Modern Granny Flat recently won a prize from the American Institute of Architects for its San Diego garage conversion into an accessory dwelling unit.

Just because it’s called a “granny flat” doesn’t mean it’s only suitable for grandparents.

Modern Granny Flat, a subdivision of Losada Garcia Architects that specializes in modern, eco-friendly accessory dwelling units (ADUs), recently won an American Institute of Architects award for its San Diego garage conversion project that blends minimalism, economy and versatility into one compact flat that happens to be in a former garage, Curbed recently reported.

In conjunction with Prismatica Architects, Modern Granny Flat transformed an unfinished garage into a full-service home with several built-in and reconfigurable features in order to maximize space. The apartment contains an open kitchen and living room, bedroom and bathroom. But for a creative tenant, options for rearranging the space are ample.

“We always say that this project is like a large Swiss army knife that hides tools that can slide or fold to configure the space with ease,” Ramiro Losada-Amor of Losada Garcia Architects told Inman in an email. “The goal is always to maximize the space with different strategies or ‘tools.'”

Possible configurations of the converted garage flat | Modern Granny Flat

Mobile panels can be pulled out from the wall to divide the bedroom into two different spaces and a movable island and a pull-down table in the kitchen allow the space to adapt for more or less people as needed. Meanwhile, the bathroom resides in the center of the flat, which contains plumbing for the bathroom and kitchen, as well as storage space.

The flat’s bathroom | Modern Granny Flat

Although a few design elements of its days as a garage remain — the ceiling is still open with exposed wooden trusses and one wall still contains opaque garage door windows — the flat’s sleek built-in furniture, like a wall of cubby shelving with removable boxes and a guest Murphy bed integrated into a bookcase, make it easy to forget the flat’s former glory days of housing the family car.

A kitchen configuration | Modern Granny Flat

Modern Granny is most proud of the flexibility in living the flat offers tenants.

“We feel proud that the owner[s] of the space have the option to live in different ways in a small space because of the flexibility of the project,” Losada-Amor said. “We can’t keep designing rigid spaces as we did 20 years ago … in small spaces, the key is flexibility and creativity.”

In designing the unit, Modern Granny Flat capitalized upon a recent change to ADU legislation made by the state of California that allows the construction of up to two ADU units on a single-family lot (up to 2,400 square feet), as well as the remodeling of garages and basements as rental properties.

The hope is that the legislation change will allow for additional housing in California amidst the significant shortage, as reported by Inman in January.

Email Lillian Dickerson

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