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Granny felt lonely. Her new backyard home has her relatives knocking

Alice Marozas had been living alone in a 5-bedroom home since the death of her husband 7 years earlier when her daughter suggested that instead of finding a retirement community, she move into a prefab in their Los Angeles backyard. Alice had loved growing up in a multi-generational household (after her mother had taken in her 7 younger, orphaned siblings) loved the idea of being closer to her daughter and grandkids, but she didn’t want to be a burden.

Claudia and her husband Chris Buchanan wanted to preserve the backyard as it was, including their tall hedge and vegetable garden, so they found a panelized prefab so the “granny unit” could be hand-carried in pieces through the 3-foot gap in their hedge. Since California had recently passed new ADU (Accessory Dwelling Unit) legislation, they could place the prefab right up next to the lot line, instead of adhering to an older 15-foot setback requirement. This left the garden and hedge untouched.

Once a foundation was laid, it felt like the home went up in a day, explains Chris, who filmed the home one evening mid-build when the wall panels had been slid together, but the ceiling panels still hadn’t been snapped into place and the internal LEGO-like structure is evident (HVAC hidden behind ceiling panels and track lighting that takes advantage of the gaps between panels).

Most mornings Chris and Claudia cross the hedge so he can tend the garden and she can have coffee with on her mom’s porch. And in the afternoon, their youngest son crosses to visit grandma’s house for a snack or to watch sports.