Yes, in My Backyard

More than half of this country’s single-family homes have just one or two occupants each and sit on sizable lots. That wastes space, energy, and resources. But what if tiny homes—cute, complete, and meeting all housing codes—popped up on those lots? In-laws, out-of-college offspring, or even paying tenants could share land but have a fully functional separate space, steps away.

Those steps can be the difference between serenity and squabbling. “A little separation provides a ton of independence,” says Kevin Casey, whose New Avenue Homes of Berkeley, California, builds small, sustainable houses for $60,000 and up, including design, construction, and fees. One of Casey’s projects, a 674-square-foot, one-bedroom cottage in a woodsy San Francisco Bay Area suburb, boasts reclaimed oak and salvaged doors and has Spanish-style roof tiles that match those on the main house across the yard.

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