ADU :: kitchen materials

Recently I've been working on the design of an accessory dwelling unit (ADU), a small mini house next to the main house that are sometimes referred to as "granny flats" or "mother in law units". Adding ADU's to properties has been a hot trend in Portland over the last few years, since our density is skyrocketing and the City is waiving certain intake fees as an incentive to build more. This ADU, like many, will likely be rented through Airbnb when not hosting family and friends.

Last week we dove into designing the kitchen. This ADU is two levels, with the main living room and kitchen on the upper level. Each level is approximately 400 sq ft, since ADU's can be no larger than 800 sq ft total. This leaves a tight space to configure into the main common area and requires efficient use of space. Instead of a dining room table, the island multitasks as both prep and eating counter. Clever use of storage space and hardware is integral in making this room successful and integrating all of this into a stylish wall of seamless casework is key. I've been geeking out on all things kitchen design lately in preparation for this project. Although the primary concern is an efficient layout, the material selection holds equal importance. Utilizing good quality materials that age well, are a joy to live with and embody the client's style are the mission at hand. This ADU is located on an urban site with a fairly steep slope, which allows for ample sunlight and fantastic views. The client's main directives for the space were "light" & "warmth".  Vaulted ceilings, 8 foot tall French balcony doors and an open staircase kept the ADU spacious and bright. Pragmatically the home is warmed with radiant concrete floors, but also by the addition of wood walls and casework. Here are a couple of examples of kitchens that blend light cabinets with wood components in spaces with some great height.


Although these kitchens are beautiful, for me they lack a bit of whimsy. In my opinion, a space with it's own quirky character and playfulness add soul to a home. The kitchen is a perfect place to have fun, especially when it's open to every other space, as in this project. I realize one person's whimsy is another person's nightmare, so it's all subjective. Maybe it's a pop of color on the walls, the cabinets or the appliances, a textured wall of tiles or the window in an unexpected location - whatever makes it unique to you. It's still unclear what the rogue element will be for this ADU project, but these are some examples I've been delighted to find.