Housable ADU Project Case Study:

Garage Conversion in Oakland, CA

Housable ADU Project Case Study:

Garage Conversion in Oakland, CA



Project Scope


Project Details
Completed Project
ADU Type:
Garage Conversion
ADU Size:
357 sq. ft., studio, 1 bath
Project Location:
Oakland, CA
Project Timeline:
14 months
Project Cost:
$89,000

Goal: The property owner wanted to convert the existing garage into an ADU while maintaining the cathedral ceilings.

Design Challenge: The existing structure needed a seismic retrofit as well as significant remodeling. The property was also located on a steep hillside and the existing retaining walls could not be moved.


Process and Solution: The homeowner wanted to remodel their existing 18X20’ detached garage into a comfortable ADU for guests. Although the structure including foundation were in good shape, they needed to retrofitting. The homeowners wanted to keep the cathedral ceilings which brought a sense of spaciousness to the small studio space. In order to increase the efficiency of the unit, the rafters were doubled to increase the amount of ceiling insulation while maintaining the lofted ceiling.

The steep hillside was already retained by heavy walls that could not be moved. The existing retaining wall was incorporated into the design to create a unique interior shelf inside the ADU. The final 357 square foot studio ADU included an open-plan sleeping area, a living area, a bar-dining space, a full kitchen, and a single bathroom with a shower.

This project was completed in 14 months with a cost of $89,000, including Housable's feasibility and drafting services.


Unique Project Traits:


  • This property was located in a hillside zone and had existing retaining walls that were incorporated into the design

  • Doubled rafters allowed for added insulation while maintaining the cathedral ceiling

  • Skylights provided additional light increasing the airy feel of the ADU

Project Layout:

See an early ADU Design for the project below. Customers may provide mark ups to request changes and confirm information about their project throughout the process.

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