Budget Breakdown: They Built a Minimalist $437K ADU—to Live and Work Out of Themselves

The married pair behind Bay Area–based 3R Studio chose to rent out the larger front home on their property, and invest in infrastructure over aesthetics: “When we pass away, what we leave on the planet will be our footprint.”
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While 630 square feet may seem compact to some, for Mai Tran and her husband, Le Pham, the accessory dwelling unit (ADU) they designed for themselves was a palatial upgrade. In 2015, after an arduous Bay Area house hunt, Mai and Le purchased a single-family home for $695,000 in Albany, California. They moved into the 300-square-foot basement level, while renting out the rest of the house, with the intent to save up to build a tiny home in the rear yard.

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Sarah Akkoush
Dwell Contributor
Sarah is a real estate developer by day and a writer by night. She can usually be found hustling, napping, or scooting up and down the hills of San Francisco on her Vespa.


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