“As a professional who really knows the world of ADUs, there was never any question. Acton ADU does it right.”
– James Parks
“The design is beautiful, the craftsmanship is of a tremendous quality, and the team were clean, professional, and super attentive.”
– James Parks
Part 1: Motivations
James Parks lives in the Almaden Valley in San Jose, California and wanted to invest in his family’s property. His intentions were to not only create a long-term asset, but to escape the crushing costs of Bay Area rent, and provide a future home for his younger siblings, Bristin and Joseph. The final goal of his ADU was ultimately to create a safe, proximal home for his parents when they need future care. Like many ADU owners, James had a long-term plan for the family’s backyard home and worked closely with his parents, Cynthia and Jim to realize it.
It should also be mentioned that James is part of the Acton ADU team, and has been a housing advocate for years. He joined the Acton ADU team with the objective of helping other families develop their own family property plan in the Bay Area, and ultimately, across California.
Part 2: Project Validation
After Project Evaluation, it was determined that the site was relatively straight-forward. However, the site had a handful of considerations that needed addressing.
The first of these was the limited access to either of the side yards, which resulted in materials needing to be brought in by hand. This also increased the scope of work since all foundational trenching and digging had to be done by hand.
Additionally, the Parks family wanted to incorporate solar, to get ahead of the new solar requirements in California and San Jose. This meant that there needed to be a plan for upgrading the electrical panels and infrastructure to support both the needs of the ADU itself, but the additional solar components.
Part 3: Design
Functionality, ease of maintenance, privacy, and a dedicated work space were top priorities for the Parks family. That, and creating an independent, energy-efficient home.
To accomplish this, the design team at Acton ADU curated a sleek, yet rustic design that provided loads of counter space and storage, and tailored an area originally designated as a breakfast nook, into a wonderful office space. Here are some highlights.
The kitchen was designed to have maximum counter space for cooking with an island that doubles as the dining table or secondary work area. Additionally, an induction cooktop was selected for both the electrical requirements, but also for longer-term safety and aging in place.
The office was an integral element, providing a place for James, who is both an Acton ADU team member and an author of fiction and graphic novels, a quiet, independent space from the other areas.
Part 4: Build
Building the Parks ADU started with a comprehensive plan for the site that included replacing an old, railroad tie retaining wall, before the build began. Once complete, the foundation trenching was hand-dug, then rough plumbing was installed, and finally, the foundation was poured.
The structure was then framed and constructed through to finish work and appliance install. Acton foremen stood for every inspection and were present and dependable through to building completion via final punch lists.
Part 5: Home Sweet Home
A week after completion, James moved in and began enjoying the comfort of his new home, but also the close proximity to his family. The office has already been put to good use, confirming that it is a private, quiet, and comfortable space to work remotely.
As for the kitchen, James and company were cooking on day one and loving the roomy, thoughtfully planned space.
The landscaping was the last phase of the project, and is well underway. This design, also by Acton ADU, optimized the interconnectivity between the two homes has created family dynamic that James calls, “Enriching and fun for everyone. Being close, but with a comfortable level of privacy and independence has been fantastic.”