Backyard Dwelling

The attached is our attempt to provide a solution for anyone who wants to build a “granny flat” in their backyard for an aging parent. My brother-in-law built a granny flat for his mother and they spent the last 17 years of her life living happily close by until she died at 98. We are hoping that someone will use our plans and build it so we will be able to see it for real. Originally we were going to build it for our daughter and her husband but built a treehouse instead. -David Stiles

This tiny backyard house is ideal as a “granny flat”, guest house, home office, artist’s studio, or a place to stay while renting out the main house for extra income. Also called an Accessory Dwelling Unit (A.D.U.), the house is purposely made small (14’ x 14’) for zoning and land use compliance; this also helps respect the neighbors’ privacy and keeps the building affordable, easy to build, and easy to heat. It is intended for use by one or two people and includes a sofa bed (queen) that folds up during the day to make room for entertaining or working at the computer or watching television. In one corner is a small kitchen with a mini refrigerator, hotplate, toaster oven or microwave, plus cabinets for pots and pans and kitchen utensils. Another feature of the kitchen is twin trash receptacles that dispose of wet or recyclable trash from the counter and into an outdoor receptacle – so no more taking out the trash!

In another corner is the home entertainment center featuring a large-screen TV, and a computer desk that converts into a table for three. The TV is easily seen from the bed when the sofa is rolled out. There’s a closet next to the bed for pillows and blankets.

In the far corner is another closet for clothes, overcoats, and suitcases. Behind a wall in the rear of the room is the tiled bathroom, with a toilet and sink including storage underneath the counter. And here’s the kicker: there is no tub or indoor shower. You just turn on the shower from the inside, wait till it’s nice and hot, then step outside into a partially enclosed cedar outdoor shower and enjoy nature! You can then run back inside (only 2’ away) and turn off the water from where your warm towel awaits you. How refreshing, and what a way to start the morning!

We were able to fit so much into the building through economy of space. In most interior designs, corners are not used to best advantage – they contain articles that are seldom used, such as lamps, extra chairs, etc. We have made maximum use of the corners, with only the convertible sofa bed in the middle of the room; this, together with the cathedral ceiling, gives the house a more spacious feeling.

Approximate cost of materials – $11,000.

Plans are available at

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Chris - July 15, 2017 Reply

I think this is a great idea for an in-law suite or as you call it a “granny flat.” I’ve worked in manufactured housing for awhile now, and the people looking for something affordable and small for an in-law suite is common. Unfortunately, our homes and prices are not within most peoples size and budget requirements. This 14×14 in-law suite is ideal and I’d love to build it someday!

Thanks for the great drawing and write-up!

Lory - July 27, 2017 Reply

This is a great idea for a tiny home!

I am looking for something like this.

Do you have any pictures? Does it have AC/heat?

Thank you

Mary - July 31, 2017 Reply

Steps & outside showers for grannies? I think not.

lucille b - August 20, 2017 Reply

hello, grand idea. can this design be adaptable to a larger cabin? i simply love this design.thank and stay safe

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