How to AIP in Your ADU

Photo: Lea Böhm/UnsplashAre you scratching your head at this tricky title? Let me translate for you! This week’s Design Blog is the first in a three-part series about how to Age in Place (AIP) in your Auxiliary Dwelling Unit (ADU). According to the Stanford University Joint Center for Housing Study the facts are this: over the next 20 years in the US a full one third of the population will be over age 65, and the number of households with residents over 80 years old is expected to double. There is no doubt that the Baby Boomer generation is remaining active longer, living longer, and aging gracefully. Yet no matter how active and healthy we may be as we age, we will still need to pay even more attention to and make adjustments to our living environment, inside the home and out in the garden.

At Seelos Design & Construction, we are thrilled to be working on an exciting project that addresses aging in place head-on. We are currently creating an ADU for a lovely Shell Beach home. The homeowners are a couple who have lived in and loved their oceanfront home for several years.  They adore their neighborhood and the view, and don’t want to move.

The challenge for the homeowners is that this is an older house and as with most homes of its age, it clearly was not designed for a couple who wants to “age in place”. The solution? We will be applying some universal design improvements to the existing home, adding some square footage to allow other family members to move in, we will do it all without sacrificing the style, comfort, or privacy that already exists. What’s interesting about this project is that the AUD (the auxiliary dwelling unit) is actually a two-story addition, rather than simply a ground floor expansion.

There are important considerations to keep in mind when building an AUD. While different municipalities will have variable regulations, an AUD is generally designed and built to be a self-contained independent living unit with kitchen and bath areas, as well as a separate entrance. In the City of Pismo Beach, where we are building this project, only one AUD per lot is allowed. In other words, the sky is not the limit! The AUD cannot be utilized as a short-term vacation rental property to non-family members, although it may be rented on a long-term lease. More often than not, the AUD is built by homeowners specifically to allow for multi-generational living.

A thoughtfully designed AUD offers so much more than simply adding on a few more bedrooms and a bathroom. An AUD can and should be a home built with privacy and safety in mind while simultaneously preserving dignity and independence. The more we can integrate the principles of universal design into remodeling projects or new construction homes, the better served all members of the family will be.

In our next post, we’ll look at the specific universal design touches we are incorporating into this Shell Beach project, so make sure to come back and visit again soon.