Building an ADU in the Twin Cities

Whether you’re looking to add space to your existing property or thinking about providing a living space for aging relatives in the future, an accessory dwelling unit, or ADU, can be the perfect solution. If you live in the Twin Cities, an ADU can help you make the most of your space. Just know there are some challenges you might have to face.

Let’s take a look at the problems and potential of building an ADU in the Twin Cities.


Why Build an ADU?

While the exact details of the build will vary from property to property, in general, accessory dwelling units are designed to be a secondary living area, either attached to or detached from the primary dwelling.

They’ve been called everything from “granny flats” to “mother-in-law pads” and a thousand other names over the years. You can find them standing alone on a property or attached to the main building, separated by a door. You may also find cases where existing rooms — such as basements or attic spaces — have been converted into ADUs.


The reasons for building an ADU are as varied as the people building them. Some homeowners like to rent out their ADUs as a way to generate additional income. Others use it as office space, and still others use it as a living space for elderly or disabled relatives who need some monitoring but want to maintain some independence.

When installed properly, an ADU can even add 20-30% to the value of your home with a quick return on investment if you’re planning to rent the space.


Regulations and Over-Regulation in the Twin Cities

In the Twin Cities, ADUs were off the table until 2016, when changing legislation allowed their construction.


Minneapolis and St. Paul aren’t the only cities trying to entice homeowners to take on these projects, either. Portland and others have taken steps to reduce the regulations surrounding the construction of ADUs, making them easier and more affordable to construct.

Since loosening the regulations, Portland has seen ADUs pop up on roughly 1.5% of its single-family properties.


For the Twin Cities region to match that growth, they would need to add around 11,000 ADUs. That doesn’t sound like much when you consider the fact that contractors pulled permits for more than 6,400 new single-family homes in 2020 alone. But in the now five years since the Twin Cities loosened their ADU regulations, they’ve pulled permits for fewer than 200 new projects.


Solving Housing Issues With ADUs

The Twin Cities region has been experiencing a housing crisis for years, and 2020’s pandemic didn’t help matters with thousands of people losing income and falling behind on rent. The CDC’s moratorium on evictions is only a bandaid. When it expires and people can’t pay their back rent, the city won’t just be facing a housing crisis — they’ll be facing an eviction crisis.


In this region, the area median income, or AMI, is already lower than many other regions in the country. But finding affordable housing is already incredibly difficult for those who fall into the lowest income category.


According to Jeff Horwich, who serves as the director of policy and external affairs for the Minneapolis Public Housing Authority, “For every 10 families who are below 30% of AMI, there are only three homes that would theoretically be available or affordable to them.”


One of the significant benefits of these tiny home additions is that they can, in theory, help to alleviate some of the housing crises that are facing cities around the country.


Unique Uses for ADUs

ADUs have had a thousand names over the years, from granny flats to in-law pads and everything in between. Despite being unfairly typecast as a place to stash people you’re not overly fond of but can’t get rid of, we’re still coming up with new uses for these extra spaces.


With so many people working from home thanks to the pandemic — and many staying that way as companies decide to stick with a remote work model — ADUs can easily be converted into an office space. If you find yourself using it exclusively as a home office, you can even take a home office deduction for its use on your taxes.


For the creative types, ADUs can also serve as a private studio so you don’t have to worry about someone breaking your creative flow when you have to leave to use the bathroom or cook a meal.


If you have elderly or family members who will use your ADU, it’s easy to outfit these spaces with tools that will make them safer and more useful. You can install anything from shower bars to a residential elevator to make your ADU more accessible and help ensure their safety and independence without having to continually hover over their shoulders. These small spaces are also easy to modify to accommodate each person’s individual needs.


This is all in addition to the traditional uses for ADUs, like putting up visiting guests once travel starts to return to normal. As ADUs become more common and more popular, we’ll likely see many more unique uses for these spaces in the future.


The Future of ADUs in the Twin Cities

This is just the beginning of the age of the ADU in the Twin Cities.


It’s easier now to obtain the permits to build one of these additions, but it’s not always affordable. Still, we will likely see more of these structures and remodeling projects as we move into the future. We can only hope that these projects start breaking ground before the housing crisis in the Twin Cities region starts to boil over.


Rose writes on home improvement and renovation projects. She is also the managing editor for Renovated. To read more of her work, check out her site.

Home Owner Tips: How to Deal with Water Damage

Flooding is one of the most common natural disasters to occur in Minnesota, despite the closest large body of water being a lake. Due to an abundance of snow in the winter seasons, and floodplains scattered across the state, Minnesotans should keep a preparedness plan in place in case their home or business is struck by catastrophe.

Did you know that since 2000, precipitation (snow or rain) in Minnesota that exceeds six inches occurs four times as often than in the previous 30 years, and rainfall events of three inches or more has increased by 65%. Additionally, standard homeowners insurance doesn’t necessarily cover flood damage without an additional policy. So if you are one of the thousands of residents that live in a city with a floodplain such as Austin or Newport or Rochester, we’ve put together some best practices to deal with water damage in your home from a flood.


Structural Risks

If you are dealing with excessive water damage in your home, there is one focal point that you should prioritize your time and money towards above all others: the structural elements (roof, foundation, floors, and support beams). The bones of most homes are typically made of wood and drywall, which has the tendency to absorb water if exposed for a prolonged period of time. If wood absorbs too much water, it will warp and compromise the foundational integrity of your home.


Additionally, if there is standing water in the basement or attic, it can do the same type of damage to your foundation, rendering it unsafe in the long term. The sooner you are able to react to flood damage in your home by getting the water out, and beginning to gut and renovate, the less long-term damage you will face.


The Danger of Mold

When people think about the dangers of flooding, understandable they think about the damage standing water can do to the floors, home accessories (cabinets, appliances, etc.), and the potential ruin of intimate personal items like scrapbooks, electronics, and other personal tokens. But did you know perhaps the biggest prolonged risk from flood damage is the potential to grow mold within hours of the damage occurring.


The level of hazard that standing water can cause in your home is based on the ‘type’ or ‘category’ of water that is standing in your basement or home. There are three categories of water.

● Category 1: This water is clean and sanitary. It comes from many different sources in your home like faucets, garden hoses, toilets, and other outlets. Category one water is clean to drink for both people and pets, but standing water can still give way to mold growth in as little as 1-2 days.

● Category 2: Also referred to as ‘Gray Water’, water becomes category 2 after it has been contaminated from appliance use such as dishwashers, showers, sinks, and washing machines. While this water isn’t contaminated by any feces, it is still unsafe to consume and could cause illness.

● Category 3: This is the most dangerous form of water contamination and is also commonly referred to as ‘black water’. This is the type of water that is typically the result of natural disasters and is a breeding ground for bacteria or other harmful pathogens. The professional experts claim that, due to the unsafe nature, category three water exposure to home materials such as drywall or carpets makes them unsalvageable.

You can learn more about mold in our Homeowner Resources under the Homeowner Safety section.


Calling the Professionals

Experts recommend if you have category three water in your home for longer than 24 hours, the risk of potential exposure is not worth trying to take any renovated measures yourself. Instead you should call restoration pros immediately and work with them to mitigate damage. Most home restoration services have a turnaround time as short as 12-24 hours and can begin extraction and salvation on site. However, if you’re within the window, there are mitigating steps you can take before the experts arrive to reduce long-term damage.

Water mitigation is a process that reduces damage from a leaking roof or natural disaster by mopping or vacuuming the standing water out. Additionally they recommend removing items that absorb large swathes of water like rugs, clothes, or curtains/drapes. Before you enter a room with standing water, it is imperative that you turn off electricity so you do not experience injury or death.

Once the professionals arrive, the process of diagnosis and repair begins. Experts will address all of the listed items above: dry wall, foundational beams, basement, carpet, roof, etc. Most restoration services will also help you salvage personal items and discard with things that have been ruined beyond repair.



If you are curious what your risk level is, or to know if you live in one of the many flood zones in Minnesota, check out the FEMA flood map. If you are at risk, you should begin working with your home insurance agent to develop a preventative plan, and getting a policy in place. Additionally, you should already have a feel for the service you might contact if disaster strikes. As the old proverb states, you can never be too prepared.



David Cruz is a freelance author for CastleBri. David has been a writer for five years covering a vast array of topics and themes such as home improvement, real estate, personal finance, and health and wellness. If you’d like to contact David about a freelance opportunity, you can reach him at

How to Choose the Right Flooring for Your Renovation

Home renovation can be fun, exciting and highly personalized. Whether you’re replacing existing floors or considering flooring options as part of an overall renovation, there’s a lot to consider with what’s beneath your feet. Flooring can contribute to both the style and function of your home, and each home needs something unique depending on the ideas, preferences and function. 













With so many materials and concepts at your disposal, it can seem like a daunting and complex decision to make. But when you go about the process with intention, you can find the perfect floors to enhance your home. 




Whether you have a totally eccentric style or you’re on the hunt for something simple, looking deeply into your flooring decision is important. Your floors can say a lot about your style and play a role in your home’s functionality and upkeep. 


If you’re thinking about changing up your flooring situation, there are a few things to consider when choosing the right flooring for you. 

1. Get Inspired 

This can be a great way to get started at the very beginning of your journey, especially if you aren’t sure what you want yet. Thinking about the style, aesthetic and feeling of what you want in your home can be a great exercise in inspiration. 


When you go into the renovation process, it’s important to be mindful of the time, money, and effort involved, even when you let the professionals do all the heavy lifting. And embarking on a process like that when you’re unsure of what you want could lead you in a direction you’re not sold on. 


Check out blogs, quizzes, and websites to see what you like and might want to emulate. Our portfolio features a great mix of floor types and styles. Then partner with our highly experienced designers who can help make your vision come to life! 

2. Consult the Experts


Even though professionals can’t tell you what your personal style is, they can tell you quite a lot. It can be tempting to try and DIY everything in your home. And while it is possible, consulting with experts like contractors and builders can be a great idea for ensuring you’re getting quality, long-lasting work that’s right for your home. 


Even if you want to take on some of the work yourself, consulting with our designers on the nitty-gritty can save you a lot of time and effort. 

3. Consider Your Decor


When it comes to your style, you may already know what you like, so why not go with it? Chances are, you’re not decorating your home completely from scratch. You probably have a few pieces that serve as “anchors” for your style. When you think about your flooring options, you may want to consider how they’ll mesh with the decor of your home. 


Whether you go sleeker, more modern, or a bit more classic could depend on your style and how you want to present the decor in your home. 

4. Think About Undertones



Speaking of decor, undertones can be important when thinking about the many types of wood flooring available and deciding between them. If your home tends to have more of a warmer aesthetic, a cherry or maple might be best, whereas a cooler, more modern home might fare better with oak or bamboo floors. 


While it might seem like a small detail, it can make a huge difference when considering the atmosphere you’re building in your living space. 

5. Consider the Finish


Now that you’ve thought about the undertone, the finish is next. Again, it might seem like a smaller detail, but whether you go glossy, medium, or matte can make a big difference in the style of your home. Consider your lifestyle in this decision. Do you have pets? Is this a highly trafficked area of your home?  


Also think about what you like best aesthetically. Consult experts, look at blogs, and keep on getting inspired. If you’re choosing wood floors, the finish can potentially come later. If you’re not, it could help direct your decision. Your designer can help you find the perfect finish that meets both functionality and design purposes.  

6. Keep to Your Budget


Just like any home renovation, flooring requires that you consider your budget and stick to it throughout the process. Sure, you can allow yourself a bit of wiggle room along the way — if there truly is room for it — but putting yourself in the red is never a good idea no matter how gorgeous that fancy new flooring is. 


There are so many classy, cost-effective options that are just as high in quality as any other, and going for those can save you money and hassle. 

7. Think About Sustainability


If you happen to care a lot about the environment, you may be wondering how you can lay down flooring that isn’t just beautiful and high-quality, but also good for the planet. 


If sustainability is on your mind, considering some eco-friendly flooring options could be rewarding, budget-friendly and stylish. Options like recycled wood and natural stone are all amazing sustainable choices. Plus, they’re fairly uncommon right now, which will help make your home more unique. One of the Twin Cities hidden gems is Wood From The Hood. By reclaiming trees, WFTH produces high quality products from a sustainable resource, taking one more step toward environmentally sensitive building and remodeling.


8. Keep Climate in Mind


While this might not impact everyone, it can be important to think about climate if you live in a particularly wet, humid or salty environment. Some flooring doesn’t age well when exposed to a lot of moisture — certain woods in particular — especially if you don’t have proper insulation in your home. For example, Minnesota winters could be hard on your wood floors in places where you may drag in snow. Consider using tile in your entryway to protect your floors. 


It’s always best to consult a professional about matters like this. If you have any concerns, it can be a great idea to bring this up the next time you talk about your flooring options. 

9.  Go for Something Timeless


While following the newest trends might be fun and exciting, it can also be a bit fleeting. That’s why it’s best to consider what you really want and what would look best in your home rather than going with the trends. Timeless choices that you personally love and that work well with your style can truly pay off in the long run. 

Choosing the Right Flooring  



When it comes to picking the right flooring for your renovation, there are so many options and factors to consider. Really, it all comes down to you, your home and your style. 

When you work with a comfortable budget, know your inspirations, and find something professional and timeless, it can be hard to go wrong. Whether your top priority is sustainability, matching the space, or finding something that’s the right fit for your environment, there’s something perfect out there waiting for you. 



Rose writes on home improvement and renovation projects. She is also the managing editor for Renovated. To read more of her work, check out her site.

5 Easy Ways to Spruce Up Your Backyard

As we become more accustomed to spending more and more time at home, it’s time to take a look both in and outside of your home to see where you can maximize your return on ENJOYMENT. These five easy ways to spruce up your backyard will inspire you to make the most of your outdoor living space. Staying home never looked so good.

1. Build A Personal Yoga Studio

Yoga is a form of exercise and therapy that helps people balance their mind and body. This calming practice is more popular than ever, so it’s no surprise why this client wanted to build their own personal yoga studio.

After Project 3205-1 1












A storage shed that was no longer of use was knocked down to make way for it. Decked out in cedar woods, bronze accents, and Richlin windows, a rock pathway leads to the 3 foot patio entrance, with a sliding door to finish it off beautifully.


See our before and after shots here.


2. Build A Backyard Deck


A backyard deck gives you added outdoor space so you can enjoy nature. This project was an overhaul from an existing 12’ x 18’ deck, brought to life with only small upgrades.













The first change was a full resurfacing, with new KDAT lumber laid under foot.

Double posts were also installed to provide a shade canopy over the seating area, protecting diners from sunlight and tree debris which overhangs the deck.

Finishing off the space is a string of outdoor accent lights to add ambience and functionality to the space during twilight hours.


3. Contemporize Your Home

Sometimes a spruce up can mean a full transformation. This home had extensive renovations in both the front and back yard.

Using a contemporary approach, the entry was remodelled with new landscaping, and a large open porch. Included in the porch design is a gate to keep the pets from escaping.

Project Project 3419-1 Backyard Living Area Screen Porch Deck Bar LR 1

























The backyard is where the largest transformation took place, designing a detached screen porch alongside a pergola covered bar and grill area.


The patio was built with Trex composite decking, and a heater inside the screen porch allows the homeowners to use the space year-round.


See before and after shots here.


4. Create A Sunroom


Sunrooms are a great way to add a functional space that protects you from the elements while still enjoying the outdoors.


This front porch sunroom has been totally overhauled to give it a luxurious look that will make you question if it’s even the same room they started with.

Project 2978-2 Front Porch Remodel Makeover + Landscaping St. Paul 55105 LR 1




















Stained pipe beadboard replaced the previous bland ceiling, along with high-end vinyl flooring, minor repairs, and a fresh coat of paint.


This project proves that you don’t need to go big when remodelling, as even the smallest of changes can provide large transformations to a space.


See before and after shots here.


5. Remodel Your Backyard Living Space

These homeowners freed up some backyard space by tearing down their old garage and rebuilding it further out from their home. This allowed for a high end kitchen pavilion to be built, offering a space for relaxing or entertaining, while still providing enough privacy from prying eyes.

Project 3427-1 Backyard Covered Patio Outdoor Kitchen LR 1












Cedar posts and beams, walnut floor planks, and concrete come together to provide a rustic, yet aesthetically-pleasing design.

The only thing missing is a swimming pool or hot tub!


See before and after shots here.


Outdoor living is never out of season when in Minnesota. Whether it’s a minimal spruce up or a full transformation, now is the perfect time to make your outdoor living space one you never want to leave.


This article is a guest contribution written by Rick Patterson of – a pool and spa care blog.

Community Engagement: Wayside Recovery Center

Castle Building and Remodeling has been supporting Wayside Recovery Center for years. Wayside Recovery Center began in 1954 as the vision of community leader Sarah Mary “Sally” DeVay. Wayside initially focused on providing shelter and support for women who were homeless.


In 1963, Wayside shifted its focus and began to provide substance abuse treatment for women. In the 1970s, their mission further expanded to treat mental health care needs for the many women who had co-occurring (substance abuse and mental health) problems. Since opening their doors, they have helped more than 30,000 women and their 6,000 children have benefited from our services.


We’ve recently made a $5,000 donation in effort to support their services through the pandemic and are ready to do more. Many organizations are facing a severe lack of donations, whether it be funds or materials, due to the pandemic. While the hardships are not lost on anyone, we find it important to continuously support these small organizations within our community.


Castle is going to collect donated items for Wayside Recover Center at our Headquarters and Warehouse. We will have a box set up in the doorway where you can drop items off. If you prefer to mail the items to us, you can place the attention to our Warehouse Manager, Chad Hanson. You can drop off your items on weekdays from April 26 – May 14 between the hours of 8 am – 2pm.

Items Wayside Recover Center is currently in need of:

  • Women’s Bra’s (specifically larger sizes and sports bras)
  • Underwear (especially bigger sizes)
  • Watercolor paper for art projects
  • Fabric for tie blankets
  • Graphic Art Paper
  • Crafting kits
  • Art supplies (including but not limited to: popsicle sticks, glue sticks, hot glue guns, canning jars, new paint brushes, friendship string for bracelets, hemp string for macrame, stuff for dream catchers, and paint)


If you feel compelled to donate, please bring your donations to 2710 E 33rd Street, Minneapolis 55406.

You can drop off your items on weekdays from April 26 – May 7 between the hours of 9 am – 3pm. 

Questions about making a donation? Contact Hannah Husemann, Marketing Manager
Questions about dropping off a donation? Contact Chad Hanson, Warehouse Manager