Originally founded in 1992, the Sierra Nevada Children’s Museum (aka KidZone Museum) was the brainchild of a coalition of parents, agencies, and educations in Truckee. The museum has over 30,000 visitors annually, and hosts a full schedule of camps, school programs, exhibits, and volunteer opportunities for the community and visitors to take part in. In 2018, the Timberline Construction team volunteered our services to build out a kitchen and storage area.
This renovation was a huge upgrade that allowed the staff to do even more in the space they occupy. It was also personally meaningful for our team as many have children who regularly visit the museum!
Interested in building an ADU?
At Timberline, about 25% of the new build inquiries we get nowadays include plans for an Accessory Dwelling Unit (ADU). An ADU is a self-contained, smaller living unit on the lot of a single-family home. They can be separate like a “granny flat” or attached to the primary house, such as an above-garage type, or a basement unit. ADU’s have increased in popularity as many cities now offer grants and loans to help owners with building expenses.
If you’re interested or considering building an ADU, here are 10 things we think you should consider:
1. Decide its primary use.
First and foremost decide what your ADU will primarily be used for. Perhaps a space for visiting family? Rental income (short term or longer term)? An office or hobby space? When designing a smaller space, it’s important to think carefully about what matters most and begin with that as your priority. Here are two examples of ADUs that led to different design priorities:
“Long term rental. Full kitchen and bedroom space necessary”
“Yoga studio. Open space and light take priority, but the space is able to flex into a comfortable spare bedroom for occasional guests.”
2. ADU placement on property is important.
An ADU should be placed close enough to the main structure so that utility connections are possible and streamlined. Also, consider driveway access and how to you might create a semi-private entrance, especially if the ADU will be used for short or long term rental.
3. The most cost-efficient way to build an ADU is alongside a new home.
New construction in the Tahoe-Truckee area is now roughly $550/Square Foot for a 3,000 SF home. This cost metric increases for a stand-alone ADU because of set costs for site work and infrastructure. One way to bring your ADU costs in line with main house is to tackle all the infrastructure work at the same time. It’s even better to build the ADU and main house at the same time since it’s becoming difficult to get onto builder’s busy schedules.
4. Coordinate your finishes and design with the main house.
Not only will this create a more cohesive space, it may be required to gain approval from your city or neighborhood HOA. We love how this log cabin ADU complements the main house, while feeling distinct and able to stand on its own.
5. When it comes to design and materials – think outside the box!
Using pre-fabricated materials will likely reduce onsite time and labor. There are many innovative options out there. Some of our favorites include:
And yes, even Shipping Containers!
6. Know your city guidelines and incentives.
ADUs are a hot topic of conversation in many city governments. Cities like Berkeley and Portland are often viewed as success stories because of the positive impact ADUs have had on their housing shortages. Before solidifying your plans, do your homework to understand current city guidance, approval processes and any tools available to help with permitting and building costs (grants and/or loans). For California residents, a good place to start your research is the Dept of Housing and Community Development
7. Create distinct spaces inside your ADU.
You may think that keeping the space as open as possible will make it feel larger, but we’ve actually found the opposite to be true. Spend time prioritizing the areas in your ADU and find ways to define the individual spaces. Half height walls, pocket doors (that disappear into the wall, saving space) and even curtains can help break up the space in a way that will feel useful.
8. Prioritize Storage and Windows.
Plenty of natural light and places to hide stuff (without spending too much time organizing) are super helpful when you’re trying to make a small space feel larger. We love the idea of built in storage in unexpected places, like under (or even inside!) stairs.
We also love a good floor to ceiling window in the public spaces. It will be a striking feature for your guests to enjoy the changing seasons in Tahoe and the natural light will make it instantly feel more open.
9. Factor in a Mudroom.
A small space will show signs of a mess much quicker than a large space. Especially in the Tahoe area with snow in the winter, dust in the summer and lots of mud in between, it’s important to have a space (even something super small) to kick off shoes and keep evidence of the outdoors contained.
10. Design with a future owner in mind.
Even if you’re certain you won’t ever sell, our realtor friends are always reminding us to design with the next owner in mind. You just never know. Will your ADU be easy enough for new owners to repurpose? Is it accessible for elderly? Is the right electrical wiring there to easily make a former office space into a rentable unit with small kitchen?
We hope this helps, and we’d love to hear more about any plans or questions you may have.
The Timberline Team
Tahoe-Truckee Area Construction: The Basics
“Home construction in Tahoe is simple,” said no one ever!
If you’ve struggled to get clear information on home building and remodeling in the Tahoe-Truckee area, we’d love to shed some light and share what we know.
First, find the right partner for you.
Timberline Construction’s owner, Christian Edwards, recommends mentally preparing for the work ahead and taking time to select best partners for you. He shares, “The construction process is never perfect, there will most certainly be surprises along the way and it’s much easier to navigate when you have the right mindset and the right partners by your side.” This is so true!! Every architect and builder’s style is unique; choose someone who will communicate openly and honestly with you and someone you think you’ll genuinely enjoy working with.
Should I remodel or build a home?
Assuming you’re prepped, the most common question we then get is: Should I remodel an existing home or buy land and build a home?? Lucky for you there’s no wrong answer, but there are many considerations. Below we’ve outlined key points for each:
Whether you build or remodel (or luck out and find the perfect house!), we hope life eventually becomes less about the house and more about the home you create inside. We’d love to answer additional questions and hear more about your plans, just reach out to us at: firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Timberline Team
It’s no secret that the Fourth will look a little different this year — not just in our backyard here in Truckee, but all over the country. Parades are canceled due to COVID-19 social distancing concerns, along with all fireworks shows. Additionally, personal fireworks (and campfires of all kinds) are banned due to fire prevention, but there’s still plenty of ways to let freedom ring here in the mountains! Whether you’re a part-time or full-time resident, please remember to adhere to local safety guidelines wherever you go: this includes maintaining social distancing and wearing a mask in public. We recommend doing plenty of research ahead of time so you know exactly what to expect. We’ve compiled a guide below to get you started.
Enjoy the View With a Brew
Is anything more patriotic than enjoying a stunning view with a cold one? We especially enjoy 1882‘s scenic patio overlooking the Truckee River, as well as the new expanded patio in front of Moody’s. Looking for kid-friendly and dog-friendly locations? Coffeebar‘s downtown location is always a favorite, and be sure to stop by Little Truckee Ice Creamery, which boasts the only handmade ice cream in town (bonus: it’s right across from Donner Lake!). Our friends at Visit Truckee compiled an excellent resource on patios, porches and decks now open in Truckee — check it out here.
4th of July Truckee Tahoe Honor Flyover
This special flyover will start tomorrow at 11 AM sharp. Warbirds will fly over Truckee and Tahoe to honor our nation’s independence and frontline workers during the COVID-19 pandemic. The planned “parade in the sky” of military aircraft will feature the D-Day Squadron whose commemorative flyover missions continue throughout the nation. The squadron plans to fly six DC-3 (C-47s) historic warbirds over Truckee Tahoe communities as a special gift supported by the Truckee Tahoe Air Show and Truckee Airport District.
The flyover will cover Tahoe Forest Hospital, all four shores of Lake Tahoe, Barton Medical Center in South Lake Tahoe, Incline Village, Tahoe City, Squaw Valley and back to Truckee. The mission stretching 130 miles is expected to finish by 12:15 PM. More info can be found here.
Grill at Home
Avoid the crowds completely by enjoying a day with the family at home! Get all the staples at the brand new Raley’s O-N-E Market which opened a week ago at Soaring Ranch by the Truckee Airport. With a focus on Organics, Nutrition and Education, this unique market is truly one of our new favorite spots in town, and we’re so grateful to have it!
Interested in building the home of your dreams in the mountains? Shoot us a message and we’d be happy to answer any preliminary questions!
Hidden Spots by Water
Sure, you could claim a Donner dock early in the morning or camp out at Sand Harbor for the day, but it’s always worth it to put in a little extra work and have more privacy — especially on one of the busiest weekends of the year. Here’s a short list of some of our favorite lesser-known gems around the Truckee Tahoe region. Keep in mind, these spots will probably be on the busier side this weekend, too. Get there early and claim your spot!
- Stampede Reservoir: Stampede is a little more off-the-beaten-path than Boca or Prosser, and it’s a gorgeous reservoir popular for floating, fishing, jet skiing and all other water sports. As the reservoir is pretty low this summer, you won’t have a lot of access to shade if you set up right at the water, so bring a tent or some kind of shade covering.
- Long Lake: While it’s gotten more popular in recent years, Long Lake — located at the base of Devil’s Peak near Donner Summit — is one of our favorite alpine lakes that’s reasonably accessible. Note: you will need a 4×4 vehicle to access the parking area. This is an easy spot to car camp for the night. Don’t forget your bug spray, sunscreen and plenty of local brewskis!
- Float the Truckee River: Yes, there will be many people floating and rafting the Truckee River this weekend, but our favorite spots to float are right here in Truckee itself. Start right at the Hirschdale overpass in Glenshire, and float downstream however long you like. You can purchase a cheap inflatable tube and pump at Rite Aid, and many other places in town.
- Chimney Beach: Located not far from more well-known Sand Harbor on Tahoe’s stunning east shore, Chimney Beach is a great alternative that only involves a short hike (not ideal if you’re lugging a bunch of coolers and umbrellas, but perfect if you want to get in a little bit of exercise and have a backpack of stuff). Park at Secret Harbor Parking Lot and yes — get there early!
No matter how you celebrate, we wish you and your family a very happy (and safe!) Fourth of July weekend here in the mountains!