ADU Housing | CALI ADU - Design


An ADU is perfect for growing families. Add additional living space without the hassle and expense of moving.


ADUs are perfect for aging family members. Or for loved ones that need help with high housing prices.


ADUs are a phenomenal investment. The cost to design and build an ADU typically pays for itself when it is time to sell.


Plans & Permits Only or Full Service


A good set of building plans are absolutely critical to a successful construction project.

Inexperienced ADU Architects or jack-of-all-trades designers will cause project delays and tens of thousands of dollars of additional costs.

Our ADU Designers are experts in the ADU laws and focus solely on designing beautiful small homes.

Our experience will save you time and money.


How many horror stories have you heard about flaky contractors and projects that go way over budget?

We have partnered with some of California's best and most experienced home builders to provide transparent, all-inclusive, and competitive construction pricing for all our ADU projects.

And if you prefer to use your own builder, or even act as an Owner-Builder, we offer ongoing support during the construction process to ensure a successful project.


Charlie Melvin - Owner - NFNT Building & Design

Charlie Melvin is an ADU Designer, Builder, Consultant, and the owner of Cali ADU.

Charlie and his team have built their reputation by giving homeowners and investors ADU design services and high quality construction consulting services at an honest price.

His expert knowledge of California's ADU laws and ordinances, and his large network of Consultants and General Contractors, will bring any ADU project to life.

From sleek, modern guest homes to traditional rental ADUs, Charlie and his team have the ADU experience necessary to deliver your project on-time and on-budget.


  • "... friendly, knowledgeable, and professional."

    We are really happy with the plans Charlie designed for our garage conversion ADU. Charlie is friendly, knowledgeable, and professional. I recommend his services to everyone I know that is considering an ADU.

    Sarah & Steve Hats Homeowners - Van Nuys
  • "... they perform clean, quality work."

    Charlie and his team at Cali ADU have designed and permitted three ADUs for my investment properties over the last year. I keep using them because they perform clean, quality work at a very competitive price.

    Roger Phillips Investor - Phillips Group USA


Design & Build an ADU in 3 Easy Steps


Book a FREE 30-minute call with us to discuss your project.

We'll chat about your project and see if we are a good fit.


Our ADU designers have years of experience designing small homes and will design an ADU that is perfect for you.

And we handle all the permitting and plan approvals too!


We provide you detailed ADU construction plans that any builder can easily follow.

Choose one of our recommended ADU Builders, build it yourself, or use your own General Contractor.


We're grateful for our clients that have chosen us to help plan, design, and build their projects throughout Southern California.

From Our Blog

The latest and most popular blog posts about California ADUs.

This 650 SQFT ADU Is Worth OVER $1,000,000!

This 650 SQFT ADU Is Worth Over $1,000,000!

No, that is not a misprint. Or an exaggerated number.

In fact, I am going to show you exactly how building one new 650 square foot ADU is projected to add over $1,000,000 to my net worth over the next 30 years (hint: you can copy this exact formula and do the same thing).

Read More
How Much Does It Cost To Build An ADU?

How Much Does It Cost to Build an ADU?

How much will it cost to build a new ADU?

That is inevitably the first question you'll ask when considering a new ADU.

I do not blame you; that would be the first question I would ask as well. I mean there is no reason to spend time and money designing and planning an ADU that is going to be too expensive to build, or too expensive to afford.

Read More
How To Build An ADU... A Step-by-Step Guide to Building An ADU in Los Angeles

How to Build an Accessory Dwelling Unit (ADU).

A Step-by-Step Guide to Planning and Building an ADU in Los Angeles.

Taking a piece of real estate and improving it by adding an ADU is a relatively easy form of Real Estate Development that even a novice real estate investor or homeowner can accomplish with the right guidance.

Over the course of the next 12-16 weeks I will take you along as I build a brand new 1,200 sqft ADU on a property in Hyde Park, Los Angeles. I will be sharing a step-by-step "how to" which covers the entire ADU construction process from the initial design to final inspection.

Read More

Frequently Asked Questions

We've compiled a list of the most commonly asked questions related to Accessory Dwelling Units and their design and construction.

If you have a question that you don't see asked below, please don't hesitate to contact us.

An Accessory Dwelling Unit is a secondary living structure that occupies the same property as an existing single family residential property.

ADUs have their own independent areas for living, sleeping, eating, cooking, and sanitation.

In most cases, the answer is Yes. But, there are some restrictions that vary between municipalities that will determine how big your ADU can be, etc.

Contact us today to discuss your property and project. We will investigate what type of ADU can be designed and built on your specific property and discuss your alternatives.

Homeowners are motivated by all sorts of reasons when deciding to build an ADU. Below are a few of the most common reasons we see...

  1. Guest House - An ADU can act as a charming retreat for your overnight guests.

  2. Rental Income - You can make a lot of money providing safe and comfortable rental housing.

  3. Granny Flat - ADUs are perfect for aging-in-place housing and allow your loved ones to remain close to their family.

  4. Home Office - A dedicated home office can help you stay productive while working from home.

You do not need to occupy your new ADU and it can be built and used for investment purposes. You just can't sell the ADU individually from the main house.

A Detached ADU is a great option for you if you have the room for one.

Detached ADUs provide the most privacy due to their separation from the main residence. Your new ADU will not share any walls with the main house and will be a welcome addition to your backyard.

The Return On Investment (ROI) for a detached ADU is off the charts.

Attached ADUs are great when your current home is on a small lot, and the setbacks required by the zoning code make it hard to fit a detached unit on your property. You can create an awesome attached ADU by carving out a portion of your existing home, or really increase the value of your property by adding an attached ADU addition.

Attached ADUs allow homeowners the ability to add an ADU without sacrificing a large portion of their property.

Garage conversion ADUs are the least expensive to build and are the fastest to get approved. Garage conversion ADUs are also the quickest of any of the ADUs to build. If you want to add some quick cash flow to your property, or just need additional living space quickly, a Garage Conversion ADU might be your perfect solution.

No, your new ADU and the main house on the property cannot be sold separately.

No, covered parking is not required for the new ADU. In fact, a tandem parking spot in an existing driveway is sufficient in most instances.

Yes, if your property meets any of the following criteria you can waive the parking requirement for your new ADU.

  • The ADU is located within one-half mile of public transit, including transit stations and bus stations.
  • The ADU is located within an architecturally and historically significant historic district.
  • The ADU is part of the existing primary residence or an existing accessory structure.
  • When on-street parking permits are required but not offered to the occupants of the ADU.
  • When there is a car share vehicle located within one block of the ADU.

How big your ADU can be will depend on the type of ADU you want to build, and the size of your current home.

Attached ADUs An ADU that is built attached to your main residence is limited to fifty percent of the existing living area. For example, if you current home is 1,500 square feet, your new attached ADU would be limited to 750 square feet.

Detached ADUs An ADU that is built detached from your home may be up to 1,200 square feet, but is sometime limited by the local ADU ordinances. In no case can a local ADU ordinance limit a detached ADU to less than 800 square feet.

We are happy to help you determine what size ADU you can legally build on your property. Click here to request a free ADU consultation.

Yes, we are happy to work with you to create your ADU plans. After the plans are finished you can use whoever you would like to actually build your ADU.

Visit our ADU Plans page to learn more about our ADU drafting and design services.