Retired with a significant health event a couple years ago. entrepreneur. artist.
“The DADU is really nice! They did a great job. But I’d also just be happy to have a roof over my head. It turned out to be more than I could’ve ever expected. I enjoy so much about it. I like that it’s less to take care of, the housekeeping and whatnot. It’s very organized. If anyone hopes to design an ADU or DADU, having really effective storage is really important because it’s a smaller space than most people are used to--maybe not most people in Seattle because studios are smaller than my DADU, but still.
It was interesting, being on my own all these years after the kids were grown, to be in a position where I can get help. With a health challenge, you really need that. It was frightening to think, ‘I’m going to be living alone even though this is a scary thing.’ I think that’s an important thing to consider. There’s obvious benefits but there’s unexpected ones, too. I didn’t realize there could be benefits because I was so self-sufficient for so many years—and who knows how I did, I survived. There’s such a huge, intangible benefit emotionally that comes from living with people. We’re very respectful of each other with boundaries and saying no and being direct, like if I don’t want to watch the kid. But that intangible thing I have and that emotional support, and getting to know your offspring at a deeper level, as adults, in this new relationship, it’s irreplaceable. The grandchild, of course, is a super bonus. Americans don’t really live with extended family but it’s really a great way to go on so many levels.
You’re close and are able to respond if there’s something going on; you can pitch in—like covering for Adam. I can help in little ways. Adam was recently out of town. [Rachael: “If mom hadn’t been here, I could handle it sure, but it’s a lot easier to ask, ‘hey, mom, can you pick the kid up from preschool today?’”]
There’s no other way I would’ve been able to live in Seattle because it’s so expensive. Even those little micro apartments that are, what, 250, 300 square feet; it’s just so prohibitively expensive here, unless I rented a room from somebody. Even then, it would be a one bedroom and shared bathroom, which is not—I’ve lived alone for so long, I want my space. Although, again, in the grand scheme of things, just having a roof over your head is a bonus. It’s not like my kids would ever let it happen to me, but it’s crossed my mind in the downtime: What’s going to happen to me if I can’t take care of myself when I’m older? Like, what am I gonna do? Am I gonna live on the street? There are a lot of really great people who have lived great lives, even affluent or prosperous, who have ended up on the street because but for the grace of God go I. There’s a lot of folks disconnected from that, but it happens to a lot of people unexpectedly. It would shock me and all because I think I’m smart, I have a lot of skills, but when you get older ageism is a thing, sexism; many, many things influence where you land.
Everyone always thinks building a (D)ADU is based on money, but there’s so many intrinsic values for not renting at market. Obviously, the expenses need to be covered for the overhead. (D)ADUs make a huge difference. They’re too important to not share with a wider audience. They allow people to rent a smaller space and have that community and not spend as much on housing. Not everybody’s making over $100,000 or more. There’s a lot of benefit of working in lesser-paying jobs, so (D)ADUs do contribute a lot. There’s also a lot of people who just don’t even want a big space, and that’s fine, too. As the popularity of this grows, it will impact our community in a really positive way and ways that we haven't even thought of, these unintended benefits.
When people experience it, I think they will really see the benefits and be a more influential proponent of being more inclusive, encouraging people to live in community and as a neighborhood. Denser living spurs opportunities to support your neighborhood by retail while supporting each other by saying, ‘hey, do you need to borrow this tool? No sense buying it for one thing you’ll use one time.’ We did in fact borrow the neighbor’s wheelbarrow.
I think people communicating with one another and interacting is the fundamental first step for community. Even though it’s fundamental, it’s often ignored. Yet another reason why I think living here, in the neighborhoods, versus being alone in an apartment complex is so great. Taking transit, I’ve had really great interactions with people from all walks of life, not just people like me. It’s so diverse here. That’s been really gratifying. I ride my tricycle around and it lifts people’s spirits. That makes a strong community and neighborhood. I wish more people would do it. We’d all benefit in every single way by getting out of our cars and walking and biking and transit and interacting more with people.
Home: It’s the family, being close to them and not having to drive. I started driving when I was 15, and I love to drive, but it’s very stressful in Seattle. And I lived in Longbeach, California! I get it. But at this point in my life, I don’t want to deal with it. There’s more important things in my life to spend my energy and time on than figuring out how to get from A to B and parking. So I’m a transit proponent, of course. It goes along with the housing.
There’s a lot of resistance to change, and that’s just the nature of our beings. We want homeostasis. That desire comes to our environment as well. There’s no way to know if the person’s going to like increased density until they try it. There’s a lot of fear where if affordable housing comes in, you’re going to get ‘less desirable people,’ which is not necessarily true and it’s under-informed. Not everybody that’s low-income is valueless. There’s a lot of benefit, and the same for people who aren’t as educated. There’s huge value in these diverse experiences and backgrounds. There is a big disconnect on those topics, which is part of that fear.
I grew up in a small, Midwestern town, and there’s people who lived there their whole lives and never, ever wanted to leave. My dad, who happened to be a landlord, always said we needed to get out in the world. You see how other people live. He said, ‘you don’t know the world until you see how other people live and see there’s value in diversity.’ Seattle is diverse. I love that they have high end properties and condos but we have a lot of unused space here that could be more effective because the city’s growing and so many people deserve to have something affordable.
HOME IS a backyard cottage and family near transit.
We are #SeattleNeighbors. Seattle needs more homes, of all shapes and sizes, for all our neighbors.