Before & After: A Cinder Block Garage Turned Gorgeous 280-Square-Foot Backyard ADU

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Before! This was our cinder-block garage before we transformed it into the casita.

Name: Diana Pasquali, my husband, two kids, and golden retriever Mia
Location: Rockridge — Oakland, California
Type of home: ADU / Tiny House
Size: 280 square feet
Years lived in: 8 years, owned

Our tiny house is 280 square feet: home office, guesthouse, and storage!

Tell us a little (or a lot) about your home and the people who live there: Our family of four lives in a small, Craftsman house and wanted a little more space so that we could have guests and storage. We had a falling down, cinder block garage that was home to rats and spiders. We knocked it down! Using the same footprint in order to meet city regulations, we designed and built a 280-square-foot tiny house in our small backyard. It’s my home office during the week and we host guests on the weekends.

We started with a blank slate and only added the necessary furniture for a guest room / home office.

We are Oakland enthusiasts, gardeners, travelers, and minimalists. We love the ocean, our backyard, and life’s little luxuries and we think the casita reflects that. We’ve included photos of the ocean, plants, and travel books.

Our tiny house is filled with windows and California sun.

Describe your home’s style in 5 words or less: Organic modern garden, California casual

The bed frame and duvet are IKEA, but we turned to Etsy for pillows and art that reminded us of the California coast.

What is your favorite room and why? The casita is small but feels spacious and bright. It’s a tiny room but has 12 windows and a skylight! So, it makes you feel like you’re in our garden surrounded by raspberries, figs, and our lemon tree. It’s very California and despite its luxuriousness (heated bathroom floors and indigo pillows) we designed it to feel easy and casual with natural wood floors and windows.

We chose solid furniture from IKEA but splurged on windows and throw blankets.

What’s the last thing you bought (or found!) for your home? Indigo coasters to match our pillows! Gotta have beautiful coasters, right? I always buy things from Etsy shops when I can rather than big box stores.

Our tiny house is also my small home office during the week.

Any advice for creating a home you love? Clarify first what you want the space to FEEL like. Then make a Pinterest board (we did!) to gather images and ideas for rooms that match that feeling. Notice what elements are themes. For us, we noticed that we wanted to prioritize (and make our biggest splurge on) as many windows as possible. Pinterest is so helpful for finding inspiration.

We prioritized having a slightly larger bathroom with a skylight.

This submission’s responses and photos were edited for length/size and clarity.