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They Built A 400-square-foot ADU Cottage In Seattle… Moved In, And Rented Out Their BIG House!

This is the story of a couple who built a 400-square-foot backyard cottage in their Seattle backyard and then moved in.

Also, they rented out their big house. Genius, right? Sounds pretty smart to me! What do you think? By the way, this story is brought to you thanks to Jenna at Tiny House Giant Journey.

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They Built a Small Cottage In Their Backyard And Rented Out Their Big House… It’s an ADU Cottage in Seattle!

Yup! Only 400-square-feet of space. So they use a murphy bed to make the space more useful during the day.

When bedtime arrives, it’s easy to turn the room into a bedroom😴

Here, have a look at the kitchen…

They were creative and used lots of recycled items to finish their house (like the utensils you see being used as handles for the cabinet doors)… They even used a cheese grater as a light fixture! You can see it in the video tour below😀

Beautiful, not too tiny, and very simple…

Video Tour and FULL STORY/Interview with Owners

Paul & Caroline built & downsized to a 400 Square Foot cottage in their backyard, using recycled and reclaimed materials.

Would YOU do something like this if you had the option?

Would you ever consider doing something like this? Isn’t it awesome that they had this as an option in their area? Very cool and creative!

Learn more

YouTube | Tiny House Giant Journey | MicroHouseNW

Our big thanks to Jenna at Tiny House Giant Journey for sharing!🙏

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Alex is a contributor and editor for TinyHouseTalk.com and the always free Tiny House Newsletter. He has a passion for exploring and sharing tiny homes (from yurts and RVs to tiny cabins and cottages) and inspiring simple living stories. We invite you to send in your story and tiny home photos too so we can re-share and inspire others towards a simple life too. Thank you!
{ 11 comments… add one }
  • Joanna Chanin
    July 22, 2019, 8:31 am

    Beautiful details.

  • Lisa E.
    July 24, 2019, 3:38 am

    Amazing and beautiful. Excellent job.

  • Jennifer
    November 21, 2019, 11:35 pm

    Actually surprised it cost $70,000. Because I recently had a 450 sq ft house built for less then that and I paid people to build it and I live in Hawaii where everything is more expensive. And this guy is a builder so he built it which saved some money. Don’t know if he had help building

    • James D.
      March 19, 2022, 10:18 pm

      Hawaii can be expensive but it’s not alone in that regard. Most of the west coast states are included, as well as major cities like NYC, for an example on the east coast, though Hawaii does top them in most things but not everything and even Hawaii can have a fairly broad range of costs depending on which island, community, etc. area that the property is located.

      A lot of the costs come from all the fees, permits, planning approval, impact fees, inspections, etc. and can vary by the location, how far to connect to utilities, type of structure, possible additional costs dealing with HOA’s and other requirements that may need to be met.

      Much of that is before anything even gets built, accounting for up to tens of thousands depending on the specific project being done, but the structure itself will also vary by location because of different available resources vs what has to be imported, and constructing for different climates can make a significant difference in construction costs. Like if you need double to triple pane custom windows for much colder climates then that can add thousands per window, for just one example of how prices can be significantly effected.

      So size is only one of many factors on cost and you often have to dig into the details to really compare prices from different parts of the world, etc…

  • March 13, 2020, 12:13 am

    I don’t like the open drawers in the kitchen. The openings allow dust and debris to infiltrate the storage areas. I do like the interior paint color choices. The yellow gives the interior a bright, cheery ambiance.

    • Eric
      March 19, 2022, 3:41 pm

      Dust etc penetrates everywhere… even with closed drawers. Admittedly not to the same extent as open drawers. The advantage of open drawers is you can see at a glance what you’ve got. And it works for them.

      Personally, I’m not a fan of them. But that’s me.

  • aliceh
    March 14, 2020, 4:41 pm

    Great concept and beautiful result. Not sure I’d be able to share a space with someone without having a more private space to retreat to than a corner desk though. That garage space would make a great workshop or studio for a home based business.

  • Stephan of Arkansas
    March 19, 2022, 8:03 pm

    Lovely home. Good for them! I would like to know from readers that regularly use them if they find Murphy beds comfortable. An informed regular contributor to this website advises that the answer depends on the mattress that one chooses for the Murphy bed. Other peoples’ advice would be welcome. Respectfully submitted, Stephan of Arkansas

    • Natalie C. McKee
      March 21, 2022, 6:23 am

      I wish I knew someone with a Murphy bed to direct you to, but I do agree that it would be up to mattress. There’s so reason a Murphy bed would be less comfortable as long as the mattress was what you like.

  • e.a.f.
    September 26, 2022, 12:52 am

    The house cost $70K? Good going. The last time I saw anything for $70K it was a parking spot in a condo building in Vancouver. In some buildings they go for $25K. It depends upon how tight the parking is in an area.
    Building the small house and renting out their large one is a great idea. It enables people who do not have a pension to finance their retirement. Also as inflation hits the economy, renting out the house will enable them to continue to finance their retirement lives, by simply raising the rent,.

    Personally I’m not crazy about fold away beds, but then I’m lazy and don’t like to have to do anything to go to bed, except hop in. Beds such as this one, are a great way to save space.

  • Nelia Lim
    September 26, 2022, 10:24 pm

    I would like to know how to contact or get in touch with Paul for some Info how to start the project because I have a house in South Seattle which I’m also planning to build a studio on top of the garage as my retirement house since I ‘m turning 62 next year . I don’t have a big budget since am low income , I really like what & how he did with his house!

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