Exterior Adu Design Photos and Ideas

A family chose MyCabin to construct prefab structures in their home country of Latvia. The prefab structures have space for work, sleep, and relaxation.
The accessory dwelling unit behind the home of Sonja Batalden in Saint Paul, Minnesota, has cheery yellow siding that the entrance appears to carve into. “If the yellow of the siding is the wrapper on the candy, this is kind of like the gooey middle,” architect Christopher Strom says about the thermally modified ash lining the entry.
Extra-wide concrete pillars help to support the studio at its core.
One of the first Dwell Houses, built by Abodu, was installed at Leslie Scharf’s vineyard home in Healdsburg, California. Norm Architects led the design of the 540-square-foot prefab, which is wrapped in Real Cedar siding.
The overall home is constructed with larch timber, a British wood, and features a central ridge beam that gives it a butterfly-shaped roof. Shou sugi ban was done on the wood to give it a charred finish.
“The cabin offers a lot to the site,” says architect Cristian Stefanescu. “It frames the area towards the street and gives it a presence that melts into the context. It doesn’t shout or scream. There is a quietness about it which is something the clients appreciate.” <span style="font-family: Theinhardt, -apple-system, BlinkMacSystemFont, &quot;Segoe UI&quot;, Roboto, Oxygen-Sans, Ubuntu, Cantarell, &quot;Helvetica Neue&quot;, sans-serif;">The use of the stone as a foundation allowed the budget to be reduced as it minimized the amount of work and materials.</span>
“Our design fee was very, very little,” says architect Cristian Stefanescu. “That was part of the arrangement. It’s also why we tried to design something very simple—there was less demand to spend time detailing complex intersections.”
A Seattle couple built their own backyard house with a city-sponsored design—and then rented out their old home on the property to friends.
Adi and Chris chose an L-shaped, pre-permitted plan by Cast Architecture with extensive glass, and resisted two-story options to fit in better with their neighborhood.
Greenway Studio designed this home addition In Victoria, British Columbia, to blend in with an existing natural rock formation.
The suburban backyard garage in Hertfordshire, England, that architect Olli Andrew of Hyper converted into a work studio is wrapped in charred larch wood pieces that give the impression of scales and foster biodiversity, providing a place for insects to nestle.
The Perch at sunset.
The steel structure is suspended two feet above the roof of the existing bungalow, supported by four steel columns, one of which screens utility lines running from the Perch to the house below.
Joanna and Steve Vernetti have lived in their 1917 bungalow in Hancock Park for over 20 years. As their family increased in size, they needed more space—so they initially thought about adding another floor. After California passed the regulation in 2020, they called up their good friend (and former neighbor) David Thompson. <span style="font-family: Theinhardt, -apple-system, BlinkMacSystemFont, &quot;Segoe UI&quot;, Roboto, Oxygen-Sans, Ubuntu, Cantarell, &quot;Helvetica Neue&quot;, sans-serif;">Thompson, a founding principal of Assembledge+, had recently participated in a Los Angeles Magazine project to imagine solutions for those who lack housing in the city. Their notion was for public agencies to subsidize building ADUs in backyards along alleyways, dovetailing with existing alley revitalization initiatives</span><span style="font-family: Theinhardt, -apple-system, BlinkMacSystemFont, &quot;Segoe UI&quot;, Roboto, Oxygen-Sans, Ubuntu, Cantarell, &quot;Helvetica Neue&quot;, sans-serif;">.</span>
Best Practice added a new roof but kept the existing siding. A fresh coat of paint helps the casita pop, and a new window opening next to the entrance frames a new kitchenette inside.
The garden-level living area of the ADU faces perpendicular to the existing house, offering a measure of privacy to the detached building.
The west-facing facade of the detached garage and ADU. This structure anchors the east side of the property and creates a courtyard between itself and the main house.
The bright orange tone of the front door matches the color of the accent wall in the living room, connecting the exterior and the interior of the ADU.
Recurring diagonal motifs in the shared spaces, such as the semi-open entryway—formerly the garage—are intended to create overlapping zones on the lot, the architect says.
DJ Adam Cooper, educator Brianna Swan, and their dog, Chu Chu, live in the 900-square-foot, two-bedroom, two-bathroom apartment on the ground level of a renovated back house in L.A.’s El Sereno neighborhood.
Conveniently located in their backyard, the office allows the couple to run their practice while staying close to their kids.
Texas couple Brittany and Nick Hunt, partners in life and at Hunt Architecture, created an office on the grounds of their Austin home that allows them to run their practice while staying close to their kids.
Architectural designer Ben Warwas converted a compact, two-car garage behind a 1,440-square-foot front house into a 400-square-foot accessory dwelling unit in Los Angeles.
“The parapet makes the building look quite a bit bigger than it is and it creates an idea of mystery – or discovery” says Ben.
Staircases surround the house, which is accessed from both the north and south facades.
Wedged with precision between the existing garage and pool, the narrow new structure is only 13 feet wide.
The “maintenance-optional” Shou Sugi Ban siding is something the homeowners can enjoy from both the ADU and the main house. “The burnt wood exteriors face our house as we look out at the ADU, and we love seeing how the light reflects on it throughout the day,” they say.