The progress of my parents’ tiny backyard cottage

We have often dreamed of the possibility of building my parents a backyard bungalow at our Seattle house! We never made the backyard cottage in that particular location, but now we finally realize our dream differently! Today, I am excited to share with you our progress in making this dream a reality.

My parents are building a cute backyard cottage attached to our home. I’ll show you some progress and “tiny-cottage” elements they have chosen to make it work for them.

First, a brief recap of our journey!

We had to make a decision when it came time for my husband and me to enter the “empty nester’s” phase of our lives a little more than a year ago. Was it time to leave Seattle? We were torn because we loved the previous house and could see that as our forever home!

We had always hoped to own a home someday, but when we discovered this adorable little house on an island an hour and a half away, we felt it was the one we were looking for. It was the perfect place to start our empty nest lifestyle. The view of the water, the short walk to the nearby beach, the small town, and the beautiful local attractions confirmed it.

My parents were invited to move with us wherever we went. We initially passed on this tiny home because, as much we loved it as it was, we didn’t think it would be an excellent place to move with my parents.

The layout or size of the home was different from what most people would consider ideal for multi-generational housing. As we took the time to discuss this house and its location, with all of its potential and merits, it became apparent that it was, in many ways ideal.

Could it be made to work?

After talking with my parents, assessing their dreams and goals, and thinking about the timing and everyone’s immediate needs and future requirements, we were confident this was our home.

We decided to move forward because we agreed that we would take on the challenge of creating a comfortable home for us all. This backyard cottage concept resulted from careful planning, clever design and much thought.

We decided to add it because our lot needed to be bigger (and zoned) for a separate cottage. A smaller house meant some sacrifices and compromises. But that’s what I like about it. You learn to concentrate on the things that are most important to you. We have far less needs than we believe.

They love houses just as much as me 

The project was started once they had the architectural drawings and the required permits.

It’s wonderful that my parents are so close to me! In fact, right under our roof! It’s great that they can enjoy their neighborhood, the small town, and the life at the beach.

Does your parents’ new addition have a kitchen?

It will indeed have a cute, partially enclosed kitchenette. Three windows will line the backside of one wall. The vaulted ceiling will make the kitchen feel spacious, bright and airy despite its small size!

The cutesy “small space” appliances have been ordered for it, like the white countertop air fryer/oven as well as a matching coffee machine.

It will look beautiful with blue-and-white checkered backsplash, blue cabinets, and a retro-looking fridge. It’s a European Cottage by the Sea! Soon, I’ll be sharing a moodboard for their design.

What is the size of the backyard cottage in square feet?

At first, we thought that the addition would only be a bathroom and bedroom, but when the design was completed, they decided to turn it into a cottage, adding a kitchenette, main sitting room and bedroom nook. It was difficult to fit everything in, but they have all the space they need.

It’s probably about 400 square feet, which is the maximum possible footprint given the limited building space.

The vaulted ceiling in the sitting area will give it a feeling of space. Their walls and ceilings are white beadboard, and their flooring will be the same as ours – European white oak.

Even on a cloudy, rainy day, the windows are letting in so much natural light! The sitting room will include their Frame TV and a coffee station, complete with This pretty espresso machine. They love coffee.

It will also be beautiful from the outside. The addition was designed to match the style of the homes in the neighborhood as well as complement our existing home. The addition will feature white board and batten (which matches other parts of our house), the roof will be made from metal, and they will have their own color (blue!) The exterior door will have a lovely siding detail on top (stay tuned for it).

You’ll love seeing more of this adorable little cottage in the backyard!