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Dennis and Doug’s Income Property
Dennis and Doug are brothers who bought two income properties right next to each other. The buildings they bought are a few blocks from UC Berkeley and just up the street from the famous Gourmet Ghetto - Berkeley's restaurant district and the home of Chez Pannisse. Both properties have ground ...
Read More
/ Uncategorized
A New Custom Home: The Goal “A Home to Grow Old In”
Amy and Tom owned a 743 square foot two bedroom one bath home that was built in 1943.  That's tiny and it just doesn't work for all the goals the owners have. And their goals were clear. When asked what they want they said they want a home for "Growing ...
Read More
/ Uncategorized
Oakland Welcomes New Avenue with a Gentrification Tag
Aargh... Well, it looks like lifting a home, restoring it, making it safer with a seismic retrofit and adding an affordable accessory dwelling in the lower floor, remediating lead and asbestos isn't always appreciated. It wasn't always this nice... Sign up to see more example budgets, example floor plans, ...
Read More
/ Uncategorized
What is a Vacation Home
Mountains, beaches or the country, if you're building a home to getaway to any of these places then we have experience with just that. We have remodeled and build small beach cottages.  We have created entire Wyoming compounds with a home, barn, and office that can fit 15 people. Many ...
Read More
/ Uncategorized
Fireplace - Craftsman Tile
Restoration & Remodel of a Historic Home in Alameda
Nick, Laine and their twin boys had outgrown their condo in San Francisco and need space and a lawn to play. They bought a 4,800 square foot 3 bedroom, 4 bathroom, 110 year old home that is 110 years old. The home needed extensive work as it had been decades since ...
Read More
/ Custom Home, Link, Remodel
We standardize and automate the process so your remodel, addition or custom home experience will be amazing
Designing and building an addition, remodel or custom home is a complicated process that involves one to two years of planning and then 45+ people to do the actual construction. At New Avenue our qualified and proven local professionals can design and build your project.  We supplement the talented pros ...
Read More
What does it cost to design and build a remodel, addition, or custom home?
Many people interested in designing and building a custom project start with the question: "How much will it cost to build?" When people hear the answer, their next question is, "Why? I thought it would be less expensive." Then come the following thoughts: 1. "My friend told me that projects can be ...
Read More
Additions, Remodels and Custom Homes – The 5 Phases of The Design Process
Best Practices in architecture and construction manage a project under five phases that we will review here.  All projects, whether a $5,000 bathroom remodel or a $5 billion dollar stadium have these five phases. The phases are defined as: Phase 1 - Program Development: Defining what your goals are, what ...
Read More
/ Process, Process, Uncategorized
The Right Way to Start a Project: How New Avenue seamlessly brings together owners and architects to start a remodel, addition or new home
At New Avenue, we make it as easy as possible to start your project right. We have found that just one meeting in your home with an architect is the perfect way to begin.  Architects see things in minutes that many of us will never see!  Design talent, matched with countless ...
Read More
Trust us! Seriously. Use These 3 Essential & Free Tools Every Addition, Remodel or Custom Home Needs: A Design Agreement, Construction Agreement and Budget
If you are planning an addition, remodel, or custom home then save this message.  Seriously. Save it and use these three documents. This is the most important article we can share with you. Communication is always stressful and challenging.  Every remodel or new construction project has questions that need to be ...
Read More
9 Construction Communication Gaps – How to Talk to a Contractor
Construction lingo can lead to confusion before your job even begins. This often creates cost overruns and frustration. This article tells you what to look for in a construction bid so you can avoid surprises. Anywhere you see something you don't understand you should expect to be surprised by a ...
Read More
How Long To Build a Custom Home or Remodel a Home
We reviewed all of our completed projects and found the following timeframe for construction:
  • The maximum construction time was 13 months
  • The fastest build was four months (this was during the 2010 recession and everyone was ready to work at a moment's notice) 
  • The average time to build a project is ...
    Read More
18 Common Budget Busting Construction “Change Orders” That Occur During Additions, Remodels and New Construction
The New Avenue online project management system reviews hundreds of projects at any given time.  We track all of the change orders submitted by contractors in these projects. This post highlights the 18 most common change orders.  These are changes that may be called "surprises" on your project and often times they ...
Read More
/ Costs, Process, Uncategorized
Speed, Quality or Money: Be Wary of Fast Growing Websites That Are Overrun by Shady Contractors
NBC just investigated a contractor matching service and found that 60% of the contractors providing bids are unlicensed. Many ripped off clients by running away with the deposit money or not completing the work.  At New Avenue we are not surprised. We built a project management system the eliminates the risk ...
Read More
/ Process, Uncategorized
Top 3 Challenges in Remodeling or Building New: Knowledge, People and Clarity
There are three key problems facing every owner who is remodeling an old home or building a new one: Knowledge, People, and Clarity. It is really time consuming to navigate all three challenges.  New Avenue has a unique way to automatically solve all three problems so you can have a delightful ...
Read More
/ Costs, Process
Cost of a two story office, bathroom, mudroom addition
This story addition with an office, master bath, laundry and storage/mudroom.  This is about 300 square feet and it is costing just under $200,000. Mudroom Bathroom Addition - Full Budget This ground floor will be an office: The second floor will be a utility, mud, bathroom and storage. Sign up ...
Read More
/ Uncategorized
5 things you might find in a new $1,000,000 home
We recently bid a 3,000 square foot custom home in the heart of Silicon Valley.  I grew up in a 1910 Sears Catalog home that would sell for $180,000 today.  $1,000,000 is an insane amount of money. Except it's quite common today. At $333 per square foot I have to ...
Read More
Cost of a custom home in Silicon Valley
We recently completed a bid for a 2,886 square foot custom home in Los Altos, CA.  This is the heart of Silicon Valley. This is a just under $1,000,000 for just under 3,000 square feet.  That budget does not include the architecture, engineering and permitting which can be another $250,000 ...
Read More
3 Easy Steps to Get A Construction Estimate or A Fixed Price Construction Bid
If you are an owner or architect you can get a contractor bid in three easy steps. Keep in mind, a good bid for a remodel or new build can easily take 30-40 hours of work - so while it's easy for you to ask for one, you are asking for ...
Read More
/ Platform, Process, Uncategorized
Cost of a remodel and restoration of a 100+ year old historic home in The San Francisco Bay Area
This article is part of a series of posts on real project costs.  New Avenue is the leading national design/build network.  Our architect and contractor partners use our online platform to provided their bids and process their invoices.  As such we get a unique collection of project costs.  We share ...
Read More
Should I create an addition, backyard cottage, or remodel?
New Avenue starts every project with our 30 questions. You can skim these questions and answer a few of them in five minutes or you can spend an hour.  We recommend you spend about 15 minutes. These questions are based on thousands of past client meetings. We also collect feedback ...
Read More
Cost of a basement foundation with egress window
An architect in our network is considering adding a 400 square foot basement below a new 400 square foot addition. It's odd that basements are such a rare thing around here.  Basements are standard for the rest of the country. To excavate a 20'x20' space, it will cost $25,000.  This ...
Read More
Cost to build a large custom home (5,000 square foot 5 bed six bath)
This article is part of a series of posts on real project costs.  New Avenue is the leading national design/build system.  Homeowners and contractors enter bids  in our system and send and receive payments for completed work.  Any changes are submitted by the contractor and approved by the owner before ...
Read More
Architects and Contractors… Who’s the Project Manager?
At New Avenue we are often asked what we charge for the Project Manager. The short answer, is our network of proven architects and contractors manage the design and construction so well that a project manager would be a waste of time and money. Architects manage the design and permitting ...
Read More
How to pay your architect or contractor without the usual risk or headaches
At New Avenue we try to make it as risk free and as easy as possible to pay for architecture and construction services.  We provide bid management, invoicing and payment service to owners for free.  You can hire a New Avenue architect or contractor, or you can hire your own ...
Read More
How to Work With New Avenue
You can hire us for as much or as little as you'd like.  We start with a $250 flat fee for a Design Session with an architect in your home. They will:
  1. Review your Goals and Ideas questionnaire before they meet with you. Then they'll discuss it with you
  2. ...
    Read More
How to start a new architecture or construction project
At New Avenue we have three simple steps to start every project: 1 - Get started online for free: There is a Goals & Ideas questionnaire that is as much for you to define your goals as it is for our architect to start preparing for a meeting with you ...
Read More
Who owns architecture plans? You paid for the service, not the plan
If you are a typical owner, you expect to "own" your plans after you hire an architect and pay them to create a design for you.  That is not exactly how it works because any set of plans has tricky liability and copyright issues. We will explain these issues and ...
Read More
/ platform, Process, Process
Why you need insurance when remodeling or building a new home
Insurance is a good thing when remodeling or building. At New Avenue we require that you have homeowners insurance for your current improvements on your property.  Improvements are basically your home and anything else built on your property.  A typical homeowners policy covers these buildings.  Our lawyers tell us of scenarios ...
Read More
How to Finance: Remodels, Fixer Uppers, and Accessory Dwellings
We interviewed  Kris Floyd of Pinnacle Capital to try to get to the bottom of the timeline for financing a home improvement project, addition, remodel or accessory dwelling. Kris explained that when done right, the renovation loan process will take 30 days and there are five steps in this process:
/ Great Products, Uncategorized
We standardize and automate the process so your remodel, addition or custom home experience will be amazing
Designing and building an addition, remodel or custom home is a complicated process that involves one to two years of planning and then 45+ people to do the actual construction. At New Avenue our qualified and proven local professionals can design and build your project.  We supplement the talented pros ...
Read More
What does it cost to design and build a remodel, addition, or custom home?
Many people interested in designing and building a custom project start with the question: "How much will it cost to build?" When people hear the answer, their next question is, "Why? I thought it would be less expensive." Then come the following thoughts: 1. "My friend told me that projects can be ...
Read More
Should I create an addition, backyard cottage, or remodel?
New Avenue starts every project with our 30 questions. You can skim these questions and answer a few of them in five minutes or you can spend an hour.  We recommend you spend about 15 minutes. These questions are based on thousands of past client meetings. We also collect feedback ...
Read More
Cost of an Addition in South San Francisco That Includes an Accessory Dwelling
We recently completed a 2 bedroom, one bath, kitchen and living room in 537 square foot addition.  This is for a 1,572 square foot home in South San Francisco.  Affectionately called "Grandma's House", this accessory dwelling is for the mother of the owners. Below you can see the floor plans, site ...
Read More
Cost of Adding a Master Bedroom Suite and Accessory Dwelling
Below we have the full cost of an addition that is 536 square feet. This addition is an accessory dwelling or mother in law unit in Daly City, CA. The home is a single family ranch home and this is a single story addition too. You can review the full ...
Read More
Client Quotes and Referrals
We've been fortunate to receive a lot of nice feedback from the clients, architects and contractors that we work with.   We typically share this list when a potential client asks for a reference in order to verify a construction budget, construction schedule, building permit process or costs. Thanks for the ...
Read More
Additions, Remodels, and Custom Homes – Phase I
This is a guest post by David Locicero, a Partner Architect in the New Avenue Design/Build Network. David has successfully uses the New Avenue platform to design, permit and build projects around the San Francisco Bay Area.  To read more about the platform click here: New Avenue There are five ...
Read More
San Rafael Remodel: Transforming a Home for Raising a Family in Marin
Brooke and Rob are two young professionals working in San Francisco who bought a three bedroom, two and a half bath home in San Rafael. The home is 1,675 square feet and was used as a duplex when they bought it. Brooke and Rob had a baby on the way ...
Read More
/ Addition, Costs, Remodel, Uncategorized
Cost of a family room, master bed and master bath addition in a Northern California bungalow
This is part of a series of posts on real project costs.  New Avenue is the leading national design/build network.  Our architect and contractor partners use our online platform to provided their bids and process their invoices.  As such we get a unique collection of project costs.  We share these ...
Read More
/ Addition, Costs, Uncategorized
$21,400 Cost of Architect for an 800 square foot addition in Fremont
The following budget shows the cost of a custom architect and all of the services he has to provide to design and permit an 800 square foot, two story remodel and addition in Fremont, CA.   This addition will include an accessory dwelling which is a full apartment with a kitchen ...
Read More
/ Accessory Dwelling, Addition, Costs
San Mateo, CA, Guest House Planning and Building Permits – Accessory Structure vs. Accessory Dwelling
San Mateo turns out to be a tricky city to build an accessory dwelling but quite typical for permitting the most common types of projects: additions, remodels, or accessory structures. Accessory Dwellings are a very specific type of new home.  The "dwelling" word is a huge trigger for additional permitting requirements ...
Read More
/ Accessory Dwelling, Addition
Planning and Building Permit Costs for a 686 Square Foot Master suite and Family Room Addition in San Mateo, CA
At New Avenue we have paid over 30 different types of permits to get residential projects approved.  These are "normal" projects too such as additions, remodels, restorations, accessory dwellings accessory structures and custom homes. One of the architects who is a partner at New Avenue's recently completed in depth research, ...
Read More
/ Addition, Costs
The backyard accessory dwelling
Cost of a one room office, guest house, laundry room (that is an absolute work horse of a building!)
Travis and Kelly approached New Avenue to discuss adding a multipurpose casita/office/guest room/laundry room in the backyard of their Oakland, CA home. We created a 250 square foot casita that is an absolute workhorse.  Any given day this casita serves three or more purposes: Pet-sitters, house-sitters, house guests, laundry, office, and ...
Read More
/ Addition, Costs
Permit Rules for a Master Bedroom, Master Bath Remodel and Guest House Addition in San Mateo, CA
Permits are always complicated in San Mateo, CA.  A large remodel that is approximately halfway through counstruction as of October 2016 started with permit research in 2014.
  • Design Proposal Accepted: 8/2014
  • Building Permits Approved: 3/2016
  • Construction Started: 3/2016 (18 months of design and permitting)
  • Expected Completion: 1/2017 (9 months ...
    Read More
/ Addition, Remodel
Planning and Building Permits Required For a Kitchen Remodel, Master Bath and Bedroom Addition in San Rafael, CA
At New Avenue we have paid over 30 different types of permits to get residential projects approved. We recently completed a conversion of a nearly 100 year old duplex back to it's original single family home while also adding a two story addition for a master suite, master bath and nursery ...
Read More
/ Addition, Permits, Remodel
Passive House Concept
The Passive House Institute (Passivhaus Institut) is a distinctly German independent research institute that focuses on the development of the Passive House concept.  This concept is the only internationally recognized, performance based standard in the construction industry.  The Passive House Institute performs research into new building materials, products, and performs ...
Read More
Dennis and Doug’s Income Property
Dennis and Doug are brothers who bought two income properties right next to each other. The buildings they bought are a few blocks from UC Berkeley and just up the street from the famous Gourmet Ghetto - Berkeley's restaurant district and the home of Chez Pannisse. Both properties have ground ...
Read More
/ Uncategorized
A New Custom Home: The Goal “A Home to Grow Old In”
Amy and Tom owned a 743 square foot two bedroom one bath home that was built in 1943.  That's tiny and it just doesn't work for all the goals the owners have. And their goals were clear. When asked what they want they said they want a home for "Growing ...
Read More
/ Uncategorized
Oakland Welcomes New Avenue with a Gentrification Tag
Aargh... Well, it looks like lifting a home, restoring it, making it safer with a seismic retrofit and adding an affordable accessory dwelling in the lower floor, remediating lead and asbestos isn't always appreciated. It wasn't always this nice... Sign up to see more example budgets, example floor plans, ...
Read More
/ Uncategorized
What is a Vacation Home
Mountains, beaches or the country, if you're building a home to getaway to any of these places then we have experience with just that. We have remodeled and build small beach cottages.  We have created entire Wyoming compounds with a home, barn, and office that can fit 15 people. Many ...
Read More
/ Uncategorized
Fireplace - Craftsman Tile
Restoration & Remodel of a Historic Home in Alameda
Nick, Laine and their twin boys had outgrown their condo in San Francisco and need space and a lawn to play. They bought a 4,800 square foot 3 bedroom, 4 bathroom, 110 year old home that is 110 years old. The home needed extensive work as it had been decades since ...
Read More
/ Custom Home, Link, Remodel
We standardize and automate the process so your remodel, addition or custom home experience will be amazing
Designing and building an addition, remodel or custom home is a complicated process that involves one to two years of planning and then 45+ people to do the actual construction. At New Avenue our qualified and proven local professionals can design and build your project.  We supplement the talented pros ...
Read More
What does it cost to design and build a remodel, addition, or custom home?
Many people interested in designing and building a custom project start with the question: "How much will it cost to build?" When people hear the answer, their next question is, "Why? I thought it would be less expensive." Then come the following thoughts: 1. "My friend told me that projects can be ...
Read More
Additions, Remodels and Custom Homes – The 5 Phases of The Design Process
Best Practices in architecture and construction manage a project under five phases that we will review here.  All projects, whether a $5,000 bathroom remodel or a $5 billion dollar stadium have these five phases. The phases are defined as: Phase 1 - Program Development: Defining what your goals are, what ...
Read More
/ Process, Process, Uncategorized
The Right Way to Start a Project: How New Avenue seamlessly brings together owners and architects to start a remodel, addition or new home
At New Avenue, we make it as easy as possible to start your project right. We have found that just one meeting in your home with an architect is the perfect way to begin.  Architects see things in minutes that many of us will never see!  Design talent, matched with countless ...
Read More
Trust us! Seriously. Use These 3 Essential & Free Tools Every Addition, Remodel or Custom Home Needs: A Design Agreement, Construction Agreement and Budget
If you are planning an addition, remodel, or custom home then save this message.  Seriously. Save it and use these three documents. This is the most important article we can share with you. Communication is always stressful and challenging.  Every remodel or new construction project has questions that need to be ...
Read More
9 Construction Communication Gaps – How to Talk to a Contractor
Construction lingo can lead to confusion before your job even begins. This often creates cost overruns and frustration. This article tells you what to look for in a construction bid so you can avoid surprises. Anywhere you see something you don't understand you should expect to be surprised by a ...
Read More
How Long To Build a Custom Home or Remodel a Home
We reviewed all of our completed projects and found the following timeframe for construction:
  • The maximum construction time was 13 months
  • The fastest build was four months (this was during the 2010 recession and everyone was ready to work at a moment's notice) 
  • The average time to build a project is ...
    Read More
18 Common Budget Busting Construction “Change Orders” That Occur During Additions, Remodels and New Construction
The New Avenue online project management system reviews hundreds of projects at any given time.  We track all of the change orders submitted by contractors in these projects. This post highlights the 18 most common change orders.  These are changes that may be called "surprises" on your project and often times they ...
Read More
/ Costs, Process, Uncategorized
Speed, Quality or Money: Be Wary of Fast Growing Websites That Are Overrun by Shady Contractors
NBC just investigated a contractor matching service and found that 60% of the contractors providing bids are unlicensed. Many ripped off clients by running away with the deposit money or not completing the work.  At New Avenue we are not surprised. We built a project management system the eliminates the risk ...
Read More
/ Process, Uncategorized
Top 3 Challenges in Remodeling or Building New: Knowledge, People and Clarity
There are three key problems facing every owner who is remodeling an old home or building a new one: Knowledge, People, and Clarity. It is really time consuming to navigate all three challenges.  New Avenue has a unique way to automatically solve all three problems so you can have a delightful ...
Read More
/ Costs, Process
Cost of a two story office, bathroom, mudroom addition
This story addition with an office, master bath, laundry and storage/mudroom.  This is about 300 square feet and it is costing just under $200,000. Mudroom Bathroom Addition - Full Budget This ground floor will be an office: The second floor will be a utility, mud, bathroom and storage. Sign up ...
Read More
/ Uncategorized
5 things you might find in a new $1,000,000 home
We recently bid a 3,000 square foot custom home in the heart of Silicon Valley.  I grew up in a 1910 Sears Catalog home that would sell for $180,000 today.  $1,000,000 is an insane amount of money. Except it's quite common today. At $333 per square foot I have to ...
Read More
Cost of a custom home in Silicon Valley
We recently completed a bid for a 2,886 square foot custom home in Los Altos, CA.  This is the heart of Silicon Valley. This is a just under $1,000,000 for just under 3,000 square feet.  That budget does not include the architecture, engineering and permitting which can be another $250,000 ...
Read More
3 Easy Steps to Get A Construction Estimate or A Fixed Price Construction Bid
If you are an owner or architect you can get a contractor bid in three easy steps. Keep in mind, a good bid for a remodel or new build can easily take 30-40 hours of work - so while it's easy for you to ask for one, you are asking for ...
Read More
/ Platform, Process, Uncategorized
Cost of a remodel and restoration of a 100+ year old historic home in The San Francisco Bay Area
This article is part of a series of posts on real project costs.  New Avenue is the leading national design/build network.  Our architect and contractor partners use our online platform to provided their bids and process their invoices.  As such we get a unique collection of project costs.  We share ...
Read More
Should I create an addition, backyard cottage, or remodel?
New Avenue starts every project with our 30 questions. You can skim these questions and answer a few of them in five minutes or you can spend an hour.  We recommend you spend about 15 minutes. These questions are based on thousands of past client meetings. We also collect feedback ...
Read More
Cost of a basement foundation with egress window
An architect in our network is considering adding a 400 square foot basement below a new 400 square foot addition. It's odd that basements are such a rare thing around here.  Basements are standard for the rest of the country. To excavate a 20'x20' space, it will cost $25,000.  This ...
Read More
Cost to build a large custom home (5,000 square foot 5 bed six bath)
This article is part of a series of posts on real project costs.  New Avenue is the leading national design/build system.  Homeowners and contractors enter bids  in our system and send and receive payments for completed work.  Any changes are submitted by the contractor and approved by the owner before ...
Read More
Architects and Contractors… Who’s the Project Manager?
At New Avenue we are often asked what we charge for the Project Manager. The short answer, is our network of proven architects and contractors manage the design and construction so well that a project manager would be a waste of time and money. Architects manage the design and permitting ...
Read More
How to pay your architect or contractor without the usual risk or headaches
At New Avenue we try to make it as risk free and as easy as possible to pay for architecture and construction services.  We provide bid management, invoicing and payment service to owners for free.  You can hire a New Avenue architect or contractor, or you can hire your own ...
Read More
How to Work With New Avenue
You can hire us for as much or as little as you'd like.  We start with a $250 flat fee for a Design Session with an architect in your home. They will:
  1. Review your Goals and Ideas questionnaire before they meet with you. Then they'll discuss it with you
  2. ...
    Read More
How to start a new architecture or construction project
At New Avenue we have three simple steps to start every project: 1 - Get started online for free: There is a Goals & Ideas questionnaire that is as much for you to define your goals as it is for our architect to start preparing for a meeting with you ...
Read More
Who owns architecture plans? You paid for the service, not the plan
If you are a typical owner, you expect to "own" your plans after you hire an architect and pay them to create a design for you.  That is not exactly how it works because any set of plans has tricky liability and copyright issues. We will explain these issues and ...
Read More
/ platform, Process, Process
Why you need insurance when remodeling or building a new home
Insurance is a good thing when remodeling or building. At New Avenue we require that you have homeowners insurance for your current improvements on your property.  Improvements are basically your home and anything else built on your property.  A typical homeowners policy covers these buildings.  Our lawyers tell us of scenarios ...
Read More
How to Finance: Remodels, Fixer Uppers, and Accessory Dwellings
We interviewed  Kris Floyd of Pinnacle Capital to try to get to the bottom of the timeline for financing a home improvement project, addition, remodel or accessory dwelling. Kris explained that when done right, the renovation loan process will take 30 days and there are five steps in this process:
/ Great Products, Uncategorized
$1,000 for a custom home plan? This is a ripoff that will cost you.
One of our architects recently emailed this to me: "I lost a commission on a NEW BUILD to a guy who charged a grand!!! Now I made most of my fee back, fixing it, but you wouldn’t believe how often that is the case." The key here is that the ...
Read More
/ Costs, platform, Process, Process, Uncategorized
3 Reasons Why We Recommend You Hire an Architect
At New Avenue we are all about great value.  In design and construction the hard way is usually the right way and that means the best value is often the more difficult and more expensive way. This applies to architecture as much as any other part of the process. Many people ...
Read More
How to permit and permit costs of an accessory dwelling vs. an accessory structure in Albany, CA
The Albany Planning Department has a very strict interpretation of an "accessory building" (that is not a dwelling with a kitchen) and what triggers requiring a permit. Based on a conversation in February 2017, if a storage building (accessory structure) that is less than 120 square feet in size has ...
Read More
Legalizing an existing accessory dwelling in-law unit in San Francisco
We know of just one apartment out of an estimated 30,000-40,000 illegal in laws in San Francisco that was legalized! This is the story about that apartment's legalization process. One of our partner architects, David Locicero recently completed the legalization of an existing in law unit in San Francisco.  The ...
Read More
Cost of a Garage Conversion to an Apartment or Accessory Dwelling Near San Francisco
This garage conversion is just over 25% completed at the time of this article. The owner of this home is a young recent Berkeley graduate who bought a home near a local BART station.  He can commute to downtown San Francisco in about 30 minutes (when there aren't BART delays ...
Read More
Award winning accessory dwellings, backyard cottages, and in-law units designed and built by New Avenue
This was our first project, a tiny backyard cottage for a Berkeley professor (the loft is way too small, but that vaulted ceiling is quite nice: https://www.pinterest.com/NewAvenue/karens-cottage-studio-with-a-sleeping-loft/ A cottage we did with Sunset Magazine https://www.pinterest.com/NewAvenue/the-new-backyard-cottage-at-sunset-celebration-wee/ A small cottage with a proper sized loft and nice landscaping/entry: https://www.pinterest.com/NewAvenue/susan-s-cottage-studio-with-upstairs-loft-in-the-e/ This is an ...
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What Architects Say When Construction Bids Come In
We received the following email from an architect as bids were coming in for one of his projects: This happens all too often. There are two ways to counter this surprise:
  1. Study the cost of a nearby project that is of a similar size and scope.
  2. Invite a ...
    Read More
/ Costs, Process, Uncategorized
Permit costs and time to build a duplex, triplex or accessory dwelling
We get calls every week with people asking about adding another home to a single family home to create a duplex, or converting a garage behind a duplex to make a triplex, or just adding a small accessory dwelling. Effectively, these are all the same from a design and building ...
Read More
Designing and Building an Accessory Dwelling in Los Angeles
A potential client recently called us to discuss their goal of adding an accessory dwelling to their home in Los Angeles. This owner had verified that his R-1 zoned residence is allowed to add an accessory dwelling.  He had read about the new state law that went into effect on ...
Read More
Redwood City is Removing Parking Requirements for Accessory Dwellings
A series of changes are coming up in the Redwood City zoning code. This PDF lists the currents changes: Redwood City Accessory Dwellings - PublicNoticePCFeb212017ADU Most relevant for many homeowners is the easier parking restrictions. You won't have to pave over a big section of your yard to make parking ...
Read More
/ Accessory Dwelling, Uncategorized
Cost of an Addition in South San Francisco That Includes an Accessory Dwelling
We recently completed a 2 bedroom, one bath, kitchen and living room in 537 square foot addition.  This is for a 1,572 square foot home in South San Francisco.  Affectionately called "Grandma's House", this accessory dwelling is for the mother of the owners. Below you can see the floor plans, site ...
Read More
Cost of a basement remodel and a new guest house with roofdeck
The cost of a major basement remodel and guest house is listed in the attached budget below. This project includes an 899 square foot two story guest house and the remodel of over 1,000 square feet of unfinished basement space into two new apartments. You can open the link below to ...
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/ Accessory Dwelling, Costs, Process, Remodel
Cost of a 660 square foot guest house in Menlo Park
This guest house in Menlo Park, CA is breaking ground next week. The costs are: Architecture: $26,146 Survey: $2,100 Geotechnical Engineering (Soils Report): $3,650 Structural Engineering: $4,400 Energy Efficiency Report: $800 Arborist Report: $1,250 Permits: Planning Permits: $2,102 Building Permits: $3,012 Fire Department Review: $241 Construction $261,251 ($395 per square ...
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/ Accessory Dwelling, Costs, Uncategorized
Cost to design an accessory dwelling in Albany, CA
As part of New Avenue's efforts to educate owners and architects about the timeline and costs to design and permit projects, we are sharing this detailed design proposal for an accessory dwelling in Albany, CA. You can view and download the entire proposal here: Design Proposal Accessory Dwelling Albany Sign up ...
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Cost of a guest house in Atherton California
New Avenue shares design proposals, construction bids and actual costs so that you - as an owner - can be informed as you begin a project. We try to educate owners, architects and contractors about the costs of comparable projects so that it is easier for you to manage your ...
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Cost of a 310 square foot guest house in Berkeley, CA
The cost of a recently completed super small guest house in Berkeley, CA was $130,695.  The full costs are detailed in the line item budget here. A summary of the costs are: $1,200: Survey $3,312: Planning (Zoning) permits $3,650: Structural Engineering $550: Energy efficiency report $2,830: Building permit $563: Mechanical, ...
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/ Accessory Dwelling, Costs, Uncategorized
Cost to design a basement remodel in Alameda, CA
The design and engineering cost for a full basement remodel, including adding a kitchen and bedrooms is $14,300. This is for a construction project that is budgeted for $200,000 in construction spend. The proposal is here: Basement Remodel in Alameda Sign up to see example budgets, example floor plans, or to ...
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New Permit Rules for San Leandro Accessory Dwellings Are Coming Soon!
The permit rules in this attachment are important. We have been following the rules and contributing our two cents when possible. Don't be deterred.  The picture on the cover is a shed! That's not what wea are talking about here. Accessory Dwellings are homes.  Many of them are two bedrooms ...
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Kathryn and Allan’s Kitchen and Bath and More
Kathryn and Allan are a young couple in Piedmont, California.  They just purchased a home that had decades old finishes.  With a baby on the way they needed a nursery, updated bathrooms and a new open kitchen. Kathryn is the founder of KJM Interiors where she manages interior design projects ...
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/ Uncategorized
Q&A with an Interior Designer: Rachelle Padgett, owner of Synthesis Interiors & Color
What does an interior designer do? What's a decorator? What’s the difference? I am what the design industry refers to as a "full service" interior designer. I'm not the biggest fan of this term because it makes me sound like a gas station, but here's what it means. Practically speaking, ...
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/ Uncategorized
What is an income property? Big apartments, small houses and everything in between!
You can invest in a broad range of income properties and if you are planning to rent them out and collect passive income, then you are in the income property business. At New Avenue we have managed, designed or built all ranges of income properties. One client hired us to ...
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/ Uncategorized
What is an Accessory Dwelling or ADU?
An accessory dwelling is any space that you create that has a kitchen, sleeping area and bathroom that is secondary to your main home.   The accessory dwelling is a house or apartment and has all of the comforts, rooms and amenities you would expect in a big custom home.  It ...
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/ Uncategorized
Restorations and Remodels
Restorations and remodels are major projects that upgrade or reinvent an entire home. At New Avenue we have completed all types of remodels. Here are a few common types "Gut jobs" that remove almost everything but the exterior walls.  The project shown below included 7+ dumpster loads of plumbing, plaster, floors, electrical, ...
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/ Uncategorized
For Architects: How to Fire a Client
We have worked with several hundred homeowners in the past few years and roughly one out of one hundred have been just downright mean. When I say mean, that includes behavior honest people can't imagine.  I asked a lawyer friend of mine if he ever has to fire a client ...
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/ Process, Uncategorized
How tall can my guest house or accessory dwelling? 18 feet is ideal!
The City of Berkeley is currently updating their accessory dwelling codes and height is an issue that is being reviewed.  Many cities struggle with this.  This is a summary of what you get for 14' vs. 18' To calculate the maximum height you measure the height of a building from ...
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How to hire an architect & what to expect in your first design session/meeting
Unless you are a Rockefeller you probably didn't grow up watching your family hire architects. The best way to start any major project of approximately $50,000 or more is to talk to an architect.  Architects have the ability to solve design and permitting challenges, they have the talent to create ...
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/ Platform, Process, Uncategorized
How to Interview an Architect
Architects are flexible and can work in any number of styles, shapes, styles or cities.  That is part of the practice of architecture.  The challenge is finding the right design for you and your home.  The best way to start is to define your Goals and Ideas so that you ...
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/ Platform, Process
A Fixed Price Construction Agreement Is The Only Way To Stay On Budget
A client recently asked one of our architect partners the following question: "Could you ask to see the receipts so we know they aren’t cheating me on the purchases? They are not supposed to make a profit on the purchases, but they do make a profit where ...
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/ Platform, Process, Uncategorized
Harvard Study Shows Healthy Homes + Indoor Air Quality Have Massive Impact on Intelligence
A Harvard study just reported a 101% increase in cognitive function in greed buildings with fresh air that is piped in. This is the most significant green building insight we have ever seen - it simply blows everything else out of the water. In the world of green building and ...
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/ Process, Uncategorized
When and how to pick appliances when remodeling a home or building a new home
There is often a question about who buys the appliances for your new kitchen and when to buy them. Appliances are a very personal choice so almost all owners want to shop for them and choose them.  Ideally you can find what you want and provide the "cut sheets" or ...
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/ Platform, Process, Uncategorized
Cost of Adding a Master Bedroom Suite and Accessory Dwelling
Below we have the full cost of an addition that is 536 square feet. This addition is an accessory dwelling or mother in law unit in Daly City, CA. The home is a single family ranch home and this is a single story addition too. You can review the full ...
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How to Stay On Budget With An Architect & What is an “Additional Service” from an Architect?
At New Avenue we have determined that the best practice for providing architectural services for remodels, additions, and new custom homes is to provide detailed Design Proposals.  Our online proposal system structures each proposal in with each major task listed in a line item proposal. The architecture services are billed ...
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/ Platform, Process, Uncategorized
Remodel and Construction Costs – How to Stay On Budget
Creating an architecture and construction budget is really hard. Once work starts progressing, it can become a total nightmare to manage proposals, bids and payments. We've found that standardizing proposals, invoices and the budget in one format is the key to success. For example, this is a design proposal for a ...
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/ Costs, Uncategorized
New Avenue Architect Spotlight: Brad Gunkel
New Avenue design professional Brad Gunkel is based in Emeryville, CA, and is recognized as an authority in sustainable, community-focused architecture. His interests in co-housing, urban community development, and sustainability have earned him respect from owners, developers, and planners. One of the New Avenue projects Brad is involved with is ...
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/ Uncategorized
Plans Small Detached Guest Room in Oakland – Guest House Plans
These are the architectural plans for a small detached guest room in Oakland, CA. New Avenue is the network of architects and contractors that you can trust.  We have completed projects from $100,000 to over $2,500,000. You can sign up to use our project management ...
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Client Quotes and Referrals
We've been fortunate to receive a lot of nice feedback from the clients, architects and contractors that we work with.   We typically share this list when a potential client asks for a reference in order to verify a construction budget, construction schedule, building permit process or costs. Thanks for the ...
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The Cost Of Permits For An Accessory Dwelling in Oakland, CA
 At New Avenue we have paid over 30 different types of permits to get residential projects approved.  These are "normal" projects too such as additions, remodels, restorations, accessory dwellings accessory structures and custom homes. One of the architects who is a partner at New Avenue recently completed in depth research ...
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/ Costs, Uncategorized
Recent Permit Rules for Creating an Accessory Dwelling in Oakland, CA
The following is a summary of our research into a new accessory dwelling in Oakland, CA.   These answers are based on a conversation directly between one of New Avenue's partner architects and a planner who works for the City of Oakland Planning Department.  These also apply to a specific ...
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Custom Wood Doors on Panoramic Way in Berkeley, CA (A historic district)
I'm kind of curious about the kind of doors you'll find on homes that cost $1,000,000 or more.  Do you get a certain quality that you just don't see in "average" homes?  Or do you get the same? We stumbled across a few homes while home shopping in this neighborhood ...
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/ Uncategorized
Cost to lift a house, add a foundation and lower floor
This is the cost to life a house in Oakland CA. This is the budget for the construction only.  The construction includes lifting an existing 100+ year old home, excavating almost an entire basement, pouring a new foundation, building walls and remodeling much of the home too.  The total project ...
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/ Costs, Uncategorized
The Owner’s Perspective: The High Point and Low Point of Designing and Building a Custom Home Outside of New York City
"Designing and building a house is one of those few things I don't think someone can really relate to and get their arms around until they actually go through it." - Our clients reaction as he breaks ground on his dream home. We recently interviewed one of our project owners ...
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5 Biggest Surprises When Designing and Building a Custom Home in The Berkshires
We recently interviewed one of our project owners and asked for their top 5 surprises.  They came back with 6.  That alone says something about designing and building a home! This owner just broke ground on a custom home that is over $1 million in construction costs. So what were ...
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/ Custom Home, Platform, Process
Should I Cut Out My Architect During Construction?
No! We know it's hard to pay hourly for any professional service. You may get great value from it but you just don't get to hold onto something.  It's much more satisfying to shop for for the nice tile, expensive counters, faucets or similar.   Because of this, architects are ...
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/ Platform, Process, Uncategorized
Planning and Building Permit Rules for an Accessory Dwelling in Berkeley, CA
At New Avenue we have paid over 30 different types of permits to get residential projects approved.  These are "normal" projects too such as additions, remodels, restorations, accessory dwellings accessory structures and custom homes. One of the architects who is a partner at New Avenue's recently completed in depth research ...
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How to Deal With Subcontractors: Don’t!
"Roofers are a different breed, dude. You can't imagine what I deal with."   This is what a cousin of mine who works with building materials recently said. When we were visiting a home that a good friend is building himself, we saw an empty beer can in the driveway ...
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/ Platform, Process, Uncategorized
Sample Accessory Dwelling Guest House Plans – Including Loft Heights
People often ask about loft heights.  At New Avenue we have designed hundreds of lofts and we've spent many nights sleeping in them too:) Old codes in Berkeley, CA there was a max height of an 8' wall, a 12' average height and a 16' peak. With these restrictions you can ...
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Additions, Remodels, and Custom Homes – Phase I
This is a guest post by David Locicero, a Partner Architect in the New Avenue Design/Build Network. David has successfully uses the New Avenue platform to design, permit and build projects around the San Francisco Bay Area.  To read more about the platform click here: New Avenue There are five ...
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Additions, Remodels and Custom Homes – Phase II of The Design Process
This is a guest post by David Locicero, a Partner Architect in the New Avenue Design/Build Network. David has successfully uses the New Avenue platform to design, permit and build projects around the San Francisco Bay Area.  To read more about the platform click here: New Avenue There are five phases ...
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/ Process, Uncategorized
Additions, Remodels and Custom Homes – Phase III of The Design Process
This is a guest post by David Locicero, a Partner Architect in the New Avenue Design/Build Network. David has successfully uses the New Avenue platform to design, permit and build projects around the San Francisco Bay Area.  To read more about the platform click here: New Avenue What is “design development”? ...
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/ Process, Uncategorized
Additions, Remodels and Custom Homes – Phase IV of The Design Process
This is a guest post by David Locicero, a Partner Architect in the New Avenue Design/Build Network. David has successfully uses the New Avenue platform to design, permit and build projects around the San Francisco Bay Area.  To read more about the platform click here: New Avenue What are “construction documents”? ...
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/ Process, Uncategorized
Additions, Remodels and Custom Homes – Phase V of The Design Process
This is a guest post by David Locicero, a Partner Architect in the New Avenue Design/Build Network. David has successfully uses the New Avenue platform to design, permit and build projects around the San Francisco Bay Area.  To read more about the platform click here: New Avenue The Construction Phase Including ...
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/ Process, Uncategorized
Planning and Building Permit Rules For a Remodel, Addition and Accessory Dwelling in Orinda, CA
At New Avenue we have paid over 30 different types of permits to get residential projects approved.  These are "normal" projects too such as additions, remodels, restorations, accessory dwellings accessory structures and custom homes. One of the architects who is a partner at New Avenue's recently completed in depth research ...
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Rent a New Avenue Home on Airbnb
A few of our clients rent their homes on AirBnB. Want to give mountain living in Wyoming a try? Curious if you like modern open living, mountain biking, skiing, concrete floors, or hockey? Book this home new Jackson Hole, Wyoming: Modern Mountain Home in Wyoming Curious about a garage ...
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/ Uncategorized
Legalizing an Illegal Unit into a new Legal Accessory Dwelling
"We have a little secret. We have an illegal apartment in our basement/attic/garage, and 40,000 of our neighbors do too. Shhhh, don't tell anybody... " Cities across the country are packed full of illegal units.  It's part of the deal from tiny "bunkies" in rural communities to 1,000 square foot "Game ...
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Cost of a Basement Remodel + Addition + Accessory Dwelling In The Outer Sunset of San Francisco
We are currently completing a major basement remodel plus an addition in the Outer Sunset in San Francisco.  This project started off as an accessory dwelling but became an added space for the family.  This is 330 square feet of remodeled existing ground floor/basement space and an additional 330 square ...
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/ Costs, Uncategorized
Beginners Guide to Kitchen Cabinets
There are infinite ways to build or arrange cabinets and they can easily be overwhelming.  I'd shorten the list of consideration to three options: 1) IKEA - Approximately $200 per foot installed 2) cliqstudios.com - Approximately $250 per foot installed 3) Custom - Approximately $500-$1,000 per foot installed I'll get ...
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/ Uncategorized
San Rafael Remodel: Transforming a Home for Raising a Family in Marin
Brooke and Rob are two young professionals working in San Francisco who bought a three bedroom, two and a half bath home in San Rafael. The home is 1,675 square feet and was used as a duplex when they bought it. Brooke and Rob had a baby on the way ...
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/ Addition, Costs, Remodel, Uncategorized
Cost of a family room, master bed and master bath addition in a Northern California bungalow
This is part of a series of posts on real project costs.  New Avenue is the leading national design/build network.  Our architect and contractor partners use our online platform to provided their bids and process their invoices.  As such we get a unique collection of project costs.  We share these ...
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/ Addition, Costs, Uncategorized
The Cost of a Guest House or Accessory Dwelling in San Ramon. And How Long It Takes To Build It.
We recently completed a guest house/accessory dwelling in San Ramon, CA.  This is a 701 square foot accessory dwelling with a full kitchen and bathroom. The timeline and cost of the project was: Design Proposal Accepted: October 2014 Permitting Starts: March 2015 Building Permits Issued:October 2015 Construction Starts: October 2015 Construction Finishes: ...
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How Much Does a Guest House in Mountain View Cost? And How Long Does it Take to Build It?
We recently completed a detached 500 square foot one bedroom guest house in Mountain View, CA.  This project started off as an accessory dwelling with a full kitchen but permitting problems drove us to create a little cottage with a bathroom but no kitchen. A kitchen will easily fit in the ...
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Cost of a music studio / Cost of a recording studio
One of our clients at New Avenue is a professional sound technician.  He bought a home with the plans to remodel an existing two car garage into a recording studio. He quickly realized that the garage was collapsing, there were actual holes in the walls, it wasn't water tight and ...
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/ Costs, Uncategorized
230 Point Checklist for Design and Construction Budgeting – Avoid Common Pitfalls
We share the knowledge we collected from the 10,000+ projects and over 500 builders and tradespeople that use our project management platform. We consider it part of our job at New Avenue to share this information with everyone - customers, architects, designers and contractors alike. Construction is hard. That's just a ...
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/ Process, Uncategorized
Cost of Building Permits for a Custom Home in Mill Valley and Marin County
Millennials Take Marin! In idyllic Mill Valley of Marin County, CA there is an interesting trend happening.  People are building new custom homes again - and the clients are a surprising bunch: Millennials! To quote one of New Avenue's partner architects who is designing the home we feature in this ...
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/ Costs, Custom Home
Tax Deductions for Your Addition, Remodel or Accessory Dwelling – Great Design for Aging in Place Can Have Big Tax Benefits!
Based on interviews with several accountants, we have learned that planning for your future retirement or helping out a family member with accessibility issues can have significant tax advantages.  Hopefully many people who are struggling with the cost of an addition, remodel, accessory dwelling can benefit from these insights: Anil ...
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/ Accessory Dwelling, Uncategorized
$304,953 Architecture costs and construction costs for an accessory dwelling in Menlo Park, CA
The following budget shows the cost of a custom architect, permits, engineering, tree removal site work and construction for a guest house in Menlo Park, CA.   This includes a full apartment with a kitchen and bathroom. You can study the line items that are part of the design process ...
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/ Accessory Dwelling, Costs
$21,400 Cost of Architect for an 800 square foot addition in Fremont
The following budget shows the cost of a custom architect and all of the services he has to provide to design and permit an 800 square foot, two story remodel and addition in Fremont, CA.   This addition will include an accessory dwelling which is a full apartment with a kitchen ...
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/ Accessory Dwelling, Addition, Costs
$7,795: The Cost of Architecture for an Accessory Dwelling in Portland, OR
The following budget shows the cost of a custom architect and all of the services he has to provide to design, engineer and permit a garage conversion.  This is a one car garage being converted to an accessory dwelling. A small addition or remodel would be a similar cost. Portland ...
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/ Accessory Dwelling, Costs
Cost of an architect to design and permit an accessory dwelling in San Mateo, CA
This is a recently accepted design proposal for an accessory dwelling in San Mateo, CA.  This includes all of the line items for the design services for the entire project. These services complete the design, permitting, engineering and construction administration. San Mateo Architect Costs Sign up at New Avenue to ...
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/ Accessory Dwelling, Costs
Cost of an architect to design and permit the conversion of a garage to an accessory dwelling in Oakland, CA
This is the accepted design proposal for the full architectural services needed to design and permit the conversion of a one car garage in Oakland CA to a small apartment. Garage Conversion to Accessory Dwelling in Oakland, CA Sign up at New Avenue to see example budgets, example floor plans, ...
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/ Accessory Dwelling, Costs
Cost to design and permit an accessory dwelling in Menlo Park, CA
This is the design and permit cost of a 640 square foot accessory dwelling in Menlo Park. Few people have managed a 12+ month long process of working with an architect and getting permits.  You can study this budget to see what all the costs are.  There is a lot ...
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/ Accessory Dwelling, Costs
The cost to convert a basement to an apartment in San Francisco
This is the cost to remodel a basement and make it into an apartment in San Francisco, CA.  This includes the cost of architecture, permit costs, engineering, demolition and new construction. This is the remodel of existing space plus the addition of new space.  This is in the outer Sunset ...
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/ Accessory Dwelling, Costs, Permits
Cost to design, permit and build a four bedroom two bath new custom home in Berkeley, CA
This is the cost to build a custom home in California.  This home has four bedrooms with two converted to an office and a playroom. Costs to build in most cities in California will be very similar to this home in Berkeley. Any custom home you design will have a different ...
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/ Costs, Custom Home
Cost to design, permit and build a house in a landslide zone in Berkeley
These are the architecture plans and the budget for completing a small backyard home in a landslide zone in Berkeley. Anyone considering building on a steep lot and especially a landslide zone will get a wide range of potential costs. These costs vary by project and site of course.  This ...
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Our Business: Why we partner with the best architects and contractors
At New Avenue our goal is to make sustainable high quality architecture and construction. Our initial idea was to use a combination of modular homes and financing to make the whole process easier.   Our commitment to this goal has not changed, but our tactics have evolved. We quickly discovered that ...
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/ Process
How much does a custom mountain house or ski house in Jackson Hole, WY cost?
We recently completed a ski house for a value obsessed hedge-fund manager in Alta, Wyoming - just outside of Jackson Hole. With custom design/build the variation is limitless.  There are DIY homes in Wyoming that cost under $100,000 while down the street jet-setters build $10,000,000 ranch getaways. This post is for ...
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/ Costs, custom home
Can you build a guest house, accessory dwelling, in law unit or garage conversion without permits?
The short answer is no.  No you can't get away with it and no, it's not a good idea. Can you bend the rules a little bit though? Yes.  Some might say it's your civic duty as an American to push your local ordinances to catch up with what our ...
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/ Accessory Dwelling, Permits
How long does it take to build a custom dream homes. Plan on 6 Years!
Many of us dream of building a getaway.  Whether it's in the country, in the mountains or by the water it will be a process that even the luckiest of us may only do once. One of our project owners started working with New Avenue after they completed their design ...
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/ Custom Home, Process
The Inspiration Driving New Avenue
I was fortunate to have a research position in the tropical paradise of Bali, Indonesia when I was 22. Bali is known as a Paradise.  Most people consider sun, surf and white sand beaches to be the makings of a paradise.   I certainly agree and that certainly applies to Bali! ...
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/ Platform
My Home – What It’s All About
I recently thought to write about the home I grew up in.  Our business is about homes and families.  It's all about people.  When we talk to clients, the first thing we ask about are your goals and the second thing we ask about is your family.  When we talk to potential architect ...
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/ Custom Home, Platform
Planning and Building Permit Process for an Accessory Dwelling in Emeryville, CA
At New Avenue we have paid over 30 different types of permits to get residential projects approved.  These are "normal" projects too such as additions, remodels, restorations, accessory dwellings accessory structures and custom homes. One of the architects who is a partner at New Avenue's recently completed in depth research ...
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Planning and Building Permit Costs for A New Custom Home or Accessory Dwelling in Danville, CA
At New Avenue we have paid over 30 different types of permits to get residential projects approved.  These are "normal" projects too such as additions, remodels, restorations, accessory dwellings accessory structures and custom homes. One of the architects who is a partner at New Avenue's recently completed in depth research ...
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/ Costs, Uncategorized
Oakland Accessory Dwelling Rules Are Changing Allowing Easier Parking – Finally!
Oakland city staff has recommended easing the rules for permitting an accessory dwelling.   There are several changes regarding setbacks, height, parking, rebuilding existing spaces and more.  Most importantly, Oakland has historically required two side by side parking spaces that would often times consume your entire yard.  This will no ...
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/ Accessory Dwelling
Cost and Photos of a Garage Converted to Guest House
This small cottage was an empty old garage at first and it found a bright new future as a two floor guest house near the Claremont Hotel in Berkeley, CA. The budget consists of both design (including architecture, engineering and permits) and also the construction cost. The design budget is ...
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/ Accessory Dwelling, Costs
What is a Kitchen or Bath Upgrade?
Many times a kitchen or bath project involves a whole house systems upgrade.  A common phrase is that you're paying for what you don't see.  What you don't see are the systems such as electrical, plumbing, framing, seismic, and fireproofing. If your home is 30-100 years old then it almost ...
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/ Uncategorized
What is a custom home?
A custom home is a one-of-a-kind house that is designed for a specific client and for a particular location. At New Avenue we always start with you, your family and your work.  We consider the activities, goals and needs that you have. Then an architect will design a home to meet those ...
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/ Uncategorized
Planning and Building Permit Rules for a Garage Conversion + Addition of an Accessory Dwelling in San Jose, CA
At New Avenue we have paid over 30 different types of permits to get residential projects approved.  These are "normal" projects too such as additions, remodels, restorations, accessory dwellings accessory structures and custom homes. One of the architects who is a partner at New Avenue's recently completed in depth research ...
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/ Accessory Dwelling, Uncategorized
How to Build or Remodel a Home for $250 per square foot, $300 per square foot or $500 per square foot
The best way to think about a major investment is your monthly cost and the monthly value. One common question that people have about design and construction is "what does it cost per square foot?". Is the greatest kitchen you can ever imagine worth $500 per month in enjoyment?  Or is it ...
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/ Costs, Custom Home
Truckee CA / Placer County Accessory Dwelling Codes are Changing
One of our design partners, Michael Hahn is a timberframe specialist. As such he spends his time in mountain towns.  This August he's in Truckee, CA. Being new in town he's poking around to get the lay of the land.  As part of this he attended a city council meeting ...
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/ Accessory Dwelling, Permits
Budget and Planning/Zoning Permit Drawings for a Backyard Cottage / Accessory Dwelling in Berkeley, CA
Here is a completed cost of a 640 square foot accessory dwelling with an additional 200 square feet in the upstairs loft.  The architecture and construction was all delivered by New Avenue via our online platform for design/build. If you are looking for a design proposal or construction estimate for ...
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/ Accessory Dwelling, Uncategorized
A Long Commute Is Worse Than Losing a Limb
Seriously? There are some serious academic studies that show that everything gets worse when you have a long commute... substance abuse, back pain, divorce, health etc... The chart below seems totally plausible. Now, what if you buy a house near your work and it appreciates wildly and you use New ...
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/ Uncategorized
Cost of a Menlo Park Large Remodel – Garage + Guest House + Laundry
A recently completed project in Menlo Park included the following:
  • Converting 500 square foot of an existing garage to a new guest house/accessory dwelling
  • An addition of ~300square feet
  • New driveway
  • New two car garage
  • Shoring up and old foundation and reinforcing it
  • New bathroom
  • New Kitchen
  • New Bedroom
  • ...
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/ Accessory Dwelling, Costs
8 Water Saving Steps – Client Beats “Extreme” Water Savers With Simple Changes
Our client who built a 1,500 square foot custom home a few years ago shared the water consumption from their entire property and declared "We should be in the News". This includes 3 "households"  The owner with a husband, wife, two daughters and god.  And two income units. Collectively, the ...
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/ Uncategorized
8 Insights from a Happy Client – Accessory Dwelling Backyard Cottage in Berkeley, CA
We recently had the chance to reconnect with an early client who completed a backyard cottage, that included a little remodeling and a lot of custom design, custom construction and landscaping. Here are the client's unedited responses to a few quick questions:  1) Why did you build an accessory dwelling? ...
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The Real Cost of an Accessory Dwelling in Berkeley, California
A local contractor just completed a 640 square foot accessory dwelling in Berkeley, CA. The attached budget includes nice high end finishes throughout as well as many of the often overlooked necessities from building such as:
  • Custom architecture
  • Structural engineering
  • Geo technical engineering
  • Planning Permits
  • Building Permits
  • Asbestos removal
  • ...
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/ Accessory Dwelling, Costs
Pricing a Remodel: It pays to do your budgeting before (not during,) the project
One of our goals is to save clients from rushing through Home Depot and settling for some product their contractor needs the next day.  With a little planning this is avoidable. At New Avenue we focus on providing the best management system on earth. We found that budget clarity is the cornerstone of good ...
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/ Costs, Remodel
Planning and Building Permits Required to Create an Accessory Dwelling (Garage Conversion) In Santa Cruz, CA
At New Avenue we have paid for over 30 different types of permits to get residential projects approved.  These are "normal" projects such as additions, remodels, restorations, accessory dwellings accessory structures and custom homes. One of the architects who is a partner at New Avenue's recently completed in depth research ...
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/ Accessory Dwelling, Permits
Planning and Building Permits Required For a New Accessory Dwelling in San Ramon, CA
At New Avenue we have paid over 30 different types of permits to get residential projects approved.  These are "normal" projects too such as additions, remodels, restorations, accessory dwellings accessory structures and custom homes. One of the architects who is a partner at New Avenue's recently completed in depth research ...
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Planning and Building Permit Costs for An Accessory Dwelling in Santa Cruz, CA
At New Avenue we have paid over 30 different types of permits to get residential projects approved.  These are "normal" projects too such as additions, remodels, restorations, accessory dwellings accessory structures and custom homes. One of the architects who is a partner at New Avenue's recently completed in depth research ...
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/ Costs, Uncategorized
“So…Many…People…”
Last week I had a fun day introducing a writer from Sierra Magazine to three of our clients. This is the magazine of the Sierra Club, America's oldest, largest, and most influential grassroots environmental organization. They are writing a story about New Avenue covering the sustainability attributes of our smaller ...
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/ Blog
Visitors around the New Backyard Cottage and landscaping
The New Backyard Cottage @ Sunset Celebration Weekend 2015 – Picture and Video Tour
New Avenue and Sunset Magazine teamed up this June 6-7 for Sunset Celebration Weekend 2015 to present The New Backyard Cottage. Here's a picture and video tour from the event! If you haven't already heard you can enter for a chance to win a 7-day getaway at the New Backyard ...
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2015-harvard-journal-of-real-estate
Harvard University features New Avenue
Earlier this month Harvard University's Real Estate Academic Initiative released their third annual Harvard Journal of Real Estate, featuring case studies of innovative practices in real estate - including New Avenue. New Avenue is studied on page 47 in the section entitled "Designing Affordability: Developing New Ecosystems for Equitable Housing ...
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/ Uncategorized
sunset-CW-contest-0518-banner
Sunset Celebration Weekend Giveaway – Round 2!
For our second round of the Sunset Magazine Celebration Weekend tickets giveaway, we’re be awarding one lucky entrant two tickets on Monday, May 25! Enter to win before 12 noon Monday, May 25, Pacific time, and share the contest with friends to increase your chances! The winner will be announced around 1 PM ...
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/ Uncategorized
contest-bg
New Backyard Cottage to be featured at Sunset Celebration Weekend, June 6-7
On June 6th and 7th, tens of thousands of Sunset fans will join Sunset editors, celebrity chefs—including Chris Cosentino, Martin Yan, Joanne Weir and more—and renowned lifestyle experts in Menlo Park for Sunset Celebration Weekend 2015. At Celebration Weekend, Sunsets beautiful seven-acre campus will be transformed into an interactive showcase ...
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/ Uncategorized
white-house
Mr. Martinez Goes To Washington
New Avenue cofounder and platform developer Justin Martinez spent Monday, May 11, 2015, at the White House. He was invited to attend Emerging Global Entrepreneurs, a kickoff event for the  White House’s Spark Global Entrepreneurship Initiative. The goal of this initiative is to connect people with resources, networks, technology, and ...
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/ Uncategorized
Contra Costa County and Residential Accessory Dwellings
Contra Costa County allows residential second units in certain zoning districts but the permitting process is downright terrifying here. Before we get to the terrifying part, here are some of the development standards:
  • Lot Size. The minimum size of a lot with a primary residence and a second unit ...
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New Avenue: A truly Integrated Project Delivery System
In a recent blog post, we discussed the importance of trusting your general contractor to manage subcontractors.  Working with subs and even speaking to them directly can lead to miscommunication, causing costly project delays. Managing the subcontractors deliverables is a major part of your general contractors scope of work. For ...
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/ Platform, Process
Media
Six Essentials for a Great Guest Room
We love getting ideas for home expansions and guest living that inform design considerations for both homeowners and architects. Modernize's Jane Blanchard offers these pointers for an accommodating and harmonious guest space in (or behind) your home. The guest room is one part of the house that has the unfortunate history of being ...
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/ Uncategorized
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SPUR’s #ADUHousing panel: cautious optimism for broad implementation in SF
On Wednesday, April 29, urbanism advocacy institution SPUR brought together leading voices in the Bay Area’s Accessory Dwelling Unit (ADU) conversation to highlight opportunities and challenges in an increasingly probable approach to alleviating the region’s housing crisis. SF Planning Department’s Kearstin Dischinger, a strong advocate for creative solutions to the city’s ...
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/ Events
SPUR Lunch Forum: Getting to Know Our In-Laws
12:30 p.m. | Wednesday, April 29, 2015 SPUR Urban Center: 654 Mission Street, San Francisco Accessory dwelling units, or “in-law” units, are a great tool for increasing density without affecting neighborhood character. After many years of thwarted efforts in San Francisco, two pieces of legislation supporting these units passed in ...
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/ Press
Approaching a new model
Guest Blog: A ‘New Avenue’ For Architects
It’s not easy to break into design - even if you’re already an architect. ...
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/ Uncategorized
Planning and Building Permits Required To Build An Accessory Dwelling in South San Francisco
At New Avenue we have paid over 30 different types of permits to get residential projects approved.  These are "normal" projects too such as additions, remodels, restorations, accessory dwellings accessory structures and custom homes. One of the architects who is a partner at New Avenue's recently completed in depth research ...
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/ Accessory Dwelling, Permits
Walk Score Map El Cerrito
New Avenue Homes are a Walker’s Paradise
A Walkscore rates the walkability of any address on a scale of 0-100.  Locations receiving a score of 90-100 are deemed a “Walker’s Paradise".  Detailed ranking methodology and a complete list of ranked cities and their neighborhoods can be found at http://walk.sc/2014ranking.  We plugged in a few of our projects ...
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/ Gallery, Uncategorized
Your 2 Best Friends: Amazon and YouTube
This is a super simple insight about the future of hardware stores (and how you can save yourself from a few annoying Saturday errands) For example, if your sink starts spraying water in a funny way and your knowledge of plumbing maxes out at the though "oh, that's not normal, ...
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/ Process
The Duplex and Accessory Dwelling
Interested in building a duplex and an accessory building on one Berkeley property, Rivero contacted New Avenue on April 2013.   Here is a copy of the initial schedule of values, approximately $25,0000, for one structure. If you are interested in pursuing your own accessory dwelling in Berkeley, we encourage ...
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Dennis and Lisa's Paradise in El Cerrito, CA
Accessory Dwellings in the City of El Cerrito
Here are a few of the requirements related to Second Units for the City of El Cerrito, though you’ll have to review the New Accessory Dwelling code for 2017 for the most accurate definition, requirements, variances and exceptions:
  • The maximum FAR (floor area ratio) shall not exceed 750 sq ft or 40% ...
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Mary's accessory dwelling guest house San Jose
County of Santa Clara and Secondary Dwellings
Santa Clara County provides for secondary dwellings in zoning districts that allow residential uses.  The provisions are intended to allow for a specific, low-impact, form of housing within existing residential neighborhoods.  Secondary dwellings within R1, R1E, RHS, R1S and R3S districts, and A1 districts within urban service areas, are subject to ...
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/ Accessory Dwelling
Mary's Still Waters Retreat
San Jose and Accessory Dwellings
In the City of San Jose, secondary units are generally allowed in R-1 Single-Family Residence Zoning Districts only, but may also be allowed in certain Planned Development Zoning Districts (i.e., those with R-1 Zoning District standards and allowed uses). Here are a few of the requirements related to San Jose's ...
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/ Uncategorized
Piedmont
Accessory Dwellings in Piedmont
Some development standards, the floor area ratio, setbacks and off street parking must comply with the  requirements of Chapter 17 for the zone in which it is located and that the maximum size shall not exceed 700 square feet. The city provides some flexibility for rent-restricted second units, which shall ...
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/ Accessory Dwelling
Spring's Mediterranean Dream Casita in Orinda
The City of Orinda and Accessory Dwellings
Here are a few of the requirements related to second units for the City of Orinda, though you’ll have to review the municipal code for the most accurate definition, requirements, variances and exceptions:
  • No second unit shall be located on a lot < 20,000 sq ft of net lot area ...
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/ Accessory Dwelling, Permits
Paul’s Green Pad – A Perfect Place for the Urban Professional
Paul, an expert in energy efficiency and sustainable design, decided to convert his detached garage so he could have more living space in his East Bay home.  The wooden floor concealed an old slab and once it was removed it became clear that it would be better to replace the ...
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Berkeley Officials Vote to Streamline Adding Accessory Dwellings
On March 24, 2015, Berkeley, CA, officials unanimously voted to streamline to process for adding secondary units. This gives the go-ahead to proceed with a proposal that will change city zoning codes:
  • Lot size requirement: None
  • Maximum size: 750 square feet or 75% of the primary structure, whichever is ...
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/ Uncategorized
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Woodside and Accessory Living Quarters
Nestled in San Mateo County and filled with ranches and horse properties, the town of Woodside has done better than some of its neighbors in providing additional housing. They town planed for 17 low-income units in the last housing element, but 24 were actually built, all of them accessory living ...
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pacifica-surf
City of Pacifica – Second Units by the Seashore
Well known for it's beautiful ocean views and as a popular spot for surfers, the city of Pacifica is also shoring up a plan to encourage the number of second units to expand the city's housing stock.  In fact, Pacifica’s zoning regulations allow the construction of second units "by right" ...
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/ Accessory Dwelling, Permits
Unexpected Costs with Fire Sprinklers
Fire sprinklers are part of the code for many projects in California now.    These systems are expensive on their own and we've seen installation prices around $4,400 to sprinkle just a small one bedroom guest house. However, that $4,400 is just a part of the total installation cost. Most ...
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/ Costs
Building Costs Q&A – Are Online Calculators Any Good?
Short answer:  No. And that's because you'll use them incorrectly.  They actually work just fine.  It's us pesky humans that muck it up. I recently received an inquiry from a young couple that is hoping to buy land and build a home in Sonoma County, CA. I shared a budget ...
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/ Costs, Process
A Country Getaway in Wyoming: A New Home, Barn and Office in Alta, Wyoming
Carlo, A hedge fund manager based in San Francisco used New Avenue to design and build a ski house outside of Jackson Hole Wyoming. The ski house has a main home, and barn/office.  The main home is a four bedroom ski house with a rustic modern look while the barn ...
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/ Custom Home
Build and Accessory Dwelling (ADU) in Portland
Building an accessory dwelling in Portland is a great idea. Construction costs are lower than other areas of the country, a big chunk of the city fees are waived, and the rental market is very strong. There are many options when building an ADU in Portland. You can easily do ...
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Tax Exclusions for Disabled Access and Fire Sprinklers
We just learned that there are tax exclusions in Alameda County, CA for conversion of existing space for disabled access as well as for adding fire sprinklers. While almost all of our readers are outside of Alameda County, this is a question we should be sure to ask early in the ...
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/ Uncategorized
Metal Roofs vs. Traditional Shingles
We all know asphalt shingles as they are the most common roofing material. You probably see them everyday and almost everywhere. Composite shingle roofs are a fine product as they are affordable and easy to install. They are made out of a fiberglass base that is covered with asphalt and ...
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/ Blog
6 Ways Compound Interest Can Leave You Totally Flush or Totally Busted
The alternative titles for this post are: 1) Compound Interest:  How your investment advisor steals more than two thirds of your money through unjustified fees. 2) Compound Interest:  Why a mortgage on a value generating property is brilliant. Part one is based on a personal experience.  A "friend" recently showed ...
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/ Uncategorized
Rolling hills
Novato approves innovative permitting requirements for accessory dwellings
Great news for our friends in the north bay! The city council of Novato, California, has approved a new zoning ordinance that creates a new class of ADUs, "Junior Accessory Dwelling Units" or JADUs, with friendlier permitting requirements. JADUs will be much easier to create than an ADU, with many ...
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/ Accessory Dwelling, Uncategorized
Forced-air Heat vs. Radiant Heat temperature distribution. Note the even and gradient in the radiant heating system vs. the roundabout circulation of the forced-air system. - From: Uponor
Radiant Floor Heating
Radiant floor heating turns your floor into a large-area radiator. The floor becomes a heated surface that directly warms the floor – whether a wood floor or a thick concrete floor. This floor can be “charged” during off-peak hours, when electricity is cheaper, and, if the thermal mass is large ...
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/ Great Products
7 Essential Design Ideas for Accessibility
Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) compliant design or the less strict "adaptable design" or "Universal Design"  are all ways to make your home more accommodating to persons with disabilities. Many of these design ideas are also just more convenient and better design for everyone so considering them is an exercise where ...
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/ Process, Uncategorized
San Carlos Accessory Dwelling
In the draft Housing Element, the City of San Carlos will promote the development of second dwelling units (SDU) to increase housing opportunities. Some of the incentives for secondary dwelling units include encouraging local agencies, districts and utility providers to reduce hookup or other fees to facilitate the development of ...
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Your Home and Water
Leaks, spills, puddles, and high humidity can be your home’s worst nightmare. Water damage can become expensive and laborious to fix and mold can take root. This is a quick checklist for preventing the intrusion and accumulation of moisture in and around your home. Inside your home
/ Blog
Reading Roundup
This is a roundup of articles and blog posts related to accessory dwellings that we've enjoyed this week. An Open and Airy Backyard Cottage From Seattle Magazine Developers have been drooling over Kate Lichtenstein’s property. Located in a neighborhood filled with small houses, many of which are being torn down, ...
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/ Blog
Video Tour of Accessory Dwelling Overlooking San Francisco Bay
Here is a quick video of a one bedroom accessory dwelling in El Cerrito, CA.  Apologies for the shakiness, we're going to invest in a better camera soon, promise! The owner of this little home describes it as "paradise".   We'll take that kind of compliment any day! There are ...
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/ Accessory Dwelling, Uncategorized
Carriage House
Carriage Houses and Second Dwelling Units of San Ramon
The City of San Ramon is seeking to amend their development standards to encourage more second dwelling units.  According to their housing element, the city will revise the zoning ordinance to facilitate second unit development.  Specifically, 50 second dwelling units within the 2014-2022 housing element planning period. What qualifies as ...
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rooftop_solar
Is solar power a good option?
For homeowners concerned about energy bills and their impact on the environment, solar power has long been a tempting option. And if you're starting a major remodel or addition, you can reduce many of the up front costs of installing a solar power system by rolling it into one big project. While costs have ...
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/ ADU, Blog, solar, solar power
Tax Implications of Airbnb Apartments or a New Accessory Dwelling, Addition or Remodel
Derek Davis, the founder of Shared Economy CPA, just spent some time explaining tax implications of creating an Airbnb rental or building a new home, accessory dwelling or addition for yourself or family. Taxes are clearly complex and an expert is needed - I actually sought Derek out for advice ...
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/ Accessory Dwelling, Uncategorized
urbanism-md
Urbanism From Within Exhibition – Designing Secondary Units for San Francisco
It’s no secret that San Francisco is amidst a housing crisis. Quite simply, our housing supply hasn’t been able to keep up with growing demand. Accessory Dwelling Units (ADUs), or Secondary Units, are a part of the solution. Within the last year, Supervisor Scott Weiner and former Supervisor David Chiu ...
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/ Events
Have you considered bamboo flooring?
Warm in color, stylish, and strong, bamboo floors have been increasing in popularity. It is a durable and attractive option that has an inviting look. The material comes in at about $2 to $7 a square foot, uninstalled. Bamboo flooring can come in its natural blond color, stained, or carbonized to ...
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/ Blog
Home of Innovation for Sale of Lease
New Avenue is now putting the Home of Innovation up for sale or lease. The Home of Innovation was built in collaboration with GE, Moen, Mohawk, Schlage, Daltile and EchoFirst to demonstrate the latest technologies in security, energy efficiency, home entertainment and green building. The result was a smashing success. Please browse ...
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/ Blog
Art Ludwig’s Laundry to Landscape system is more affordable for those who do not wish to retrofit all of their graywater plumbing to a single source. This system uses gravity to distribute the water, and  it works everytime someone in the house does a load of laundry! Note that this system would not pass the code In California, however, as all of the irrigation pipes and emitters must be below the ground to be approved.
Graywater Systems
Leah Drake is a guest contributor for this post. She is a designer with a specialization in water conservation with years of experience in successful California rainwater harvesting and graywater system design and implementation. Learn about her firm at Drake Design Associates. If you enjoyed this post, be sure to ...
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/ Blog
Do you know how your windows perform?
When you’re choosing a window, door, or skylight, there are many things you should consider (you know, besides how nice or expensive it is). Often you’ll find a label that looks something like this: This label is given by the NFRC, the National Fenestration Rating Council, a non-profit that rates ...
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/ Blog
San Mateo, CA, Guest House Planning and Building Permits – Accessory Structure vs. Accessory Dwelling
San Mateo turns out to be a tricky city to build an accessory dwelling but quite typical for permitting the most common types of projects: additions, remodels, or accessory structures. Accessory Dwellings are a very specific type of new home.  The "dwelling" word is a huge trigger for additional permitting requirements ...
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/ Accessory Dwelling, Addition
What is this thing called “The Village Movement”
We're all about community here at New Avenue and in particular connecting people so they can better enjoy their home by keeping family and friends close (but not too close). New Avenue makes it easier for people to complete a remodel or addition or to create an entirely new accessory dwelling ...
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/ Uncategorized
Accessory Dwelling in Kentfield, CA – Marin County Planning and Building Code
We recently started a project on a beautiful mid century modern home in Kentfield, CA.   The owner is a professional designer and leader in the sustainability movement, so this will be a great one! Before the fun of design and building begins, an initial planning report was written ...
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/ Accessory Dwelling, Uncategorized
Interview with the Aging In Place Institute’s Laura Traynor
I recently spent some time chatting with Laura Traynor, the former director of The Center for Aging In Place.  She clued me in about the value that the center creates for people in and around Westchester, NY.   This spurrred a follow up interview with the Village to Village network or ...
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/ Uncategorized
We Love Wool Insulation more than the rest… Spray Foam, Fiberglass, Cotton
Every once in a while we find a product that just makes more sense than the current standard.   Fireclaytile.com and Panasonic's Energy Recovery Ventilator (ERV) are probably the two that we became shameless shills for (no kickbacks, for the record.  However, Fireclay does have waffle breakfasts in their showroom ...
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/ Uncategorized
Home Renovation Survey Results
Last month we conducted a small home renovation survey. The results are in! We want to thank everyone who took the survey for their time. This information helps us help you when it comes to get started and talk about your project. Thinking about a project Have you started or ...
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/ Press, Process
Accessory Structures vs. Accessory Dwellings in Oakland, CA
We recently completed three projects in Oakland, California and found that permitting an accessory structure is the easiest permitting experience we've seen.   Oakland is one of the most confusing and head-spin inducing cities in regards to understanding the rules, however, it has a very helpful staff on the planning desk, ...
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/ Accessory Dwelling, Uncategorized
$4,000+ Electrical Panel Lessons for an Accessory Dwelling or Office: 200 amp vs. 100 amp vs. 60 amp
Electrical is one of the major trades or sub-contractors involved in almost any project. We recently clarified one pesky nuance about the building code in California as it relates to what size electrical panel and service you need for an accessory dwelling.   You can build an accessory dwelling with ...
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/ Accessory Dwelling
13 Ways to unlock $10,000,000 in hidden wealth from your home
New Avenue is a unique accounting and administration software for home remodels.  We can answer the question of "what does it cost to build..." better than anyone because we have provided the accounting services for over 100 projects in the past three years.  100 projects is more than almost any ...
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/ Costs
Planning and Building Permit Costs for a 686 Square Foot Master suite and Family Room Addition in San Mateo, CA
At New Avenue we have paid over 30 different types of permits to get residential projects approved.  These are "normal" projects too such as additions, remodels, restorations, accessory dwellings accessory structures and custom homes. One of the architects who is a partner at New Avenue's recently completed in depth research, ...
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/ Addition, Costs
Planning and Building Permit Costs and Requirements for An Accessory Dwelling in Menlo Park, CA
At New Avenue we have paid over 30 different types of permits to get residential projects approved.  These are "normal" projects too such as additions, remodels, restorations, accessory dwellings accessory structures and custom homes. One of the architects who is a partner at New Avenue recently completed the design, permitting ...
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/ Accessory Dwelling, Costs, Permits
4 Insights into Permitting with Heidi Richardson
We had a brief chat about permitting with Heidi Richardson, a professional architect based in the San Francisco Bay Area and a New Avenue Design Professional. The goal was to get some insight into her experience with permitting and working with cities. 1. What permits are required? There are two ...
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/ Uncategorized
Exterior of backyard cottage. There's gardening, landscaping, and pathway to the front door.
Photos for Chez Mona’s Backyard Cottage in Berkeley, CA
We have some professional photos of The Berkeley Gourmet Ghetto's most delightful little cottage: Chez Mona's. This is a 610-square foot, 2 bed, 1 bath cottage in Berkeley, CA. Mona teamed up with her daughter Lisa, son-in-law Aaron and two grandkids to create this backyard casita near the famous Berkeley Gourmet ...
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/ Accessory Dwelling
Brandon and Anne’s San Mateo Remodel
Brandon and Anne are doing a big remodel to their home in San Mateo, CA. The family of four is remodeling the master bedroom and adding a 1-bed, 1-bath accessory building to their backyard. In the short term the accessory building will serve as a playroom, music room, office, a ...
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/ Blog, Uncategorized
Betsy's Room with a View - Plan Details
Betsy’s Room with a View
Just north of the University of California, Berkeley, campus is a hilly neighborhood where Betsy and her son are  breaking ground for an accessory dwelling unit (ADU) project this November 2014. The short-term plan is for family use. In the long term there are a number of options that are ...
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/ Accessory Dwelling, Uncategorized
Financing Your Accessory Dwelling – Insights from 100+ Customers and a Few Bankers
Unsure about financing for your accessory dwelling project? New Avenue has worked with over 100 clients and almost all of them finance their addition, remodel or accessory dwelling with traditional bank financing.   We interviewed both clients and loan officers at various banks to see what people do for financing. Here ...
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/ Accessory Dwelling, Uncategorized
Get $250 + 20% off with Fireclay Tile when you start before Thanksgiving!
Get $250 in free tile PLUS an additional 20% off at Fireclay Tile when you start your New Avenue project before Thanksgiving! If you are planning a new tile shower in your bathroom or tile floors in your main home, then this discount can make starting your New Avenue project ...
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/ Blog
Bruce and Nancy's Pad
Bruce and Nancy’s Pad – Photo shoot!
Here's a follow-up to our previous post about Bruce and Nancy's Pad in Berkeley We had a photo shoot this past weekend for this house. Here are the pictures! Check this place out in our Open House on Sunday, November 16, 2014, from 2 PM to 4 PM! Click here to ...
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/ Accessory Dwelling
seniorcarearizona
Benefits of Multigenerational Living
How can seniors remain out of care facilities longer? How can you remain closer to your parents without the expensive cost of finding a home near yours? The answer you’re looking for may be a multigenerational dwelling—adding on to your existing home to better accommodate your needs. More people are ...
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The Hottest Home Amenity: In-Law Apartments
Accessory Dwelling Units are in says a Wall Street Journal article posted just last week. Citing architects, real estate agents, and homeowners, the piece reports growing interest in multigenerational homes. It's hard to argue with the social, economic, and environmental benefits. Continue to article. ...
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/ Uncategorized
Bruce and Nancy's Pad - Open house event in Berkeley! Details below. RSVP for address.
Nov. 16 Berkeley Open House for Bruce and Nancy’s Pad
Berkeley, CA Sunday, Nov. 16 2:00 PM to 4:00 PM RSVP for Address! Join us for an open house of Bruce and Nancy's backyard pad! Bruce and Nancy have an active and engaging world. They have a growing daughter, family and guests coming by regularly, and many hobbies and interests ...
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/ Uncategorized
The backyard accessory dwelling
Cost of a one room office, guest house, laundry room (that is an absolute work horse of a building!)
Travis and Kelly approached New Avenue to discuss adding a multipurpose casita/office/guest room/laundry room in the backyard of their Oakland, CA home. We created a 250 square foot casita that is an absolute workhorse.  Any given day this casita serves three or more purposes: Pet-sitters, house-sitters, house guests, laundry, office, and ...
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/ Addition, Costs
Halloween-21
New Avenue is treating you to 2 open houses!
Haunted Eco-House, Palo Alto Friday, Oct. 31 - 4:30p-8:30pmJoin us for a fun time at the Eco House, now the Haunted Eco-House this Halloween! Next to the Lucie Stern Complex by the Girl Scout House, staff will be on-hand to tell the story behind the modular house, and giving away ...
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Accessory Dwelling Economic Calculator
Your accessory dwelling could pay for itself!
An accessory dwelling project is a big investment, but it brings tremendous value to your home. Our calculator makes it easy to estimate what your accessory dwelling could be worth over time. Input project costs, loan information, and expected rental income, and you can estimate the future value of ...
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/ Accessory Dwelling, Costs
New Avenue is Recognized by San Francisco Business Times among the Top 100 Fastest-Growing Companies in Bay Area
New Avenue was recognized by the San Francisco Business Times as one of the Top Fastest-Growing Private Companies in the Bay Area. With 175.5% growth from 2011 to 2013, New Avenue placed among the top 50, ranking #46 in the publication’s Fast 100 annual list. This prestigious ranking will appear ...
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/ Press
Local NPR Station Tours Our El Cerrito Project!
[VIDEO] Local NPR Station Tours Our El Cerrito Project
The San Francisco Bay Area local NPR station KQED recently did a piece on livable tiny homes and had a chance to visit one of our accessory dwelling projects, Dennis and Lisa's Paradise in El Cerrito, CA. The family built this 2-story, 850 square foot modern home for Dennis's mother. "Most city ...
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/ Uncategorized
WINDOW RESTORATION PROJECT, BERKELEY, CA, by HOLAN & ASSOCIATES
PENCIL POINTS: FIBERGLASS WINDOWS A GOOD CHOICE FOR RESTORATION PROJECTS
As a building material, fiberglass is nothing new. It's been floating boats and strengthening ladders for years. In the window industry, however, it’s the latest addition to a range of finish options. The most popular fiberglass windows are wood windows with exterior fiberglass cladding but 100% fiberglass windows are also ...
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/ Great Products, Uncategorized
See our founder’s interview “Transform Your Home with an Accessory Dwelling” on BayAreaForSale
See our founder's interview "Transform Your Home with an Accessory Dwelling" on BayAreaForSale, a top site for Florida state homes, Texas real estate & Emeryville, CA real estate. Please tell us a little bit about your company and the services you offer. Many accessory dwellings and second units fail to ...
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/ Press
Planning and Bulding Permit Costs for a Master Bedroom Addition and Detached Studio Remodel in San Mateo, CA
At New Avenue we have paid over 30 different types of permits to get residential projects approved. One of the partner architects at New Avenue's recently completed the design and permitting for a new master bedroom remodel plus remodeling an old shed into a nice detached guest room/studio in San Mateo ...
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/ Costs, Uncategorized
Modern Accessory Dwelling in Santa Cruz – Just Finished!
2014-10-13 UPDATEHere's a PDF floor plan. Back in the summer we had an open house for one of our accessory dwelling projects in Santa Cruz, CA. John and Kathleen are building this dwelling in their backyard for Kathleen's father. The 1,000-square foot home has a 2-car garage, loft, full kitchen, a bedroom, ...
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/ Accessory Dwelling
In-Law Studios: A Creative Housing Solution for San Francisco
Grappling with their affordable housing crisis, the City of San Francisco is evaluating this pressing issue from many different angles. One unique solution is encouraging the development of accessory dwelling units (also commonly known as secondary dwelling or in-law units).   Recently, the Board of Supervisors passed two pieces of legislation ...
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roadmap-anim
Charge Ahead with your Project Roadmap!
Figuring out what's next and what you need to prepare for in your major home construction project can be daunting. Earlier this week we released a new feature to shed light on what it takes to make your project a success. Alongside the timeline you will find the Project Roadmap ...
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/ Process, Uncategorized
Washington Post Covers Multi-generational living and In-Law-Units
Great article here about the benefits of an In-Law-Unit and the growing demand for In-Law-Units from around the country. Click here for a link to the article ...
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/ Press
What are the true costs of an Accessory Dwelling?
One of the primary motivations and limitation when deciding to construct an Accessory Dwelling Unit (ADU) is finances. Let’s face it, why not build a backyard cottage? The uses are almost limitless, and here at New Avenue we’ve seen ADU’s being used for music studios, entertainment space, pool house, guest ...
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/ Costs, Image, Uncategorized
karens_cottage
Download free floor plans for an accessory dwelling or guest house
All of New Avenue's accessory dwelling projects use custom plans. When managed well, custom design and construction always result in a better home at a better price. More importantly, they allow us to design an accessory dwelling that is perfect for each homeowner. Here are two examples. Dennis and Lisa's Tiny Home ...
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/ Accessory Dwelling
Redwood City Arch
Redwood City Considers Updates to Regulations on In-Law Studios
Redwood City is working hard to make it easier for homeowners to build an accessory dwelling unit (ADU), encouraging public participation as they consider potential changes to current regulations.   Based on public comment and input from Planning Commission and City Council from recent study sessions, staff is now considering the ...
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Modular Home Insurance
There is an affordable and easy way to insure modular homes, shipping container homes and even tiny houses on wheels.  We presume the owners are often interested in insurance as we certainly wanted insurance for New Avenue's two modular homes - Our Home of Innovation and our Palo Alto Eco ...
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/ Uncategorized
An example of good sound separation.
Five Common ADU Design Mistakes
Over the years New Avenue has worked out the best design practices for small homes as well as the design choices that should be avoided. You can benefit from our experience. Here's a list of common design mistakes people make when planning their accessory dwelling. 1. Not enough sound separation ...
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/ Accessory Dwelling
berkeley_city_hall
Berkeley City Council to talk about easing Accessory Dwelling requirements
Not to be outdone by recent moves by the cities of Santa Cruz and Menlo Park, Berkeley will be discussing significant changes that ease the requirements for building an accessory dwelling.  The changes are set to become official in the upcoming September 16, 2014, City Council meeting. The proposed ordinances should substantially ...
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/ Accessory Dwelling
Santa Cruz City Hall
Santa Cruz is making it easier to build an Accessory Dwelling
Great news, residents of Santa Cruz! The Santa Cruz Planning commission  is expected to change its rules to make it easier to build "secondary units built on single-family lots" – in other words, accessory dwellings. The changes come as part of an effort promote higher density  and more affordable housing ...
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/ Accessory Dwelling
Santa Cruz Second Units
Building Accessory Dwellings in Santa Cruz, California
Once known as “Surf City” Santa Cruz is home to a moderate climate, the natural beauty of its coastline, redwood forests, alternative community lifestyles, and socially liberal leanings makes Santa Cruz an ideal place to pursue the tiny-living movement. As for regulations for the construction of second units/ accessory dwellings in ...
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Atherton, CA
Little Atherton’s Big Housing Market – How Small Homes Strike a Balance
An unincorporated area of San Mateo County, the tiny town of Atherton has a major market for mansions.  In fact, Atherton is reportedly the most affluent zip code in the nation and is home to Silicon Valley's tech darlings like Facbook's Sheryl Sandberg and Google's Eric Schmidt.  For this reason,  Planning for the required ...
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Building Permits for Accessory Dwellings in San Anselmo
Some requirements from the Code of Ordinances (Title 10, Chapter 6):
  • One permanently surfaced parking space shall be provided for each residential second unit except if you live within one mile of a transit loop.
  • Height and setback requirements vary with zoning district. Here are a few:
/ Accessory Dwelling
Permit Rules for a Master Bedroom, Master Bath Remodel and Guest House Addition in San Mateo, CA
Permits are always complicated in San Mateo, CA.  A large remodel that is approximately halfway through counstruction as of October 2016 started with permit research in 2014.
  • Design Proposal Accepted: 8/2014
  • Building Permits Approved: 3/2016
  • Construction Started: 3/2016 (18 months of design and permitting)
  • Expected Completion: 1/2017 (9 months ...
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/ Addition, Remodel
El Cerrito Cottage
Chicken Coop or Cottage?
What's in YOUR backyard? Do you have an old garden, incessant blackberry bushes, or perhaps a chicken coop? Dennis' mother was happy with their decision and although she wanted a cozy space and a rustic style, even the chickens didn't care for the coop that had no chance of being ...
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Erin's In-law Photo credit: Scott Kline
Menlo Park addresses Housing by making it easier to build Accessory Dwelling Units (ADUs)
  Menlo Park took this opportunity to meet their RHNA of 655 dwelling units by concurrently amending their ADU ordinance. Now it's easier for residents to build a backyard cottage!  Some of the adopted regulations include:
  • Reducing the required interior side setback to five feet
  • A maximum size of 640 ...
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The Cottage - Nearly Done
Mona’s Backyard Casita – Plans and Progress Shots
This 609 square foot tiny house fits two bedrooms comfortably. The house has level surfaces throughout, radiant floor heating, a living area fan, spray foam insulation in the roof and tile throughout. Universal design elements were incorporated to improve accessibility and comfort for the family. New Avenue started this project in October ...
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woodside house 1
Building Accessory Dwellings in Woodside California
Incorporated in 1956, the town of Woodside as adopted the 1958 General Plan’s stated purpose to “maintain Woodside as a rural residential community”. Comprised of 11 square miles covering the rolling woodlands east of 280, a rural valley of oaks and grasslands, and redwood forest of the western coastal range ...
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/ Accessory Dwelling
Adding an Accessory Dwelling in Piedmont, CA
Piedmont may be known as a small city (just 11,000 people!) that's packed with mansions.  But  it's not just an enclave for the wealthy and in fact that city has very progressive and welcoming codes in regards to accessory dwellings or guest houses. In fact, many of the homes scattered ...
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/ Accessory Dwelling
Three Shades Southern Living: 100+ Years of Accessory Dwellings in Tuscaloosa and Birmingham
Last fall, I made a trip to Birmingham to reconnect with an old friend and found a surprising number of accessory dwellings that ranged from century old estates to recently converted garages that are now ‘Bama football man caves. My friend had recently moved from New York City to Birmingham ...
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/ Accessory Dwelling
Santa Cruz ADU
Santa Cruz Open House of Mid-Construction Backyard Cottage, Saturday July 19th, 12-2pm
Tour a 1,000 sq.ft. accessory dwelling under construction on Saturday, July 19th from 12-2pm in Santa Cruz.  The drywall just went up, so it's a perfect time to get a sense of the size and flow of a beautiful ADU, with all the finishes still up to your imagination! Kathleen and ...
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Backyard Music Studio May Be the First Accessory Dwelling with Tandem Parking in Albany
The City of Albany is advancing legislation to allow tandem parking for accessory dwelling units.  Tandem parking is the parking of two cars in a row as opposed to two cars side by side. One project that may benefit is a music studio being designed in Albany for Ellen Hershey, ...
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/ Accessory Dwelling
Why New Avenue is a B Corp
We were invited to participate in a roundtable about what it means to be a Benefit Corporation, or what is more commonly called a B-Corp. This is a quick summary of what we will speak to: Who we are:  New Avenue is a venture backed technology company based in Emeryville, ...
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/ Press, Uncategorized
Ashland Oregon – Accessory Dwelling Bonanza
This past weekend I visited an uncle in Ashland, Oregon and was surprised to find Ashland to be a little utopian village that’s full of beautiful homes – many with accessory dwellings. It turns out, that retired techies like my uncle seem to be the demographic of Ashland.  The town ...
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/ Accessory Dwelling
Portland Accessory Dwelling Tour
We're just back from a great trip to Portland where, we learned that Portlandia is, in fact, a documentary.  They all work 20 hours a week at Starbucks, have chicken coops, ride their bikes all day, everyday.  Or at least, the east side of Portland fits that description.  The west ...
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Title 24 Update: Are You Ready?
Are you considering any alterations or additions to your home? Or breaking ground on any new residential construction?  If yes, there are some changes taking place in California's building code standards that you should be aware of.  At a recent AIA East Bay Small Firm Forum, Gina Rodda of Gabel ...
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Universal Design is not just Design for Aging or Design for Independence
The term “Universal Design” and "Design for Aging" are commonly used in the design community, but what does it actually mean? According to MJ Lee, a recent Master’s graduate of San Francisco State University, Design for Aging is the desire to live in one’s home as long as possible – ...
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Attention All Architects – Join Us!
New Avenue is launching an Architect’s Profile feature for our website and we would love your input.  Our cloud-based collaboration program connects homeowners to the architect and takes care of the paperwork, helping them through the complicated process of designing and building sustainable accessory dwellings. Now we are ready to showcase ...
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Planning and Building Permits Required For a Kitchen Remodel, Master Bath and Bedroom Addition in San Rafael, CA
At New Avenue we have paid over 30 different types of permits to get residential projects approved. We recently completed a conversion of a nearly 100 year old duplex back to it's original single family home while also adding a two story addition for a master suite, master bath and nursery ...
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/ Addition, Permits, Remodel
Concord Open House – Saturday, April 5
A wonderful project of ours is nearing completion, and we're opening it up for you to see Saturday, April 5th, from 12-2pm. We’ll be there answering any questions you have about our process and how projects like this work. Feel free to share this invitation with your friends and family ...
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/ Accessory Dwelling, Press
How do I get permits for an accessory dwelling (ADU)?
Navigating the planning and building permit offices in your city or county when trying to build an accessory dwelling or structure can be a frustrating experience. You walk in with some simple ideas and often walk out feeling more confused with little or no options. After dealing with many ...
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/ Accessory Dwelling, Permits
SJ House in Construction 6
Sustainability Exhibit & Museum in Palo Alto – Open to the Public
New Avenue build this modular home as a model of sustainability for the City of San Jose's Clean Energy Showcase.  The home displays net-zero energy living and green building products. The home demonstrates how comfortably one can live in a small footprint, energy efficient cottage. Coupled with high quality craftsmanship, the ...
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/ Blog
New Avenue Backyard Cottage in the News
It's great to see another one of our projects in the news. InMenlo wrote a feature article on an accessory dwelling in Menlo Park that we helped build for a family who wanted a backyard cottage to live closer together. InMenlo describes the 750 sqft house as "spacious" and "well laid ...
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/ Accessory Dwelling, Press
Lessons on Rightsizing vs. Downsizing – When to Expand and When to Contract
What is Downsizing? In downsizing, you reduce or eliminate the amount of content and clutter in your house. If you are moving from the three bedroom house that you and your spouse raised your children in over the past 10, 20 or 25 years to a considerably smaller house, cottage, ...
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/ Process, Uncategorized
Home as a Source
Is it a House or a Home? A happy home is the single spot of rest which a man has upon this earth for the cultivation of his noblest sensibilities. (Frederick William Robertson, Sermons Preached at Trinity Chapel, Brighton) One of life’s lessons is that there are many differences between ...
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/ Uncategorized
Stresses for Building a New Home or Backyard Cottage
“A crust eaten in peace is better than a banquet partaken in anxiety.”            Aesop, Fables It makes perfect sense: those who are proficient at handling stress in their everyday lives are more likely to better handle the potential stress of building a new home. And, ...
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/ Uncategorized
House Rules…. Living Close to Family (Again)
"We have freedoms and boundaries; we just have a great family life.” - unknown “A loving atmosphere in your home is the foundation for your life.” – Dalai Lama “Fathers should be neither seen nor heard. That is the only proper basis for family life.” Oscar Wilde The holidays ...
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Berkeley Open House – Almost Completed Backyard Cottage
Email info@newavenuehomes.com to RSVP and get the address! Please Join Us for an Open House in Berkeley THIS SATURDAY! Nov. 23rd, 12-2 PM One of our favorite projects is almost done and we're opening it up for you to see this Saturday, Nov. 23rd from 12-2pm in Berkeley. We’ll be there answering ...
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/ Uncategorized
Granny Flats: What Neighborhoods Need.
The Better Block wrote a great blog post this week about the need for granny flats, or accessory dwelling units, in neighborhoods. They clearly explain how these "tiny homes do far more than increase density for neighborhoods, they also provide much needed affordable housing options for young people fresh out of ...
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/ Uncategorized
Kim’s Open House, 99% Done! – Sep. 28 in El Cerrito, CA
Click to RSVP and we'll email you the address of Kim's Open House. New Avenue is having two open houses coming up soon and the first one is this Saturday, September 28, 2013, from 1:00 to 4:00 in El Cerrito, CA! We'll be there answering any questions you have about ...
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/ Events
Summer in Southern Ontario (Backyard Cottages Galore!)
I’m just back from a week in Silver Bay, Ontario where I had a great time with family and old friends. Silver Bay is a little bay on Lake Erie south of Toronto and west of Buffalo, NY. I grew up spending summers here and spent time in and around ...
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Wine and Cheese at Kim’s Open House in El Cerrito, CA, on August 17, 2013
New Avenue is holding an Open House at Kim's Cottage in El Cerrito, CA, on Saturday, August 17, 2013 from 2PM to 4PM. RSVP below for the address! The project is a 362-square foot accessory dwelling unit with that will have a bed, bathroom, and a kitchen and living area ...
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/ Events
Cheeseboard at Chez Mona! Berkeley, CA, Open House – August 1, 2013
What: Join us next Thursday at Chez Mona's for a tour of a Work-In-Progress backyard cottage. Why:  Why Chez Mona and not Casa Mona?  Because it's a block from Chez Panisse.   That means it's also a block from Cheeseboard Pizza, Philz Coffee and Gregoire.   Are you wondering why should ...
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/ Events
A Couple Inspiring Remodels
Many people may view Accessory Dwelling Units as unusual and creative living spaces, somewhere between a home, an apartment, and a vacation cottage.  In some cases we agree with those people and part of the fun behind owning a New Avenue home is that they are pretty unique structures.  However, ...
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/ Remodel
Passive House Concept
The Passive House Institute (Passivhaus Institut) is a distinctly German independent research institute that focuses on the development of the Passive House concept.  This concept is the only internationally recognized, performance based standard in the construction industry.  The Passive House Institute performs research into new building materials, products, and performs ...
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Five Great Products for Organizing Your Life From Houzz
When moving into a New Avenue ADU it’s important to find ways to organize all of your things.  Some people may see this as a burden, but most New Avenue clients see it as an opportunity to do some major spring cleaning and start new with a freshly organized home.  ...
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/ Blog
Minimalist Living
Living a minimalist life can take many different forms from Henry David Thoreau living on the shores of Walden Pond to a couple downsizing from a large house to a New Avenue Accessory Dwelling Unit.  The basic principal of minimalist living is that cutting out the clutter in your life ...
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/ Blog
Like It’s Not Even There: Net Zero-Energy Accessory Dwellings
An Accessory Dwelling Unit (ADU), guest house or backyard cottage, even when just built to current building code, is efficient and maximizes an existing yard for a better use of space.  At New Avenue we are always interested in taking a few extra steps in sustainability and one such option ...
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/ Accessory Dwelling, Blog
Highlights from the Boomer Venture Summit 2013
At this year’s Boomer Venture Summit there was an event called the Business Plan Competition where several companies presented their products and services in compact 5 minute presentations for a $10,000 grand prize.  There was another event that New Avenue’s own Kevin Casey took a part in called Distribution Pitches ...
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/ Blog
Salvaged Redwood
Salvaged redwood is a popular building material used to achieve the natural and rustic character appealing to many. The de-nailed material will usually have extractive “black” bleeding from the tannic acids and the nails. Although the holes, knicks, and scratches that remain help define the look and feel, they are ...
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/ Great Products
Joan’s Pied-à-terre
A pied-à-terre, or small home away from home, is what a couple is building for Joan, the mother-in-law of and Rob and mother of Rebecca, in the Thousand Oaks neighborhood of Berkeley, CA. New Avenue is working with the family to replace an existing shed with a new 346 square ...
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/ Accessory Dwelling, Blog
Surprise New Location for Open House This Weekend – Two blocks from Sunset Magazine’s Celebration Weekend
Thanks to a gracious offer from one of our clients, we are moving our open house this weekend from the Palo Alto EcoHome to Erin's In-Law Apartment in Menlo Park.  This home is just two blocks up Willow Road from the Sunset Magazine Celebration Weekend Festival. Last week we wrote ...
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Menlo Park Accessory Dwelling: Architecture plans and construction photos of Erin’s In-Law Apartment
A 3 bed, 2 bath home will be turning into a 4 bed, 3 bath home plus a 470 sf separate two-car garage. Erin contacted New Avenue in April 2012 to help her remodel and expand her home in Menlo Park, CA. The project is weeks from completion. Erin had ...
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/ Accessory Dwelling, Blog
Dennis and Lisa’s ADU in El Cerrito, CA
Dennis and Lisa, two young parents from El Cerrito, CA, contacted us in the summer of 2011 with the idea of replacing a huge old chicken coop in their backyard with a nice little cottage for Dennis’s mother. Having grown up nearby, Dennis wants to invest wisely in their character-rich ...
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/ Accessory Dwelling, Blog
node_9508_user_51_Berkeley logo
Supporting ADUs at Berkeley City Council Meeting April 30, 2013
 New Avenue is going to be attending the City of Berkeley’s council meeting next week on April 30, 2013, to voice support for making it easier to develop and permit accessory dwelling units (ADUs). We are looking for a couple of people to join us at this event and speak ...
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/ Events
Foothill ADU in Fairfax, CA
Moises, a retired surgeon, and Kathleen, the local small business owner of gift and plant boutique The Potting Shed, are making room for family and friends in Fairfax, CA. They contacted New Avenue back in the fall of 2012 looking to create a backyard cottage. Located at the foot of ...
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/ Accessory Dwelling
Best for the World Overall LG
New Avenue Honored as ‘Best for the World’ for Creating Most Overall Positive Social and Environmental Impact
Recognized with 66 Other Companies Across 20 Countries and 25 Industries As Leader in Redefining Success in Business Recently, New Avenue was named “Best for the World” for creating the most overall social and environmental impact. 67 companies worldwide were recognized by the nonprofit B Lab, with the release ...
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/ Events, Press
Rendering
La Casita: 1 Bed 1 Bath Cottage in Walnut Creek
Note: You can create an account on our website to start a design book and collect these pictures for your small home project brainstorming, or you can contact us. Hillary and John, a young couple in Walnut Creek, CA, contacted New Avenue early this year. They want to build a senior-friendly backyard cottage ...
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/ Accessory Dwelling
Scheme E - Elevations
John and Kathleen’s Santa Cruz ADU in its Early Stages
You can save the floor plans on this blog post to your New Avenue design book from here. “I live in Santa Cruz and have a decently large lot, and we want to build an accessory dwelling unit (ADU) with a garage in our backyard for my father-in-law,” John inquired ...
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/ Accessory Dwelling
On Change Orders
It can be difficult to perfectly calculate the cost of building a house. Some degree of uncertainty is found in project site conditions, time and labor allotment, risks, and our human preferences and behaviors. In project management, change orders are a common and natural communiqué between the owner, contractor, and ...
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/ Blog, Platform, Process
Bringing up the walls and framing.
Joe and Farmer Jane Build a Studio – Part 1
Meet two Do-It-Yourself small home builders Joe and “Farmer Jane”.  The couple is taking an educational and practical journey of adding a 250 square foot studio in their backyard. They plan to move into it and rent out their main home. Downsizing would greatly reduce their housing costs and give them ...
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/ Accessory Dwelling, Blog
Five Elements of Passive Solar Design - From WBDG
Passive Solar Design
If the location and configuration of your project allows for it, passive solar design is something that can be considered in the building architecture. In this approach, windows, walls, floors, and landscaping are strategically chosen and placed to provide heating, cooling, and daylighting to the building. Effectively designed, passive solar ...
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/ Blog, Process
Custom 1,500 Square Foot 2 bedroom 2 bath Home in Berkeley, CA
Size: 1100 square feet on the ground floor, 400 on the second floor 2 stories 2 bedrooms, plus a playroom and office 2 baths. This home in Berkeley's historic Elmwood neighborhood has both a colorful past and future. When the owners purchased their main home they inherited a dilapidated house ...
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/ Custom Home, Uncategorized
Colorado Carriage House - Entry Elevation
A Large Passion for Small Homes
New Avenue recently had the opportunity to sit and chat about Accessory Dwelling Units with Architect Michael Rex, principal of Michael Rex Associates in Sausalito, California. “This building type is a bit of a passion of mine, having once lived in a wonderful one-room houseboat for 18 years and worked ...
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/ Accessory Dwelling
Protected: Jan. 12, 2013 Albany, CA – Open House Thank You
This content is password protected. To view it please enter your password below: Password: ...
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/ Events
Orinda Mayor Awards New Avenue Cottage
The mayor of Orinda, CA, has awarded New Avenue’s Spring’s Cottage project with the Mayor’s Award for Excellence in Architecture in 2012! This honor recognizes “excellence in residential design and downtown property improvements which make an extraordinary contribution to the character and livability of Orinda neighborhoods and the vitality of downtown.” ...
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/ Accessory Dwelling, Press
Tim Seggerman Talks about Design
This week I got in touch Tim Seggerman of the Tim Seggerman Design and Building Workshop in New York and asked the designer about his influences and outlook: On Ideas “I carry my inspirations with me all the time, though by now they're mostly hidden from view. I came to ...
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/ Blog
Harvesting Rain
Would you like to save some money on your water bill? Harvesting rainwater will help you conserve both water and money. This water is non-potable but is useful for watering your lawn, landscape, or garden, toilet flushing, or even connecting a washing machine to it for year-round water. Rainwater harvesting ...
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/ Blog
Permeable Paving
If you’re developing your driveway, parkway, patio, pool perimeter, or even your entire backyard, consider looking into permeable paving for your hardscape. There are many permeable pavement solutions: pervious concrete, plastic grids, porous asphalt, aggregate, porous turf, interlocking pavers and bricks, and recycled glass porous pavement. These green options allow stormwater to ...
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/ Blog
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3 Solar Options to Achieve Net-Zero
Photo from geograph.org. We've written about net zero design and construction before. A net zero home is designed for hyper efficient energy consumption and uses a renewable power system, typically wind or solar, to produce the power it needs. Let's take a look at the trade-offs between 3 to put ...
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/ Blog
Workers clearing away rubble.
Learning About Residential Demolition
Demolition is the tearing down of buildings and other structures. It is a process that clears the old and makes way for the new. While the general idea behind the mechanical procedures is not alien to most of us, the legal procedures can be. When you’re preparing your property to ...
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/ Blog
New Avenue Process Series: Phase V – Months 18-26
The hard work of making design decisions, planning and permitting is now over. Phase V is when you get to watch it come to life. Depending on site conditions and the size of the home construction will take 2-4 months.  (click image to enlarge) The most satisfying and remarkable ...
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New Avenue Process Phase IV – Months ~8-12
In Phase IV it’s time to put the full permitting process, with all the proper documentation, into motion with your city’s building department. The building permit fee and impact fees are paid to the city at this time. The processing time to receive a building permit can vary from 2 ...
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New Avenue Process Phase III – Months 3-9
The principal focus of Phase III is choosing the specific products to go into your project like floor type, siding, windows and doors, roofing, tiling, faucets and other fixtures. We work on scheduling all of the subcontractors. Though small homes are small construction projects a remarkably large number of people ...
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New Avenue Process Phase II – Months 2-4
Our clients typically take a couple weeks to digest the estimate before deciding to continue so we pick up Phase II at week 10. Two fundamental project components are in place from Phase I. We understand the zoning & permitting requirements that need to be followed for your city, and ...
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New Avenue Process – Research and Design Books
It’s crucial to dedicate appropriate time to gather your thoughts and consult with friends, family membera and neighbors before making a decision to start. Take the time to collect ideas in design magazines, looking online, visiting friends cottages, attending open houses, snapping photos of styles you like and deciding what ...
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The Design/Build Process The Every Project Follows
How do I make a backyard cottage happen? The core of New Avenue’s business is knowing how to do this and knowing how to make the process enjoyable for our clients. Cottages are small but involved construction projects. Building a new home in your backyard is a personal and creative ...
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Ideas for Breezeways and Small Kitchens
A New Avenue Design Book lets you collect and organize dream ideas for a future small home or backyard cottage. Here are some brand new photos for inspiration. Click to save to your Design Book or start one in under a minute. BREEZEWAYS Connect your cottage to the main home in style ...
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/ Blog
Why New Avenue is doing what we’re doing – SOCAP12
Last week, New Avenue was awarded a Social Entrepreneur scholarship to attend the SOCAP12. SOCAP is a unique event with a mission that can't help but inspire -"a conference series dedicated to increasing the flow of capital towards social good." It's a forum for impact investors, social entrepreneurs, philanthropists, civic ...
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/ Blog
builderlink_logo
BuilderLink with New Avenue: Building (Very) Small Homes
From http://mynetwork.yourbuilderlink.com/pg/pages/view/140827/ Building (Very) Little Houses Podcast #019 length: 29 mins. Well there may not be a housing boom, but for non-traditional, smaller homes, there may be a growing market. On this podcast, Greg and Angel Menchaca speak with Kevin Casey, CEO and Founder of New Avenue Homes, and talk ...
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/ Press
New Avenue Process Phase I – Months 0-4
The time estimates you see here and in the following posts are averages for how long things take when you factor in life made busy by kids and work and family and everything else. It’s possible to go faster, definitely possible to go slower, but on average the process will ...
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The Airbnb Cottage
How interesting might this combination be? I was recently speaking to a potential client and while standing in their backyard I started chatting with the neighbor. In our over the fence chat, the neighbor noted that she converted her garage into a backyard cottage years ago and recently figured ...
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/ Accessory Dwelling, Blog
European Style Curbless Showers – Why and How
A common feature associated with European bath design is the curbless, tiled, step-in shower.            We like this design style for a couple reasons.  First, it's great for small areas. Curbless showers help small baths feel open and spacious with a continuous flow of tile and ...
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/ Blog
Backyard Cottage in Albany, CA
Judy, Jessie, Karen and Family, This cottage is part of a much larger plan for a growing family as it allows three generations to share this cute Albany, California home. Judy has lived in the main home for over thirty years and raised her daughter Jessie here. Judy gave the ...
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/ Accessory Dwelling
Susan’s Cottage in Berkeley, CA
This little cottage is all about bringing family together. It is located on a quiet East Bay block that is lined with cute California bungalows. Susan, the owner, will initially use this as extra space when her daughter, son-in-law, and grandchild, are visiting from their home in Israel. Susan's ...
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Teragren – Great example of 360 Sustainability
A couple months ago we posted a praise of Fireclay Tile for their success in making beautiful tile and setting a high bar for sustainable, local manufacturing. Companies who make it their mission to deliver value across multiple spectrums are our favorite recommendations to clients. For this post we want to ...
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/ Blog, Great Products
Velux Sun Tunnels – Natural Light is the Best Light
One easy guideline to designing spaces where people want to spend time is including plenty of natural light.  A request for "a lot of natural light" is typically in the top five desired features when discussing initial design with clients. It's even accurate to say natural light holds the number one ...
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/ Blog, Great Products
The Nest Thermostat – A new standard recommendation for our cottages.
Building a new home, even a small home in your backyard, means making a ton of decisions about design and products. One of our main responsibilities to clients is helping them navigate towards product selections that will make the home more efficient, less costly and more comfortable. The Nest Learning ...
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/ Blog, Great Products
A Net-Zero Discussion with DSA Architects
Dan Smith and Dietmar Lorenz at DSA Architects believe that any house in California should be close to net-zero energy, especially new construction. They also have the know how to back up this goal. Dan and Dietmar are experts in net-zero design and construction with a savvy eye towards cost ...
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/ Blog, Great Products
Dayrit_Siding_
New Open House Sunday July 1st 1-3pm Berkeley, CA. RSVP to attend
OPEN HOUSE SUNDAY JULY 1ST 1-3pm. Berkeley CA. RSVP to Attend This Berkeley client lives in the Elmwood Neighborhood in Berkeley and inherited what was once a beautiful carriage house in the backyard. Over several decades the early 1900 construction wore down and rotted into an unusable structure that was ...
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/ Blog
more-pics_tych
Cottages Approaching Completion
We've uploaded a bunch of new pictures of backyard homes and cottages in construction, approaching completion, or already completed. Check them out and see a little of what is involved in breaking ground and building a small home.
/ Accessory Dwelling
windowfarms2
Indoor Gardening with Windowfarms
Who doesn’t love fresh herbs? If you have the patience and a meager minute every few days to spare, one thing you can invest in are indoor mini-gardens. As the name suggests, these are accessible, portable gardens you would set up inside your home. With minimal effort and skill, one ...
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/ Blog, Great Products
The Shiksa Knife Magnet Strip
5 Ideas to Create More Space in Your Small Kitchen
Two features that make a small kitchen feel bigger are open counter space and plenty of storage. If you have open space to chop, mix and assemble your dishes it will feel like a comfortable place to spend some time cooking for yourself, friends and family. These are some of ...
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/ Blog, Great Products
Fireclay Tile – A model for local, sustainable manufacturing
One of our goals when helping clients choose finish items for their new home or cottage is to find and recommend high quality products with a high value to price relationship.  We want the interior finishes choices to reflect our design and engineering focus on sustainability and longevity. Among our ...
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/ Blog, Great Products
Left and Center: Products from Amazon (see below). Right: My own setup.
Small House Design – Storage Ideas – Hanging Shoe Organizers
Are you greeted by an array of shoes near the front door when you step into your home? If you own at most around ten pairs of shoes and your entryway looks like a scattered shoe store display, perhaps it is time to invest in a better place for your ...
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/ Blog
Reducing Clutter
Living in smaller spaces doesn't mean you have to feel like you are living in a tiny box. You can bring the feeling of spaciousness to your small spaces with the simple practice of reducing clutter. Below is a list of some common clutter that can be readily cleaned up ...
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/ Blog
Planning & Zoning Permits? Yes we can
When a homeowner first has the idea to add a cottage or office or art studio or addition of any kind, it is an exciting, creative brainstorm about how you can re-imagine your living space.  The next set of thoughts aren’t nearly as fun. They are usually something along the ...
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/ Blog, Permits
New Avenue $1,000,000 backyard cottage
$1,000,000 In-Law: Zillow Determines Our Backyard Cottage is Insanely Valuable!
According to Zillow's "automated valuation model", New Avenue's eco home in Palo Alto is worth $1,025,000! At New Avenue we have been lucky to have great clients from all types of neighborhoods embrace backyard cottages and second units. One of our biggest surprises is that the more expensive a ...
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/ Accessory Dwelling, Blog
Compact Living: Display Devices
Consider televisions and computer monitors. You may be thinking of two discrete devices: one dedicated television broadcast programming, the other dedicated to office work. Functionally, however, they both project moving picture. As a recent graduate from UC Berkeley, I’ve experienced a smaller living-situation in triple-room student housing and have seen ...
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/ Blog
$1,000 for a “free” salvaged window
Salvaging windows and finding crazy deals on Craigslist can be fun, sustainable and affordable. But salvaged windows can also be costly if they aren't part of the plan from the very beginning. In one of our favorite projects for our favorite clients we used several reclaimed windows in a little ...
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B Lab Recognizes New Avenue
New Avenue Recognized in First ‘Best for the World’ List of Businesses With Less Than 10 Employees Creating Most Overall Positive Social and Environmental Impact ‘Best for the World’ Businesses Score 50% Higher Than Nearly 2,000 Other Sustainable Businesses in Most Comprehensive Assessment of Overall Corporate Impact Top 10% Among ...
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/ Blog, Press
A Nation to Build a Cottage
About a week ago we posted an insightful reflection from one of our clients Kitty. Upon being asked the question “what did you learn that was totally unexpected?” she matter-of-factly and humorously responded “So...Many...People.” Kitty was commenting on all she had seen before construction started and her observation continues to ...
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/ Blog
Under the Stairs
Stairs and Ladders for small spaces and lofts... The most coveted design feature in a small home is any idea that will give you as much space and storage as possible. When you have a small footprint to work with, lofts and second stories are a great way to add ...
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/ Blog
Accessory Dwelling Mediterranean Design in Orinda, CA
Size: 674 square feet 1 story 1 bed 1 bath At the end of a long narrow driveway this Spanish-style cottage is tucked between twisty old oak trees and towering redwoods. Spring’s new cottage is a beautiful 674 square foot home that has a double-sided glass fireplace that faces both ...
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/ Accessory Dwelling, Uncategorized
Smartplanet
Downsizing to an eco-friendly home
New Avenue Homes founder Kevin Casey is rethinking how we live by focusing on multi-generational living, where grandparents, parents, and kids share one piece of land with two homes on it. The parents and kids live in the main house and the grandparents live in an eco-friendly backyard cottage that ...
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/ Accessory Dwelling, Press
26 Families in 2011
For New Avenue, 2011 started with nearly 500 people attending our first open house in Berkeley and by year-end we were working on 15 new homes that will help 26 families enjoy a new and better lifestyle. Why are there nearly twice as many families as homes? Because when a ...
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/ Blog
New Avenue at PCBC 2011
PCBC was launched in 1959 as a small educational conference at the Sheraton Palace Hotel in San Francisco. Since then, then show has evolved to become homebuilding's most innovative event on the Pacific Coast, where the industry's most influential trendsetters gather to share ideas and information. The PCBC community, has ...
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/ Blog
certified_b_corp
Second Units for Stronger Communities: B the Change New Avenue
New Avenue Homes of Berkeley, CA is taking a small approach to solving a big problem. Most of us live in more space than we need, and sink more time and money than we would like into maintaining these large spaces. A practical approach to solving that problem is ...
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/ Accessory Dwelling, Press
Jetson Green
Clean Tech Accessory Dwelling in San Jose
New Avenue Homes, builder of a popular NZE tiny house in Berkeley, has a new Clean Tech Exhibit home on display in San Jose. The home has a living room, kitchenette, bedroom, bathroom, storage, and all sorts of green technology and sustainable materials. New Avenue prefabricated the structure and estimates ...
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/ Accessory Dwelling, Press
bankrate
Get income from accessory dwelling units
During retirement, sources of retirement income typically come from Social Security and a retiree's own savings. But seniors around the country are finding that adding a second, independent living space to their homes can provide welcome extra income as rentals. Called accessory dwelling units, or ADUs, these in-law units or ...
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/ Costs, Press
East Bay Green Corridor
New Avenue Homes: Going Big with Small
Green Corridor entrepreneur Kevin Casey is proof that the biggest ideas come in small packages – and in the field of energy efficiency, the smaller the better. Casey was a graduate student at UC Berkeley’s Haas School of Business when he first became inspired by the idea of “net-zero” ...
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/ Press
diablo_square
Wins for: Providing eco-chic housing, without building up or sprawling out.
From Micro to Macro: 2011 Eco Awards 2/ Micro: The Delaware House Wins for: Providing eco-chic housing, without building up or sprawling out. A new backyard cottage on Delaware Street in Berkeley provides city planning clues that scale beyond its tiny stature. Finished last fall, the 420-square-foot Delaware Cottage exemplifies ...
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/ Press
SF Business Times
New Avenue builds infill model
Picking the right word was everything for New Avenue’s affordable housing. Just the phrase “affordable housing” scared affluent neighborhoods fearful of multi-story blight. Founder Kevin Casey needed something quaint, cozy, friendly — he needed to sell the idea of a “backyard cottage.” Once armed with the right words to ...
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/ Press
fine_homebuilding
Could There Be a Boom of Backyard In-law Cottages?
In the nearly three years I spent researching and writing a book about accessory dwelling units—In-laws, Outlaws, and Granny Flats: Your guide to turning one house into two homes—I thought I had seen every variation of designing and building ADUs out there. But as I was putting the book ...
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/ Press
haas
Sustainable Consumption: The Challenge and Opportunity
In just twenty years, by the time today's toddlers reach college, global consumption will have fundamentally changed: 2.6 billion new consumers will have joined the middle class, expecting and demanding the same quality of life that Americans enjoy today. Low-income consumers will represent a market of another $5 trillion ...
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/ Press
uc_berkeley_news_center
Backyard solutions to urban planning issues
BERKELEY — The tiny cottage may have a big future, if a recent open house in Berkeley is any indication. Some 500 visitors, including state and local elected officials, environmental leaders, representatives of the buildings trades, academics, neighbors and the just-plain-curious, flocked to a new, 420-square-foot cottage to examine ...
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/ Press
chronicle_of_highered
A Professor’s Tiny House Is a Model for Different Living
The San Francisco Chronicle features an article today about a tiny house with a big impact that is sitting in a professor’s backyard. Karen Chapple, an associate professor of city and regional planning at the University of California at Berkeley, worked with students in engineering and design to build a ...
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/ Press
sf_chronicle
Berkeley zero net energy cottage deserves study
Karen Chapple's just-built second home looks exactly like what it is: a cottage that packs 450 square feet of living space into a traditional shell with a pitched roof, warm wooden walls and a shaded front porch. Old news - except that it sits tucked behind a century-old bungalow on ...
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/ Press
Apartment-Therapy
A Berkeley Professor’s Tiny Backyard Cottage
When Professor Karen Chappel asked some students in UC Berkeley's College of Environmental Design to design her backyard cottage, they came up with the structure you see above: a 450-square-foot cottage that's net-zero energy and incorporates solar panels. Continue to full article: http://www.apartmenttherapy.com/a-berkeley-professors-tiny-hom-137002 ...
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/ Press
El Cerritto Patch
Little House Could Mean Big Environmental and Housing Gains
Politicians, environmentalists, academics, builders and the curious packed a tiny house and the yard surrounding it in West Berkeley Saturday to talk about what many of them said could be the next big thing for communities like El Cerrito. Among those gathered were El Cerrito Mayor Ann Cheng, Berkeley Mayor ...
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/ Press
Curbed SF
City of Berkeley Guest House Ribbon Cutting by New Avenue
Over in Berkeley Mayor Tom Bates attended a ribbon cutting ceremony for a 420-square foot cottage in the backyard of a home on Delaware Street. What's all the fuss about? One company thinks creating small, sustainable secondary units on private property is the alternative to creating unsustainable suburban sprawl ...
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/ Press
Berkeleyside Blog
A city looks for big solutions in little – very little – houses
On Saturday, Mayor Tom Bates will cut the ribbon on a new home on Delaware Street in Berkeley. It’s not every day a city leader takes the time to welcome a new dwelling into his fold, and this home is not big, nor particularly special; in fact it’s positively diminutive ...
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/ Press
Clinton Global Initiative
Clinton Global Initiative
When Kevin Casey proposed the idea of constructing homes which emit no carbon dioxide to a Design for Sustainable Communities course at University of California Berkeley, an impressive team of engineering and urban planning graduate students signed on to test the idea. After testing the business plan for financing and ...
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/ Press
greenbelt_square
Greenbelt Alliance
Just one month after Greenbelt Alliance endorsed New Avenue, Inc.’s model for creating sustainable in-law homes, the company is nearing completion of its first in-law suite in Berkeley. New Avenue uses an innovative development model that weaves small cottages and in-law suites into existing backyards throughout our communities. This vision ...
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/ Press
Lester Center Logo
Small Homes Make for Great (and Green) Neighbors
While traditional banks and builders spent 2008 trying to dig themselves out of a mess, Haas start-up New Avenue Inc. applied an innovative business model to sweeping legislative changes to create a new path for creating sustainable communities. Continue to full article (PDF) ...
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/ Press
Fireplace - Craftsman Tile
Restoration & Remodel of a Historic Home in Alameda
Nick, Laine and their twin boys had outgrown their condo in San Francisco and need space and a lawn to play. They bought a 4,800 square foot 3 bedroom, 4 bathroom, 110 year old home that is 110 years old. The home needed extensive work as it had been decades since ...
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/ Custom Home, Link, Remodel
We standardize and automate the process so your remodel, addition or custom home experience will be amazing
Designing and building an addition, remodel or custom home is a complicated process that involves one to two years of planning and then 45+ people to do the actual construction. At New Avenue our qualified and proven local professionals can design and build your project.  We supplement the talented pros ...
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How Long To Build a Custom Home or Remodel a Home
We reviewed all of our completed projects and found the following timeframe for construction:
  • The maximum construction time was 13 months
  • The fastest build was four months (this was during the 2010 recession and everyone was ready to work at a moment's notice) 
  • The average time to build a project is ...
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Cost of a custom home in Silicon Valley
We recently completed a bid for a 2,886 square foot custom home in Los Altos, CA.  This is the heart of Silicon Valley. This is a just under $1,000,000 for just under 3,000 square feet.  That budget does not include the architecture, engineering and permitting which can be another $250,000 ...
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Cost of a remodel and restoration of a 100+ year old historic home in The San Francisco Bay Area
This article is part of a series of posts on real project costs.  New Avenue is the leading national design/build network.  Our architect and contractor partners use our online platform to provided their bids and process their invoices.  As such we get a unique collection of project costs.  We share ...
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Cost to build a large custom home (5,000 square foot 5 bed six bath)
This article is part of a series of posts on real project costs.  New Avenue is the leading national design/build system.  Homeowners and contractors enter bids  in our system and send and receive payments for completed work.  Any changes are submitted by the contractor and approved by the owner before ...
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Permit costs and time to build a duplex, triplex or accessory dwelling
We get calls every week with people asking about adding another home to a single family home to create a duplex, or converting a garage behind a duplex to make a triplex, or just adding a small accessory dwelling. Effectively, these are all the same from a design and building ...
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Client Quotes and Referrals
We've been fortunate to receive a lot of nice feedback from the clients, architects and contractors that we work with.   We typically share this list when a potential client asks for a reference in order to verify a construction budget, construction schedule, building permit process or costs. Thanks for the ...
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The Owner’s Perspective: The High Point and Low Point of Designing and Building a Custom Home Outside of New York City
"Designing and building a house is one of those few things I don't think someone can really relate to and get their arms around until they actually go through it." - Our clients reaction as he breaks ground on his dream home. We recently interviewed one of our project owners ...
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5 Biggest Surprises When Designing and Building a Custom Home in The Berkshires
We recently interviewed one of our project owners and asked for their top 5 surprises.  They came back with 6.  That alone says something about designing and building a home! This owner just broke ground on a custom home that is over $1 million in construction costs. So what were ...
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/ Custom Home, Platform, Process
Additions, Remodels, and Custom Homes – Phase I
This is a guest post by David Locicero, a Partner Architect in the New Avenue Design/Build Network. David has successfully uses the New Avenue platform to design, permit and build projects around the San Francisco Bay Area.  To read more about the platform click here: New Avenue There are five ...
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Cost of Building Permits for a Custom Home in Mill Valley and Marin County
Millennials Take Marin! In idyllic Mill Valley of Marin County, CA there is an interesting trend happening.  People are building new custom homes again - and the clients are a surprising bunch: Millennials! To quote one of New Avenue's partner architects who is designing the home we feature in this ...
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/ Costs, Custom Home
Cost to design, permit and build a four bedroom two bath new custom home in Berkeley, CA
This is the cost to build a custom home in California.  This home has four bedrooms with two converted to an office and a playroom. Costs to build in most cities in California will be very similar to this home in Berkeley. Any custom home you design will have a different ...
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/ Costs, Custom Home
How long does it take to build a custom dream homes. Plan on 6 Years!
Many of us dream of building a getaway.  Whether it's in the country, in the mountains or by the water it will be a process that even the luckiest of us may only do once. One of our project owners started working with New Avenue after they completed their design ...
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/ Custom Home, Process
My Home – What It’s All About
I recently thought to write about the home I grew up in.  Our business is about homes and families.  It's all about people.  When we talk to clients, the first thing we ask about are your goals and the second thing we ask about is your family.  When we talk to potential architect ...
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/ Custom Home, Platform
How to Build or Remodel a Home for $250 per square foot, $300 per square foot or $500 per square foot
The best way to think about a major investment is your monthly cost and the monthly value. One common question that people have about design and construction is "what does it cost per square foot?". Is the greatest kitchen you can ever imagine worth $500 per month in enjoyment?  Or is it ...
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/ Costs, Custom Home
A Country Getaway in Wyoming: A New Home, Barn and Office in Alta, Wyoming
Carlo, A hedge fund manager based in San Francisco used New Avenue to design and build a ski house outside of Jackson Hole Wyoming. The ski house has a main home, and barn/office.  The main home is a four bedroom ski house with a rustic modern look while the barn ...
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/ Custom Home
Carriage House
Carriage Houses and Second Dwelling Units of San Ramon
The City of San Ramon is seeking to amend their development standards to encourage more second dwelling units.  According to their housing element, the city will revise the zoning ordinance to facilitate second unit development.  Specifically, 50 second dwelling units within the 2014-2022 housing element planning period. What qualifies as ...
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Summer in Southern Ontario (Backyard Cottages Galore!)
I’m just back from a week in Silver Bay, Ontario where I had a great time with family and old friends. Silver Bay is a little bay on Lake Erie south of Toronto and west of Buffalo, NY. I grew up spending summers here and spent time in and around ...
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Passive House Concept
The Passive House Institute (Passivhaus Institut) is a distinctly German independent research institute that focuses on the development of the Passive House concept.  This concept is the only internationally recognized, performance based standard in the construction industry.  The Passive House Institute performs research into new building materials, products, and performs ...
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Custom 1,500 Square Foot 2 bedroom 2 bath Home in Berkeley, CA
Size: 1100 square feet on the ground floor, 400 on the second floor 2 stories 2 bedrooms, plus a playroom and office 2 baths. This home in Berkeley's historic Elmwood neighborhood has both a colorful past and future. When the owners purchased their main home they inherited a dilapidated house ...
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/ Custom Home, Uncategorized
We standardize and automate the process so your remodel, addition or custom home experience will be amazing
Designing and building an addition, remodel or custom home is a complicated process that involves one to two years of planning and then 45+ people to do the actual construction. At New Avenue our qualified and proven local professionals can design and build your project.  We supplement the talented pros ...
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Should I create an addition, backyard cottage, or remodel?
New Avenue starts every project with our 30 questions. You can skim these questions and answer a few of them in five minutes or you can spend an hour.  We recommend you spend about 15 minutes. These questions are based on thousands of past client meetings. We also collect feedback ...
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Cost of a basement foundation with egress window
An architect in our network is considering adding a 400 square foot basement below a new 400 square foot addition. It's odd that basements are such a rare thing around here.  Basements are standard for the rest of the country. To excavate a 20'x20' space, it will cost $25,000.  This ...
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How to permit and permit costs of an accessory dwelling vs. an accessory structure in Albany, CA
The Albany Planning Department has a very strict interpretation of an "accessory building" (that is not a dwelling with a kitchen) and what triggers requiring a permit. Based on a conversation in February 2017, if a storage building (accessory structure) that is less than 120 square feet in size has ...
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Legalizing an existing accessory dwelling in-law unit in San Francisco
We know of just one apartment out of an estimated 30,000-40,000 illegal in laws in San Francisco that was legalized! This is the story about that apartment's legalization process. One of our partner architects, David Locicero recently completed the legalization of an existing in law unit in San Francisco.  The ...
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Cost of a Garage Conversion to an Apartment or Accessory Dwelling Near San Francisco
This garage conversion is just over 25% completed at the time of this article. The owner of this home is a young recent Berkeley graduate who bought a home near a local BART station.  He can commute to downtown San Francisco in about 30 minutes (when there aren't BART delays ...
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Award winning accessory dwellings, backyard cottages, and in-law units designed and built by New Avenue
This was our first project, a tiny backyard cottage for a Berkeley professor (the loft is way too small, but that vaulted ceiling is quite nice: https://www.pinterest.com/NewAvenue/karens-cottage-studio-with-a-sleeping-loft/ A cottage we did with Sunset Magazine https://www.pinterest.com/NewAvenue/the-new-backyard-cottage-at-sunset-celebration-wee/ A small cottage with a proper sized loft and nice landscaping/entry: https://www.pinterest.com/NewAvenue/susan-s-cottage-studio-with-upstairs-loft-in-the-e/ This is an ...
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Permit costs and time to build a duplex, triplex or accessory dwelling
We get calls every week with people asking about adding another home to a single family home to create a duplex, or converting a garage behind a duplex to make a triplex, or just adding a small accessory dwelling. Effectively, these are all the same from a design and building ...
Read More
Designing and Building an Accessory Dwelling in Los Angeles
A potential client recently called us to discuss their goal of adding an accessory dwelling to their home in Los Angeles. This owner had verified that his R-1 zoned residence is allowed to add an accessory dwelling.  He had read about the new state law that went into effect on ...
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Redwood City is Removing Parking Requirements for Accessory Dwellings
A series of changes are coming up in the Redwood City zoning code. This PDF lists the currents changes: Redwood City Accessory Dwellings - PublicNoticePCFeb212017ADU Most relevant for many homeowners is the easier parking restrictions. You won't have to pave over a big section of your yard to make parking ...
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/ Accessory Dwelling, Uncategorized
Cost of an Addition in South San Francisco That Includes an Accessory Dwelling
We recently completed a 2 bedroom, one bath, kitchen and living room in 537 square foot addition.  This is for a 1,572 square foot home in South San Francisco.  Affectionately called "Grandma's House", this accessory dwelling is for the mother of the owners. Below you can see the floor plans, site ...
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Cost of a basement remodel and a new guest house with roofdeck
The cost of a major basement remodel and guest house is listed in the attached budget below. This project includes an 899 square foot two story guest house and the remodel of over 1,000 square feet of unfinished basement space into two new apartments. You can open the link below to ...
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/ Accessory Dwelling, Costs, Process, Remodel
Cost of a 660 square foot guest house in Menlo Park
This guest house in Menlo Park, CA is breaking ground next week. The costs are: Architecture: $26,146 Survey: $2,100 Geotechnical Engineering (Soils Report): $3,650 Structural Engineering: $4,400 Energy Efficiency Report: $800 Arborist Report: $1,250 Permits: Planning Permits: $2,102 Building Permits: $3,012 Fire Department Review: $241 Construction $261,251 ($395 per square ...
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/ Accessory Dwelling, Costs, Uncategorized
Cost to design an accessory dwelling in Albany, CA
As part of New Avenue's efforts to educate owners and architects about the timeline and costs to design and permit projects, we are sharing this detailed design proposal for an accessory dwelling in Albany, CA. You can view and download the entire proposal here: Design Proposal Accessory Dwelling Albany Sign up ...
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Cost of a guest house in Atherton California
New Avenue shares design proposals, construction bids and actual costs so that you - as an owner - can be informed as you begin a project. We try to educate owners, architects and contractors about the costs of comparable projects so that it is easier for you to manage your ...
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Cost of a 310 square foot guest house in Berkeley, CA
The cost of a recently completed super small guest house in Berkeley, CA was $130,695.  The full costs are detailed in the line item budget here. A summary of the costs are: $1,200: Survey $3,312: Planning (Zoning) permits $3,650: Structural Engineering $550: Energy efficiency report $2,830: Building permit $563: Mechanical, ...
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/ Accessory Dwelling, Costs, Uncategorized
New Permit Rules for San Leandro Accessory Dwellings Are Coming Soon!
The permit rules in this attachment are important. We have been following the rules and contributing our two cents when possible. Don't be deterred.  The picture on the cover is a shed! That's not what wea are talking about here. Accessory Dwellings are homes.  Many of them are two bedrooms ...
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How tall can my guest house or accessory dwelling? 18 feet is ideal!
The City of Berkeley is currently updating their accessory dwelling codes and height is an issue that is being reviewed.  Many cities struggle with this.  This is a summary of what you get for 14' vs. 18' To calculate the maximum height you measure the height of a building from ...
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Cost of Adding a Master Bedroom Suite and Accessory Dwelling
Below we have the full cost of an addition that is 536 square feet. This addition is an accessory dwelling or mother in law unit in Daly City, CA. The home is a single family ranch home and this is a single story addition too. You can review the full ...
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Plans Small Detached Guest Room in Oakland – Guest House Plans
These are the architectural plans for a small detached guest room in Oakland, CA. New Avenue is the network of architects and contractors that you can trust.  We have completed projects from $100,000 to over $2,500,000. You can sign up to use our project management ...
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Client Quotes and Referrals
We've been fortunate to receive a lot of nice feedback from the clients, architects and contractors that we work with.   We typically share this list when a potential client asks for a reference in order to verify a construction budget, construction schedule, building permit process or costs. Thanks for the ...
Read More
Recent Permit Rules for Creating an Accessory Dwelling in Oakland, CA
The following is a summary of our research into a new accessory dwelling in Oakland, CA.   These answers are based on a conversation directly between one of New Avenue's partner architects and a planner who works for the City of Oakland Planning Department.  These also apply to a specific ...
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Planning and Building Permit Rules for an Accessory Dwelling in Berkeley, CA
At New Avenue we have paid over 30 different types of permits to get residential projects approved.  These are "normal" projects too such as additions, remodels, restorations, accessory dwellings accessory structures and custom homes. One of the architects who is a partner at New Avenue's recently completed in depth research ...
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Sample Accessory Dwelling Guest House Plans – Including Loft Heights
People often ask about loft heights.  At New Avenue we have designed hundreds of lofts and we've spent many nights sleeping in them too:) Old codes in Berkeley, CA there was a max height of an 8' wall, a 12' average height and a 16' peak. With these restrictions you can ...
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Additions, Remodels, and Custom Homes – Phase I
This is a guest post by David Locicero, a Partner Architect in the New Avenue Design/Build Network. David has successfully uses the New Avenue platform to design, permit and build projects around the San Francisco Bay Area.  To read more about the platform click here: New Avenue There are five ...
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Planning and Building Permit Rules For a Remodel, Addition and Accessory Dwelling in Orinda, CA
At New Avenue we have paid over 30 different types of permits to get residential projects approved.  These are "normal" projects too such as additions, remodels, restorations, accessory dwellings accessory structures and custom homes. One of the architects who is a partner at New Avenue's recently completed in depth research ...
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Legalizing an Illegal Unit into a new Legal Accessory Dwelling
"We have a little secret. We have an illegal apartment in our basement/attic/garage, and 40,000 of our neighbors do too. Shhhh, don't tell anybody... " Cities across the country are packed full of illegal units.  It's part of the deal from tiny "bunkies" in rural communities to 1,000 square foot "Game ...
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The Cost of a Guest House or Accessory Dwelling in San Ramon. And How Long It Takes To Build It.
We recently completed a guest house/accessory dwelling in San Ramon, CA.  This is a 701 square foot accessory dwelling with a full kitchen and bathroom. The timeline and cost of the project was: Design Proposal Accepted: October 2014 Permitting Starts: March 2015 Building Permits Issued:October 2015 Construction Starts: October 2015 Construction Finishes: ...
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How Much Does a Guest House in Mountain View Cost? And How Long Does it Take to Build It?
We recently completed a detached 500 square foot one bedroom guest house in Mountain View, CA.  This project started off as an accessory dwelling with a full kitchen but permitting problems drove us to create a little cottage with a bathroom but no kitchen. A kitchen will easily fit in the ...
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Tax Deductions for Your Addition, Remodel or Accessory Dwelling – Great Design for Aging in Place Can Have Big Tax Benefits!
Based on interviews with several accountants, we have learned that planning for your future retirement or helping out a family member with accessibility issues can have significant tax advantages.  Hopefully many people who are struggling with the cost of an addition, remodel, accessory dwelling can benefit from these insights: Anil ...
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/ Accessory Dwelling, Uncategorized
$304,953 Architecture costs and construction costs for an accessory dwelling in Menlo Park, CA
The following budget shows the cost of a custom architect, permits, engineering, tree removal site work and construction for a guest house in Menlo Park, CA.   This includes a full apartment with a kitchen and bathroom. You can study the line items that are part of the design process ...
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/ Accessory Dwelling, Costs
$21,400 Cost of Architect for an 800 square foot addition in Fremont
The following budget shows the cost of a custom architect and all of the services he has to provide to design and permit an 800 square foot, two story remodel and addition in Fremont, CA.   This addition will include an accessory dwelling which is a full apartment with a kitchen ...
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/ Accessory Dwelling, Addition, Costs
$7,795: The Cost of Architecture for an Accessory Dwelling in Portland, OR
The following budget shows the cost of a custom architect and all of the services he has to provide to design, engineer and permit a garage conversion.  This is a one car garage being converted to an accessory dwelling. A small addition or remodel would be a similar cost. Portland ...
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/ Accessory Dwelling, Costs
Cost of an architect to design and permit an accessory dwelling in San Mateo, CA
This is a recently accepted design proposal for an accessory dwelling in San Mateo, CA.  This includes all of the line items for the design services for the entire project. These services complete the design, permitting, engineering and construction administration. San Mateo Architect Costs Sign up at New Avenue to ...
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/ Accessory Dwelling, Costs
Cost of an architect to design and permit the conversion of a garage to an accessory dwelling in Oakland, CA
This is the accepted design proposal for the full architectural services needed to design and permit the conversion of a one car garage in Oakland CA to a small apartment. Garage Conversion to Accessory Dwelling in Oakland, CA Sign up at New Avenue to see example budgets, example floor plans, ...
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/ Accessory Dwelling, Costs
Cost to design and permit an accessory dwelling in Menlo Park, CA
This is the design and permit cost of a 640 square foot accessory dwelling in Menlo Park. Few people have managed a 12+ month long process of working with an architect and getting permits.  You can study this budget to see what all the costs are.  There is a lot ...
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/ Accessory Dwelling, Costs
The cost to convert a basement to an apartment in San Francisco
This is the cost to remodel a basement and make it into an apartment in San Francisco, CA.  This includes the cost of architecture, permit costs, engineering, demolition and new construction. This is the remodel of existing space plus the addition of new space.  This is in the outer Sunset ...
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/ Accessory Dwelling, Costs, Permits
Can you build a guest house, accessory dwelling, in law unit or garage conversion without permits?
The short answer is no.  No you can't get away with it and no, it's not a good idea. Can you bend the rules a little bit though? Yes.  Some might say it's your civic duty as an American to push your local ordinances to catch up with what our ...
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/ Accessory Dwelling, Permits
Planning and Building Permit Process for an Accessory Dwelling in Emeryville, CA
At New Avenue we have paid over 30 different types of permits to get residential projects approved.  These are "normal" projects too such as additions, remodels, restorations, accessory dwellings accessory structures and custom homes. One of the architects who is a partner at New Avenue's recently completed in depth research ...
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Oakland Accessory Dwelling Rules Are Changing Allowing Easier Parking – Finally!
Oakland city staff has recommended easing the rules for permitting an accessory dwelling.   There are several changes regarding setbacks, height, parking, rebuilding existing spaces and more.  Most importantly, Oakland has historically required two side by side parking spaces that would often times consume your entire yard.  This will no ...
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/ Accessory Dwelling
Cost and Photos of a Garage Converted to Guest House
This small cottage was an empty old garage at first and it found a bright new future as a two floor guest house near the Claremont Hotel in Berkeley, CA. The budget consists of both design (including architecture, engineering and permits) and also the construction cost. The design budget is ...
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/ Accessory Dwelling, Costs
Planning and Building Permit Rules for a Garage Conversion + Addition of an Accessory Dwelling in San Jose, CA
At New Avenue we have paid over 30 different types of permits to get residential projects approved.  These are "normal" projects too such as additions, remodels, restorations, accessory dwellings accessory structures and custom homes. One of the architects who is a partner at New Avenue's recently completed in depth research ...
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/ Accessory Dwelling, Uncategorized
Truckee CA / Placer County Accessory Dwelling Codes are Changing
One of our design partners, Michael Hahn is a timberframe specialist. As such he spends his time in mountain towns.  This August he's in Truckee, CA. Being new in town he's poking around to get the lay of the land.  As part of this he attended a city council meeting ...
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/ Accessory Dwelling, Permits
Budget and Planning/Zoning Permit Drawings for a Backyard Cottage / Accessory Dwelling in Berkeley, CA
Here is a completed cost of a 640 square foot accessory dwelling with an additional 200 square feet in the upstairs loft.  The architecture and construction was all delivered by New Avenue via our online platform for design/build. If you are looking for a design proposal or construction estimate for ...
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/ Accessory Dwelling, Uncategorized
Cost of a Menlo Park Large Remodel – Garage + Guest House + Laundry
A recently completed project in Menlo Park included the following:
  • Converting 500 square foot of an existing garage to a new guest house/accessory dwelling
  • An addition of ~300square feet
  • New driveway
  • New two car garage
  • Shoring up and old foundation and reinforcing it
  • New bathroom
  • New Kitchen
  • New Bedroom
  • ...
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/ Accessory Dwelling, Costs
8 Insights from a Happy Client – Accessory Dwelling Backyard Cottage in Berkeley, CA
We recently had the chance to reconnect with an early client who completed a backyard cottage, that included a little remodeling and a lot of custom design, custom construction and landscaping. Here are the client's unedited responses to a few quick questions:  1) Why did you build an accessory dwelling? ...
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The Real Cost of an Accessory Dwelling in Berkeley, California
A local contractor just completed a 640 square foot accessory dwelling in Berkeley, CA. The attached budget includes nice high end finishes throughout as well as many of the often overlooked necessities from building such as:
  • Custom architecture
  • Structural engineering
  • Geo technical engineering
  • Planning Permits
  • Building Permits
  • Asbestos removal
  • ...
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/ Accessory Dwelling, Costs
Planning and Building Permits Required to Create an Accessory Dwelling (Garage Conversion) In Santa Cruz, CA
At New Avenue we have paid for over 30 different types of permits to get residential projects approved.  These are "normal" projects such as additions, remodels, restorations, accessory dwellings accessory structures and custom homes. One of the architects who is a partner at New Avenue's recently completed in depth research ...
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/ Accessory Dwelling, Permits
Planning and Building Permits Required For a New Accessory Dwelling in San Ramon, CA
At New Avenue we have paid over 30 different types of permits to get residential projects approved.  These are "normal" projects too such as additions, remodels, restorations, accessory dwellings accessory structures and custom homes. One of the architects who is a partner at New Avenue's recently completed in depth research ...
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Visitors around the New Backyard Cottage and landscaping
The New Backyard Cottage @ Sunset Celebration Weekend 2015 – Picture and Video Tour
New Avenue and Sunset Magazine teamed up this June 6-7 for Sunset Celebration Weekend 2015 to present The New Backyard Cottage. Here's a picture and video tour from the event! If you haven't already heard you can enter for a chance to win a 7-day getaway at the New Backyard ...
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Planning and Building Permits Required To Build An Accessory Dwelling in South San Francisco
At New Avenue we have paid over 30 different types of permits to get residential projects approved.  These are "normal" projects too such as additions, remodels, restorations, accessory dwellings accessory structures and custom homes. One of the architects who is a partner at New Avenue's recently completed in depth research ...
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/ Accessory Dwelling, Permits
Mary's accessory dwelling guest house San Jose
County of Santa Clara and Secondary Dwellings
Santa Clara County provides for secondary dwellings in zoning districts that allow residential uses.  The provisions are intended to allow for a specific, low-impact, form of housing within existing residential neighborhoods.  Secondary dwellings within R1, R1E, RHS, R1S and R3S districts, and A1 districts within urban service areas, are subject to ...
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/ Accessory Dwelling
Piedmont
Accessory Dwellings in Piedmont
Some development standards, the floor area ratio, setbacks and off street parking must comply with the  requirements of Chapter 17 for the zone in which it is located and that the maximum size shall not exceed 700 square feet. The city provides some flexibility for rent-restricted second units, which shall ...
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/ Accessory Dwelling
Spring's Mediterranean Dream Casita in Orinda
The City of Orinda and Accessory Dwellings
Here are a few of the requirements related to second units for the City of Orinda, though you’ll have to review the municipal code for the most accurate definition, requirements, variances and exceptions:
  • No second unit shall be located on a lot < 20,000 sq ft of net lot area ...
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/ Accessory Dwelling, Permits
Paul’s Green Pad – A Perfect Place for the Urban Professional
Paul, an expert in energy efficiency and sustainable design, decided to convert his detached garage so he could have more living space in his East Bay home.  The wooden floor concealed an old slab and once it was removed it became clear that it would be better to replace the ...
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pacifica-surf
City of Pacifica – Second Units by the Seashore
Well known for it's beautiful ocean views and as a popular spot for surfers, the city of Pacifica is also shoring up a plan to encourage the number of second units to expand the city's housing stock.  In fact, Pacifica’s zoning regulations allow the construction of second units "by right" ...
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/ Accessory Dwelling, Permits
Build and Accessory Dwelling (ADU) in Portland
Building an accessory dwelling in Portland is a great idea. Construction costs are lower than other areas of the country, a big chunk of the city fees are waived, and the rental market is very strong. There are many options when building an ADU in Portland. You can easily do ...
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Rolling hills
Novato approves innovative permitting requirements for accessory dwellings
Great news for our friends in the north bay! The city council of Novato, California, has approved a new zoning ordinance that creates a new class of ADUs, "Junior Accessory Dwelling Units" or JADUs, with friendlier permitting requirements. JADUs will be much easier to create than an ADU, with many ...
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/ Accessory Dwelling, Uncategorized
Video Tour of Accessory Dwelling Overlooking San Francisco Bay
Here is a quick video of a one bedroom accessory dwelling in El Cerrito, CA.  Apologies for the shakiness, we're going to invest in a better camera soon, promise! The owner of this little home describes it as "paradise".   We'll take that kind of compliment any day! There are ...
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/ Accessory Dwelling, Uncategorized
Carriage House
Carriage Houses and Second Dwelling Units of San Ramon
The City of San Ramon is seeking to amend their development standards to encourage more second dwelling units.  According to their housing element, the city will revise the zoning ordinance to facilitate second unit development.  Specifically, 50 second dwelling units within the 2014-2022 housing element planning period. What qualifies as ...
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Tax Implications of Airbnb Apartments or a New Accessory Dwelling, Addition or Remodel
Derek Davis, the founder of Shared Economy CPA, just spent some time explaining tax implications of creating an Airbnb rental or building a new home, accessory dwelling or addition for yourself or family. Taxes are clearly complex and an expert is needed - I actually sought Derek out for advice ...
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/ Accessory Dwelling, Uncategorized
San Mateo, CA, Guest House Planning and Building Permits – Accessory Structure vs. Accessory Dwelling
San Mateo turns out to be a tricky city to build an accessory dwelling but quite typical for permitting the most common types of projects: additions, remodels, or accessory structures. Accessory Dwellings are a very specific type of new home.  The "dwelling" word is a huge trigger for additional permitting requirements ...
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/ Accessory Dwelling, Addition
Accessory Dwelling in Kentfield, CA – Marin County Planning and Building Code
We recently started a project on a beautiful mid century modern home in Kentfield, CA.   The owner is a professional designer and leader in the sustainability movement, so this will be a great one! Before the fun of design and building begins, an initial planning report was written ...
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/ Accessory Dwelling, Uncategorized
Accessory Structures vs. Accessory Dwellings in Oakland, CA
We recently completed three projects in Oakland, California and found that permitting an accessory structure is the easiest permitting experience we've seen.   Oakland is one of the most confusing and head-spin inducing cities in regards to understanding the rules, however, it has a very helpful staff on the planning desk, ...
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/ Accessory Dwelling, Uncategorized
$4,000+ Electrical Panel Lessons for an Accessory Dwelling or Office: 200 amp vs. 100 amp vs. 60 amp
Electrical is one of the major trades or sub-contractors involved in almost any project. We recently clarified one pesky nuance about the building code in California as it relates to what size electrical panel and service you need for an accessory dwelling.   You can build an accessory dwelling with ...
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/ Accessory Dwelling
Planning and Building Permit Costs and Requirements for An Accessory Dwelling in Menlo Park, CA
At New Avenue we have paid over 30 different types of permits to get residential projects approved.  These are "normal" projects too such as additions, remodels, restorations, accessory dwellings accessory structures and custom homes. One of the architects who is a partner at New Avenue recently completed the design, permitting ...
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/ Accessory Dwelling, Costs, Permits
Exterior of backyard cottage. There's gardening, landscaping, and pathway to the front door.
Photos for Chez Mona’s Backyard Cottage in Berkeley, CA
We have some professional photos of The Berkeley Gourmet Ghetto's most delightful little cottage: Chez Mona's. This is a 610-square foot, 2 bed, 1 bath cottage in Berkeley, CA. Mona teamed up with her daughter Lisa, son-in-law Aaron and two grandkids to create this backyard casita near the famous Berkeley Gourmet ...
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/ Accessory Dwelling
Betsy's Room with a View - Plan Details
Betsy’s Room with a View
Just north of the University of California, Berkeley, campus is a hilly neighborhood where Betsy and her son are  breaking ground for an accessory dwelling unit (ADU) project this November 2014. The short-term plan is for family use. In the long term there are a number of options that are ...
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/ Accessory Dwelling, Uncategorized
Financing Your Accessory Dwelling – Insights from 100+ Customers and a Few Bankers
Unsure about financing for your accessory dwelling project? New Avenue has worked with over 100 clients and almost all of them finance their addition, remodel or accessory dwelling with traditional bank financing.   We interviewed both clients and loan officers at various banks to see what people do for financing. Here ...
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/ Accessory Dwelling, Uncategorized
Bruce and Nancy's Pad
Bruce and Nancy’s Pad – Photo shoot!
Here's a follow-up to our previous post about Bruce and Nancy's Pad in Berkeley We had a photo shoot this past weekend for this house. Here are the pictures! Check this place out in our Open House on Sunday, November 16, 2014, from 2 PM to 4 PM! Click here to ...
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/ Accessory Dwelling
Accessory Dwelling Economic Calculator
Your accessory dwelling could pay for itself!
An accessory dwelling project is a big investment, but it brings tremendous value to your home. Our calculator makes it easy to estimate what your accessory dwelling could be worth over time. Input project costs, loan information, and expected rental income, and you can estimate the future value of ...
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/ Accessory Dwelling, Costs
Modern Accessory Dwelling in Santa Cruz – Just Finished!
2014-10-13 UPDATEHere's a PDF floor plan. Back in the summer we had an open house for one of our accessory dwelling projects in Santa Cruz, CA. John and Kathleen are building this dwelling in their backyard for Kathleen's father. The 1,000-square foot home has a 2-car garage, loft, full kitchen, a bedroom, ...
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/ Accessory Dwelling
In-Law Studios: A Creative Housing Solution for San Francisco
Grappling with their affordable housing crisis, the City of San Francisco is evaluating this pressing issue from many different angles. One unique solution is encouraging the development of accessory dwelling units (also commonly known as secondary dwelling or in-law units).   Recently, the Board of Supervisors passed two pieces of legislation ...
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karens_cottage
Download free floor plans for an accessory dwelling or guest house
All of New Avenue's accessory dwelling projects use custom plans. When managed well, custom design and construction always result in a better home at a better price. More importantly, they allow us to design an accessory dwelling that is perfect for each homeowner. Here are two examples. Dennis and Lisa's Tiny Home ...
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/ Accessory Dwelling
Redwood City Arch
Redwood City Considers Updates to Regulations on In-Law Studios
Redwood City is working hard to make it easier for homeowners to build an accessory dwelling unit (ADU), encouraging public participation as they consider potential changes to current regulations.   Based on public comment and input from Planning Commission and City Council from recent study sessions, staff is now considering the ...
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An example of good sound separation.
Five Common ADU Design Mistakes
Over the years New Avenue has worked out the best design practices for small homes as well as the design choices that should be avoided. You can benefit from our experience. Here's a list of common design mistakes people make when planning their accessory dwelling. 1. Not enough sound separation ...
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/ Accessory Dwelling
berkeley_city_hall
Berkeley City Council to talk about easing Accessory Dwelling requirements
Not to be outdone by recent moves by the cities of Santa Cruz and Menlo Park, Berkeley will be discussing significant changes that ease the requirements for building an accessory dwelling.  The changes are set to become official in the upcoming September 16, 2014, City Council meeting. The proposed ordinances should substantially ...
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/ Accessory Dwelling
Santa Cruz City Hall
Santa Cruz is making it easier to build an Accessory Dwelling
Great news, residents of Santa Cruz! The Santa Cruz Planning commission  is expected to change its rules to make it easier to build "secondary units built on single-family lots" – in other words, accessory dwellings. The changes come as part of an effort promote higher density  and more affordable housing ...
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/ Accessory Dwelling
Santa Cruz Second Units
Building Accessory Dwellings in Santa Cruz, California
Once known as “Surf City” Santa Cruz is home to a moderate climate, the natural beauty of its coastline, redwood forests, alternative community lifestyles, and socially liberal leanings makes Santa Cruz an ideal place to pursue the tiny-living movement. As for regulations for the construction of second units/ accessory dwellings in ...
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Atherton, CA
Little Atherton’s Big Housing Market – How Small Homes Strike a Balance
An unincorporated area of San Mateo County, the tiny town of Atherton has a major market for mansions.  In fact, Atherton is reportedly the most affluent zip code in the nation and is home to Silicon Valley's tech darlings like Facbook's Sheryl Sandberg and Google's Eric Schmidt.  For this reason,  Planning for the required ...
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Building Permits for Accessory Dwellings in San Anselmo
Some requirements from the Code of Ordinances (Title 10, Chapter 6):
  • One permanently surfaced parking space shall be provided for each residential second unit except if you live within one mile of a transit loop.
  • Height and setback requirements vary with zoning district. Here are a few:
/ Accessory Dwelling
El Cerrito Cottage
Chicken Coop or Cottage?
What's in YOUR backyard? Do you have an old garden, incessant blackberry bushes, or perhaps a chicken coop? Dennis' mother was happy with their decision and although she wanted a cozy space and a rustic style, even the chickens didn't care for the coop that had no chance of being ...
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Erin's In-law Photo credit: Scott Kline
Menlo Park addresses Housing by making it easier to build Accessory Dwelling Units (ADUs)
  Menlo Park took this opportunity to meet their RHNA of 655 dwelling units by concurrently amending their ADU ordinance. Now it's easier for residents to build a backyard cottage!  Some of the adopted regulations include:
  • Reducing the required interior side setback to five feet
  • A maximum size of 640 ...
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The Cottage - Nearly Done
Mona’s Backyard Casita – Plans and Progress Shots
This 609 square foot tiny house fits two bedrooms comfortably. The house has level surfaces throughout, radiant floor heating, a living area fan, spray foam insulation in the roof and tile throughout. Universal design elements were incorporated to improve accessibility and comfort for the family. New Avenue started this project in October ...
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woodside house 1
Building Accessory Dwellings in Woodside California
Incorporated in 1956, the town of Woodside as adopted the 1958 General Plan’s stated purpose to “maintain Woodside as a rural residential community”. Comprised of 11 square miles covering the rolling woodlands east of 280, a rural valley of oaks and grasslands, and redwood forest of the western coastal range ...
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/ Accessory Dwelling
Adding an Accessory Dwelling in Piedmont, CA
Piedmont may be known as a small city (just 11,000 people!) that's packed with mansions.  But  it's not just an enclave for the wealthy and in fact that city has very progressive and welcoming codes in regards to accessory dwellings or guest houses. In fact, many of the homes scattered ...
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/ Accessory Dwelling
Three Shades Southern Living: 100+ Years of Accessory Dwellings in Tuscaloosa and Birmingham
Last fall, I made a trip to Birmingham to reconnect with an old friend and found a surprising number of accessory dwellings that ranged from century old estates to recently converted garages that are now ‘Bama football man caves. My friend had recently moved from New York City to Birmingham ...
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/ Accessory Dwelling
Backyard Music Studio May Be the First Accessory Dwelling with Tandem Parking in Albany
The City of Albany is advancing legislation to allow tandem parking for accessory dwelling units.  Tandem parking is the parking of two cars in a row as opposed to two cars side by side. One project that may benefit is a music studio being designed in Albany for Ellen Hershey, ...
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/ Accessory Dwelling
Ashland Oregon – Accessory Dwelling Bonanza
This past weekend I visited an uncle in Ashland, Oregon and was surprised to find Ashland to be a little utopian village that’s full of beautiful homes – many with accessory dwellings. It turns out, that retired techies like my uncle seem to be the demographic of Ashland.  The town ...
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/ Accessory Dwelling
Portland Accessory Dwelling Tour
We're just back from a great trip to Portland where, we learned that Portlandia is, in fact, a documentary.  They all work 20 hours a week at Starbucks, have chicken coops, ride their bikes all day, everyday.  Or at least, the east side of Portland fits that description.  The west ...
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Concord Open House – Saturday, April 5
A wonderful project of ours is nearing completion, and we're opening it up for you to see Saturday, April 5th, from 12-2pm. We’ll be there answering any questions you have about our process and how projects like this work. Feel free to share this invitation with your friends and family ...
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/ Accessory Dwelling, Press
How do I get permits for an accessory dwelling (ADU)?
Navigating the planning and building permit offices in your city or county when trying to build an accessory dwelling or structure can be a frustrating experience. You walk in with some simple ideas and often walk out feeling more confused with little or no options. After dealing with many ...
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/ Accessory Dwelling, Permits
New Avenue Backyard Cottage in the News
It's great to see another one of our projects in the news. InMenlo wrote a feature article on an accessory dwelling in Menlo Park that we helped build for a family who wanted a backyard cottage to live closer together. InMenlo describes the 750 sqft house as "spacious" and "well laid ...
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/ Accessory Dwelling, Press
Summer in Southern Ontario (Backyard Cottages Galore!)
I’m just back from a week in Silver Bay, Ontario where I had a great time with family and old friends. Silver Bay is a little bay on Lake Erie south of Toronto and west of Buffalo, NY. I grew up spending summers here and spent time in and around ...
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Passive House Concept
The Passive House Institute (Passivhaus Institut) is a distinctly German independent research institute that focuses on the development of the Passive House concept.  This concept is the only internationally recognized, performance based standard in the construction industry.  The Passive House Institute performs research into new building materials, products, and performs ...
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Like It’s Not Even There: Net Zero-Energy Accessory Dwellings
An Accessory Dwelling Unit (ADU), guest house or backyard cottage, even when just built to current building code, is efficient and maximizes an existing yard for a better use of space.  At New Avenue we are always interested in taking a few extra steps in sustainability and one such option ...
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/ Accessory Dwelling, Blog
Joan’s Pied-à-terre
A pied-à-terre, or small home away from home, is what a couple is building for Joan, the mother-in-law of and Rob and mother of Rebecca, in the Thousand Oaks neighborhood of Berkeley, CA. New Avenue is working with the family to replace an existing shed with a new 346 square ...
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/ Accessory Dwelling, Blog
Surprise New Location for Open House This Weekend – Two blocks from Sunset Magazine’s Celebration Weekend
Thanks to a gracious offer from one of our clients, we are moving our open house this weekend from the Palo Alto EcoHome to Erin's In-Law Apartment in Menlo Park.  This home is just two blocks up Willow Road from the Sunset Magazine Celebration Weekend Festival. Last week we wrote ...
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Menlo Park Accessory Dwelling: Architecture plans and construction photos of Erin’s In-Law Apartment
A 3 bed, 2 bath home will be turning into a 4 bed, 3 bath home plus a 470 sf separate two-car garage. Erin contacted New Avenue in April 2012 to help her remodel and expand her home in Menlo Park, CA. The project is weeks from completion. Erin had ...
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/ Accessory Dwelling, Blog
Dennis and Lisa’s ADU in El Cerrito, CA
Dennis and Lisa, two young parents from El Cerrito, CA, contacted us in the summer of 2011 with the idea of replacing a huge old chicken coop in their backyard with a nice little cottage for Dennis’s mother. Having grown up nearby, Dennis wants to invest wisely in their character-rich ...
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/ Accessory Dwelling, Blog
Foothill ADU in Fairfax, CA
Moises, a retired surgeon, and Kathleen, the local small business owner of gift and plant boutique The Potting Shed, are making room for family and friends in Fairfax, CA. They contacted New Avenue back in the fall of 2012 looking to create a backyard cottage. Located at the foot of ...
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/ Accessory Dwelling
Rendering
La Casita: 1 Bed 1 Bath Cottage in Walnut Creek
Note: You can create an account on our website to start a design book and collect these pictures for your small home project brainstorming, or you can contact us. Hillary and John, a young couple in Walnut Creek, CA, contacted New Avenue early this year. They want to build a senior-friendly backyard cottage ...
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/ Accessory Dwelling
Scheme E - Elevations
John and Kathleen’s Santa Cruz ADU in its Early Stages
You can save the floor plans on this blog post to your New Avenue design book from here. “I live in Santa Cruz and have a decently large lot, and we want to build an accessory dwelling unit (ADU) with a garage in our backyard for my father-in-law,” John inquired ...
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/ Accessory Dwelling
Bringing up the walls and framing.
Joe and Farmer Jane Build a Studio – Part 1
Meet two Do-It-Yourself small home builders Joe and “Farmer Jane”.  The couple is taking an educational and practical journey of adding a 250 square foot studio in their backyard. They plan to move into it and rent out their main home. Downsizing would greatly reduce their housing costs and give them ...
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/ Accessory Dwelling, Blog
Colorado Carriage House - Entry Elevation
A Large Passion for Small Homes
New Avenue recently had the opportunity to sit and chat about Accessory Dwelling Units with Architect Michael Rex, principal of Michael Rex Associates in Sausalito, California. “This building type is a bit of a passion of mine, having once lived in a wonderful one-room houseboat for 18 years and worked ...
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/ Accessory Dwelling
Orinda Mayor Awards New Avenue Cottage
The mayor of Orinda, CA, has awarded New Avenue’s Spring’s Cottage project with the Mayor’s Award for Excellence in Architecture in 2012! This honor recognizes “excellence in residential design and downtown property improvements which make an extraordinary contribution to the character and livability of Orinda neighborhoods and the vitality of downtown.” ...
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/ Accessory Dwelling, Press
The Airbnb Cottage
How interesting might this combination be? I was recently speaking to a potential client and while standing in their backyard I started chatting with the neighbor. In our over the fence chat, the neighbor noted that she converted her garage into a backyard cottage years ago and recently figured ...
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/ Accessory Dwelling, Blog
Backyard Cottage in Albany, CA
Judy, Jessie, Karen and Family, This cottage is part of a much larger plan for a growing family as it allows three generations to share this cute Albany, California home. Judy has lived in the main home for over thirty years and raised her daughter Jessie here. Judy gave the ...
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/ Accessory Dwelling
Susan’s Cottage in Berkeley, CA
This little cottage is all about bringing family together. It is located on a quiet East Bay block that is lined with cute California bungalows. Susan, the owner, will initially use this as extra space when her daughter, son-in-law, and grandchild, are visiting from their home in Israel. Susan's ...
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more-pics_tych
Cottages Approaching Completion
We've uploaded a bunch of new pictures of backyard homes and cottages in construction, approaching completion, or already completed. Check them out and see a little of what is involved in breaking ground and building a small home.
/ Accessory Dwelling
New Avenue $1,000,000 backyard cottage
$1,000,000 In-Law: Zillow Determines Our Backyard Cottage is Insanely Valuable!
According to Zillow's "automated valuation model", New Avenue's eco home in Palo Alto is worth $1,025,000! At New Avenue we have been lucky to have great clients from all types of neighborhoods embrace backyard cottages and second units. One of our biggest surprises is that the more expensive a ...
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/ Accessory Dwelling, Blog
Accessory Dwelling Mediterranean Design in Orinda, CA
Size: 674 square feet 1 story 1 bed 1 bath At the end of a long narrow driveway this Spanish-style cottage is tucked between twisty old oak trees and towering redwoods. Spring’s new cottage is a beautiful 674 square foot home that has a double-sided glass fireplace that faces both ...
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/ Accessory Dwelling, Uncategorized
Smartplanet
Downsizing to an eco-friendly home
New Avenue Homes founder Kevin Casey is rethinking how we live by focusing on multi-generational living, where grandparents, parents, and kids share one piece of land with two homes on it. The parents and kids live in the main house and the grandparents live in an eco-friendly backyard cottage that ...
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/ Accessory Dwelling, Press
certified_b_corp
Second Units for Stronger Communities: B the Change New Avenue
New Avenue Homes of Berkeley, CA is taking a small approach to solving a big problem. Most of us live in more space than we need, and sink more time and money than we would like into maintaining these large spaces. A practical approach to solving that problem is ...
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/ Accessory Dwelling, Press
Jetson Green
Clean Tech Accessory Dwelling in San Jose
New Avenue Homes, builder of a popular NZE tiny house in Berkeley, has a new Clean Tech Exhibit home on display in San Jose. The home has a living room, kitchenette, bedroom, bathroom, storage, and all sorts of green technology and sustainable materials. New Avenue prefabricated the structure and estimates ...
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/ Accessory Dwelling, Press
We standardize and automate the process so your remodel, addition or custom home experience will be amazing
Designing and building an addition, remodel or custom home is a complicated process that involves one to two years of planning and then 45+ people to do the actual construction. At New Avenue our qualified and proven local professionals can design and build your project.  We supplement the talented pros ...
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Additions, Remodels and Custom Homes – The 5 Phases of The Design Process
Best Practices in architecture and construction manage a project under five phases that we will review here.  All projects, whether a $5,000 bathroom remodel or a $5 billion dollar stadium have these five phases. The phases are defined as: Phase 1 - Program Development: Defining what your goals are, what ...
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Additions, Remodels and Custom Homes – Phase II of The Design Process
This is a guest post by David Locicero, a Partner Architect in the New Avenue Design/Build Network. David has successfully uses the New Avenue platform to design, permit and build projects around the San Francisco Bay Area.  To read more about the platform click here: New Avenue There are five phases ...
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/ Process, Uncategorized
Additions, Remodels and Custom Homes – Phase III of The Design Process
This is a guest post by David Locicero, a Partner Architect in the New Avenue Design/Build Network. David has successfully uses the New Avenue platform to design, permit and build projects around the San Francisco Bay Area.  To read more about the platform click here: New Avenue What is “design development”? ...
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/ Process, Uncategorized
Additions, Remodels and Custom Homes – Phase IV of The Design Process
This is a guest post by David Locicero, a Partner Architect in the New Avenue Design/Build Network. David has successfully uses the New Avenue platform to design, permit and build projects around the San Francisco Bay Area.  To read more about the platform click here: New Avenue What are “construction documents”? ...
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/ Process, Uncategorized
Additions, Remodels and Custom Homes – Phase V of The Design Process
This is a guest post by David Locicero, a Partner Architect in the New Avenue Design/Build Network. David has successfully uses the New Avenue platform to design, permit and build projects around the San Francisco Bay Area.  To read more about the platform click here: New Avenue The Construction Phase Including ...
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/ Process, Uncategorized
New Avenue Process Series: Phase V – Months 18-26
The hard work of making design decisions, planning and permitting is now over. Phase V is when you get to watch it come to life. Depending on site conditions and the size of the home construction will take 2-4 months.  (click image to enlarge) The most satisfying and remarkable ...
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New Avenue Process Phase IV – Months ~8-12
In Phase IV it’s time to put the full permitting process, with all the proper documentation, into motion with your city’s building department. The building permit fee and impact fees are paid to the city at this time. The processing time to receive a building permit can vary from 2 ...
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New Avenue Process Phase III – Months 3-9
The principal focus of Phase III is choosing the specific products to go into your project like floor type, siding, windows and doors, roofing, tiling, faucets and other fixtures. We work on scheduling all of the subcontractors. Though small homes are small construction projects a remarkably large number of people ...
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New Avenue Process Phase II – Months 2-4
Our clients typically take a couple weeks to digest the estimate before deciding to continue so we pick up Phase II at week 10. Two fundamental project components are in place from Phase I. We understand the zoning & permitting requirements that need to be followed for your city, and ...
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New Avenue Process – Research and Design Books
It’s crucial to dedicate appropriate time to gather your thoughts and consult with friends, family membera and neighbors before making a decision to start. Take the time to collect ideas in design magazines, looking online, visiting friends cottages, attending open houses, snapping photos of styles you like and deciding what ...
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The Design/Build Process The Every Project Follows
How do I make a backyard cottage happen? The core of New Avenue’s business is knowing how to do this and knowing how to make the process enjoyable for our clients. Cottages are small but involved construction projects. Building a new home in your backyard is a personal and creative ...
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New Avenue Process Phase I – Months 0-4
The time estimates you see here and in the following posts are averages for how long things take when you factor in life made busy by kids and work and family and everything else. It’s possible to go faster, definitely possible to go slower, but on average the process will ...
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What does it cost to design and build a remodel, addition, or custom home?
Many people interested in designing and building a custom project start with the question: "How much will it cost to build?" When people hear the answer, their next question is, "Why? I thought it would be less expensive." Then come the following thoughts: 1. "My friend told me that projects can be ...
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The Right Way to Start a Project: How New Avenue seamlessly brings together owners and architects to start a remodel, addition or new home
At New Avenue, we make it as easy as possible to start your project right. We have found that just one meeting in your home with an architect is the perfect way to begin.  Architects see things in minutes that many of us will never see!  Design talent, matched with countless ...
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Trust us! Seriously. Use These 3 Essential & Free Tools Every Addition, Remodel or Custom Home Needs: A Design Agreement, Construction Agreement and Budget
If you are planning an addition, remodel, or custom home then save this message.  Seriously. Save it and use these three documents. This is the most important article we can share with you. Communication is always stressful and challenging.  Every remodel or new construction project has questions that need to be ...
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Speed, Quality or Money: Be Wary of Fast Growing Websites That Are Overrun by Shady Contractors
NBC just investigated a contractor matching service and found that 60% of the contractors providing bids are unlicensed. Many ripped off clients by running away with the deposit money or not completing the work.  At New Avenue we are not surprised. We built a project management system the eliminates the risk ...
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/ Process, Uncategorized
Cost of a remodel and restoration of a 100+ year old historic home in The San Francisco Bay Area
This article is part of a series of posts on real project costs.  New Avenue is the leading national design/build network.  Our architect and contractor partners use our online platform to provided their bids and process their invoices.  As such we get a unique collection of project costs.  We share ...
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Should I create an addition, backyard cottage, or remodel?
New Avenue starts every project with our 30 questions. You can skim these questions and answer a few of them in five minutes or you can spend an hour.  We recommend you spend about 15 minutes. These questions are based on thousands of past client meetings. We also collect feedback ...
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How to Work With New Avenue
You can hire us for as much or as little as you'd like.  We start with a $250 flat fee for a Design Session with an architect in your home. They will:
  1. Review your Goals and Ideas questionnaire before they meet with you. Then they'll discuss it with you
  2. ...
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How to start a new architecture or construction project
At New Avenue we have three simple steps to start every project: 1 - Get started online for free: There is a Goals & Ideas questionnaire that is as much for you to define your goals as it is for our architect to start preparing for a meeting with you ...
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Who owns architecture plans? You paid for the service, not the plan
If you are a typical owner, you expect to "own" your plans after you hire an architect and pay them to create a design for you.  That is not exactly how it works because any set of plans has tricky liability and copyright issues. We will explain these issues and ...
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/ platform, Process, Process
$1,000 for a custom home plan? This is a ripoff that will cost you.
One of our architects recently emailed this to me: "I lost a commission on a NEW BUILD to a guy who charged a grand!!! Now I made most of my fee back, fixing it, but you wouldn’t believe how often that is the case." The key here is that the ...
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/ Costs, platform, Process, Process, Uncategorized