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San Diego Surf Casita - Rental Income ADU with California Vibes

2 bed | 2 bath | 750 sq. ft.
One San Diego-area homeowner wanted more than just aesthetics out of his landscaped yard and fabulous pool. With an idea for a rental unit that would seamlessly coexist with his existing home, he engaged Cottage to draw him up and deliver the ADU of his dreams.

The Opportunity

What if my yard could do more for my home?
This was a question an Escondido local resident had every time he looked out over his backyard, which had an amazing pool but a significant swath of unused space on the terraces and hillsides at the back of the lot.


When the homeowner approached Cottage with a concept for an ADU, the first item to address involved the feasibility of building a second unit on the home’s lot. The hillside at the back of the yard presented some grade change, which can be a challenge for an ADU project because it introduces more site preparation into the pre-construction work.
The Cottage team responded by placing the ADU at the corner of the lot where the grade was the most gradual, which lowered the cost to prepare the site for the construction. The placement of the ADU also maximized the use of some existing terraces, which kept the project within budget.

Customized Design

As the homeowner considered his options for an ADU designer and contractor, he examined design concepts that would help him balance the privacy needs of a rental unit and still keep the backyard integrated with his home. Would it be possible to build a unit for renters and homeowners to enjoy the pool equally, and still maintain privacy for both? He quickly discovered that prefab ADU and modular ADU options did not offer a ton of flexibility in this regard.
Cottage’s solution to the question came with the placement of the patio. Instead of orienting the unit to open directly to the pool, the design team positioned the entry at the side of the unit, with a side-facing patio accessible via grand, accordion-style doors. This way, those in the ADU can enjoy the pool—which remains in view—from the patio while still maintaining a sense of privacy in and around the ADU itself.
With the ADU placed and oriented on his site, the homeowner also wanted a design that matched the main home, which had a blend of modern and Spanish mission-style elements—in particular, a clay tile roof and earth tones in abundance. Prefab ADU and modular ADU options were not on the table here either, because their contemporary look was not a match with the existing home.
In contrast, the final ADU design from the Cottage team matches perfectly the style of the main home. In an interesting design flair, the ADU sports a shed-style roof for a look that exudes both contemporary and traditional. The shed roof also allows for a vaulted living and kitchen area—precisely configured to the homeowner’s taste.

Vetted Professionals

As feasibility and design completed, the homeowner preferred Cottage for the ability to get set up with a proven, local ADU contractor from Cottage’s network. As the homeowner described, the build team was able to shed light on numerous unknowns through the process—from the feasibility of the patio’s accordion-style doors, to pricing of selected finishes, and more.
Since the general contractor was local and produced high-quality work in the area, it was also easy to tour the homeowner around to various completed and under-construction projects ahead of committing to the project.

Customized 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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