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New Accessory Dwelling Unit in Atlanta!

Updated: Mar 28

We've had the pleasure of working with real estate investor Molly Gunn on three ADU projects. Details of the first two were captured in a Q&A we did with Molly last year, and now ADU number three is complete! Each project is unique, which hopefully provides more insight for those looking to add an ADU to their property, or purchase an "ADU friendly" home.


The first unique factor here was the relatively small backyard, coupled with the fact that Molly wanted to build the 2 bd / 2ba 'KWood+', that maxes out the allowable square footage for an ADU in City of Atlanta at 750 sft. The property is zoned R-4, which has a 15’ rear setback (and 7’ side setback). Small yard, plus large ADU, plus 15' rear setback is usually not a good combination, but fortunately we were able to make it work, despite not receiving a variance for the rear yard setback.  From our experience, receiving a variance to reduce side or rear setbacks is very unlikely in the City of Atlanta.

The KWood+ has a footprint of 32' x 23'5". Including a 15’ rear setback, there was 11' remaining between the primary home and the ADU, which is the closest we have ever built to the primary. There are no requirements for ADU and primary structure separation in the City of Atlanta, so it comes down to owner preference. As ADU's become more popular in Atlanta, we believe you'll see them even closer to the primary home on small lots, which is common in other cities. When talking about this with Molly, she simply said, "We created a duplex without shared walls".

Although our floor plans are standard, there is some flexibility and we often have to come up with custom solutions to handle each specific site.  On this site we did a crawl space because of the topography with the ADU on a hill. And the porch, front entry, dormer, and living/kitchen area are "mirrored" to the left side, compared to what's shown on the website, which is an easy modification to accommodate the best site layout. 

Not only was the entry moved to the left side, but the ADU was offset closer to the interior side property line, rather than directly behind the primary home, providing more privacy and unobstructed site lines. Fencing was also added to create a private yard and entry point for the ADU. The City of Atlanta does not require additional parking for ADUs, so street parking is available for the ADU tenant directly in front of the entrance. Now two homes on one lot have their own private yards and entrances.

As a rental unit, ADUs occupy a unique space because they have their own four walls and a yard in a residential neighborhood, but without the typical single family home rental price point.  And one of the advantages of building an ADU in the City of Atlanta is you can rent both the primary and accessory dwelling to create the “duplex without shared walls” strategy, like Molly has done here.  Not only do we need more housing, we need more diverse housing to serve all family types. One and two person households now represent 62% of the country's households. ADUs, like this one, are in huge demand to meet this growing housing demographic!

Photo Gallery

If we can help you build an ADU like this, and you're in the Atlanta area, we'd love to chat!

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