With the economy the way it is, retiring folks are downsizing or losing their homes, while newly educated folks are graduating with slim pickings. Not to be grim, but this is causing people to use property in new ways, such as with accessory dwelling units. The space can be used for family or as a rental to cover loose ends. In Vancouver, this is happening with laneway housing. Smallworks, a Vancouver-based design and build firm, specializes in small and laneway houses, just like this one, the West House.
Sloan Ritchie, the same developer that brought us the beautiful, green Alley House, just launched a new endeavor called Backyard Box. As the name indicates, the Seattle-based company helps homeowners add extra space — whether for an office, studio, mother-in-law apartment, or income property — to lots with room and flexible zoning. Backyard Boxes, commonly referred to as accessory dwelling units, come in three sizes, three finish packages, and have a Smart Box option, which includes some geeky green technology.
Ideabox's newest prefab model, the Fortino, is on display at the Portland Home & Garden Show this weekend, so you'll want to check it out if you're in the area. The Salem-based prefab company teamed up with Crate & Barrel to design the interior and several landscape designers to transform a 50'x100' show space into a contemporary landscape setting. Jim Russell, president of Ideabox, says it's a complete "living experience" on an urban lot.