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Also known as Granny Flats or Echo Housing
Privacy with Proximity


Now, elderly or disabled people have a convenient alternative to nursing homes or retirement communities for senior housing. And those who love them enjoy unparalleled peace of mind, knowing their loved ones are safe, secure, and close by.

Elder Cottages are the answer to keeping your older friends and family members with you, while preserving their independence and your own privacy.

Placed in the side or rear yard of the family home, the Elder Cottage extends the warmth and inclusion of your family to an aesthetically pleasing, self-contained, and energy efficient dwelling. Several Elder Cottages have been designed to be attached right onto the existing house becoming an instant home addition. Cases have occurred when a zoning board would not allow a secondary dwelling to stand alone next to the main house.


Elder Cottages are perfect for an older person who can no longer maintain a full size house, but who does not require nursing home accommodations. They allow family members living in close proximity to interact whenever they wish.

Buying groceries, checking medications, visiting, and just keeping a watchful eye on a loved one are easy. And because they’re placed right beside your home, each household maintains its privacy and space.

Best yet, these cottages are ready when you are. You’ll enjoy quick move-in time with on-site completion that takes only a fraction of the time of conventional construction. Once your lot preparation has been completed, the cottage may be completed at the site in just a few hours.


With an Elder Cottage, your older or disabled family member will have maximum independence and control with these safety features:

• Easy navigation created with physical challenges in mind.
• Wheelchair access through all doorways
• Kitchen and bath may be tailored for wheelchair access
• Elevated toilets
• Reinforcing behind bathroom walls for optional grab bars


Cottages are comparatively inexpensive options in home ownership, and may fill the need for anyone wanting an economical and aesthetically pleasing residence. With proper zoning approval, anyone with a suitable lot supplied with water, sewer (or septic system), and electricity may obtain a building permit and choose an elder cottage for themselves or their family.

In addition to elderly and physically challenged family members, Elder Cottages can serve as...

An inexpensive alternative for first-time homebuyers
A temporary residence for young family members
A vacation home at almost any location
A convenient guest cottage for out-of-town visitors
Office Space


Ed Guion pioneered the Elder Cottage concept in the United States starting his prototype work in 1979. He soon realized that this concept would help elderly folks needing assistance in daily living and their families trying to provide assistance.

Inspired by a time when families took care of one another, Ed developed the Elder Cottage concept, and has been providing Elder Cottages for 30 years. Through word of mouth, exposure on national TV, Japanese Public Television and newspaper and magazine articles, the cottages have continued to fill a need. Also having been featured on NBC Nightly News and the Today Show as well as having an article appear in the October/November 1989 issue of AARP’s Modern Maturity Magazine, a country-wide awareness of the idea took hold. Ed has also been invited to speak at senior housing conferences over the years throughout the US as well as Canada and Mexico.


The Elder Cottages have been produced for over thirty years.

Each modular home is constructed in a climate-controlled indoor environment. The careful attention to insulation, weather stripping and door and window seals make the houses extremely energy-efficient and economical to heat or cool. Floor coverings include your choice of carpeting, and easy care vinyl. Many choices of exterior siding and roofing colors enable the cottage to blend in with the existing house or neighborhood.

Cottage specifications and workmanship meet all the stringent building code requirements in the greater northeast—from Maine to North Carolina and as far west as Ohio.


Elder Cottages range in price from $44,960.00 for a one bedroom one bath 568 square foot house to $60,440.00 for a two bedroom 1-2 bath 947 square foot house. It is interesting to compare these costs to the prices of site-built housing or retirement community residential cottages.

A cost comparison was undertaken early in the Elder Cottage program. A local couple was considering purchasing a small one-bedroom house for their aging parents. During the family meeting, the question was raised—what, when the elder family members no longer needed the house, would happen if a secondary buyer for the cottage could not be found. The family did some research and found that even if they had to GIVE the house away after sixteen months, it would still be less expensive than putting the elder couple in a nursing home, and in the interim, both families would be only a short walk across the yard from each other.

The prospective cottage owner’s financial responsibilities, beside the cottage, include:

• Site preparation (includes clearing space for the cottage and providing a foundation for cottage placement.)
• Electric, water and sewer hook-ups
• Cost of transporting the cottage from the factory to the home site. Exact transportation costs are furnished to the homebuyer by Elder Cottages.
• Crane rental and set crew
• Any applicable state sales tax

A local general contractor can handle most of these preparations. You’ll need a locally licensed electrical contractor to affix the meter base and run cable to the 200 amp breaker panel which has been installed in the cottage at the factory. Water and sewer connections must be performed by a local licensed plumber. Prospective homeowners should contact each contractor for estimates.


When the cottage is no longer needed, it is generally resold or recycled to another family in need for similar housing accommodations. The cottage is removed from the treated timber foundation by the seasoned factory-recommended crew, loaded onto lowboy carriers and transported to the new site to be refurbished for reinstallation.

In all cases, a zoning variance, exception or exemption must be secured to allow the placement of the Elder Cottage on the property of the main home. In many cases, you can use the water and sewer facilities of the main house for the elder cottage. The power company will run a separate line to the meter of the new Elder Cottage.


• Each lot considered for an Elder Cottage site must be inspected to ensure that there is sufficient space to accommodate the cottage.
• Potential site problems may include a yard that’s too narrow, a steep slope, no proximity to sewer and water, or general inaccessibility.
• You’ll need to secure a building permit prior to the cottage construction.
• Since the concept is unknown to many communities and officials, the zoning board may initially refuse permission to place a cottage on the lot. Samples of zoning permit wording used in other jurisdictions are available on request.
• Officials may require that the cottage be temporary and only for use of a family member. Also they may require that the cottage be removed when it is no longer used by the senior member of the family to eliminate the possibility of its becoming a rental for a non-family member.

"Grossdawdy Haus" goes back to early 1800’s when older members of the family were not sent to a home. Instead they would have a little house next to the main house.