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Top 5 Tiny and Small House Trends in Seattle

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Seattle is an interesting place to pay attention to for tiny and small homes because of these 5 trends, as showcased via the Seattle Backyard Cottage blog.

They’re all very interesting trends that we will very likely see spread to other areas. And who knows, you could very well be one of the first to inspire it. Let me tell you a little bit about these trends, and how you could possibly see them in other areas of the country and world.

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1. Newly adopted Seattle code allows for family-friendly DADUs… With an extra 200-sq.-ft. of space, many detached accessory dwelling units (DADUs) are being built for families.

Up until now a majority of cottages were being designed for aging parents or as rentals accommodating an individual or a couple without children. These new larger cottages are also being designed for families with children including a 900 sq. ft. cottage we are designing in Ballard for a family of five. And a 1,000 sq. ft. cottage for a family of four.1

2. The use of condo agreements to be able to sell primary residence and DADU separately. We talked about it here.

The use of condominium agreements to sell the primary residence and the DADU separately is probably the biggest trend of 2019 and will only continue.  While creating a DADU adds value to a property as a whole. An even higher value can be obtained by selling the primary residence and the DADU separately.1

Family sized DADUs in Seattle via microhouse and the Seattle Backyard Cottage Blog

columbia city cottage © microhouse

Learn more and read full article here.

What do you think? Are there any other areas that you know of where ideas like these can be used to create more tiny and small homes in the area?

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  1. https://seattlebackyardcottage.blogspot.com/2019/12/dadu-5-top-new-trends-for-2020.html

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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!
{ 8 comments… add one }
  • Alex
    January 1, 2020, 1:15 pm
  • Jerry Dycus
    January 2, 2020, 7:01 am

    Severing property rights between a condo and an ADU is going to have large legal costs, hassles. Best just keep them together.
    And in my lifetime 900sq’ was a normal family house, not small and certainly not tiny. SE of Tampa houses older than 1960 was more like 500sq’ average with many under 200sq’ Just drive down old US301 or US 41 that hasn’t been rebuilt and a good number are still there. Though not much longer as property is so valuable near the highways most will be torn down in 10 yrs replaced by ticky-tacky boxes, strip malls.
    In SEattle rents, prices are so high it doesn’t make sense to liv there. I’d live on a boat and boat in if I had to work there.

    • James D.
      January 2, 2020, 2:01 pm

      But if they keep them together then you can’t have the option to own the ADU, and that means higher costs and fewer options in how they can be used…

      Problem with some areas is you can’t even have anyone but relatives live in the ADU and you basically have to afford the entire property or even when they can rent it out that mean the renter can’t own the ADU and can only rent it from the property owner and be restricted to what they can do there…

      Everything has trade offs but many would consider being able to own the home, free and clear, even if it adds some legal fees and hassles, to be worth it in today’s housing market…

      While houses have been getting bigger since the 1950’s… National average is now well over 2200 to over 2400 sq ft. So 900 Sq Ft is largely considered tiny now. There’s even people who feel that 2000 Sq Ft is small because they are used to much larger homes. Along with much of the country restricting new builds to be above 1000 Sq Ft, which means there are many places where there would be no other way to get a home under 1000 Sq Ft other than loop holes like an ADU…

      Sure, there’s still old homes and areas that the homes have either been grandfathered in or don’t have these minimum size restrictions but for the country as a whole there needs to be more options… Besides, those old homes won’t last forever and if they can’t build a new home of similar size, and get forced to build larger, then there’s going to be less options over time that’s eventually going to be a problem to be dealt with…

    • Deborah
      January 10, 2020, 11:38 am

      I grew up in that part of Florida and have family living off of 301 in Balm. I’m deeply familiar with the Riverview, Ruskin, Orient Point, Brandon, Valrico towns. I got out and love living in CT. My serious concern is that part of Florida is all going to be underwater in the next generation. It’s pretty much at sea level now and is quite swampy. Rents may be high in Seattle but one can find some of the most stunning views imaginable with no gators, moccasins or mosquitoes the size of bats bothering you! LOL.

  • Marcia
    January 2, 2020, 3:27 pm

    I strongly believe that any abandoned/closed military bases would be perfect locations for these ADUs…and fill those with homeless vets. Then raze neighborhoods with abandoned homes/shopping centers (especially outdoor/strip malls) and build ADUs for homeless LOW-income. For the truly homeless, a 3rd set of ADUs built, but with opportunities to do yard work, gardening, handyman…so the residents are able to “earn” their keep. These will not be “handed out”…VA will determine who is truly a veteran, and every veteran can contribute as much as they are physically able; same for low-income. Sweat equity!

    • Stephan of Arkansas
      April 21, 2020, 10:58 pm

      Bravo Marcia! I agree completely with you. I am a 71 years old US Army veteran of 3 years (served at the tail end of the Vietnam War) and am reasonably healthy (despite bum bone-on-bone knees…. which makes praying in my Episcopal Church services a challenge… I call it “gentle penance”). But I live within my modest budget and, thank God, am not homeless. I have friends and family that help me with this and that when kneeling is near-agony. Anywhoooooo…. your idea to provide housing to homeless veterans s so logical and kind that your thoughts should be implemented immediately! Should U run for political office in my pretty Arkansas town, U have my support; but I suspect that U are too wise to get bogged down in American politics. All good things to U and those dear to U, dear Marcia. These comments are respectfully submitted.

  • Kelly Crane
    January 17, 2020, 10:25 pm

    Something needs to be done! I’m waffling on moving as well as a soon to be EX simply because we can’t afford rent. It’s close to move or kill one another in our situation. I’m not being able to make ends meet living on my disability nor finding a place to rent under my whole monthly check even. I have medication costs and medical fees not to mention have rent and utilities cost to pay out of 1450 a month disability. I get 50 a month from snap for food and weekly crap shoot for food bank visit as it is now. I have to consider long time view to move into a 55+ trailer park with space rent at 750 or finding a small plot of land to purchase a mortgage on and buying a midrange tiny home to put on it. Even rent for a trailer home space has gone up that you can’t afford anything in king of Snohomish county. The restrictions are so strangled that people have to move away from jobs because wages can’t sustain living close and old people are forced to move away. Landlords keep jacking up rent for everything. In the long run, it hurts business from top to bottom workers. There needs to be more solutions to housing. I am so close to being homeless. My health care needs, my housing needs, my transportation needs and even how I’ll find my food situation is a question.

  • Donna Rae
    February 7, 2020, 5:39 pm

    I agree that the main house and ADU should be kept together with the exception of an ADU built on a larger piece of land that allows for each property to have a good yard and privacy. There can be complications with that situation, though, so one idea would be to create the kind of small communities that were popular at the turn of the last century. They were called pocket neighborhoods. Each small house had a small yard and they were built facing a community open space in the middle with access for each owner at the back of their property. The style of the homes were Craftsman but they could be anything. There are a lot of people who want to either downsize or just have the opportunity to buy an affordable home. Smaller houses on smaller lots could be a good answer to that. The McMansions that have been popular for a while are just not appealing to many and it would be nice to see cities offer a variety of types of housing that is available. I’m sure there are clever people to figure out how to arrange small houses in a variety of ways other than the example of pocket neighborhoods that I mentioned but those are a good starting point. They were lovely places to live with nice architecture, large trees (well, eventually) and pleasing spaces to spend time while providing for privacy, too, since they were single family dwellings.

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