Guest Blog Post

As Malissa & I are interested in seeing the tiny house movement gain momentum, we find the topic of Accessory Dwelling Units (ADU's) to be very interesting. We have come in contact with a company in California that manages the construction of ADU's & found it appropriate to have a guest post on our blog. Enjoy!

Hello fans of the Tack family.  My name is Sean Wallace and I work for a company called New Avenue located in Berkeley, CA.  We focus on managing the construction of Accessory Dwelling Units (also known as in-law units).  I happened upon the Tacks’ blog and was thoroughly impressed by the photography and the care that went into making their tiny house a reality.  At New Avenue we love the idea of living your life in the optimal sized space, whether that be a 140 square foot tiny house with wheels, or a 500+ square foot backyard cottage.  With that in mind, I would like to talk a little bit about what the Tacks’ did that New Avenue could benefit from and to share a backyard cottage we built that has a footprint of approximately 250 square feet that could be categorized as a “near-tiny” house located in Berkeley, CA.

The Tacks’ house is particularly impressive to us at New Avenue because there are several design aspects that can translate to larger backyard cottages.  One example is the amount of space dedicated to living area in the Tacks’ house.  They made an effort to have a relatively large kitchen and living area compared to their bedroom because this makes the home seem more spacious and allows for more room to do things that are active, unlike sleeping.  With the building codes that many cities have our Accessory Dwelling Units are often limited in square footage and this design approach could prove beneficial for New Avenue homes.  

For more examples of the Tacks’ design features that we find particularly awesome please check out this link to New Avenue’s website - 

Where the purpose of building a tiny house is usually along the lines of decreasing your carbon footprint and environmental impact, decreasing housing costs, doing away with a mortgage, or allowing yourself the freedom to move your home (if you built a model on a trailer) the purpose of an ADU is to either gain supplemental income through rent or to build a space where family members can live close to one another.  At New Avenue we make sure to showcase some of the environmentally friendly aspects that tiny house living shares with our ADUs along with the practical elements that initially attract people to these backyard homes.

Let’s talk more about Karen’s cottage. Karen is a professor living in Berkeley, CA. She lives with her daughter in a beautiful two bedroom one bath home. Karen had the following needs: An independent home for an aging relative who lives with her for several months per year, a sanctuary for her own work, a guest house for a steady stream of family and friends and a little extra income.  We worked with Karen to fulfill these practical needs and she was happy to customize the design and add several green upgrades. 

Check out this documentary clip focused on Karen’s cottage - 

At the end of the day this cottage looks and feels similar to a tiny home like the Tacks’, except it’s in the shadow of a pretty standard larger home.  If an ADU could suit your lifestyle like a tiny house suits the Tacks, then feel free to contact New Avenue at to get started.  Above is a selection of pictures showcasing Karen’s backyard cottage.