Author: Jordan Brannon

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!

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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