A Guest House in Your Backyard? Here’s What You Need to Know
It’s easy to understand why friends and relatives want to visit you in your Jacksonville home. A guest house provides you with privacy and extra space during these visits. Here’s how to start planning one.
You live in Jacksonville because of the great weather, the fantastic night life, and the easy access to the ocean and all the recreation you can find there. These same details are the reasons why family and friends from across the country want to visit you on vacation. You might be the friendliest host in the south, but this can eventually get old. Everyone needs some privacy now and then. But instead of disappointing your potential guests, why not enjoy the best of both worlds and build a guest house in your backyard? Your guests can enjoy everything Jacksonville has to offer, and you’ll get some much-needed privacy to make their visits easier to enjoy.
You may not have enough houseguests to justify a separate building on your property, but a guest house does double and even triple duty. It serves as a small hotel suite for anyone staying with you, but it can be much more. If you’re an artist or writer, it’s your perfect private studio. Musicians can turn a guest house into a soundproofed studio. Creative types can use the building for a craft studio, and a guest house can also be the perfect man cave filled with electronics, a fridge, and a giant sound system.
These potential uses will influence the design of your guest house. You could make the design very simple — a modified garage can turn into a one-room space, for instance — or you can build an elaborate tiny house.
City regulations can change from year to year, so check with government officials to determine what permits you’ll need before beginning construction. Depending on your property and your house plans, you may need permits for electricity, building, roofing, plumbing, and more. City inspectors will have to inspect the work and approve each step of construction.
Building a small house on your property can be a major investment, but you can cut down on expenses considerably by doing some of the work yourself. Check with the city to find out what part of the work must be done by licensed contractors. Much of creating a finished building qualifies as “cosmetic” work, and can be done by the homeowner.
Safety concerns demand you get a professional for such steps as pouring foundations, building the structure, and installing plumbing and wiring, but you can do almost all the rest yourself. Tasks such as roofing, painting, building steps, adding windows, and installing cupboards may seem complicated, but you can learn them in a weekend by taking free classes in local stores. You’ll save a significant amount of money while having the satisfaction of helping to create a comfortable addition to your home.
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