Creative Ways to Make Space: Accessory Dwelling Units

Interested in an apartment above your garage, a backyard studio, or a workshop detached from your house?

This garage apartment ADU in Minneapolis has a kitchenette with full-size appliances, a living area, and a 3/4 bath with laundry.

Enter the Accessory Dwelling Unit (ADU)!

ADUs are fully functional living spaces that can be inside or adjacent to your home or can be added to an existing or new structure like a garage. Used as a rental apartment, ADUs can generate income to offset construction costs or the primary mortgage. A self-contained space with full amenities, the ADU can easily transition to fit your changing lifestyle.

Minneapolis, relatively recently (late 2014), changed its zoning law to support building these structures. Here are a few ordinances/codes to consider…

  • The primary house and ADU must be tied together with shared water, sewer, electric, or gas service.
  • There are height restrictions for ADUs so they do not dwarf your existing home.
  • Either the ADU or primary residence must be owner-occupied, both can’t be rentals.
  • ADUs are package deals, they can’t be sold separately from the primary house.

Communities are benefitting from ADUs. Many cities are looking for new ways to grow, and ADUs are a unique way to create more housing while reducing urban sprawl. ADUs can reduce housing needs without demolishing older homes, and allow for housing creation in neighborhoods zoned only for single-family homes.

Take a look inside this ADU we built above a garage in South Minneapolis. See the process from design to completion and see every step along the way.

How would an ADU benefit your lifestyle?

Income generation from a long or short-term rental?

A home for aging parents?

A separate office space or studio?

Wondering what it costs to build an ADU in the Twin Cities? Check out our article How Much Does it Cost to Build an ADU?.