ADU San Diego

We Design + Build Amazing, Modern ADUs in San Diego

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.

Our Architecture Studio is a Leading Developer of ADUs in San Diego

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.

Book an ADU Consultation

Discover The Key Features of Our
Modern ADUs in San Diego

There are lots of items worth considering when it comes to building ADUs. Whatever your reasons for taking up your project, our team will listen to you to ensure the final product comes out just as you envisioned it.

San Diego ADUs With Modern + Minimalist Design

There's no doubt about it - ADUs in San Diego are becoming extremely popular and represent a great opportunity to either add extra living space to your property or enter into rental property investing for passive income.

Our architecture studio offers a fully integrated design, build, and permitting process so you can build an amazing ADU in San Diego with a modern or minimalist design style. When you work with us, you can rest assured knowing you have a professional team working for you that will handle every step of the ADU development process.

Recently, we've even begun self-funding our own ADU projects in our personal time - giving us an enhanced perspective on navigating ADU projects in San Diego.

If you're currently exploring building your own ADU, check out our new ADU project guide which offers helpful visual explanations of the city's ADU building codes. We also regularly create helpful content related to ADUs on our modern architecture blog.
Example of Modern ADU Design

A Fully Integrated Process For Designing
Custom Modern ADUs

When you work with Ten Seventy Architecture, you're guaranteed a hassle-free process that will make building your ADU in San Diego a breeze. Our team of experienced professionals guides clients through every step of the design and permitting process, making sure everything goes according to plan.

Our studio utilizes a proven architecture process supplemented with the latest design tools + technology to help you preview and offer feedback during the design process.

This well-structured creative process allows us to consistently produce high-quality ADU designs that take into account your goals + design preferences.
Example of Modern ADU Design

Helpful 3D Renderings To Visualize The Design of Your ADU

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.

Example of ADU 3D Rendering

Check Out Our New
Pre-Designed ADU (Available in early 2022)

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.

Pre Designed San Diego ADU Plans Example

See How We've Helped Our Clients Build Amazing ADUs in San Diego

Our portfolio of ADU projects is a testament to our passion for modern architecture. We utilize a proven process supplemented with the latest design technology to help our clients build awesome ADUs in San Diego and ensure they're happy with the final product.

Start Your San Diego ADU Project in 3 Simple Steps

Book an ADU Consultation

Learn More About Our San Diego Architecture Studio + Your ADU Building Options

Talk to Us About Your ADU Project to Get Our Honest, Professional Advice

Have a Plan to Confidently Hire an Architecture Studio to Build an ADU in San Diego

Get To Know Our Team Of Residential Architects

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. 

Founder / Principal Architect

Sean Canning

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)

Profile Picture of Sean Canning - Principal Architect and Owner of Ten Seventy Architecture in San Diego, California

Project Manager / Permit Specialist

Margaret Canning

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)

Margaret Canning Profile Photo of Ten Seventy Architecture

Architectural Designer

Jen-Ni Lin

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.  

Margaret Canning Profile Photo of Ten Seventy Architecture

Architectural Designer

Nolan Delgado

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.  

Margaret Canning Profile Photo of Ten Seventy Architecture

Architectural Designer

Shenzhou Dai

Shenzhou (Joe) is one of our most detail-oriented Architectural Designers. With a degree in architecture from the University of California, Berkeley, Shenzhou's work is highly aesthetic while conscious of appropriate + efficient building materials.

10+ Years of Experience
in San Diego Architecture and Design Services

"Sean is the guy if you are looking for a Los Angeles 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. "

Alexandra G.

"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."

Tom R.

“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.”

Adam D.

“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.”

Curtis P.

Discover How To Build An Awesome ADU in San Diego

As a San Diego architecture studio, we believe in helping to facilitate the development of new housing to alleviate the housing crisis afflicting this great city. That’s why we’re always producing helpful architecture content with the goal of making at easy as possible for homeowners + property investors to start new housing projects.

Everything You Need To Get Started Planning Your ADU Project in San Diego

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.

San Diego ADU Project Guide Mockup

Have Questions About ADUs in San Diego? We Have Answers

What Is The Definition of an ADU?

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.

How Long Does an ADU Project in San Diego Usually Take?

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.

How Much Does an ADU Project Cost in San Diego?

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.

What is a Junior Accessory Dwelling Unit?

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.

Can You Build Multiple ADUs on One Lot in San Diego?

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.