The Art, Science,
& Spirit of Creating
a Home.


ADU+YOU is a hands-on, multi-session course carefully designed to help you understand why building an ADU may be a smart decision. You can have one sooner than you might think. 

Every ADU has its own story about why someone dreamed, decided, solved the money puzzle, then built. If you know what is most important before you commit to build, you save money, headaches, and, best of all, time. This course is for practical people like you who are wondering, thinking, or planning for their future, that of family and friends, and who care about their community.

The Money Puzzle

A critical big piece of the puzzle that most successful ADU builders face is “the money question.” There is no magic formula because there are many different options - some you might know about, others you may soon discover. Most often, several sources of money are combined to complete construction. Fear about money stops many people from even thinking about how an ADU might change their lives, help family, and provide income. It is a puzzle but if you are clear at the beginning about why you want to do an ADU, the puzzle gets easier to solve. 

What to expect

Together with a cohort of 8-10 other individuals or couples, we’ll work through a series of exercises, reflections, and conversations to solidify your intentions and empower you to move forward. In our experience, investing time and energy to establish goals and intentions early in the process saves time and money in the long-run. 

We will have guest experts ready to address your questions. They include owners, builders, bankers, and architects. 

You will have homework. This isn’t busy work. It’s work that you, your designer, or builder will have to do before or during building. If you do it now, in advance, you save money and time later; you may also be ready to build sooner.  

When will we meet?

We will set sessions based on the schedules of participants (so bring your calendar to the first session). We want to make the times work for everyone, so don’t let a scheduling conflict get in your way.

We will meet weekday evenings from about 6:30 p.m. to 8:45 p.m. eight times over a three-month period at a convenient location in northeast Portland. We also plan at least one weekend day visiting ADUs and meeting with their owner/builders. 

My first thought in regard to an ADU was that ‘it’s not for me.’ But it was. There was a month when I had some things happen that got me thinking differently about the future and finances. Building something with my son was a way to transfer my small amount of wealth into my son’s property and I could move into it when I was ready. I began to re-imagine what life will be like as I move into the wisdom years.
My brother was tired of investing in stock of big corporations. He wanted to do something more with his money. We split the ADU costs, now he has an investment, some income. We both won.
Sarah built one for her 82-year old dad; Jen and Sam built a small cottage behind their house for her parents, Arnold and Margie, so they could be close to the grandkids; Mary built one that she moved into and now rents out her larger house in the front to a small family for regular income.
There’s a lot of mystery about how to get your own small house. For starters, the city calls them ‘ADUs.’ That’s short for Accessory Dwelling Unit in the building code.