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Algorithms designed this backyard mother-in-law unit

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Cover’s latest unit feels like a full-on home

House clad in timber in backyard. Photo courtesy of Cover

A couple of years ago, the tech company Cover showed off a sleek backyard dwelling designed as a studio/office. It was a simple white box of a house with big windows and minimalist interiors. It was also designed with the help of computer algorithms.

All-white dining room and kitchen. Cover

Now, the Los Angeles-based Cover has big aims to bring Accessory Dwelling Units (ADUs) to the masses with computer-aided designs that can help make designing and building more efficient and cheaper. Cover’s latest project is a larger, one-bedroom, one-bathroom unit designed for homeowners who want to rent it out for added income.

Kitchen with shelves and white cabinets Photo courtesy of Cover

The new unit is 436 square feet—similar to the size of a two-car garage. Like Cover’s earlier design, its layout was optimized by asking the owners a litany of questions that allowed the algorithms to determine things like where to place the windows or how much room to dedicate to the kitchen versus bedroom.

Living room with modern furniture Photo courtesy of Cover

This particular home is clad in timber and has an open-plan layout that connects the kitchen to the living room. It bends into an L-shape, allowing the bedroom to feel hidden away in the backyard. Dark wood floors contrast against the bright white walls. All told, the one-bedroom home cost $193,000 to design and build.

House clad in timber panels Photo courtesy of Cover

The prefab design is clean and inoffensive—it’s exactly what you’d get if you left things to a computer algorithm. But Cover’s biggest selling point isn’t really aesthetics; it’s the fact that the system does everything for you—Cover helps you design, build, and even research zoning and permits.