Richmond Times-Dispatch Weekend
Living Comfortably in a Backyard Granny Flat
Taking on a new home, even a smaller, low-maintenance one, is too daunting for many seniors.
In the pandemic, many retirees want to be closer to family than their contemporaries in a senior community. An increasingly popular option is an “accessory dwelling unit” or ADU on the property of an adult child or relative.
“An ADU is a second dwelling unit on the same property as the main house and owned by the same property owner,” explains Lenahen, president of Aurora Builders, Ponte Vedra Beach, Fl.
There’s no precise definition of the size of an ADU, Lenahen explains, provided it fits “within the front, side and rear building setback lines of the parcel, and it does not violate the percent of lot coverage for a property in that jurisdiction.”
For most single adults, a “well built 350 square foot home essentially feels like a single bedroom apartment, and I would argue that it is a suitable accommodation for the majority of personality types,” says Zack Griffin, vice president, Tiny Home Industry Association.
Familiarize yourself with how a small space really feels, by renting a similar size home suggests Kyle Hikalea of Wolf Industries, a manufacturer of prefab ADUs, who adds he likes customers to at least tour homes in their factory. And, Hikalea outlines certain features that enhance small home living:
Full-size bathroom and galley kitchen
Avoid compact appliances that don’t allow you to store enough groceries in the fridge or prepare meals. And, after a lifetime showering in a standard size shower, you don’t want a cramped space.
Comfortable sleeping space
Even small square footage spaces can be designed for a queen bed. Some ADUs might have a sleeping loft, but climbing in an out of bed is difficult.
An outdoor space to live in
Decks, covered porches, anything that offers access to fresh air provides a non-confined atmosphere.