Housable ADU Project Case Study:

Detached ADU in Palo Alto, CA

Housable ADU Project Case Study:

Detached ADU in Palo Alto, CA



Project Details
Completed Project
ADU Type:
New Construction
ADU Size:
900 sq. ft.
Project Location:
Palo Alto, CA
Project Timeline:
10 months
Project Cost:
$255,000

Goal: The property owner wanted to maintain the original Eichler design and have the new detached ADU create an interior courtyard with the primary unit.

Design Challenge: The homeowner's existing Eichler home was a stunning example of the period, but the homeowners needed more space for guests and family. The wanted to maximize the space for their ADU while increasing privacy in the rear yard, all while maintaining the traditional Eichler "bring the outside-in" concept. The homeowners ADU design concept included a complex roof line which interlocked with the existing home and a new detached ADU which created a private interior courtyard with the main home. The City of Palo Alto also required a 10% improvement over CALGreen Title 24 requirements which informed the design process as well.


Process and Solution: The Housable team worked closely with the homeowner to identify and incorporate the most important design aspects of the ADU including the overall size, configuration, and layout. The homeowner wanted ample light and decided on several floor-to-ceiling patio doors and large window that faced away from the street, a feature common in Eichler homes.

Our designers modified the homeowners concept in to meet Palo Alto's additional green energy requirements which included using recycled sheathing and specialized lighting designed to reduce the heat-island effect. The homeowner selected all the design features and finishes during construction and worked with the contractor to finalize details such as the geometric trims in the courtyard roof cover structures.

The project was finished in 10 months and cost of $255,000, including Housable's feasibility and drafting services.


Unique Project Traits:


  • A complex roof-line that was contiguous with but detached from the primary home

  • Additional green-building standards required by municipality

  • Stormwater runoff requirements required permeability assessment to ensure that no stormwater entered neighboring properties

Using this model as the starting point, this project was customized to the owner's preferences and the conditions of the property.

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