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The nature of THE PLACE

  • Established older North Portland neighborhood.

  • A 2-story backyard ADU along the alley.

  • Yard privacy between adjacent properties in/out of the ADU – particularly at the 2nd-floor windows.

  • Existing 1-car garage and an outdoor covered BBQ area on site were to be retained.

  • Create private plus common exterior areas between the 2 units.




  • A detached ADU designed for several needs – parents or other relatives, rental opportunity.

  • Wanted an energy efficient design throughout utilizing net-zero principles.

  • Create privacy + common backyard space.

  • Traditional to the neighborhood yet a more modern vibe.

  • Loft space and bathroom above the main living space.

  • Open and airy.

  • Salvage, reutilization, pre-owned, refurbished items were desired to keep costs down and to participate in the work.


  • Simple gabled esthetic with large windows focusing on 1 direction that is private along the the alley.

  • Site planning with common and private garden areas, outdoor seating and eating areas.

  • Connections between the main house and ADU while creating privacy between the two units 

  • Simple loft above a 2-story space – light, feels bigger, energy efficient, space plan with optimal dimensions for furnishing.

  • Feature wood stair and cablerail guardrail.

  • Polished concrete radiant floors.

  • Radiant heating system with “BioSmart” Therapudic Infrared Heat system.

  • On demand hot water.

  • Energy efficient envelope using “better built” methods and materials with Earth Advantage certifications.

  • Salvaged fir floors, salvaged wood cabinets faces, concrete counter tops, exposed electrical conduit, refurbished light fixtures.


Departure came out to our property after the 2013 Build-It-Green tour and talked to us about potential of building an ADU. A year later, we decided to move forward with building an ADU and again, contacted Dan Lajoie. He came out to our property with the notes and ideas discussed the previous year and was willing to spend a long time discussing our hopes for our ADU. He was able to take our ideas and create a beautiful space that works perfectly for us and our property. Throughout the beginning of the process Dan was available to answer our questions, he spent time sharing pictures and showing us ideas as well as meeting with us regularly to look at his progress. He always took our perspective into account and reworked some of the drafts to ensure we were getting what we wanted; but he also had fantastic ideas that we had not thought of and did a great job inserting his personal character into the project. Overall, we have been really impressed with Dan's patience and his ability to turn a small space into something so functional and beautiful.

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