At exactly 400sf, this Accessory Dwelling Unit was originally an alley garage crammed with junk, and nearly falling over. Intended as a short- or long-term rental, a family guest house, summer party spot, and a potential future home for the clients, this ADU had to live larger than its actual square footage. Because of this, there needed to be a full kitchen, dining, living space, and limited long-term storage, as well as have the ability to fully open up to a landscaped patio. The clients also wanted to be sure that the space was extremely energy efficient, as well as budget-conscious.


Using the existing footprint, and a small portion of the garage to construct the new ADU enabled the homeowners keep the structure very close to the property lines, way within current setback requirements. This one move, although it ended up being a more expensive option than building completely new, saved the small back yard from being fully overtaken.


The plan of this unit is very simple, and we used a slim palette of finishes; both moves make it seem larger than it is. White walls and cabinets are punctuated by black stained wood doors and windows, and vertical grain Douglas Fir was used for window sills, shelving, and wall base. We used a mixture of the clients’ vintage door hardware and kitchen pulls with some new fixtures for the build-out to make it somewhat eclectic and personal.

Location: Portland, Oregon

Project Team: Hope Telford, AIA

Contractor: B.D. Mack Inc.

Photographer: Matt Swain Photography











© 2022 Telford+Brown Studio Architecture   |    2132 NE Alberta Street, Portland, OR 97211   |   503.223.4957