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She used commercial materials to build dream 2-story ADU for $30K

Christi Azevedo has spent years machining metal to make furniture so when she wanted to build a fast, fire-resistant, easily-configurable backyard home, she created a prototype from insulated metal panels.

“The furniture business gave me the skills for working at a scale that is half furniture half building,” she explains. In 2015 we filmed her San Francisco boiler room conversion that also relied on metal, but with this build she hopes to create a blueprint for an ADU (accessory dwelling unit) that at 200-square feet “was designed to be a suitable size to share the backyard of a city lot.”

She believes the materials will make this easy to replicate on any size lot. “A post and beam light gauge steel frame and insulated metal panels are components that can be walked through a tradesman entrance and easily assembled.”

In her Grass Valley, CA backyard, she and a friend with no construction skills put up the framing without help. The framing and panels were installed in two days, the cladding took another 2 days and the windows one more, so she estimates the home’s envelope took 5 days to erect and cost $30,000.

The home can carry a snow load of 35 pounds per square foot and the panels are insulated for heat and cold (R42 in the roof and R24 in the walls).

The then height limit of 16 feet (it’s now 20’) led to the home’s staggered-height volumes which make the interior feel in contrast to the exterior’s boxlike feel.

* Photos credit: César Rubio