Architectural Products

what exactly is a DADU? by Claire Grotz

What exactly is a DADU? And how can I build one?

Historically, Seattle hasn't been a particularly dense city, with very few duplexes and triplexes compared to other cities of similar size. But right now the city is going through a lot of changes with increasing populations and decreasing housing stock. And with these changes comes a dire need for more housing stock.

None of this is surprising to anyone living in Seattle. And this is why so many people are interested in learning more about DADUs - not to mention the possibility of an additional income in an increasingly expensive city. 

But, if you're looking for quick, easy, money - you're probably looking in the wrong place. (If you find the right place, be sure to pass along the word!). But, if you're willing to spend the time and money to do it right, it can provide a great source of income for your family - or can act as a place for aging family members to stay!

For starters, you should first decide if what you need or want is truly a Detached Accessory Dwelling Unit (DADU). For example, if you wanted a long term guest suite separate from your house (perhaps a bedroom, bathroom, and living room) but don't require a kitchen because your family members will be eating with you- you don't necessarily have to comply with the DADU regulations. This means different (and typically more lenient) requirements as far as size, height, and parking. This can be a great option for extended family members as you will have a lot of flexibility with the design, provided that you don't require they have a truly separate apartment.

If your goal is to provide a source of rental income (rather than provide housing for family members) then you will definitely need to build a DADU, since you'll need to provide a kitchen in addition to the bed, bath, and living room. And remember, you'll need to live in one of the units (you can live in the larger and rent the smaller - or vise versa). Frequently, determining the best way to design and build a DADU is game of tetris. There are a lot of factors that determine where and how you can build your DADU:

  • Ensure that your property is a minimum of 4000sf. At this time, Seattle lots smaller than that do not allow a DADU. 
  • The size restrictions are 800sf total. This includes a garage if it is part of the DADU, and includes all stories (not just the footprint). Additionally, there is a limit to how much of your lot you can cover with building - typically, 35%. Depending on the size of the existing structures on your property, you may be limited by more than the 800sf.
  • Ensure that you can provde 2 parking spaces (one for the main house and one for the DADU). There are some exceptions to when you are required parking, but most projects will require two spots. Furthermore, Seattle has some very specific rules about where on your property the parking can be located. This often becomes a tricky problem to solve, as many properties have difficulty providing access to additional parking without expense. 
  • Remember that the height limits for DADUs are lower than for a typical single family home. 
  • Allow yourself ample time for design and construction. The permitting and building processes typically take longer people expect, but building a DADU is a long term project, well worth the time and effort.

If you're able to comply with all of these requirements - a DADU can be a fantastic opportunity for increasing income, improving your family's quality of life, or both! 

screen time by Unknown

We appreciate the usefulness of a well-designed screen that is both aesthetically pleasing and a powerful workhorse. Need to divide a space without constructing permanent walls? Either a freestanding or ceiling hung partition could be the answer. Maybe you want to obscure an unsightly view of the neighbor’s garage. A screen that lets light filter through while obscuring the view could enhance your living space. How about providing some privacy with acoustic benefits in an open office layout? Yes, there are partitions for that too. We even found a screen with built-in storage. Enjoy perusing some of our favorite screen time options.

Facet by 3form

BuzziZone by BuzziSpace

Nomad System by Mio

Nebula by Tacchini

FeltWall by B&B Italia

For the Architect or Designer in your Life by Michelle Linden

Give Green Reads by Michelle Linden

As someone who is very interested in sustainability, green technology, and the like... I generally find if difficult to find good books to read. Usually, the books seem overly simplistic (compost is good!) or overly scientific. Its hard to find a well-written and informative book for general, but well-educated reader. Luckily, I've recently had the opportunity to read two such books!

Our choice is the follow up to Al Gore's An Inconvenient Truth. Where An Inconvenient Truth was quite the doomsday presentation, Our Choice presents us with clear options for moving forward. Its not just telling us everything that we've done to screw up the Earth, but its explaining how we can fix what we've done... using both large and small scale solutions. The book is an easy read, while still explaining in detail the science behind the global warming crisis. And unlike An Inconvenient Truth, its got fantastic full color photos and diagrams to help illustrate the text. And personally, I really enjoy the immediacy of the book. Gore tells stories about current events - liking the birthers to climate change deniers - which helps root the book in the now. So, if you or anyone you know is looking for an informative book on climate change, with an upbeat personality... check out

The Whole Green Catalog is a much more interesting book than the cover would suggest... Really makes that whole, don't judge a book by its cover thing ring true. The book lists 1000 action items that individuals can undertake to improve our quality of life. The book is broken down into simple sections - homebuilding, energy, clothing, furniture, etc. Within each section are various technologies and suggestions pertaining to sustainability and a high quality of life. Products range in scale from solar powered calculators to equal exchange chocolate to geothermal HVAC. The beauty is that each product recommendation comes with a 2-3 paragraph explanation of the technology and image to help you understand. Again, this is a great book for anyone looking to improve their knowledge of green technology without reading through scientific literature. Its an easy and entertaining read... in fact, it was sitting on my coffee table during Thanksgiving dinner and everyone passed the book around and even took time out of watching football to read it! If that sounds good to you... check out

Whole Green Catalog: 1000 Best Things for You and the Earth