Andrew and Kristin: Extra Income for the Family

Andrew & Kristin’s Studio Remodel

  • Location


  • ADU Type

    Converted Space

  • Price


  • Time

    6 months from permit issuance, 2 months to get plan developed and approved for permit

  • Year of Completion

    January 2018

  • Size

    285 square feet

We met in 2004 at the apartment complex where we both lived at the time.  Eventually were able to afford a home in Arcata after Kristin started a career as a nurse. In 2013 We bought an oddball house that was built and owned by the Sisters of St. Joseph, the nuns on the administrative team of the hospital. It included four equally sized bedrooms, four bathrooms and a chapel. We had plenty of extra room but weren’t sure how to use it. Eventually we landed on converting space into an ADU.

Andrew had the skills to tackle the project himself, having spent years here working construction jobs. Timing worked out so he was able to be the project manager. We hired a draftsman to draw the plans, brought on friends of his from construction when needed, and saved a lot of costs because Andrew could do so much of the work himself. He even built the barnyard door for the bathroom out of reclaimed wood. The permitting process was straightforward with just some back and forth with the city. While we were able to largely go the DIY route, we strongly encourage others to use professionals whenever possible since the process is complex for the uninitiated.

The ADU had paid for itself in 2020 and for the past year it has been home to Derek, a recent graduate from Humboldt State University. When he first trekked up the hill by bike to view the home, Andrew felt like it could be a good fit since they both share a passion for cycling. Derek works locally in Arcata and is an avid athlete who spends his free time on the yoga mat or on a bicycle. He is happy to have a space that is budget conscious and allows him to live a low impact lifestyle.