Accessory Dwelling Unit

Oregon Home Structure and Style Award 2019 - Winner Whole House Under 3,000 Sq. Ft.

We are proud to announce that our project The Wedge ADU was selected as the winner of the Whole House Under 3,000 Sq. Ft. category in the Oregon Home Structure and Style Awards 2019. Thank you to everyone who helped make this project happen!

Photography: Carlos Rafael Photography
General Contractor: Structure Solutions
Landscape Design: Haven Garden Design
Project Page: The Wedge ADU

Propel ADU Project featured on the Oregonian

A recent article in the Oregonian showcases one of our ADU projects as part of a discussion on the rise of ADUs across Portland. Check out the full article by following the link below:

Rentable Second Home Tops New Garage: Accessory Dwellings On The Rise, by Janet Eastman

Designed by Propel Studio Architecture, this ADU consists of a 2-bedroom apartment of around 650 sf, over a 2-car garage on the ground level, and was beautifully built by Durham Construction.

 
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Two upcoming Portland Modern Home and ADU Tours in June!

There are two upcoming Portland Home Tours during the month of June with our Wedge ADU featured.

  • 2019 Portland Modern Home Tour

The first tour is the 2019 Portland Modern Home Tour on Saturday, June 1st from 11:00 AM - 05:00 PM. There is a total of 8 homes to see on this day!! More details here:  http://www.portlandmodernhometour.com

Meet the architects, see the homes, get great ideas, GET INSPIRED!

Come meet Propel designer Nick Mira who will be on site during this time to share some project background and inspiration for this design. Use the link below to purchase a $5 discounted ticket: https://mads.ticketbud.com/portland2019?pc=PROPEL19

  • June 2019 ADU Tour

The second tour is the 6th Annual ADU Tour on Saturday, June 22nd from 11:00 AM - 04:00 PM. There is a total of 17 ADUs on this tour!!! More details here:  https://accessorydwellings.org/adu_tour/

Tickets can be purchased here: https://www.eventbrite.com/e/build-small-live-large-portlands-6th-accessory-dwelling-unit-tour-tickets-55267730269

The Wedge ADU

The Wedge ADU




Why ADUs Are A Great Benefit To Portland Neighborhoods

This article was first published in “Hey Neighbor!” the neighborhood newspaper published by NECN.

Accessory Dwelling Units, or ADUs, are secondary residences that can be built on any residential property in Portland and many of the surrounding communities. As housing costs continue to rise, many neighbors search for affordable housing for themselves or loved ones and ADUs can provide wonderful places to live while being much cheaper than buying a house in today’s market. They are also great ways to earn rental income for homeowners, potentially allowing people to stay on their property even if the neighborhood gets more expensive. In short, ADUs are great investments that help build wealth and provide much needed housing. They can be an important part of creating diverse and thriving communities.

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At Propel Studio we have been working in neighborhoods throughout Portland over the past six years to help people navigate the design, permitting and construction process for ADUs. We find ADUs to be great ways to address our housing shortage, while preserving the neighborhood character that we all enjoy.

Here are a few reasons we think ADUs are a great fit for Portland and something that everyone should consider adding to their property:

  • ADUs create opportunities to provide housing while preserving neighborhood character.

  • ADUs are sustainable, by doubling down on residential areas with existing infrastructure and services (preventing urban sprawl).

  • ADUs give homeowners an opportunity to capitalize on their current investment (their property) to build wealth, provide passive income, and help people plan for retirement.

  • ADUs allow for multi-generational living and aging-in-place

  • ADUs are a popular way to downsize while remaining in the community you’ve grown to love.

  • ADUs can be designed to be low-maintenance.

  • ADUs can be designed to be net-zero energy use - meaning your energy bills could be close to $0.

  • ADUs can be cheaper to build than buying a new house to live in.

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Most of the time ADUs are detached buildings (like a backyard cottage), but an ADU can also be created within a renovated basement, attic, or garage. Each property and family is unique, so we work with our clients to talk through all of the options available and find the best solution to their situation - based on budget, existing conditions of the property, and what their goal is for the new structure.

Like any investment, there are costs associated with these. ADUs are not cheap - we find they cost between $170,000 to $275,000 depending on the size, complexity, quality of finishes, etc. This cost is relatively similar regardless of whether you are building new or renovating an existing space. Renovating basement or garages into an ADU is not necessarily cheaper than building a new as often it is more complex to work within an existing structure. In general, new, detached, ADUs are the simplest to build but we have worked on all sorts of ADUs over the past few years.

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We are passionate about ADUs as they can be economic, social, and environmentally sustainable housing opportunities. If you have any questions or are considering building an ADU, we offer a range of free resources on our ADU page, and free consultations at our office.

To help people financially plan for building an ADU, we have developed a simplified proforma spreadsheet that estimates the project costs that need to be considered. This worksheet allows you to play around with various costs and variables and see the impact on the total project cost.

Sustainable ADU Challenge

Join us in pursuing the challenge of designing and building the most sustainable ADU in the world!

One thing that keeps us passionate about architecture and design, is that we are constantly undertaking new challenges and learning about new materials, technology and systems. We love using this knowledge to make our projects better places to live for our clients, and more sustainable for our environment.

As a firm that specializes in ADUs (accessory dwelling units) we are constantly trying to balance modest budgets with the desire to pursue innovative construction techniques and lofty sustainability goals. We try to incorporate passive strategies in all of our projects, and when the budget can afford it, we look for more active strategies, like adding geothermal heating, solar panels, heat exchangers, etc. We do what we can to lower energy costs, reduce water use, and minimize our carbon footprint.

However, we feel that we are just scratching the surface of what we can do with ADUs. We would love to find clients that are ready to challenge the status quo and set lofty sustainability goals for their projects. We are looking for clients that want to pursue Living Building challenge certification, Net Zero energy use, and Passive House certification, among others.

If you are someone looking for an ADU and would like to collaborate to create the most sustainable project possible, let us know. We are open to the challenge and currently looking for people who want to push the boundaries of sustainable ADU design.