Month: January 2021

Before & After: Turning a Small ‘50s House Into a Modern Oasis

Small house in Sherman House, Los Angeles, before being demolished for a new home constructionLuxury home remodel in Sherman Oaks, Los Angeles by A-List Builders

Vintage homes continue to hold an appeal for some, especially in today’s market where the prices of modern homes are rising in Southern California. But for others, an older structure may prevent them from getting the most use out of their space. Another issue with vintage homes is that they often lack modern conveniences, which can be a major problem for owners who are not so interested in maintaining the classic appeal of their house. 

Take into account this small ‘50s house that we razed in Sherman Oaks. This small house had the potential to be so much more, as you will see in this before and after. If you’re wondering what you could do to turn your small house into something more functional for your needs, see what we were able to achieve by renovating a small house in the whole house remodel before and after example below!

Before the Renovation

A property lot in Sherman Oaks after demolition of a vintage property for a new home construction by A-List Builders

This small ‘50s house in Sherman Oaks was once a little blue home that started out as a 537 square foot floor plan, which presented challenges in regards to the owners getting the most out of their space as well as not having the contemporary style or functionality that most homeowners expect today. 

Rather than attempting to remodel the existing structure to leverage the space offered by the house, we decided that the best course of action would be to start from scratch, putting a new structure in its place that would offer more space and greater functionality for the owners. This decision proved to be an excellent way to take advantage of the property’s potential.

When approaching such a project, what does renovating a small house like this look like when it’s finally finished? Here’s what we were able to do converting these small lot house plans into something much larger.

After the Renovation

Front view of Lennox house property renovation in Sherman Oaks, CA

The final product of this renovation is a 3000 square foot modern oasis that is a major upgrade from the previous 1951 home that previously stood in its place.

View of great room in complete home construction by A-List Builders in Sherman Oaks

The house is now a gorgeous two-story home with modern security upgrades and a stunning minimalistic design both inside and out. The first floor offers a spacious open concept floor plan, combining the kitchen, dining area, and living space into one great room. The area is accentuated by the massive glass windows that reveal the backyard as well as a small outdoor sitting space located right next to the dining area. To make work more convenient, a home office has been included in this plan as well.

Backyard of Lennox house

The backyard now offers plenty of space for entertaining, offering outdoor furniture for lounging, a built-in grill, and island space for eating and preparing food. On the other side of the backyard, we’ve included a modern soaking pool and jacuzzi for when the owners feel like taking a dip.

Master bedroom in Lennox house remodel in Sherman Oaks

Traveling up the beautiful glass staircase will reveal a sprawling second story that offers four bedrooms and four baths, a major upgrade from the previous one bed/one bath home that we first approached when we were tasked with renovating the original small house

The final result of this whole house remodel before and after is a modern home that makes the most of the lot space and truly takes the homeowner’s experience (and the home’s value) to the next level. 

Make More of Your Space With A-List Builders

Open floor plan property in Reseda with patio for entertaining guests

Do you have a home that is simply not spacious enough for your living needs or does not offer what you need in order to get the most of your homeownership? The good news is that you don’t have to settle. The next step to take when you’re looking into renovating a small house is to reach out to A-List Builders

Our team of expert designers and contractors work with you every step of the way to help you envision what your space could truly offer, making sure that you’re covered from conception to completion. If you’re interested in taking a small space, like the one offered by the house in this Sherman Oaks project, and transforming it into a home that you’ll be able to truly fall in love with, all you have to do is get started is to reach out to us so we can better determine your needs and whether or not we’re the right fit for you, allow us to conduct an in-home consultation to determine what we can make happen and how long it will take to achieve, and leave the rest to us! 

Looking to transform your property’s lot to increase its value and its space? If so, schedule a discovery call with us so that we can act on your dream of renovating a small house and transform it into a sprawling modern home like the one shown in the project above!

Check Out the Entire Sherman Oaks Renovation Gallery

Before & After: Garage Remodel in Reseda

mage of a family home in Reseda, LA with garage door open before a garage remodelWelby Way Project - Reseda - ADU Garage Conversion

Deciding to renovate a portion of your property to add an additional or accessory dwelling unit (ADU) can come with a wide variety of benefits. This is especially true if you live in Southern California where rising rent and real estate prices may be forcing you to look for extra income or to offer space to family members who may be affected by these same issues. 

When you’re considering adding an ADU to your property, it’s important to think about your short term and long-term goals for the project. What does the end result look like when you envision your dreamy detached unit? If you want to see what an ADU could look like for your Los Angeles home, let’s cover the garage remodel before and after for this property in Reseda. 

Before the Renovation

Garage filled with items

The retired couple who owns this property in Reseda reached out to us so that we could renovate their garage and turn it into an ADU. This renovation would provide them with the extra space they wanted for themselves as well as for any of their family that potentially needed the space throughout the year. 

However, this garage renovation before and after was also driven by another need: the desire for an additional income stream. By renovating this garage into its own independent ADU, it has allowed them to meet both of their needs, providing them with a separate living area that they can rent out to students attending the nearby college as well as extra space on their property that they could use when needed. This has helped them make their home more affordable without requiring them to find an active income source in order to do so.

As you can see from this gallery, the previous structure was a traditional, attached one-car garage for a single-family home. We were able to conduct an in-home consultation and come up with a design that would provide them with the appropriate renovations so that they could legally rent out this space to anyone who may need it during the school year. 

Let’s take a closer look at this garage remodel before and after to see what we were able to make possible with the space provided. 

After the Renovation

Renovated kitchen area

The front of the garage now features attractive front-facing windows and a secure door to offer access to the tenants and their family members. Upon walking in, you’ll immediately see that the garage space, now an ADU, offers the family a kitchen, complete with a refrigerator, full range stove, double-sided sink, a microwave, multiple outlets for kitchen appliances, and plenty of drawers and cabinet space to support a fully-stocked kitchen. 

Renovated bathroom area

To the side, we have a sleek, modern bathroom space with a glass walk-in shower, toilet, and sink, along with a washer and dryer stacked on one another to conserve space.

Full overview of the renovated space

In front of both the kitchen and the bathroom is plenty of space to set up a small living area as well as a bedroom, with a center divider in the middle to allow for privacy when needed. 

The final garage remodel before and after result is a cozy, contemporary space that meets the aesthetic needs of the modern renter and provides them with everything they need to have access to without needing to step foot in the main house. 

Interested in Transforming Your Garage Into an ADU? 

If you have unused garage space that could be put to better use as a space that you could rent out to earn additional income or even as an extra space for family who may have fallen on hard times as a result of the 2020 pandemic, now is the time to enlist the help of A-List Builders to transform your garage into a stunning ADU. 

When you consult A-List Builders for your renovation needs, our team of designers and contractors work with you every step of the way to ensure that you’re receiving the best service possible from conception to completion. Whether you’re looking to renovate your garage like in the garage remodel before and after example above or you want to remodel another area or build a new structure for your ADU, we are here to help you make it happen.

If you’re ready to transform your garage into a space you or others could live in, schedule a discovery call with us so that we can learn more about your needs, provide you with a better idea of what the outcome will be, and help you get started on adding the perfect ADU to your property that looks just like this excellent garage remodel before and after project.

Building a Guest House? Here’s What to Know

As rent and real estate prices continue to rise throughout Southern California, building additional or accessory dwelling units (ADUs) is becoming more and more appealing to homeowners. For those who have someone in their family that requires extensive care, ADUs can be essential as they offer extra living space and serve to accommodate live-in caretakers or family members.

At A-List Builders, we work with Los Angeles families for the long term. We’ve seen the increased need for additional space for older generations and their caretakers, or for younger family members who need a place to land when life throws the unexpected their way. We’ve provided some considerations to make and questions to ask yourself below if you plan on adding a guest house in your backyard or anywhere else on your property. 

Small House With a White Picket Fence

To Renovate an Existing Space or to Build Your ADU From Scratch? 

The biggest problem that homeowners may run into when they’re considering building a guest house in their backyard is if the property lacks the space or acreage for additional structures, or existing garage or shed structures get in the way. Fortunately, existing structures don’t have to prevent you from building an ADU on your property as there are two different courses of action you can take to achieve this goal! 

If you have plenty of space in your backyard, building a guest house in backyard space is as simple as finding a design that works best for the space available. If, however, you may not have enough space to dedicate to a guest house, you could also choose to renovate your garage or turn another area in your property into an independent living space. 

This brings us to our next point. 

Types of ADUs to Consider 

Interior of a tiny home

While certain ADUs, like detached units or converted garages, may be the most popular choices, there are multiple ADU options that you should look into when you decide that you require additional living space on your property. Some of these ADU options include:

  • An attached ADU that is connected to the main home but still allows for independent living
  • An interior ADU that is located in the upper section of the house, such as the attic
  • An interior ADU that is located in the lower section of the house, such as the basement
  • An attached ADU that is built above an existing structure like the garage

While building a guest house in backyard space is one of the most desirable ADU concepts, the type of ADU that you choose will depend upon your individual needs, what you plan on using your ADU for in the future, and how comfortable you are with another individual living in the main house. Keep these things in mind when reviewing what ADU options you have at your disposal.

Additional Considerations to Make When Researching ADUs

Although the decision to build an ADU on your property is one that may be non-negotiable for some at this point in time, there are still important considerations to make before you undertake this kind of project. To help you become clearer on your goal, here are a few questions that you’ll want to ask yourself. 

  1. What Is My Budget for This Project? Your budget will ultimately determine the type of ADU you choose. Set aside some time to do further research into how much this project will cost, what your budget is, and how you can make this project a reality. 
  2. How Long Does an ADU Take to Build? Understanding the amount of time that it takes for this type of project is crucial to ensuring you have your building prepared when you need it. For example, if you’re looking to provide housing for a live-in caregiver, you’ll want to ensure that the ADU is prepared for them by the time you enlist the help of such a professional. 
  3. What Do I Need to Take Care of in the Meantime? Chances are,  there are other tasks you can take care of while you’re planning on establishing a guest house in backyard space. This could include finding new furniture or deciding which of your furniture you want to move to your ADU, seeking out the new tenant for your ADU beforehand, and coming up with plans for the interior design. 

Start Your ADU Journey With Us

With a better idea of what you’re looking for out of your ADU, all that’s left to do is reach out to A-List Builders to help you design your ideal space. Our team of designers and contractors work with you every step of the way to ensure that you’re receiving the best service possible from conception to completion, regardless of whether you decide on building a guest house or renovating an existing space. 

If you’re ready to add your own guest house in backyard space, schedule a discovery call with us so that we can learn more about your needs, help you come up with a design and a timeline, and begin the construction of your new guest house!

Small Backyard Renovations for Improving Your Indoor-Outdoor Living

Southern California is well-known for its temperate climate in the inland areas and the gorgeous Mediterranean-style climate in the coastal regions, making it the perfect place to realize all of your outdoor living dreams. But with all of the potential sitting right outside of your home, how do you get started? 

Whether you’re new to the region or want to experience your home as you never have before, let’s walk through some small backyard renovations for improving your indoor-outdoor living and to breathe new life into your outdoor space. 


Design a Patio Space for a Quiet Reprieve

2020’s stay-at-home orders left many residents feeling restless, but the truth is that you don’t have to leave the house to escape. One excellent renovation to pursue if you’re wanting to experience some change is to design an outdoor patio space where you can tuck yourself away when you’re feeling like you need a reprieve from work and a break from your day-to-day. 

This can mean adding some cozy outdoor furniture to your patio, making space for sitting and reading or engaging in other activities that put you at ease. Worried about the winter chill getting to you while you’re enjoying your indoor-outdoor space? Now is the perfect time to consider building an outdoor wood-burning or gas fireplace that’ll keep you warm while you’re enjoying your new patio. 

Whenever life becomes overwhelming and you need to break away, making a patio space one of your small backyard renovations is an excellent way to get the most out of indoor-outdoor living. Plus, if you work from home full time, this provides a new space for when you need a change of scenery.


Build an Outdoor Kitchen to Spice Up Your Culinary Habits

Although how we entertain guests has changed and will likely look different for a while, we know we’ll return to being able to fully host gatherings. Having access to an outdoor kitchen gives you the ability to entertain when the need arises. Additionally, it can offer you a way to switch things up when your cooking habits start feeling a bit too mundane. This can be especially important given that many have turned to cooking as a way to occupy themselves as many continue to social distance. 

The outdoor kitchen that you ultimately decide on will depend upon your individual cooking habits. However, many wonderful outdoor kitchens offer amenities like a built-in grill, built-in cooktops, mini-refrigerators, food preparation spaces, storage for your cooking utensils, and even bar preparation and beverage cooling stations. Small backyard renovations like these can make a world of difference in how you use your indoor-outdoor space. 

Who knows? Building an outdoor kitchen may make outdoor dining your new favorite activity!


Carve Out an Area Where You Can Simply Be With and Enjoy Nature

Man gardening with a woman

With everyone spending more time at home, being able to go out and connect with nature may be a deeply missed activity. However, it doesn’t have to be that way. Another way to get more out of your indoor-outdoor area is to carve out a space for nature where you can simply sit and be. 

Whether this entails pursuing a minimalistic backyard design decorated with some of your favorite flowers and foliage,  adding ponds and statues for aesthetics, or opting for hardscape updates, focusing on small backyard renovations gives you ways to connect with nature (or tend to your plants if you love to grow your own), and simply relax.


Create Your Ideal Indoor-Outdoor Living Space Today!

If a better indoor-outdoor living experience has become a focus for you, reach out to A-List Builders to help you design your ideal space. From conception to completion, our team of designers and contractors work with you to understand what it is you want from your indoor-outdoor space and how we can best deliver that to you, handling every step of the project so that you don’t have to. 

All you have to do to get started is to schedule a discovery call where we’ll discuss your ideas in greater detail to understand whether or not we’re the right fit for you. Then, we’ll meet with you to provide you with an estimate and a timeline, provide you with a more comprehensive design for your concept based on your backyard space, and begin the hard work that goes behind taking your design and making it a reality.

Whether you plan on incorporating a peaceful patio into your backyard, building an outdoor kitchen, or getting in touch with nature by taking advantage of our hardscaping and landscaping services, give us a call to get started on these small backyard renovations that will help you get more out of your property!

Our clients believe in us.

Here is what a few of them say.

  • Kobi R.

    It’s been years since I’ve done any work to my home so I was nervous about the whole project. Thankfully, I found a company that not only provided me with a patient ( I am very particular) and punctual contractor, Rani, but the job came out better than I expected. After doing such an amazing job on the kitchen, I expressed to Rani that I would like to do some more work with him but money, unfortunately, doesn’t grow on trees. Fortunately, Rani found an affordable way for me to redo all the bathrooms and flooring throughout the house.

  • Beverly S.

    Our initial meeting with Rani was excellent due to him giving us information and ideas we hadn’t thought of. He returned a week later with a presentation for our kitchen. Again, we were surprised at his additional ideals and his presentation. We had previously had two of the big-box stores come out so we had an idea of cost. Rani was more reasonable and offered us better and more creative ideas. Our kitchen is completed and we feel we qualify for Better Homes & Gardens. We would recommend our experience and job to everyone.

  • Warren M.

    After about a year and a half after we remodeled our bathroom, we had some minor electrical issues and reached out to A-List Builders. Ben followed up consistently and in a timely manner until my needed repair work was done.

  • Debbie W.

    Everyone was professional, nice and knowledgeable. I am so happy with their work and I will be using them again for my next project. In addition, I will be referring them (which I don't do unless I completely trust a job well done) to my family and friends. Thank you, again, for such a positive experience.

  • Deborah B.

    I hired A-List for a large restoration project. The project involved wall replacement with framing & drywall, stucco, exterior & interior painting, foundation reinforcement, a new exterior gate, fence repair, brick & tile walkways. Ben was the only contractor I interviewed who recommended that an engineer inspect the foundation as part of the evaluation process. Megan cheerfully worked through the process with my insurance company. All of the on-site workers were a pleasure to work with. They arrived early, were professional, & kept the work-site clean & organized...even the city inspector commented positively about A-List's knowledge & organization. A-List Builders did a great job & their follow-up was excellent.

  • Lou D.

    Like so many people in LA we bought a fixer upper. Over the last 5 years we have searched intently for a contractor we could trust. Never has a contractor come on our property that affected us the way Ben and Megan from A-List Builders have. They immediately understood our needs and made brilliant suggestions. They answered every question, every call, and it was such a difference dealing with them than any company we've ever hired before. They did not waste a minute of our time, nor did they try to get us to do more than we wanted. Their pricing is more than fair. They are so good at what they do and completely trustworthy and make hard things much easier. There actually IS a really good General Contractor out there and a company that does all that it promises and more.

  • Anonymous

    I used A-List Builders for my Bathroom Remodel and my bathroom is more beautiful now than I could have ever imagined...I met with Ben who gave me a free estimate for the job and knew right away that A-List Builders was the company I was going to use for the job. Their estimate was fair, and their communication throughout the entire process was fantastic. I always knew there was going to be someone else on the other line if I needed to get a hold of them for any reason. Their workers were true pros that did an immaculate job, excellent craftmanship and very good at keeping the renovation area very clean. I absolutely love my new bathroom and have already recommended them to two of my friends. Truly a great experience!

So, what do you think?

If you’re ready to start talking about your project,
pick up the phone and give us a call at