Accessory Buildings

Accessory buildings are fun to design. They have all the attributes of a real building but often with a far more open ended list of needs.

A place to relax, read, play games and a little office space is how our outbuilding in Mill Valley was described. It added an extra living room and some coveted square footage to a hard to add onto home in a desirable part of town. The outbuilding was placed on axis with the main house, connected by a deck with a view to the yard in between. To keep all the books and games in order, the main room was lined with fin-ply cabinetry. The floor is an engineered wide plank rustic oak. A simple clean burning wood fireplace will provide heat when needed. The outbuilding has the feel of a classic summer cabin, only with better insulation for year-round use.

Photographer Joseph Schell
Contractor Abacus Builders

In the Santa Cruz mountains, in a place called Happy Valley, we are in the design phase converting a garage to a guest house. The cinderblock and board and batten garage is nestled between mature redwoods and overlooks a small vineyard on the property.

While this building will hold all the essentials of a home, with a kitchen, bedroom and bathroom – we got to experiment a little. The house steps up with a series of platforms to connect the living space to the adjacent sloped grade. The living room is on level with the glass garage door to be retained. The kitchen, bedroom and bathroom are raised up to connect with an adjacent deck. The shower steps back down to create a private showering nook, connecting indoor and outdoor showering opportunities.

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