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Understanding Backyard Cottages aka DADUs


Backyard cottages are on the rise.

In a city growing as fast as Seattle, finding new solutions geared toward urban density and affordable living can be challenging. Backyard cottages present themselves as an effective, economically viable and aesthetically pleasing answer to these problems.

But you can’t build a housing unit in your backyard tomorrow. Permitting requirements for backyard cottages can be a little tricky to understand. Fortunately, our team loves talking about this kind of stuff, so we’ve broken it down for you. In this post, we’ll talk about what a backyard cottage is, what requirements you have to meet to build one, and what sets these units apart from other housing solutions.

What is a DADU?

Backyard cottages are also commonly referred to as Detached Accessory Dwelling Units (DADUs). The “detached” distinction makes them different from basement apartments, or units of that ilk. Backyard cottages are separate constructions from your main house, and function as complete units all on their own.

There are a number of reasons why you may want to build a DADU in your backyard.

  • As a separate space for a family member
  • To bring in extra income by renting out the unit
  • To increase the value of your property
  • As a separate workspace or studio
  • To increase economic accessibility to your neighborhood

Regardless of your reasons for building a DADU, there’s one thing you want to make doubly sure of: that you do it legally.

In our next section, we’ll detail some of the specific regulations you need to meet in order to break dirt on your backyard cottage in the Seattle area.

What Are the Legal Requirements for Building a Backyard Cottage?

Before you go ahead and start planning your backyard cottage, you should always check with the particular zoning laws of your neighborhood. In Seattle, you must live in a single-family zone.

But not all single-family homes are eligible to legally build a DADU--your lot needs to be at least 3200 square feet. Right now, there are a lot of eligible homes in West and North Seattle.

If the owner of a home in a single-family zone wants to build a backyard cottage, it can’t legally be bigger than 1000 square feet. And before you begin building, you will need to obtain a construction permit.

Naturally, any structure has to be in compliance with standard building codes. In Seattle’s surrounding municipalities, like Bellevue, Kirkland, and Renton, regulations may vary slightly. Make sure you confirm your legal eligibility for a DADU before you begin building!

Backyard Cottages as a Future-Based Solution

It’s no real surprise why so many people are considering adding backyard cottages to their own homes. As Seattle grows, DADUs offer a solution that increases economic diversity and takes a strong step towards sustainable urban density. And we can’t deny that DADUs offer a high degree of cottage-esque charm to any neighborhood.

Valentine’s Day 2021: 7 Ways to Celebrate


There are a lot of ways to spend a perfect Valentine’s Day.

Drinks on top of the Space Needle… A stroll down Alki Beach... Laughing until it hurts at a Comedy Underground show in Pioneer Square...

But if there’s ever a year to stay home and celebrate with a night in, this is it. Here are our seven top suggestions for how to still have a special Valentine’s Day.

1. Have a Movie or TV Marathon

We know there’s a part of you that’s like, “How is this different from every other night of my life?” We feel you. So make it special. Start a new show together, or rewatch a movie you saw with each other when you first started dating. Pick a flick you’ll both enjoy, and don’t forget the popcorn.

2. Wine & Cheese Night

A charcuterie board is a good addition to any Valentine’s Day. A good cheese plate has different types of cheeses, charcuterie, bread or crackers, olives, dried fruit...we could go on and on. Shop together to make it personal. And remember to pick out a nice bottle of wine. You can’t have wine & cheese without the wine.

3. Sit By the Fire

There’s something about sitting fireside that is very romantic. Light up the indoor fireplace or snuggle up next to a backyard flame. Make it like camping by roasting marshmallows.

4. Go on a “Trip”

Well, you can’t actually go on vacation this year. But you can still transport yourself with a carefully crafted evening at home. Always wanted to go to Italy? Make pasta for dinner, drink a Chianti, and watch a Fellini film. And of course, have fun planning your dream vacation with your significant other.

5. Cook Together

A lot of people use Valentine’s Day as an excuse to cook for their partner. Why not try a new recipe together? Having fun in the kitchen and experimenting with something new is a great way to celebrate Valentine’s Day. Plus you get to eat afterward, which isn’t too bad. See our list for how to not mess up Vday dinner at home. (hyperlink to other post)

6. Zoom Valentine’s Day

Quarantining separately? Have an amazing Zoom Valentine’s Day by making a short PowerPoint presentation about why you love your SO. Include photos, location tags, and write special love notes right onto your slides. The “share your screen” button has never been so romantic.

7. Make a Time Capsule

Yes, this year has been hard. But use today to take a few pictures, and write a note to your SO. Maybe include a few other trinkets. Open it up a year from now to revel in the strength of your love.

Celebrating Valentine’s Day at home doesn’t have to be lame. In fact, after you try one of our suggestions, you might find yourself with a new annual tradition. Enjoy!

Our Top Ten Valentine's Day Gifts You Can Eat


Who needs love when you have food? Just kidding. But seriously, food makes the best Valentine’s Day gift. If you’re looking to break the mold from the traditional “flowers and chocolate” routine, take a gander at the following list. We’ve named our top ten edible Valentine’s Day gifts that will make this holiday extra sweet.

1. Heart-Shaped Queso Fundido from Frelard Tamales.

Frelard Tamales operates out of a window in the Greenlake neighborhood, and they’re always up to something special. This month, they’re dishing up heart-shaped tins of Queso Fundido that you can pick up and prepare in the oven when you get home. If you’re looking for something delicious to pick up for your sweetie, this is it.

2. Chukar Cherries from Pike Place Market.

We know we said we weren’t talking about chocolate today, but who can resist Chukar Cherries from the market? Pick up a heart-shaped box of these cherries for a sweet, local Valentine’s Day gift.

3. Specialty Marmalade from Coyle’s Bakeshop.

This isn’t your grandmother’s strawberry jam. These house-made marmalades make great gifts because of their creative flavors. We recommend the Seville Orange with Bourbon and Brown Sugar. Coyle’s also recently expanded their bread menu, so you might as well get some fresh sourdough while you’re there! Can you say Valentine’s Day breakfast in bed?

4. Beecher’s Cheese Box.

Who doesn’t love a good charcuterie plate? If you’re heading down to Pike Place for Chukar cherries, you should also pick up some cheese while you’re there. Get Beecher’s pre-assembled cheese plates and you’ll have a Valentine’s Day spread ready to go. As the Beecher’s website says, “just add wine.

5. Bag of Coffee from Cafe Avole.

Cafe Avole is an independent roaster of Ethiopian Coffee on Rainier Avenue South. Pick up a bag of their coffee for anyone you want to surprise on Valentine’s Day.

6. Macaron Pack from Lady Yum.

Pre-assembled macaron packs from one of Seattle’s top macaron-istas is a great way to bless someone this Valentine’s day.

7. Ballyhoo Hot Sauce Gift Set.

We all know that one person who carries hot sauce with them in their purse or backpack. Keep Valentine’s Day spicy by getting them a gift set from Ballyhoo Hot Sauce.

8. Take-Home Pints from Frankie & Jo's.

Yes, please. Frankie & Jo’s is Seattle’s top vegan ice creamery. Their scoop shops are open if you want a quick Valentine’s Day treat, but you can also pick up or order pints to take home. Check out their website for a peek at their February flavors.

9. Specialty Teas from New Century Tea Gallery in the CID.

The New Century Tea Gallery in the International District is the #1 spot for tea lovers. Check out a wide library of teas, including Pu Er, Oolong, and more. Perfect for your tea-sipping Valentine.

10. A Cocktail Kit from Triangle Spirits.

Bring the bar home with you on Valentine’s Day. We recommend the Maker’s Mark Mini Old Fashioned Kit. Makes three cocktails, and comes with cherries and dehydrated orange slices!

If your Valentine loves food as much as we do, we are confident they’ll love anything off of this list! Got any suggestions of your own? Let us know in the comments.

5 Super Bowl Cocktails to Make At Home This Year


A lot of people traditionally watch the Super Bowl in bars and restaurants. This year, that just isn’t a realistic choice. And what that means is that you need to learn how to become your own bartender. Yikes. Are you wondering what should be on your home bar menu this Sunday? Before you make a run to the liquor store, check out this list.

1. The Classic Mimosa

The Super Bowl starts at 3:30 pm, which is earlier than a typical happy hour. Enter the queen of breakfast cocktails, the mimosa. Woodinville's Chateau Ste. Michelle makes a sweet sparkling wine perfect for sipping. Forward in the Domaine Ste. Michelle Extra Dry are orange and lemon zest flavors. This will perfectly complement orange juice, making the perfect mimosa! Garnish with a lemon or orange wedge.

2. A Shrub G&T

Spice up a regular gin and tonic by adding a northwest inspired shrub or syrup from Simple Goodness Sisters. Based in Buckley, WA, these two women (actual sisters) create all sorts of fun flavor combos with things they grow on their farm. Our recommendation: their Huckleberry Spruce Tip syrup. The spruce flavor will draw out the juniper notes inherent in gin.

3. BBQ Bloody Mary

Traditional Blood Marys are already so much fun that you hardly need to shake things up. But if you’re looking to go a little off the beaten path this Sunday, this is the way to go. Simply use barbecue rub to rim the glass, giving a savory, smoky kick to this cocktail. You can buy Tom Douglas's signature rub for game day. Use whatever you have leftover on a plate of wings or ribs for snacking!

4. The "Seahawks Breeze" Cocktail

It doesn't matter if the Seahawks are in the Super Bowl or not, Seattleites are loyal fans. This recipe from Life Currents includes Limoncello and Blue Curacao, making it an Electric 12th Man Blue. We love you forever, Russell Wilson.

5. A Moscow Mule, Seattle Style

This is a cocktail that’s on every bar menu but is super easy to make at home. However, it’s also one of those drinks that gets infinitely better when you use high-quality ingredients! Using Timber City’s spicy-sweet Ginger Beer and Batch 206 Vodka, this is a fantastic local take on a classic drink. Perfect for sipping while you watch The Weeknd’s halftime show performance.

Now you’re ready for your store run! Stock up your home bar and enjoy some restaurant-quality cocktails during this year’s Super Bowl.

3 major home trends that will define 2021


2020 is over, and thank goodness for that. But it goes without saying that people in all industries will be feeling the effects of last year for a long, long time. Real estate is no exception. Here are three major home trends that will shape buyer attitudes in 2021 and beyond, as seen by NWG Urban founder Nick Glant.

Keep an Eye on Condo Sales

Condominium sales may very well experience an uptick during the latter half of the year. “The condo market could stabilize as amenities and social distancing measures loosen up with the arrival of the vaccine and herd immunity,” said Glant. The amenities that make many condominiums attractive to buyers--pools, gyms, communal spaces--have mostly been closed this year to prevent the spread of COVID-19. As more people gain access to the vaccine, these amenities are likely to open back up. Cue a flush of buyers back to condominiums.

Outdoor Spaces Are In

The COVID-19 pandemic put a real moratorium on indoor hosting. All of a sudden, it didn’t really matter if you had the perfect CB2 furniture, or if your living room looked like an “after” shot off of HGTV. Since last Spring, no one has been able to come by and see your home. So why bother to decorate?

But then summer rolled around. Suddenly the weather was nice enough to hold some safe, socially distant outdoor hangs with your designated pod. Backyards, patios, porches, decks, and even courtyards started getting unparalleled attention. People started investing in nice ways to make their outdoor spaces great for entertaining. Outdoor furniture, string lights, and patio heaters are all popular buys right now.

According to Glant, it’s hard to make accurate predictions for 2021. But outdoor spaces are sure to stay popular. Homes that do well this year will have outdoor space associated with the building or the unit so that hosting guests is always an option. See you in the backyard next summer!

Introducing: The “HOffice”

“The local industry indicators are pointing to a normal and more balanced market in early 2021,” said Glant. This is good news, especially for homebuyers looking for a house with a work from home space. Yep, the home office is trending in a big way. When people imagine working from home for the first time, they envision lounging in a sunchair with a laptop, stopping for a midday drink break. Real WFH life has turned out to be not nearly so glamorous. Now that people have gotten the hang of working from home, a designated workspace is becoming a requirement for homebuyers in 2021.

Studies have shown that people who have a defined workspace are far more productive than those who don’t. For some people, this means looking for units with a spare room. But for others, this just means homes that come equipped with a designated space for working. A breakfast nook or built-in desk space will do the trick.

Anything Else?

These are the trends we forecast for 2021. But if this past year has taught us anything, it’s that we should anticipate some curveballs, too. According to Glant, “For further predictions on the 2021 market, please contact your local psychic. For (mostly) unbiased and professional recommendations, please feel free to reach out to your trusted Broker at NWG Urban.”