Case Study: Guest Suite with Covered Porch

So much space (and amenities) in 480 sqft


SQFT Studios was approached with the task to build an ADU that can serve multiple purposes. The first is long-term rental where the owners could recoup some of their cost. Second is for parents to move in when they are a bit older. Third is to add value to their property. All of this to be located in a small backyard in the location of a dilapidated garage. During the design phase, the idea of a large gable roof with a vaulted ceiling was discovered. Since the space was tight, headroom would give some much needed air space.


Architect and Owner Eli Green was able to fit the entire contents of a standard house into a footprint of 20’x24′. It includes a full kitchen (including a dishwasher), washer & dryer, fully accessible bathroom with built-in storage, a bedroom with a spacious closet, and even a storage loft (above the bedroom and bathroom). These small spaces typically lack in storage, so this loft will come in handy!

The gable roof with a vaulted ceiling gives a sense of grandeur inside and out. We utilized a large glulam beam which is featured in the space, peaking out of the drywall at the peak as well as extending outside. Hidden in the walls are large columns to support the beam. Even the foundation is enhanced to support the large load. All of this work paid off in the end by making a small space feel expansive.

Due to it’s size, we were also able to shift the ADU into the setbacks a bit. There are some minor concessions when doing this. One worth mentioning is that when you move into the setbacks, no doors or windows are allowed on the wall(s) that encroach on the setbacks. You may notice that there are no windows on the back wall (bedroom, bathroom, and storage loft). In this instance, the bedroom already had an ample sized egress window, the shower didn’t allow for much of a window, and the window over the toilet lets in plenty of natural light.


As soon as we had done our final cleaning, a renter was moving in! This is typical for our long-term rental units. It’s always great for us to see how our spaces are lived in. It is ideal for 1-2 people and has absolutely everything that one would want, including a washer & dryer. And with the storage loft yet filled, there is even room to grow!

Finally, like all of our ADUs, this unit is Earth Advantage Certified Platinum. This means it was built with sustainable practices and will operate for decades to come using minimal energy. You can sleep easy at night knowing that this structure is a healthy place to live in.