What is a guesthouse?| Our Expertise | Ideas & Resources

  • "Can I add a guesthouse to my property?"
  • "Should I add-on to my house or build a granny unit?"
  • "How can I keep my relative close and secure?"

These are questions we often hear. Lets explore some answers:

What is a guesthouse?

A guesthouse is a building that shares a lot with a primary residence. They can be called granny units, second units, guest homes, caretaker homes, senior units, rental unit, accessory unit, in-law quarters, bungalows or cottages. They can be used for a variety of purposes such as rentals, homes for extended family, office or studio.



Our Expertise

Are you envisioning a new cottage in your back yard or on the back forty? TJC has designed many smaller residences throughout the Monterey Bay / Silicon Valley areas. The first thing we do is to investigate the zoning regulations for a particular piece of property. The planning departments in the city or county have rules that dictate the maximum size and placement of the house, as well as the age and category of occupants.

Suburban: We have designed small “granny units” in the backyard of an older homes. We are careful to provide enough parking and open space on the lot.

Rural: We have designed guest homes on rural sites. These little dwellings meet area and height limitations; they are placed near the main residence; and they meet requirements for a septic system and other considerations.

If your family is expanding, or if you are considering combining households, or if your parents want to live closer to you, connect with us. We will check out the rules and design a guesthouse of your dreams.

Ideas & Resources


  • are subject the zoning regulations of your local city or county
  • can be designed to compliment and enhance your primary residence
  • can keep your extended family close and secure
  • can be green: Green @ TJC
  • can subsidize your mortgage costs

Learn about architecture and the building process. Read our Beginner's Guide.
Connect with us to get started planning your guesthouse.
Looking to buy a property with an existing guesthouse? Connect with Scott Poncetta