section of the backyard into a detached unit suitable for undisrupted working and visiting family?
Before and after: The team transformed an underutilized corner of the backyard into a versatile ADU.
With her basic ADU idea hatched, she reached out to Cottage’s team of ADU experts to create a unit that would suit her needs. The Cottage team delivered by guiding her through all stages of the ADU process: initial site feasibility assessment, custom design, permitting, and ultimately, final construction. The result is a stunning, 520-square-foot, 1 bed/1bath ADU with airy, 16-foot vaulted ceilings that opens seamlessly onto a tranquil outdoor living room. It’s a perfect place for both solitary productivity and entertaining visitors alike – and, of course, the project is a sound investment to add value to the home.

Site Challenges to Overcome

The existing home was beautiful and modern, and the homeowner wanted an ADU that would blend seamlessly into the rest of her contemporary gardens and yard. The site had a significant grade, and so, as a very early item in the process, the team addressed foundation design with a team of civil engineers and general contractors in the Cottage network to ensure the unit could be built as envisioned and at a reasonable price.

A Better Option than Prefab

Also early on in the process, as is often the case with Cottage ADU projects, it became clear that the ADU needed to match the aesthetics of the existing home.
Thus, the homeowner engaged Cottage to lean into the Cottage team’s strengths in contextual design and standard, “stick-built” building practices as a superior alternative to prefab or modular ADUs. Prefab and modular options available simply did not offer a close enough match to her existing home.
Instead, she preferred Cottage’s customized approach, through which the Cottage design team was able to identify the architectural features that defined her home – the color, the treatment of the building facade, the aluminum awnings, and similar – and infuse these features directly into the design of the ADU, so that the property as a whole maintained a cohesive and sophisticated look.

Neighborly Considerations

To ensure the ADU “worked” within the context of the main home and the neighbor’s home next door, the orientation of the ADU and placement of the windows were executed carefully to provide the utmost privacy, connection to the lower terrace of the yard, and prime views. Cottage designers used a number of skylights to guarantee great sunlight throughout the day – also without compromising privacy. Perhaps most importantly, the unit was oriented to sit lower than the main home and in a way that would not disturb the existing upper deck or block any views from the main home or neighbors.
Additionally, throughout the permitting and construction process, the Cottage team worked closely with the city and neighborhood stakeholders to make sure the ADU met the neighborhood’s high aesthetic design standards, and also its requirements for the operations of the site during construction.

The Final Design

By engaging Cottage’s simple process and dedicated team, the Hillsborough homeowner was able to see her ADU come to life and get exactly the unit she wanted. Today, she enjoys the ADU as flexible space for work-from-home that’s ready for the next visit from senior relatives – and a lasting asset for her home.

Custom ADUs to Fit Your Budget And Needs

At Cottage, we believe in providing homeowners the best ADU experience possible. From feasibility, to design, permitting, and construction, we're here to guide you through each step of the journey.
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!

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