Project Summary

Location: Rockville, MD

Our clients found our website on Google and contacted us because they were looking to build an accessory dwelling unit (ADU). They wanted a separate living space within their property. Their son, who has special needs, would stay in the main house and the couple would move into the ADU.

The Challenge

The original plan for the ADU was too small. The couple wanted to make the space feel bigger and more comfortable. While the ADU is detached, they needed to expand the existing house’s footprint to allow for a larger detached ADU. This was necessary due to Montgomery County’s regulations, which limit the ADU size to a percentage of the existing house’s footprint.

The ADU was to be strategically placed in the backyard, separate from the main house, to resemble a cottage and maintain the yard’s aesthetics. This design choice was to ensure the ADU didn’t look out of place and was integrated seamlessly into the property. The client emphasized her desire for a completely custom design.

The Process

During this project, the Winthorpe team took a collaborative and integrated approach. This ensured that even as the client made selections for the project, the team was actively involved in informing her about potential challenges and making sure that these choices were feasible in terms of installation and alignment with the project’s progress.

Communication throughout the project was facilitated primarily through Buildertrend, a tool that kept everyone, including the client, informed about changes. Regular follow-up meetings with the project manager and, when necessary, meetings with subcontractors, ensured that everyone understood the project updates and how they would be implemented.

We didn’t just focus on finishing the project quickly to move on to the next one. Instead, we made sure to keep the client engaged, asking for her input on various details, such as changes to the railing design. This careful attention to detail and client preferences was a key aspect of our service.

Having remodeled before, the client was excited about this project because it allowed her to make custom choices for everything, from kitchen cabinets to bathroom styles. Unlike her previous experiences where her choices were limited, this project provided the freedom to select from a wide range of options, fulfilling her vision for the space.

The Transformation

The house footprint was expanded by 400 square feet to make the project feasible and to meet the family’s needs. The ADU included a home office, guest bedroom, two bathrooms, a laundry room, and a large kitchen-living area with a cathedral ceiling.

Heated floors were installed in the kitchen. We always consider how the space will be used and ensure the environment is comfortable. The heated floors are essential due to the comfort and warmth it provides, especially since the ADU is built on a crawl space, which can lead to colder floors.

Initially, the client was hesitant about the expense and didn’t think it was necessary. However, after talking to a friend who had heated floors and considering Scott’s advice, she decided to have them installed. Radiant floor heating significantly contributes to comfort. It’s not something that can easily be added later, so installing the feature was a crucial decision that needed to be made during the initial phases of construction.

The Details

The client had unique preferences in her space, such as opting for a plate glass mirror in the bathroom, which seemed outdated. However, we went ahead with it because it was what the client wanted.

The client initially chose a $9,000 tub, significantly over the budgeted $2,000, but adjustments were made elsewhere to accommodate this preference. We made sure that the client did not have to compromise on the elements she would interact with and notice daily.

The overall design of the space turned out more eclectic than initially anticipated, mixing various materials like brass and stainless steel, reflecting the client’s personal style rather than a singular, cohesive look. While we tried to guide her towards a more unified design, we ultimately embraced her diverse choices to ensure her satisfaction with the space.

The New Space

Despite the long process and necessary communications for approvals, the client and her husband were happy with the results. They appreciated being kept informed throughout the process, even when there were changes in direction, like the need to redo calculations for the driveway placement on their property.

The clients were pleasantly surprised by the level of involvement and coordination among the team members throughout the project. They were also impressed with the hands-on involvement of the entire team, including Scott, Krag, and Ashley, in every aspect of the project.

Overall, the homeowners were satisfied with the project’s outcome, where their personal inputs and choices were successfully realized.

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