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Backyard Cottages – A Growing Trend

Backyard Cottages – A Growing Trend

Backyard cottages continue to gain in popularity and we’ve seen many municipalities changing their ordinances to allow for these freestanding structures. Model Remodel just completed a Built Green 3 Star certified backyard cottage project in Seattle’s vibrant Ballard neighborhood.

A backyard cottage offers a variety of uses:

o Separate living unit for supplemental rental income

o Residence for an aging relative or alternative to assisted living

o Artist’s studio or other workspace

o Transitional living space for a high school senior or college student

o Guest suite for out-of-town visitors

Sheri Newbold, architect, live-work-play, a sustainable architecture and interiors firm, designed the Ballard family’s cottage re-using the home’s existing garage into an energy-efficient, 720-square foot structure.

Supporting the independent lifestyle of the homeowner’s aging parent, a variety of universal design elements were incorporated in the plans for this one-bedroom suite. The design blends contemporary styling and traditional details to complement the 1920s craftsman-style main residence at the front of the property.


o Open plans improve overall flow and enhance access

o Large windows and tall ceilings contribute to optimize daylighting

o Access at grade for easy indoor / outdoor transitions and living

o Indoor air quality from improved airflow, no VOC finishes and hard surfaces  such as concrete (vs. carpeting)

o An energy recovery ventilator (ERV) provides a controlled way of ventilating a home while minimizing energy loss.

o Built in strategic storage helps maintain organization, keeps the space feeling open and airy, and minimizes tripping hazards

o Energy efficient appliances

o Large counter space for cooking healthy meals at home

o Wider doorways to accommodate wheelchair or walker access and overall flow between spaces

o Zero clearance shower with grab bars for safety

o Cheerful colors to counter balance Seattle’s gray weather

o Durable materials, easy to maintain

Are you interested in converting a garage into livable space or adding an ADU (Accessory Dwelling Unit) to your backyard? Contact us anytime, we would be delighted to help!







Written by Model Remodel

Model Remodel is a design-build, remodeling contractor located in Seattle, WA. For over 20 years we’ve been building with purpose, craftsmanship and sustainability in mind. We are proud to continually make the list of top Seattle contractors for our beautiful interior designs and homeowner-focused remodeling process.

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