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(ADU) Cottage – Creating the Design Drawings

Accessory Dwelling Unit (ADU) Cottage – Helping Clients Visualize Design Concepts

I enjoy working with  my clients on their residential projects – helping them determine their goals and needs that they have for their project.  I assist them in their decisions and provide inspiration and design ideas that they may not have considered.

I develop the floor plan in response to their needs and wishes, the restrictions as well as the possibilities imposed by their site and the reality of their construction budgets. While I’m creating design concepts and floor plans, I’m visualizing the 3-D view of their project – what they and everyone else sees when looking at the exterior design of their home.

When developing the plan, making subtle changes can really affect the exterior view of the project and I keep these in mind as the plan evolves. Many clients focus entirely on the floor plan and wait to see what their home will look like once the floor plans and elevations have been completed.  Working simultaneously on the floor plan and the exterior appearance and massing of the home produces a much better project.

I’ve occasionally had the client who can visualize a 3-D shape of their home, even before the exterior is designed. Most clients have trouble visualizing the shape and massing of their home – even when they see final drawings. As an architect, this skill comes easily to me but, it’s often difficult to for clients to understand 2-Dimensional drawings.

Perspective drawings help solve this dilemma, however creating 3-D perspectives is time consuming and the client often wants to see multiple viewpoints of different design options.

The answer for me has turned out to be Revit, a 3-D architectural modeling software. Using this, I can create perspective views from different viewpoints and these really help clients visualize their project.

I produced the drawing below during the design process and the client was thrilled to see it and realize that it had the traditional character she desired for her new home. This perspective allowed her to visualize it in ways that no 2-D drawings ever could. The first drawing is a 2-D drawing – while informative, it can be hard to visualize the entire
“package” – I think you’ll agree that the two perspectives really help everyone visualize the project.

Bothell Cottage Accessory Dwelling Unit Elevation 1

2-D Cottage Elevation Drawing

Bothell Cottage Accessory Dwelling Unit Perspective 2

3-D View

Bothell Cottage Accessory Dwelling Unit Perspective 3


  1. Enoch Sears, AIA /Reply

    I like how the garage is set back from the main part of the house/porch to emphasize the modest proportions and cottage look. Also, the gable extending out the side of the porch by the entrance is another nice touch to break up the mass and give the house more interest while also allowing access to the garage. This are things that most non-architects would overlook. They would say “I like that!” but they would not be able to say why.

  2. Gary Feola /Reply

    Love you Bothell cottage,am looking to build one in Woodbury ct ,where it would fit in and be perfect for a small home with everything one needs? Was hoping to see the floor plan and all elevations in a PDF Thanks

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