What a year! Many skeptics thought accessory dwelling units (ADUs) were just a trend, but with California policymakers passing new regulations year after year, new funding options, and many states following suit, these backyard homes have proved that they’re here to stay within our real estate landscape.

In fact, ADUs have evolved from their humble beginnings as simple structures, to unique designs customized to match the homeowners’ needs, style, and personality.

Here are Maxable’s five favorite ADUs to come out of 2023.

Embracing Growth: Michael and Jessica’s Home for Family

Size: 400 sq ft

Beds: Studio

Baths: 1

Purpose: Living space for expanding family and home for child returning home after college

Jessica and Michael’s motivation behind their ADU project was rooted in a desire for extra space to accommodate their evolving family dynamics. With children growing and needs changing, they envisioned a space that could adapt to different stages of family life.

The 400-square-foot ADU was strategically designed to serve as a haven for their ‘boomerang kid,’ a term affectionately used for a child returning home after college. This use for ADUs has become increasingly popular over the years due to high housing costs, especially in the San Fernando Valley where the family resides. For Michael and Jessica’s child, this ADU will give them the opportunity to save for their future while maintaining their independence.

The ADU was cleverly positioned perpendicular to the main house to not only maintain privacy, but also preserve the yard space where the family can reconvene and spend time together.

Contractor: Will V.

Poolside Elegance: A 400 sq ft Studio Designed for Effortless Entertainment

Size: 400 sq ft

Beds: Studio

Baths: 1

Purpose: Entertaining guests

Designed for those who love to host and entertain, this ADU goes beyond the conventional, transforming a compact space into a hub for social gatherings. The seamless integration of indoor and outdoor elements ensures a fluid transition from the studio space to the poolside oasis.

The tall vaulted ceilings and cleverly placed skylights not only enhance the visual appeal of the studio but also create an airy, expansive atmosphere that defies its 400-square-foot footprint.

Collapsible accordion doors add to the experience, opening up almost an entire wall to the pool area.

Summer can’t come soon enough ;)

Contractor: Freddie Z.

Marco’s Minimalist Marvel: A 350 sq ft One-Bedroom Gem with Modern Flair

Size: 350 sq ft

Beds: 1

Baths: 1

Purpose: Passive rental income

A one bedroom ADU in just 350 sq ft? This ADU proves it can be done!

With a sleek modern exterior, vaulted ceilings, and a minimalist aesthetic, this compact dwelling showcases the art of maximizing space without compromising style.

In this thoughtfully crafted ADU, every square foot is a testament to the intelligent use of space.

The exterior of this ADU makes a bold statement with modern elegance. A striking roof overhang not only adds a touch of architectural flair but also provides practical benefits, offering shade and shelter.

Against the backdrop of pristine white interior and exterior, black French doors become a stunning focal point. The doors introduce an element of contrast that punctuates the space with modern sophistication.

Contractor: Freddie Z.

Timeless Elegance Meets Quirky Charm: Ryna’s Historic ADU Gem

Size: 600 sq ft

Beds: 1

Baths: 1

Purpose: Additional living space for flexibility, live-in nurse in the future

Ryna and her husband have created an ADU that transcends the ordinary. Spanning both the practical and the whimsical, this dwelling stands as a testament to the pursuit of flexibility, future planning, and a unique expression of personal style.

The couple’s property sits in a historic district, which meant the exterior of their ADU had to match seamlessly with the architectural aesthetics of the main house, preserving the charm and character of the neighborhood. Their contractor did an excellent job making sure the exterior was up to the city’s standards, but when it came to interior design, he handed the reigns to Ryna. With having to maintain such strict standards on the exterior, Ryna let her creativity run wild on the interior.

The 600 sq ft garage conversion ADU became a playground of colors, materials, and finishes, allowing her to express their personalities freely. Deep green cabinets, whimsical floral wallpaper, vintage inspired tiles, and shining gold fixtures make this ADU museum-worthy.

Contractor: Curtis M.

A Heartfelt Haven: Jeremy & Adria’s 800 sq ft ADU for Family Comfort

Size: 800 sq ft

Beds: 1

Baths: 1

Purpose: Home for aging family member

Faced with the challenge of finding suitable living arrangements for an aging parent, Jeremy and Adria sought a solution that offered both warmth and independence. Rejecting the idea of a cold assisted living facility, they turned to the creation of an their ADU — a spacious and comfortable space where the father could age gracefully while maintaining a close connection with the family.

One of the key benefits of the ADU is its proximity to the main residence. With just a few steps separating the two spaces, the family enjoys the peace of mind that comes with knowing their loved one is close by, fostering a sense of security.

By far our favorite element of this ADU is the front landscaping. The grid pattern of concrete outlined by grass creates a stunning visual contrast. This layout also cuts down the maintenance costs of a full grass lawn.

This ADU stands as a heartfelt haven, demonstrating the profound impact thoughtful design can have on the well-being of loved ones.

Contractor: Steve D.

More to come in 2024

From thoughtful layouts catering to the changing needs of families to artistic expressions that redefine living spaces, these ADUs have set a remarkable standard for the year gone by. Yet, the journey doesn’t end here.

As we eagerly anticipate the possibilities that 2024 holds, there’s more to explore, more stories to unveil, and more design marvels to inspire. If you’re ready to embark on your own ADU project in the new year, Maxable is here to turn your vision into reality. Based on your location and ADU vision, we’ll match you to a vetted ADU professionals. These individuals will understand your local regulations, design preferences, and budgetary considerations. Maxable is committed to making your ADU journey seamless and successful.

Get in touch with us to kickstart your project and bring your dreams of a personalized, functional living space to life in 2024. Maybe you’ll see your ADU on this list next year ;)

Check out our other favorites from previous years down below.

Best ADUs of 2022

Best ADUs of 2021

Best ADUs of 2020