My family has been in this area for generations. They owned a jewelry store in Grass Valley during the Gold Rush, and when my mom and aunt visited to learn about our history, they fell in love. My parents, aunt, and cousins moved here in 2000 and really became part of the community. My dad writes a weekly column in the local newspaper, and my mom opened a family restaurant. I was raised a city girl, but Nevada City has given me the space to relax and be closer to my parents. I love how friendly and open my neighbors are, and the sense of history and community here.
I bought my house to have somewhere for my parents to stay as they age. There was a detached garage that I wanted to convert to an ADU. It seemed like a great investment to have a space that we could use for anything from a guest house to a rental unit. I’ve always been interested in architecture and design, so this was a great opportunity. Making this 1960s garage habitable was a lot of work. It was important to find a contractor that was qualified and I worked well with. We did a lot of problem solving throughout the process, like soil testing for a septic system, sealing gaps in the roof, and preparing for a heavy snow load in the winter. I helped with a lot of tasks that were intimidating to start but really interesting to learn, like running electrical and installing insulation. We worked hard to make the ADU feel open and light.
During the pandemic my parents moved into the main house and started renting out the ADU. I’m a single parent and a teacher, so any extra income is helpful. The rental income gives flexibility, and I have more confidence in my finances and my family’s long term stability. My advice is to go ahead and make the investment. Building an ADU can add up, but the contribution to your financial situation and your community is worth it.