Though you may know it better by another name—the granny flat, laneway house, in-law unit, or sidekick unit—the compact and practical accessory dwelling unit can provide homeowners with extra space for kids home from college or parents aging in place, additional income as a rental, or a simple guesthouse. As cities ease building restrictions to boost housing options, the ADU is seeing a huge uptick in popularity.

Here Are 16 of the Best ADUs in Los Angeles
Here Are 16 of the Best ADUs in Los Angeles
Let these bite-sized home offices, in-law flats, rental units, and other backyard houses give you a few big ideas for your own space.
By Daisy Zuckerman - a month ago
A 200-Square-Foot ADU Packs a Playful Punch With Murals and Curved Motifs
Designer Ash Dipert reimagines a trio of mismatched outbuildings behind his family’s Craftsman home as a backyard suite filled with custom details for small-space living.
In Melbourne, an Unremarkable Worker’s Cottage Hides a Heavenly Backyard Home
Foomann Architects places a surprisingly spacious and airy two-level residence at the rear of a narrow suburban lot.
This Azure ADU Is an L.A. Teen’s Home (Slightly) Away From Home
This Azure ADU Is an L.A. Teen’s Home (Slightly) Away From Home
Assembledge+ expands a century-old Hancock Park house with a backyard living space for the homeowners’ eldest son.
Budget Breakdown: A DIY Designer Builds a Tiny Guesthouse for $109K
Kelli Hix creates a charming ADU off the back of her historic bungalow in Nashville, Tennessee.
A Toronto Alley Is Reanimated With An Apartment and Studio Pop-up
The Burley Friedman Laneway House by LGA Architectural Partners follows a growing trend to bring life back to alleyways throughout the city.
Budget Breakdown: An Architect Overhauls His Garage Into a Finely Tuned ADU for $75K
Valery Augustin rolls up his sleeves and converts his two-car structure into a long-term rental in Los Angeles.
A Modest ADU in Michigan Prioritizes Energy Efficiency and Affordability
The 730-square-foot residence by T+E+A+M is one of the first accessory dwelling units to be built in Ann Arbor under the city’s recently updated zoning regulations.
A Color-Blocked ADU in Los Angeles Takes a Cue From Talking Heads
The 750-square-foot home, aptly named Stop Making Sense, recalls the chunky proportions of David Byrne’s iconic gray suit.
A Two-Unit ADU in Los Angeles Offers Inspired Spaces for Creative Tenants
Architect Max Kuo transforms a back house and garage into a white-gabled duplex for a diverse mix of residents.
A Blue ADU With Cloud-Like Doors Represents the Los Angeles Sky
A Blue ADU With Cloud-Like Doors Represents the Los Angeles Sky
Architectural designer Ben Warwas converts a dilapidated two-car garage in Los Angeles into a whimsical backyard dwelling.
A Los Angeles Screenwriter’s Enchanting Backyard Gets a WFH Studio to Match
With an arch motif, cozy interiors, and parapets resembling perfectly coiffed egg whites, the ADU by designer Ben Warwas and architect Chris Skeens turns an Echo Park garden into...
A Creative Couple’s Backyard ADU Makes Room for a Gallery and Art Studio
Cleverly repurposing an existing garage, this flexible space in Santa Monica, California, allows the pair to work, recharge, and host family and friends.
13 ADU Floor Plans That Make the Most of the Backyard
These compact layouts create ideal guesthouses, tiny offices, art studios, and more.
Budget Breakdown: An Architect Couple Find Work/Life Balance With a Backyard Office Built for $144K
The founders of Austin-based Hunt Architecture create an elegant workspace and guest room without breaking the bank.
This New Company Wants to Help Homeowners Turn Their Unused Spaces Into Rentable ADUs
The Los Angeles–based design-build company, Homestead, converts underutilized garages or backyard sheds into ADUs that can be rented out or lived in.
A Charred Cedar Barn Replaces a Tumbledown Garage in Connecticut
Architect Aya Maceda designs a finely tuned space for a New England family to shelter cars, storage, and overnight guests.
Los Angeles Fast-Tracks New ADUs by Offering Homeowners Pre-Approved Plans
Teaming up with emerging firms, the city’s Standard Plan Program makes it easier and more affordable than ever to build a backyard dwelling.
A Svelte ADU Gives a Los Angeles Bungalow Room to Breathe
The backyard dwelling by OKB Architecture packs a large program into a narrow lot, allowing a family to spread outward from their two-bedroom home.
A Bright Red ADU Anchors a Lot on L.A.’s Westside
With a clever arrangement comprising a cottage and a primary residence, local design firm ORA gives a family outdoor access at every turn.
This ADU in Texas Looks Like a Miniature Midcentury
The glass-and-limestone structure by Matt Garcia Design evokes the heyday of modernism, and provides an elegant stay for an Austin musician’s visiting friends.
A Portland Designer Revamps Her Backyard With a Peaceful ADU and a Tiny Tree House
See how architectural designer Grey Shaeffer of Willa Work transformed the space with two dreamy retreats.
A Seattle Musician Improvises During the Pandemic by Building Out His Own Backyard Cottage
Starting with a design from prefab builder NODE, musician Michael Lerner relies on YouTube tutorials and perseverance to complete a DADU.
Everything You Need to Know About Building an ADU in Portland, Oregon
Accessory dwelling units help the city meet its density goals and extend housing options—but only after striking a short-term/long-term balance.
Salvaged Wood From a Neglected Shed Shines Again in This Los Angeles ADU
A couple enlist woodworking experts to turn the run-down shack in their backyard into a gleaming guesthouse.
With Three Good Reasons and $400K, an L.A. Couple Build the ADU of Their Dreams
In housing-strapped Los Angeles, a designer couple take on their own backyard build—and create a new rental in the process.
A Streamlined ADU in Texas Pays Homage to Midcentury Architecture
M Gooden Design creates a striking guesthouse next to a historic 20th-century home in Denton.
This Foldable, $23K Tiny Cabin Pops Up in Less Than Three Hours
A unique hinge system allows the Brette Haus to unfold into an instant shelter, home office, or event space.
A Designer’s $210K Prefab ADU Captures the Allure of California Living
Oni Lazarus of AO Studio commissions Cover to add a svelte prefab rental unit to the backyard of her Los Angeles home.
These $6.6K Prefab Office Pods Can Pop Up in Less Than a Day
My Room in the Garden is a modular work-from-home solution that’s affordable and stylish.