A Sustainability-Minded DADU with a View
Net Carbon DADU
Guided by sustainable practices in and out, this DADU is estimated to be carbon negative.
Anchored to their modest, 100-year-old Craftsman bungalow by love and nostalgia, these homeowners had no desire to move despite an obvious need for more room. With two tween children sharing a room, a home-based business occupying most of the living space, and no areas of retreat, it was time for growth and change. Declaring relocation off the table, they turned to us to help them explore creative solutions that also maintained the integrity and character of the original, Ravenna neighborhood home.
After exploring several conventional design iterations for the existing space, such as an attic renovation and addition, the homeowners decided to pursue a DADU, or a Detached Accessory Dwelling Unit. This solution allowed them to increase space without dramatically altering their century-old home, while fully embracing everything their property had to offer. (And, potentially earn renter’s income in the future, if needed.)
Sustainability was another priority for these homeowners. Sloping to the south, the rear yard not only has great views, but abundant solar access. Using passive solar design and high-functioning, low-impact materials, the DADU is estimated to be carbon negative. Every element was carefully chosen to maximize efficiency and minimize environmental impact — from the foundation, insulation, and waterproofing, to the floors, paints, and roof.
Working within a small, slanted lot, the optimal direction to build was up. The flex space on the second story of the DADU is programmed for a small kitchen and a living room, connected to the main house by a deck. The lower level is home to a guest bedroom and a full bath. Outside the bedroom via sliding glass doors is a sunken patio with a staircase leading to the main level. Keeping this area open allows all levels of the DADU to access natural light – and offers an additional patio space for entertaining guests.
One of the DADU’S most special features is the light-filled attic space, accessible through the kitchen by way of custom, folding stairs. Their heft balanced by a counterweight, a light touch allows the stairs to be easily stowed away when not in use. The meditative attic loft leads to a rooftop deck with million-dollar views of Mt. Rainer and Lake Washington.
Through great communication, creative problem-solving, and committed clients, the DADU grants further longevity to this old and beloved property while implementing numerous sustainable practices. Here’s to 100 more years of sustainable living!
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