ADU Story

Sue, Kathy, and Barb

Grass Valley
A Perfect Place for Mom
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When my wife Barb and I bought this property I wanted my mom Kathy to move closer so we could care for her as she ages, and there was a small cabin here. I thought I’d convince mom to move over the next ten years, but after a couple days of visiting she was ready! We wanted to try the ADU while we can enjoy time together, instead of when she’s much older and the experience is more difficult. That’s my advice: don’t wait, do it now! 

The cabin was a studio with electric and septic set up, so designing the ADU was easy. We sketched ideas on a napkin, then Mom refined the plans. We added a bedroom, bathroom, patio, and big windows; now Mom has better views than we do. She added personal touches like a dining nook and a craft area. The permitting process took longer than I expected, but I work for the County and see it getting easier. You need a professional that knows what they’re doing, and we had a great contractor who made the process easy. Our County building inspector was also terrific. There were a few things we had to correct, but overall it was smooth sailing. 

It’s a blessing to have her here, and a relief as she gets older. We have our independence and privacy, but if she needs anything I’m right here. If she needs more support she can move in with us and rent the ADU, and that would be extra income to help with her care. Later on Barb and I might move into the ADU and rent the main house, or use it for a caretaker or family member. The ADU will give us flexibility throughout our whole lives. It’s been wonderful for our family, and I hope we build more in our community.

"Mom loves to cook and bake so the kitchen was the most important part of the ADU, and we planned details down to where to store cookie trays. We downsized a lot, but it was fun to get creative together."


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