Architect: Best Practice Architecture
Contractor: Kable Design Build
Square Footage: 571 SF
Construction Hard Costs: $250,000
Construction Completed: August 2018
Best Practice Architecture was hired by a Seattle homeowner to create Granny Pad, a spacious home created from a backyard garage. The project began when the client couldn’t find appropriate housing for “Granny” in their neighborhood. With a growing family, they didn’t have enough space in their house to accommodate her needs and maintain the privacy everyone in the family wanted. And with a shortage of affordable housing in Seattle, the option of moving to a larger house in the city was out of reach. Best Practice saw converting the client’s existing garage (previously used as storage) as the perfect solution. Design considerations included looking at the project on both a short-term and long-term timeline. First, Best Practice needed to address the immediate needs of the client. They also considered future uses of the space as a possible rental unit, studio, office or other income-generating project for the family. And they needed to do all of that using just 571 square feet.
To accommodate the decreased mobility associated with aging, the living area needed to be one level. Rather than make several small rooms, the team opted to create open, central spaces that can be easily adapted to changing mobility issues. Carefully placed windows and skylights provide lots of daylight. Rafters were left exposed in the ceiling. The existing garage door was removed, and the old structure became the entry, kitchen and sitting room. A short walk through the entryway reveals the bedroom, closet with laundry and bathroom. A lofted space above the bathroom (accessed by a ladder) will be used as storage for the time being, but can easily be transformed into an office or sleeping loft in the future. All of these details come together to create a soaring, open feeling that makes the relatively small footprint of Granny Pad feel much larger. Behind the structure sits a private back deck which connects to the loft space. The yard itself had a natural 6 foot elevation change when Best Practice began the project, which inspired the firm to build Granny Pad into the hill itself. And the bunkering made the loft an easy—and natural—addition.