Ten Seventy Architecture helps people who love modern architecture overcome the challenges of building an accessory dwelling unit (ADU) in San Diego by offering an integrated design + permitting process to elevate their life to new heights with incredible architecture.
Ten Seventy Architecture has over a decade of experience designing, building, and permitting accessory dwelling units in San Diego. These structures (commonly referred to as companion units, granny flats, guest houses, and in-law suites) provide homeowners with a terrific way to expand their living space or build additional housing for rental property investment opportunities.
Whatever your reason for starting a project, our team can guide you through the entire ADU home development process to get your project done efficiently while staying within your budget.
Building an ADU in San Diego doesn't need to feel like such a struggle. After a decade of experience designing residential + commercial properties in the city of San Diego, we’ve developed a signature architecture process guaranteed to make your life as easy as possible when you work with us.
Watch the video here to learn more about our client-centered architectural design process. And if you're ready to take the next step, click the button below to schedule a complimentary consultation with us to discuss how we can help you design + build an ADU in San Diego.
As part of our signature design process, we will produce realistic 3D renderings of your ADU project.
We use 3D design technology software to show clients realistic renderings of how their ADU will look. Our team can help you preview the design of your ADU and make any changes you want before construction begins.
With our help, you can be confident that the finished design of your ADU will be just what you were hoping for.
Looking for a way to save time + money on your upcoming ADU project in San Diego? Then you need to check out our pre-designed ADU plans that will become available for purchase early in the spring of 2022.
In 2021 we designed, permitted, + built our own, self-funded ADU. This universal design can fit on any lot within the City of San Diego + potentially in other municipalities too.
Contact us to learn more about the pre-approved ADU plans and get on our waiting-list be the first to know when they are released.
We believe that the success of any architecture project depends on forging great relationships with our clients. Our goal is not to just create beautiful modern homes - but homes that are custom-tailored to the lifestyle of our clients, enhancing their lives every day.
Sean is an award-winning architectural graduate of NJIT, where he studied architecture + industrial design. He relocated to San Diego in 2009 to open the boutique architecture studio, Ten Seventy Architecture, focussing predominantly on modern, minimalist, + creative architecture. Sean has received numerous accolades for his innovative designs in modern furniture.
California Registered Architect
LEED Accredited Professional
Bachelor of Architecture (NJIT)
Certification in Project Management (SDSU)
Margaret is also a graduate of NJIT, where she studied architecture + civil engineering. She relocated to San Diego in 2010 working at a LEED consulting firm before taking a job as a project manager in San Diego’s permit office for 5 years. Later she brought her skillset to Ten Seventy Architecture where she manages projects + permitting.
LEED Accredited Professional
Bachelor of Architecture (NJIT)
Masters of Civil Engineering (NJIT)
Certification in Project Management (SDSU)
Jen-Ni is our Architectural Designer who works on projects which require greater graphic illustration. She works on our aesthetic commercial projects as well as small modern ADU projects that require tight planning and out-of-the-box thinking. Jen-Ni is a talented designer who can develop good ideas into beautiful architecture.
Nolan is the team’s Architectural Designer who works on custom residential projects which require the highest level of attention to detail. He has worked to refine our 3D printed study models as well as build templated architectural processes. Nolan brings a modernists rational to our projects.
"Sean is the guy if you are looking for a San Diego architect. I was referred to him via a mutual business connection, and couldn't be happier with his work...The final product was phenomenal. I could not be happier. His work was not only exactly what I was looking for, but he did it in a timely fashion. "
"An element we loved about Sean was his ability to see creatively from the very beginning. And I can tell you that when we walked out of the meeting with Sean, we both looked at each other and said: “That’s the guy we want” And we’ve had no regrets ever since."
“5.000 stars. The recent opening of our ophthalmology practice has been a year in the making, and Sean Canning from Ten Seventy Architecture was integral to the successful design and execution of our space.”
“Highly recommend working with Sean, he is a licensed Architect who puts the customer's best interests first. I have worked with Sean on several projects, his thoroughness streamlines the project helping save money and time.”
Looking to save time, money, and hours of frustration? Then you need to check out our ADU project guide that will clearly explain everything you need to know to build an ADU in San Diego.
Recently updated for 2022 to reflect the city's latest ADU regulations, this resource features the entire ADU municipal code, along with helpful explanations + visual diagrams. This way you can view the technical code, while getting expert insight into how certain regulations will effect your project.
By downloading this resource, you will be able to easily evaluate your project's feasibility and map out a rough plan for your ADU. And once you're ready, you will have the confidence to begin reaching out to firms to get a quote on your project.
With this guide, you will have everything you need to get a jump start planning your San Diego ADU project.
A.D.U. stands for Accessory Dwelling Unit. These are legal structures that always serve as an accessory to a primary Dwelling Unit.
You may have heard the term being used more frequently in the last few years because the newer allowance of ADUs has been the primary strategy to alleviate California’s housing crisis. Typically the municipal fees for ADUs are significantly less than they would be for a primary Dwelling Unit of the same size.
Every municipality has different regulations for ADUs. In general, they can range in size from 150sf to 1,200sf. Some cities restricted the maximum height to16-feet while other cities allow them to be taller. Sometimes certain setbacks are reduced. Some zones/municipalities allow multiple ADUs on a single lot.
The first few weeks of a new ADU project are spent requesting record drawings, measuring/documenting the existing conditions, researching relevant codes, + meeting with municipal staff to get clarification on development options.
More complicated projects may require a formal preliminary submittal to obtain the needed clarification to move forward with the design.
Once we’re able to begin design we will go through a predetermined amount of meetings, progressing the design forward in each. The goal of this process is to move from more vague ideas to more detailed specifications.
Smaller ADU projects can take as little as 2 months to design while larger ADUs will take longer.
When the design is completed we are ready to produce our architectural construction drawings + begin any engineering needed. This phase can take one or two months depending on the complexity of the ADU + site conditions.
Now we’re ready for permitting! Although the State of California requires ADU projects to be permitted within a 60 day period, real-world permitting timelines are highly variable, ranging from as little as 3 months for more straightforward projects to well over a year to achieve the more difficult permit types required for certain projects.
Construction is also highly variable + will depend mostly on your general contractor. Even smaller construction projects will take at least 6 months. Larger projects can take a year or more to complete.
Custom ADUs can be more expensive than expected so it’s important to have an understanding of the costs before you begin your project. To answer this question let's break the project into a few categories below.
Soft Costs include design, engineering, consultants, + permitting. Every ADU is different + will require different professionals. Most projects we work on include an architect (obviously), a structural engineer, + an energy consultant (who produces the “Title-24 Report”). In California, the submittal package for an ADU permit can be pretty intensive so we have set a minimum fee of $20k for our architectural design package.
Permitting is also a type of soft cost. Permitting will vary greatly in price depending on the municipality + the type of permit. A Coastal Development Permit or Site Development Permit will be considerably more expensive than a more simple permit. Municipal fees for ADUs are usually reduced in comparison to a standard home of the same size.
Hard Costs are directly related to construction including materials and labor. Since the beginning of the global pandemic construction prices has increased. Currently in Southern California minimum construction costs are around $250-300 per square foot. A custom ADU will increase in the cost depending on the features + finishes. It’s also important to understand that a smaller ADU may cost more per square foot than a larger ADU.
A JADU or Junior Accessory Dwelling Unit is a specific type of accessory structure. JADUs come with specific restrictions + cannot be permitted on every lot. JADUs are generally limited to 500sf + need to be attached to another structure.
Some zones/municipalities allow multiple ADUs on a single lot. Typically multi-family zones or transit priority zones are where multiple ADUs are permutable. Each municipality regulates ADUs slightly differently. Most single family zones allow an ADU + a JADU.