Building an accessory dwelling unit in Raleigh by Paradise Found Construction

Building an Accessory Dwelling Unit (ADU)

Building an Accessory Dwelling Unit (ADU) in Raleigh and Cary NC

Create an independent In-Law, Rental, or Guest Suite

Paradise Found Construction is your Raleigh and Cary NC source for expert advice about local development and zoning rules, feasibility, and inspiration for adding multi-functional extra living space to your home.

Many people leave the family nest, but sometimes parents fly into their children's nests. With retirement facilities becoming out of reach for more and more aging Americans, many families are adding in-law units to their homes to navigate the finances of aging as well as enjoy an integrated family life.

Two important basics to consider are privacy and integration of spaces, both within an integrated or detached structure as well as within the family household.

Questions to ask about your in-law space. 

There is no one-size-fits-all solution when it comes to designing in-law spaces, everything is tailored to your unique vision.

Who are the decision makers in the process?  

Which areas of the home will be shared spaces? 

What are local municipality development and zoning rules?

Some areas can be shared such as laundry, family room, entrances, and even kitchens. Most parents don't want to be an intrusion into their children's lives, which can be challenging for the different generations. Make sure everyone is kept up to date and has a voice in the matter.

If a kitchen is required, be sure you’re working with a Design/Build builder who has expertise in local municipality development and zoning rules.

Accessory Dwelling Unit (ADU), In-Law Suite, Granny Flat, Backyard Cottage, Short or Long Term Rental

ADUs typically include a living room, sleeping area, kitchen, and bathroom and have a lockable external entrance. ADUs may be detached, attached, or internal to the principal dwelling. An ADU may also be located above a garage in Raleigh and Wake County.

Locally, allowable sizes of detached ADUs can range from 450 square feet to 1500 square feet (or not at all) depending on your municipality's development and zoning rules. You need a Design/Build General Contractor with a history of excellence and well versed in local municipal development and zoning rules.

Attached In-Law Home Addition. An in-law suite addition, sometimes called a Granny Flat,  usually is designed to  match the existing house's architectural details. In addition to a lockable external entrance, the unit connects to the rest of the house by way of a shared space which could include an entry and a foyer.

The maximum size of an attached ADU locally is typically 800 square feet. An amazing amount of comfort can be packed into these small accessory dwelling units with a thoughtful approach to home design.

Our designs include minimal steps, large doorways and handrails, and ample room to navigate that make any space easily accessible and multi-generational.


Finished room above a garage in Raleigh and Wake County. A private entry for the upstairs unit is required for emergency escape. The same rules apply for ADU.

Transform a basement. Adding square footage for additional living space in a client's unfinished basement has one of the highest returns on your investment.. This large primary bedroom with spacious and luxurious tiled roll-in shower and wheelchair accessible bathroom adjoins a shared family room and kitchenette.

Consider adding an electric or gas-powered fireplace insert that takes up virtually no floor space and creates a cozy, relaxing, and inviting area.

Building an Accessory Dwelling Unit (ADU) in Raleigh or Cary is a great option if you need more living space.  Current city ordinances and regulations now allow you to add a residential dwelling unit to your property with ease. Here are the top 4 most common questions homeowners ask when they want to add and to their property.

1. What are self-contained dwelling units?

An ADU is a self-contained dwelling unit that is located on the same lot as an existing home. For Example, in Raleigh and Wake County, you can build a Detached  In-Law Suite, Granny Flat, Backyard Cottage, or a Short or Long Term Rental Unit.


2. What are the different types of ADUs?

Building an accessory dwelling unit in Raleigh, NC

When you choose to build an ADU there are three types to choose from. The first option is to build one inside your house. Normally, you will share utilities and the walls which need to be modified. The second option is for you to build an addition attached to one or more common walls. Last but not least, you can build a separate dwelling from your primary residence, such as a cottage in the backyard.


Can an ADU be sold separately?

Residential accessory units are fully functional living spaces with a kitchen, bathrooms, and bedroom. They cannot be bought or sold separately from the primary residence.


What are the size requirements?

If you want to build a dwelling unit, it cannot be larger than the primary residence. It cannot be mobile. It must be attached to a permanent foundation on the property. Further, you can build only one residential unit per lot, and its size can range up to 1,500 square feet, depending on the lot size and your Municipality. Raleigh, Cary, and Wake County all have different rules, which is why it is important  to work with a professional who specializes in designing and building ADUs.


We’re Here to Help

If you are considering building a backyard cottage or an in-law suite in Raleigh. Choosing Paradise Found Construction allows you the flexibility to get everything you want — and nothing you don’t.  We will work closely with you to understand your vision. Using 3D visual design our team will bring it to life, creating a home that is both beautiful and inviting. Contact us today for a consultation.

We’re Here to Help

If you are considering an Accessory Dwelling Unit (ADU) or Home Addition for your home and you want to have the assurance and peace of mind that comes with working with a seasoned and savvy Design/Build partner, choose Paradise Found Construction. We partner with you to understand your vision of your home to create a 3D Tour that gives you the opportunity to experience your vision of your new living space before we build your home.
Contact us today for a consultation
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