There’s a New Prefab ADU on the Block, and Its Kitchen Is Nicer Than Most Homes
The coffee bar turns into a coat closet based on your needs.
Published Oct 10, 2022 1:43 PM
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Many pandemic-born trends were fleeting (sourdough starters, we’re looking at you), but the addition of accessory dwelling units (ADUs) is one that has proved it’s got staying power. According to a survey conducted by Dwell, 71 percent of people are interested in adding this type of bonus space to their property, be it as a rental, a gym, an office, or a guest suite. The publication responded to these findings in the most epic way: creating a prefab house of its own. In partnership with Abodu and Danish design studio Norm Architects, the Dwell House (pricing starts at $389,000) aims to give homeowners more room for, well, whatever they want. Each house is constructed off-site throughout a period of six months and then installed by crane over a two-week process.
Ahead, Dwell’s editor in chief, William Hanley, gives us the inside scoop on the chic ADU and the features that’ll leave you wanting to get in on this trend stat.
All the Right Stuff
This is not your average backyard building: The 540-square-foot, one-bedroom structure feels more like a luxury resort than a shed-turned-studio. It’s got many of the bells and whistles you’d expect to find in a regular home, like a complete set of Energy Star Bosch appliances (including an optional washer and dryer), a 12-foot-long folding glass wall that opens up to a deck, a floor-to-ceiling built-in shelving unit, and 9- to 10-foot ceilings.
Although the layout can’t be changed, that doesn’t mean you can’t make it your own. Inside, Norm Architects intentionally placed most of the utilities and storage on one side to keep the rest of the areas as open and flexible as possible. And because the exterior looks good from any angle, you have full rein to orient it however you like on your property. Hanley notes that those looking to rent out the space can turn it so that the front door faces away from the main residence. Or if privacy isn’t a concern and you want it to act like an extension of your main house, you can flip it around.
There are also several elements throughout that encourage the owner’s creative freedom. “We wanted the space to be intuitive, but also didn’t want to tell you how to use it. The details anticipate your needs, but they also hang back and let you make the space your own,” says Hanley. The planks in the bookshelf can be removed to create a media station (the wall is wired so you can easily hook up your TV). The tallest of the kitchen cabinets can function as a coat closet if needed or as a breakfast bar (there is another stealthy outlet in there for your coffee maker). As for infusing personality, you might add a surprise accent by painting the pocket doors or the cedar-clad facade.
Having a clear sight line throughout makes the home feel bigger than it really is while maintaining an indoor-outdoor connection. “It was important to us that every room have natural light and air,” Hanley says. That’s why you’ll find that all of the windows open—a perk most other ADUs don’t have.