See how we use the $425,000 tiny home in our backyard

See how we use the $425,000 tiny home in our backyard

Business Insider

Kelsey Neubauer

March 9, 2023ABODU, ADU, PRESS

See how we use the $425,000 tiny home in our backyard for everything from overnight guests to an office to hosting our daughter's wedding

Cindy Loughridge and Seth Restaino on the steps of their Abodu ADU in Sonoma, California.

  • Cindy Loughridge and her husband Seth Restaino bought a house in Sonoma, California in 2021. 
  • They opted to add more space via a $425,0000, two-bedroom ADU that took four months to complete. 
  • The couple explained how they chose and furnished the tiny home, used for guests, work, and parties.

This story is based on a conversation with Cindy Loughridge and Seth Restaino, who moved to Sonoma, California in 2021 and built an accessory dwelling unit, also known as an ADU, from housing startup Abodu in their backyard. The conversation has been edited for length and clarity.

Restaino: I have my own company doing marketing for higher education.

Loughridge: I am a freelance photographer: lifestyle, portraits, and weddings. But now that we moved here, I am semi-retired.

We knew before we bought the house that we were going to need to put a new ADU in.

An aerial photograph of the couple's ADU, center, pool, center right, and main house, far right.

Loughridge: When we purchased our main house in Sonoma back in 2021, there was an older ADU in the backyard. The former owner had the blueprints and permits pulled. But it wasn't being used, and there wasn't electricity or water.

I Googled ADUs, and Abodu popped up. They were local to us, in Redwood City, California. We went to look at their models at a showroom and absolutely loved it.

The two-bedroom ADU we chose has an asymmetrical roof and clean, modern lines that feel high-end.

Loughridge and Restaino in their backyard.

Loughridge: I love how clean the lines are. It's simple. It's not overly detailed.

Restaino: We did an online comparison of the options that Cindy found. Almost everything looked a little bit like Ikea. There's nothing nothing wrong with a little Ikea, and there are parts of our ADU that are a little Ikea. But I would say that we thought that Abodu was a level up.

The ADU cost a total of $425,000 and took just four months to install.

The couple's Abodu ADU came with top-of-the-line Fisher & Paykel appliances, left. Their coffee-table styling showcases their minimalist taste.

Restaino: The cost was with everything included — all of the water lines and the upgrades that we chose. We were fortunate enough to be able to pay in cash.

Visiting friends, family, and even children — we have four, three of whom are adults — crash in the ADU.

A bedroom where guests sleep has a dresser from Restaino's childhood. He took the photo on the wall of his stepdaughter and her husband.

Loughridge: It's mainly used for friends and family visiting. Then we'll sit in and work in there when we need a quiet spot.

Seth just had his best friend come for four days with his wife, and they loved it. It's kind of private — we have a spot where they could park and go through a gate so they don't have to go through the main house.

Restaino: Cindy's niece comes and spends a good chunk of the summer with us. The kids came up for Christmas and they sleep back there. Otherwise, we're throwing people on couches or on a blow-up bed.

The ADU has a white facade with black trim, which fits the style of the area.

Restaino called the style of the ADU "Sonoma farmhouse," after the Napa Valley city where they live.

We chose glass doors from La Cantina, a company that makes large folding doors.

Loughridge sits inside the ADU, looking out the La Cantina doors to the backyard.

Loughridge: Our favorite thing about our ADU is the doors that you can open up when it's warm out. You can open up the whole door and enjoy just the fresh air.

We furnished the ADU with classic, simple staples.

Loughridge and Restaino carefully decorated the two-bedroom ADU with classic and modern pieces.

Many pieces in the home are thrifted or vintage.

Restaino: There's so much white inside and outside. We like that, but we had some older pieces that were vintage and we decided to add those in. There's some funky old stuff that I think works somehow. Antiquey-looking pieces work.

A look at the interior-design details of the living area.

The dining room table was "dirt cheap."

The dining room table from Restaino's childhood, bought by his father during the mid-1900s.

Restaino: My dad bought the dining room table at some butcher block place on the Bowery in Manhattan.

We purchased a former sewing table for $10 at a garage sale.

The $10 side table next to the couch was real find.

Our daughter had her wedding in the newly renovated backyard.

An aerial view of the ADU and the backyard.

Loughridge: My daughter and her fiancée came over and decided they would love to have their wedding in our backyard.

Knowing that, we had it incentive to get it all done. It was the day before the wedding when we finished everything, including the landscaping.

Restaino: It was crazy town.

Loughridge: It was kind of nuts, but we got it done and it was great.

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