Build Small, Live Large: Portland’s Accessory Dwelling Unit Tour

Hey y’all, I got a call from my business colleague, Kaira West, and she said “I’m doing the accessory dwelling unit tour on Saturday, and I’m hoping you can come.” So I piled Jack and Ellie in the Honda, and away we went. We were able to tour so many units that I have the pleasure of creating two posts in this series! Enjoy!


An Accessory Dwelling Unit, a.k.a. ADU, is a separate living space on your own property. Your ADU could be next to your home, under your home, on top of your home, or even in the garage. It has its own power supply and utilities, and its’ uses could be as an income stream (rent, Airbnb, etc) or simply for your own personal use (an extra living space, man cave, or guest quarters).

The first ADU on the tour was detached, in the backyard. I loved the high ceilings, the loft bedroom, and the blue with white trim exterior was absolutely adorable.



Kaira and I decided the second ADU was one of the best. We both loved the intimate cabin feel with rustic wood, and the alleyway entrance behind the original home. As the daughter of a seamstress, I know my mother would be absolutely delighted to use a sewing machine as her sink, as the owner Carissa did with the bathroom. We had a chance to talk with Carissa afterwards, and she said her favorite part about being the owner of an ADU was the multiple uses: Airbnb, friends and family, or a tenant.

This built in bench adds storage space as well as provides seating for guest. Great idea!
The reclaimed wood headboard is gorgeous!


I love the creativity in this home 🙂
The full-sized farm sink is a nice touch for this compact kitchen.

The third ADU surprised us with two bedrooms upstairs, and a very spacious feeling on the main level. Kaira and I both fell in love with the barn door closet doors, and the charming fire pit area. This ADU also housed the tiniest clawfoot tub I have ever seen.

Barn doors are a great space saver!
Fun and festive! Great place to spend the day!
Love the pink!

The 4th ADU was an added space over the garage, and was actually my favorite. The clean lines of white cabinets accented by the beautiful wood vaulted ceilings and trim reminded me of Austria. I was immediately brought back to the mountain chalets I visited, while doing my exchange year abroad in college. After visiting this ADU, I was filled with the longing to return to Austria in the winter to ski the slopes with my host brother Michael, and drink Jägertea in the little mountain Hütte.

Vaulted ceilings with skylights will make any room feel large!
Beautiful, clean wood. Really LOVE!

The fifth ADU was the tiniest, coming in at 250 ft.². The best features about this tiny home were the built-in couch, and the horizontally facing queen size Murphy bed.

Added storage under the built-in couch. Couldn’t we all use extra storage?
A Murphy bed is perfect for a muti-functional space.

The sixth ADU was an attached the bump out, at 500 ft.². It had delightful art on the covered front porch, and the most fancy rustic medicine cabinet door I have ever seen.

Beautiful art piece really welcomes you to the Pacific Northwest.

I’ll be posting the second story in this series soon! Remember to sign up at the link below, to have new posts sent directly to your inbox. Cheers!  



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