Author: Ben Marciano

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!

Home Office Remodel Tips

With many Los Angeles companies and individuals making the transition to work from home, there is a great opportunity to personalize your workspace and create a comfortable environment that can increase your productivity and efficiency. If you’re still not sure exactly where you want to work from, a home office remodel could be the key to ensuring your space delivers exactly what you need. Learn more about some of the office remodel ideas from A-List Builders to get you started!

  1. Accessibility

There’s no reason why your office environment shouldn’t have the space, comfort, and privacy you need to work from home. Consider your requirements when in a normal office and learn how to translate those into your space. If you don’t have a great spot to work from, look at home office renovation ideas based on your needs.

Do you expect to receive clients in your home office? Do you need complete silence to work? Are you looking for a space that offers enough room to get up and get moving? All of these will have an effect on how you choose and modify your work space.

Your home office remodel should consider whether you need an additional entrance, more insulation from the noises of the world outside, or an open floor plan that allows you to bring in a treadmill desk or workout area.

  1. Build an ADU

renovating an ADU or shed into a home office

Some people need complete and utter disconnection from their home to create the perfect work environment. Building an ADU (additional dwelling unit) is one way you can achieve this. Some people choose to renovate and convert an existing structure like a garage, while others want new construction from the ground up.

Adding an ADU to your space may depend on your home office remodel requirements, the square footage of your lot and current size of your house, as well as other Los Angeles County codes and permitting requirements. Luckily, A-List Builders has the experience and connections you need to evaluate your space and help figure out if an ADU is an option for you.

  1. From Top to Bottom

If you’re looking for smaller home office remodel ideas, consider your office from top to bottom. Everything from the wall paint and decor to the lighting fixtures and flooring can be changed to fit your aesthetics and accommodate your needs.


People don’t realize that the way their office looks is directly related to their productivity. Working in a space that makes you feel positive ensures your creativity and production surges. Additionally, changing your floors with a minor home office remodel to something like hardwood or laminate makes it easier to clean up spills, footprints, and other stains.

Engineered wood especially, gives your space a more contemporary and professional feel. It’s affordable, durable, and easy to maintain—able to withstand heavy traffic, make no noise, and it’s scratch resistant.


Lighting has a huge impact on the ambiance of your office and can completely change your working capabilities. If you don’t have layered lighting that considers ambient, task, and accent lighting, you need to reevaluate this issue. With a minor home office remodel, you can install recessed lighting or track lighting in your ceiling. Task lighting can be anything from a desk lamp to a hanging pendant light above your work space and accent lighting simply highlights any wall art or other decor elements in your office.

  1. Make Small Changes

home office remodel with built in desk

Not every home office remodel needs to make a major change. Explore some of these smaller home office renovation ideas to get you started:

  • Cabinetry and shelving is an efficient way to improve storage space without stacking things on your desk or on the floor.
  • Wall mounted baskets can be a great way to stay organized and they add a modern sense of style to your space.
  • Mounted mirrors and large windows can trick your mind into feeling like the space is much larger than it is.
  • Built-in desks save you tons of space that you can use for other things and makes your office look unique and chic.
  1. Hardware & Wiring

Some people don’t consider that convenient computer and telephone wiring installation is an important element of office design. Knocking out drywall for rewiring and installing additional outlets could be a crucial element of making your new office space workable. Remember that you need strong connectivity to the internet and ensure you’re well situated for home presentations with this basic home office remodel.

Your Workspace Matters

Your work day is much more pleasant when you enjoy the space in which you have to do it. Discover the difference that these office remodel ideas make to your work-life balance and reach out to A-List Builders when you’re ready for an estimate or consultation.

How to Plan for Remodeling Your Home & Stay on Budget

Many construction firms expect homeowners to know everything about the ins and outs of financing a home addition or ensuring that home remodeling stays on budget. At A-List Builders, we understand that there are many layers and a lot of complexity to doing a renovation and we’re here to help guide you through the best ways to do everything from an ADU build to bathroom remodeling on your budget. Learn more about how to plan for your remodel financially with tips from our experts.

  1. Set Your Goals

Figuring out exactly what you want is the first step to home remodeling on a budget. While you can always discuss material specifics with us, figuring out why you’re renovating a space is crucial. Do you need an additional bathroom so all your kids can get ready at the same time? Are you redoing the kitchen for more counter space? Is an open floor plan more aesthetically appealing to you?

Once you know why you want something, you can focus on that and avoid wasting time and money on peripheral things that try to side track you.

  1. Get Specifics

Even before you start looking at the numbers, take your goals and decide on the details. Now is the time to pin down your preferences for materials and finishing, as these can substantially affect your costs and complicate financing a home addition. Everything from hardwood flooring and carpet to formica and granite countertops need to be taken into consideration.

Taking these extra steps to hammer out the specifics, also ensures you have more details to give your contractor for an accurate estimate. If we know exactly what you want, we’re far more likely to be able to pull information on cost per square foot and provide a precise quote for your home remodeling on a budget.

  1. Assess Financing

Hearth 310x610
Not everyone can afford to pay for their renovation or remodel in cash. If you need to look at financing for a home addition, it means exploring HELOCs (home equity line of credit), personal loans, or even refinancing your original home loan. At A-List Builders, we can actually help you with this step as well as the design, planning, and management of your project.

We’ve teamed up with a company called Hearth to offer you personalized financing options and ensure you can complete home remodeling on your budget. With 13 lenders, we take a close look at your preferences and requirements and sort through the various options available before presenting you with a financial plan that is perfect for your needs.

  1. Get a Hard Quote

architect working on blueprints

The first estimate you get from most design/build firms is just that—an estimate. After you discuss the nitty gritty details, we can give you a hard quote with a far more detailed outline of project costs, timeline, and more.

There are two ways you can strive to stick to home remodeling on your budget: a time-and-materials contract or a fixed-price contract. A time-and-materials contract is based on the time employees and subcontractors spend to complete the work on your project as well as the materials they ended up using. A fixed-price contract is where you pay a lump sum for the project up front and that’s it.

  1. Set Aside Extra Funds

In life, there are no guarantees. If you’re trying to complete a home remodeling project on a budget, it’s good practice to assume that mistakes and surprises will happen. To mitigate the costs and avoid having to make compromises on the scope of work, our experts recommend putting aside an extra 10-15% of the total project cost. Best case scenario, you don’t need to use these funds and can spend them on furnishings. Worst case scenario, something happens and you already have the money you need to remedy the situation.

  1. Find Places to Cut Costs

There are many places in a renovation project where you can—and should—cut costs, especially if you’re home remodeling on a budget. While you don’t want to sacrifice on crucial elements, like workmanship and material quality, you can save a little money with these strategies:

  • Low Cost Finishings: Explore the cost of different materials before deciding on a final finish. Many times, you’ll find that choosing a slightly different shade of hardwood can save you a lot per square foot. The same goes for choosing laminate countertops instead of granite or quartzite instead of marble in your bathroom.
  • Refurbished Furnishings: There’s no need to buy brand new home appliances or furniture. Choosing refurbished or salvaged pieces can help you save up to 30% over new items.
  • DIY: Doing little things, like pulling up carpeting, removing bathroom tile, or painting on your own, can end up saving you a lot of money in the long term.

Working with A-List Builders

ongoing construction and remodeling

A-List Builders is proud to be able to offer you comprehensive guidance for your home renovation from concept to completion. Whether it’s just bathroom remodeling on a budget or an entire home renovation, we’re here to provide you estimates, advice, and financing. Trust in our team to have your best interests at heart!

Ready to get started? Give us a call today to schedule a consultation.

About Bathroom Remodeling & Restoration in Los Angeles

Remodeling a small bathroom can be deceptively complex: you’ll want to utilize space well, while maximizing new additions and modernizing fixtures. Of course, big or small, bathrooms come with a host of specific factors that make any remodel a bit more daunting than a bedroom or spare room. Forgoing the proper preparation can make a small bathroom project balloon into a large headache, and knowing how to remodel a small bathroom will spare you the project purgatory of a never done room: in short, a game plan is key.

Go from the Ground Up

 Contemporary Bathroom InteriorPipes, flanges, flooring, and drainage: the special requirements of a bathroom’s functionality are always phase one. Allocate at least 60% of your remodel budget toward incidentals and upgrades, even if the fixtures seem relatively new. You should also have a solid idea of regional permits and strictures, especially when working in a bigger city. Bathroom restoration in Los Angeles, for instance, can be very different from other, smaller municipalities. Bathroom floors have to contend with high traffic and moisture. While there are budget options, elements and fixtures should always be chosen with care. While the allure of brushed nickel and designer basins is always tempting, the less sexy pieces are going to give your remodel the biggest bang for its buck. Here are a few places not to skimp:

The toilet flange: This little part pulls the double duty of affixing the toilet to the floor, and the drain to a sewage outlet. Flanges can corrode, and bad workmanship can make them slip from alignment. There’s also a troubling risk of over-applying sealant, which can cause any kind of leak to build up under the floorboard tile and laminate. Be sure to check closely that the flange is properly installed. A shaky toilet is the first sign of trouble.

 Traditional Bathroom with Sink and MirrorVentilation: The scope and scale of your project will determine how to remodel a small bathroom for your specific space. Most often, structural retrofitting will be guided by the era in which the home was constructed–and any subsequent work done before it came into your hands. Ventilation systems for home bathrooms have evolved over the years, with many bathrooms built prior to having access to more modern options. Outside of the aesthetics, ventilation can help prevent problems with mildew build-up and potential mold issues.

Plumbing: Older plumbing can become corroded, or lose functionality over time due to blockage and environmental damage. For many remodels, this is an opportunity for piping to be replaced or updated. For successful bathroom restoration, you’ll want to be sure to know the basics of pipe materials:

  • Galvanized pipes, while not always lead-tainted, are susceptible to corrosion, meaning particulate in the water supply that is dangerous and toxic in high doses.
  • Copper pipes are less susceptible to corrosion; however, copper’s malleability can mean unfortunate bends or pinch points created by amateur installation or poorly planned DIY pipe movement.
  • Pex pipes (made from high-density polyethylene, a high grade plastic) won’t degrade like metal, and are far less likely to freeze and burst. Pex can also be an ease to install, replace, and shift because of its flexibility, and the need for fewer fittings.

Pick Your Focal Point

For many people, the answer to the question of how to remodel a small bathroom lies in a detailed plan. Organizing the remodel around a star player is a great way to keep your eye on the prize, and help prevent creeping costs due to ancillaries and sundries that pop up along the way. Have you always wanted a dual sink and vanity? Is a main storage unit for all of your beauty products important? Or perhaps you finally want to opt for that spa shower? Use the most essential fixture or element as the organizing fixture for your budget and the rest of your additions.

White and Grey Bathroom with Ocean-Themed Shower CurtainDouble Up on Space

For any small bathroom space, finding clever ways to make a small bathroom feel bigger is key. Corner sinks and trough sinks can help you bypass a space-dominating vanity, or forgo one entirely for a floating sink look. Strategically placed towel rods, especially telescoping ones, can help with storage for hanging items. Mirrors will open up the space. Larger patterns of tile, or wall murals, can make the space feel larger. For a backsplash, the opposite is true: go light, and go minimalist for a larger feel. Builders with experience in bathroom restoration can help maximize any space, drawing on other successful projects for inspiration and techniques.

Get Help

Even the handiest among us has gaps in our plumbing knowledge, and there’s no wiggle room for home remodels involving pipes, electric, and potential retrofitting. Lean on experienced team at A-List Builders, offering guidance from concept to completion and promising the highest standards. Still wondering how to remodel a small bathroom? Our team can walk you through it all: taking you from phase one through construction. Contact us today to get started.

Converting Your Garage into a Studio Living Space? Here’s What to Know

Once you’ve tossed all the items that don’t spark joy, completed your spring cleaning, or wrapped up the garage sale, what will you do with all of that space? Embarking on the process of garage conversion into living space or any other ADU (Accessory Dwelling Unit) can give you the studio or fitness space you’ve always wanted. With an increase in working from home, it can also become a remote workspace that is more functional and adaptable than a living room or kitchen nook.Room in the Process of Renovation

Get Your Plan

Step one is a conversion plan: find a reliable expert to turn your vision into a technically flawless garage conversion plan. An experienced construction firm can help you check on garage conversion permit requirements in addition to providing plans that ensure all regulations are being met while maximizing your budget and your vision.

They’ll outline different garage conversion options and costs. Of course, they’ll also advise you and help you develop your own ideas for the space. Different opportunities and challenges might arise based on your desired outcome. If you want to convert your garage to include a bedroom and bathroom for a basic extended living space, or turn it into a rentable unit for added income, having an expert on hand who has completed a similar project will be vital.

Take Stock

Some garage conversions are as simple as adding doors, converting garage doors, or working to expand windows. Depending on the ease of your vision, you can then work on details, and find the places you want your space to shine; with a project like this, you can bring an ideal space to life. Converting a garage into a studio is a dream for some, but a fitness space or spare bedroom can also be feasible with a little work. Here are a few places where you might want to take some time to flesh out your plan:Bright Interior Kitchen

Power Sources: Per most states’ building codes, garages are required to only have one GFCI-protected electrical receptacle. While that might work with power tools and shop vacs, it’s not as useful for a living space, studio, or rentable unit. Electrical work can be tricky, and depending on the age of the home — anything over thirty years is likely past due for a replacement — might need a full change of knobs and tubes to modern wiring grids. If you don’t have them already, be sure to get blueprints from your county office before you start the garage conversion into the living space process.

Ventilation and HVAC: Generally, homes and garages have entirely different structural intricacies when it comes to insulation and air flow dynamics. Air leakage and pressure differences can hinder the cooling of your main house HVAC unit and depreciate the airflow to the garage, if those units are shared. The best HVAC option for a converted garage of any kind is a dedicated one. For a rental unit or living space designed for long-term occupancy, a mini-split heat pump, high-level evaporative cooler, or dedicated air conditioner is the best option. These options simplify the addition by not requiring ducts, and you’ll be able to keep the converted room cool only when used, with an eye on energy efficiency that can be easily monitored alongside your typical bill for the main house.

When converting a garage into a studio, where use is limited to sessions, a less expensive and easy-to-install option is a window unit. While cheaper, they often are noisier and less able to cool a space efficiently over time. Window units give fewer options regarding levels, remote shut-offs, and need filter replacement more often. On the plus side, they are a cinch to put in and start using right away.

Plumbing: Unlike bathroom additions to a home, in most cases, garages have no existing plumbing unless there is a utility sink. This means pipes won’t need to be just relocated or retrofitted, but will need to be installed. Any kind of bathing suite will also require ventilation considerations: poor ventilation will cause moisture damage and offset any value to a newly converted garage conversion into living space or rental unit.

Light: While a typical wiring grid might not be available for overhead lighting, working with an experienced electrician can reveal some unique adaptations to the space. The first, which is a strategy adapted from older homes, is to use pendant lamps and custom lamps to strategically place lighting in the space. Additionally, with the right retrofit to increase GFCI-protected electrical receptacles, you can save money by going DIY with lighting, looking for brands that offer highly-customizable light fixtures and ongoing support for technical questions.

As with any project, research and preparation are key. Only an expert can tell you what you don’t know you don’t know. Work with A-List Builders to navigate your ADU project from concept to completion. Our team can walk you through it all: Taking you from phase one planning to design and budgeting, all the way through to planning construction timelines for garage conversion into living space. Don’t let your vision just be a “someday” goal”: contact us to get started today!

California Kitchen Styles, Floor Plan & Remodel Ideas We Love

If you’ve been perusing kitchen remodel designs and dreaming of updating some older appliances and fixtures in addition to overhauling your kitchen’s structure, there’s never been a better time to remodel your kitchen. Whether you’re a budding gourmand, weekend warrior chef, or looking to add some value to your home, the kitchen remodeling process can be a rewarding yet challenging endeavor to undertake.

Recruit an expert to help with design and structure, and work in concert with your ideal sets of fixtures and appliances for a seamless design that will make the kitchen your new favorite room of the house.

Modern and Inviting for Guests & Family

Large Blue-Toned Kitchen with Island Table in a Studio City home remodel

Contemporary appliances in brushed nickel and steel, open floor plans, and awesome high-tech touches: kitchen remodel designs that lean toward the futurist in all of us are appealing and add tremendous value to a home.

While at times expensive, kitchen remodels can add the greatest ROI: some estimates are upwards of $20,000. Of course, the point of the remodel before resale is to enjoy your updated space, which is why ergonomic and easy-to-use new fixtures can bring out your inner Julia Child–or at least make it easy to fake it when the guests are over. Here are some considerations for updating your kitchen with California style.

Modern Backsplash: A new tile backsplash is a mainstay in most remodels and a major set piece for any kitchen space. Serving as a wall protection and a focal point, the tile backsplash creates an attractive space between the vent hood or built-in microwave. Backsplash tile designs can be as simple as differing patterns of herringbone tiles, color coordinated tiles, or boho-style pop-of-color glass mosaics. Having proper installation is also a must for a seamless finish and a backsplash that fits the dimensions of the space perfectly. Unless the word “bullnose” is in your daily lexicon, make sure to recruit a professional to make installation a success. Of course, a great place to start is choosing a backsplash tile and being sure to pick up ten percent more, in case of breakage.

Wall Ovens: In terms of design and safety, wall ovens are ideal for modern kitchen remodel designs, especially for spaces with small children or older occupants. Wall ovens tend to be electric, which means that fussing with pilots and potential gas issues are eliminated. Electric ovens heat more efficiently than their similar gas counterparts and create less indoor air pollution–perfect for California kitchen style remodels, as a way to beat the Los Angeles area heat. Temperature consistency is easier to maintain with electric options, which means they’re perfect for less-seasoned cooks or those with small children, where every culinary adventure is a teaching experience. Families should also consider the safety factor. Wall ovens sit higher up, and are easier to access for adults while being less accessible for little hands.

Induction Cook-Tops: Like a wall range, easy-to-clean induction cooktops offer precise temperature control using electric heat sources. They also offer a streamlined look, and with a glass top, coil-free cook surfaces provide multiple adaptable options for different sized pots and pans.

Sturdy, Eco-Conscious Flooring: Green options like bamboo flooring are durable and adaptable, with the natural color lending well toward earth tones and offering the same options for color-staining as traditional wood. These unique options can make all the differences in flooring options, and give a bold, natural, and brightened look for your updated kitchen.

Updated Vintage

White Interior Dining Area with Round Table and Chairs in a Los Angeles kitchen remodelLove the French style? Have a softness for traditional layouts and countryside fixtures– perhaps even a shabby chic aesthetic? As with all remodels, the space should be congruent with the broader structure. A series of kitchen remodel designs which don’t fit the house style might end up looking like a pair of mismatched shoes. For a more classic home, though, there are a slew of modern updates that can let you have your cake and bake it in a new oven too.

New Range: While newer wall and convection units are great for modern design, there’s absolutely nothing like a good old fashioned range oven. Of course, with newer units, an update to the classic range is simple and modern options (which are, in general, less expensive and easier to install) act as a terrific centerpiece for the kitchen area.

Fixtures: While many modern kitchen fixtures are steel or steel-adjacent by default, traditional designs with new updates open up a world of possibilities. Here are a few additions we love: Fireclay or copper sinks with traditional two handle faucets. Rustic kitchen backsplashes with oversized patterns, stone, brick, or other classic looks. Walk-in pantries, offering easy-to-use storage and prep areas, as well as an old-school feel for classic kitchen floor plan ideas.

Ready to get the new kitchen you’ve always dreamed of? Cook up a plan with the elevated building perspective offered by A-List Builders: from an in-home consultation with a concept to a project completed with full-service dedication, our team can walk you through it all. From the first phase of planning, design, and budgeting, all the way through to construction and finishing touches for your kitchen remodel designs, you’ll be in good hands. Modern or classic, A-List Builders is there to bring a new kitchen off the blueprint page and into your home.

[Explore Our Kitchen Remodeling Projects]

Top 5 ADU Design Ideas

Imagine a little home away from home… on your own property. Commonly known as guest houses or granny-suites, accessory dwelling units (ADU) can provide a sense of calming privacy for yourself or an additional revenue stream to help fund your mortgage. ADU layout ideas and design concepts don’t have to be a daunting task and can be easily accomplished as long as they are approached carefully while following proper zoning guidelines.

First of all, you need to consider that big requirements exist for this space to be habitable. Does this ADU need air conditioning? Will there be any large plumbing requirements? What type of renovations will you need to contract? Figure out the bare-bones basics first and from there you can get into the fun part; the accents and ADU design ideas that can be accomplished. Explore some of these reliable ADU layout ideas and start planning your ADU today.

Design Idea #1: Converting a Garage to an ADU

One of the first spots in our homes with the opportunity to convert into an ADU is the garage. At A-List Builders, we’re seeing this trend become part of the new normal for Los Angeles homeowners looking to increase the function and value of their home.

One of the more accessible and common ADUs, converting a garage into an alternative space doesn’t have to be hard. Some tips for converting a garage into an ADU include:

  • Expanding. While still respecting the proper city codes and electrical permissions, renovating sections of the property can allow space expansion so consider consulting a professional construction company that specializes in ADUs to see what can happen.
  • Elevating. Garages can have some of the most square footage in regards to pre-existing ADU spaces. Consider adding a kitchenette or a private bathroom in the space to enhance the area even further.

Design Idea #2: Converting a Shed to an ADU

The shed in the backyard doesn’t have to sit in silence for most of the year. A shed makes for an easily-adapted and private ADU. Perfect for the in-laws or as a temporary living space for loved ones, shed conversions provide simple options in order to convert them to an ADU depending on the existing square footage. ADU layout ideas to renovate a shed into a desirable space are pretty manageable with proper guidance and professional consultation.

  • Furnish with Function. Since space needs to be taken advantage of intelligently within most sheds, it’s a smart idea to select furniture pieces that can serve multiple purposes. Fold-away bed designs or futons create more space and function as well as ottoman storage chests. Note if you are going to have temporary or long-term residents in this space, windows and proper ventilation will be required, in addition to other parameters to make the space legally habitable.

Design Idea #3: Pool House ADU Enhancements

ADUs are not only pre existing spaces within the property, sometimes they can be opportunities to raise the value of your home as well. If your home has the luxury of having a pool, as many homes in Los Angeles do, you may want to consider a glamorous pool house as your accessory dwelling unit. Some simple ADU design ideas and questions to consider for creating a well-designed pool house are:

  • Pool Host or Pool House: Do you want this pool house to serve as a swanky spot for friends to spend a pool day or would you like it to house one friend for a few days for a perfect pool getaway weekend? Would you be renting out the space for tourists seeking alternative accommodations? These affect your ADU design plan tremendously.
  • Consider Poolside Perks. Many pool houses include separate showers or wet bars to make the trips to the main property not only minimal but in many cases optional. Additionally, the existing plumbing makes it somewhat easier to approach remodeling the space for residence.

Design Idea #4: Optimizing a Basement ADU

Another common ADU that one might not think of first is the basement. While the infrastructure of the space is already set in place, there are many innovative and creative ways to optimize and capitalize on the space available. In some of the most well-thought out basement ADUs people feel they’re in an entirely separate home while not being detached from the main property. Some efficient basement ADU design ideas to contemplate:

  • Create Sound Barriers. This increases the guest’s sense of privacy and allows the people in the main property the ease of not worrying about the basement area, which can be perfect for rental situations.
  • Renovate with Purpose. While basements often feature many things that need to be added in less practical ADUs, including standard renovations within the ADU layout idea allows the opportunity to add separate bedrooms or office areas.

Design Idea #5: Designing a Mini-Cabin from a Barn

If your property or estate happens to have a barn or greenhouse of any kind, these make for the perfect cabin-like ADU space sure to please guests and family alike. Embracing its rustic roots and organic atmosphere, barnes and greenhouses can be converted to at-home cabins fairly simply. Consider these helpful approaches to designing a mini-cabin from a barn or greenhouse to get started.

  • Stay Eco-Friendly. With a clear love for nature embedded in the core of cabin creation, it’s a great idea to consider solar-powered operations within the ADU.
  • Expand the Outside, Accessorize the Inside. Adding a nice porch to enjoy the outdoors is a perfect compliment to a preexisting barn or greenhouse, while adding functional shelves and dining areas on the inside set your mini-cabin up for amazing memories to come.

There are countless ways to create a functional yet comfortable ADU space within your home. Whether you want to capitalize on an unoccupied basement area or you want to elevate the value of your property by adding a mini-cabin or pool house on the grounds, your future ADU is a manageable and exciting task; you’ve simply have to start.

[Check Out a Before & After ADU Garage Conversion in Beverlywood, CA]

Remodeling vs. Renovations: Is There A Difference?

Your home is many things: a place for game night, a workspace, or an escape after a stressful day. If you’ve only recently started to spend extended periods of time in your house, you’re not alone. Due to the ongoing stay-at-home orders, homeowners are finding their schedules disturbed and rooms reinvented. Bedrooms are turning into office spaces as more of us work from home, and more time is spent in our backyards as we practice social distancing and avoid outdoor gatherings, playgrounds and parks.

If you’ve recently realized adding an office or renovating your backyard would greatly improve your home, our renovation and remodeling company is here to help. Learn about remodeling vs. renovation so you know what to expect as you start your list of must-haves for your home makeover.

Install a stunning patio where you can relax and get fresh air, add an extra room to your home so you can focus on your business or hobby, or create a new space ideal for friends and family once the stay-at-home orders are lifted. Once you’re ready, contact A-List Builders and start putting your plan into action.

Restructuring through Remodeling

Many people use “remodel” or “renovate” interchangeably. While both services play a role in residential makeovers, a remodeled home vs. a renovated one requires more work and planning. Remodeling involves altering the structure of your home. Special permissions and paperwork are typically required before the construction process can begin due to the structural risks that a poorly done remodel can impose, in addition to abiding by the building laws of your area.

Changing current structural elements or creating new ones within your home is an effective way to increase the value of your residence while also freshening up the look of your kitchen, backyard, or bathroom. Renovations are ideal for cosmetic fixes around the house, but dramatically reinventing the functionality of a space with remodeling versus renovation gives you more options.

An elaborate backyard landscape remodel with a water feature.

Complete home remodels are also an option for those wanting to change the look and function of their home entirely. One of the biggest questions homeowners need to ask themselves before considering a complete home remodel is whether the remodel or renovation changes they want to make are too extensive or if they should invest in a new space instead.

Reimagining with Renovations

There are many benefits to home renovations. If you love your home’s floor plan but are seeking surface-level, cosmetic changes, a renovation versus a remodeling might be all you need.

A remodeled deck with an additional dwelling unit.

Home makeovers of this caliber are cosmetic and therefore may require little to no paperwork filed with the city. Renovations can take less time than more comprehensive home remodeling projects.

Simple renovations like a change of color or an accent wall can effectively change the look or feel of any room. When shopping for your next home, keep in mind that factors like paint color, wallpaper, or tiles are cosmetic features.

Reinvent Your Home with A-List Builders

Whether you’re looking to design an inviting space for future social gatherings or want to increase your eligibility for a residential tax break, A-List Builders is happy to remodel or renovate your home. Collaborating with a renovation and remodeling company like A-List Builders means you have access to a team with years of experience designing, building, filing permits, and more.

Learn whether your vision calls for a remodel or a renovation. Begin a new chapter of your life in your home with an additional dwelling unit or sunroom, or start from scratch with a brand new construction. Get your important remodel and renovation questions answered by consulting with our award-winning design-build company today!

Home Renovation Questions

Unless you’re an expert in the field, you may be going into the exciting process of remodeling completely blind and without a clue of where, when, or how to start. Check out this list of the top questions renovators ask when seeking home remodeling help. When you’re ready for a consultation, schedule a free one with us. A-List Builders has been serving LA since 2010. Get honest answers to your important home renovation questions when you contact us over our website. 

1. How Much Will It Cost?

Costs for the work you want depends on multiple factors, such as:

  • Level of detail
  • Size of the project
  • Amount of labor required
  • Elements such as plumbing, electrical, etc.

For example: turning your old garage into a guest house or extra bedroom costs more than remodeling your kitchen—particularly if the additional dwelling unit has water and electricity. Starting from scratch with a new construction is a larger, more labor-intensive project than revamping your backyard for barbecue season.

Open-concept living room.

These factors make cost estimation a tricky home renovation question to answer. Know what to expect monetary-wise by contacting the construction company in the early stages. Quality work from trusted contractors is worth the price. Home remodeling help from A-List Builders consists of total transparency and realistic budgeting expectations. Refining your idea until you reach a price and plan you are satisfied with is part of our customer service experience.

2. How Long Will it Take?

Similarly to cost, the length of the project is determined by its size and needs. Having a larger team working for you as opposed to one individual makes for faster progress. If you require permits, knowing someone familiar with LA County residential building permits and regulations can save you both time and money.

3. Why Do I Need Permits?

Permits are necessary when the renovation affects the current structure of a residence. They are essentially written authorizations from the city giving your project the green light. As far as this home renovation question goes, permits make sure the work you are about to do does not violate any zoning laws, that the home remodeling help you hired are in compliance with the county, and that you won’t be required to tear down your work should the city raise an issue later on.

Contractors who are unfamiliar with or insist on not going through the permit process should raise a red flag. If it comes out later that a permit was necessary and you failed to get it, the result can be doubled or tripled fees when you go get the permit your contractor failed to tell you about.

4. Will This Increase the Value of my Home?

Pool lounge chairs sitting on a deck at sunset.

Updated features and increased functionality are great for adding value to your residence. Adding an extra bedroom or bathroom is bound to catch someone’s eye who needs it. Homes with improved energy efficiency and air conditioning typically go for more than homes without. Not to mention charming homes that have received home remodeling help attract more attention and therefore increase your chance of selling.

5. Should I Document Warranties, Permits, Contracts, Etc.?

The short and simple answer to this home renovation question is: absolutely yes. Disputes regarding the quality of work, written permissions, or issues with your contractor are all unpleasant and worst-case scenarios, but they can happen. Properly storing all important documentation is the best way to cover yourself should the need arise.

6. How Do I Find the Perfect Contractor?

Many turn to word-of-mouth or online reviews when looking for home remodeling help. Asking close friends and family and hearing their successes and horror stories can give you an idea of where to start and who to avoid. 

Research is key. Review the company’s testimonials and portfolio.  If you feel confident that the quality craftsmanship is there, reach out to the contractor and speak with them personally. Ask them any of these home renovation questions. Book a consultation after if you’re satisfied with their answers. 

7. When Should I Renovate?

Dog sitting on a couch in an city residence.

Spring is the most popular time for renovations. While the heat of summer can complicate remodeling, one major benefit to California’s warmer weather is getting home remodeling help is common during winter. The major upside to winter-time home renovations is you’re working off-season, which means business isn’t as chaotic when you book.

8. Where Should I Start?

LA residents looking to optimize their living space and get the most out of their homes start by booking a consultation with A-List Builders. Our team is with you from beginning to end the moment you schedule a free consultation. From there, we work with you and prioritize your individual needs and lay out a plan. 

Whether we’re tackling more than one room, working within a strict budget, or trying to achieve a specific vision or feel to your new space, we may be the experts, but you’re the boss. Contact us today and let us handle the hard part.  We’re here to help with all your home renovation questions.

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?

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