Podcast Interview: Legal Tiny Homes in Seattle

As members of the tiny house community struggle to legalize tiny house around the country, many cities are already making it easier to build smaller homes in the back yards of existing houses. Bruce Parker is the founder and lead designer of MicroHouse, a company that designs backyard cottages and small houses in Seattle, Washington. These can take multiple forms, but are usually referred to as ADU's or DADU’s in Seattle. Bruce is here to tell us about what it takes to build a DADU in Seattle. Warning: the sticker shock may be… well.. shocking. Plus, we'll talk what design elements and choices lend themselves to a beautiful and functional small space.

In This Episode:

  • What is a DADU (and how do you say it)?
  • Do DADUs provide affordable housing?
  • Seattle legislation changes that affect backyard cottages
  • Realistic budget expectations in the city
  • Are people allowed to use their DADU as an Airbnb rental?
  • The process for building a backyard cottage

Links and Resources:


Guest Bio:

Bruce Parker

Bruce Parker

Backyard cottages (DADUs) are dwellings that share a lot with a primary residence. They provide opportunities for families, while increasing housing stock density and diversity. And they are becoming more common as housing costs increase and regulations are eased. Through his company, microhouse, Bruce Parker has been designing DADUs in Seattle for 10 years.





This week's Sponsor:

Tiny House Decisions

Tiny House Decisions is the super helpful guidebook that I wrote 5 years ago to share all of the knowledge and decisions that I made to build my own tiny house, along with what I did right, what I did wrong, and how I would change things. The guidebook, now in its second edition, has been completely rewritten and expanded to reflect how tiny houses are being built today and it also includes several new tiny house stories from other tiny house dwellers. The guidebook has been expanded to include things like SIPs, metal framing, and different types of insulation, and I seriously think this is the most helpful thing you can buy if you are thinking about living in a tiny house. If you go through the guidebook from start to finish, you will have a solid plan for all the systems and everything else that’s going to go into your tiny house. The second edition has been a long time in the making and I’m really excited to share it with the world. 

To learn more you can head over to thetinyhouse.net/thd.


Lake Washington Cottage

Living room with vaulted cielings and lots of natural light


The kitchen table doubles as a work surface.

Backyard Cottage Tangletown

The kitchen, living room, and staircase.


The open living room and dining room.

Beautiful floors and more natural light.

The study has a skylight, along with a fold out couch for guests (not pictured).


Natural light brightens the first floor from the stairwell.

Seward Park garage conversion.

The open floor plan is perfect for limited mobility.

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