Renovation Tips

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.

About Residential Building Permits in Los Angeles County

What to Know About Residential Building Permits in Los Angeles

Much like the city that shares its name, Los Angeles County can be overwhelming and intimidating—particularly when it comes to residential building permits. Countless building codes paired with a long and sometimes difficult permit process are off-putting for many looking to build their dream home or add space and functionality to their current residence. 

Here’s what LA residents should know about building and garage conversion permits before pursuing their next home renovation project. When you’re finally ready to get started, simplify the process by contacting A-List Builders. We’re here to help with permitting, designing, building, and more. Book your free consultation in just minutes.

Interior vs. Exterior Renovations

If your dream home makeover plans require adding exterior structures to your home, chances are Los Angeles County will require a residential building permit. The Public Works Department is required to inspect construction plans that could pose potential flood or storm drain issues later on. If a hazard is discovered, your petition for a building permit may be declined by LA County and your plans will need to be adjusted accordingly.

Collection of open paint cans and brushes.

Superficial renovation plans like painting your home typically do not require a permit, but always check with your HOA for any additional restrictions there. Similarly, most interior remodeling jobs don’t require permits. Opening your kitchen floor plan or revamping your bathroom doesn’t need special permissions unless features like plumbing or electrical are involved.

Remodel vs. New Construction

If you’re building a new house from the ground up or remodeling your garage or basement, the depth of work required to actualize your plans will affect whether you’ll need a residential building permit from LA County

Permits are necessary for work involving:

  • Heavy construction equipment
  • Underground storage tanks
  • Plumbing and electrical
  • Roads, driveways, and walkways

A significant remodel like converting an old existing structure into an accessory dwelling unit will require a series of permits, particularly if you want to make the space livable with HVAC, power outlets, or running water. For example, a garage conversion permit is a must in Los Angeles when transforming your old garage into a fully-functional guest house.

Completely new constructions require a slew of permissions before work can begin. The amount of time it takes to get your residential building permits approved by Los Angeles County can also be impacted by the location you wish you build on. Water accessibility, historical landmark status, zoning guidelines, and other environmental factors play a major role. 

Be Safe, Not Sorry

If your project involves remodeling the structure of your residence in any way, your project needs to be approved by the Los Angeles Department of Building and Safety. LADBS can inform homeowners of necessary building permits in LA County before you get too invested in your remodel. 

Electrical box with a “high voltage” warning.

Err on the side of caution by contacting LADBS to avoid costly legal issues later. Unpermitted work can lower the value of your home or result in increased fees. If the work later needs to be removed or adjusted, the county will do so at the homeowner’s expense.

Additionally, speaking with your HOA is a great idea. No one wants to go through the process of getting a residential building permit from the Los Angeles County office only to find out there are community restrictions that might destroy your plans.

Let Us Help

Starting your next home renovation project is hassle-free with A-List Builders. As a top-rated design-build construction company, we are the experts on building permits for Los Angeles County. Schedule your free consultation through our website or over the phone, and work with professionals who will collaborate with you from concept to execution. Your home is your sanctuary and remodeling it shouldn’t be a stressful inconvenience. Know that when you’re working with A-List Builders, you’re getting quality craftsmanship and customer service. Get in touch today.

Avoid These 5 Common Renovation Mistakes

Whether you are a first-time buyer, an investor, or a long time homeowner, bad home renovations can really put a kink in your plans. Giving your home a facelift can be exciting and daunting at the same time. Maybe you are renovating to create your “forever” home or maybe you have the intent to sell again. Either way, a renovation gone wrong will undoubtedly derail your plans and could land you in some hot water.

To keep you from pulling your hair out, we at A-List Builders have put together some common renovation mistakes to avoid, that will increase your home’s overall resale value.

No License? No Bonding? No Insurance? No Way!

Let’s face it – you get what you pay for. Sometimes settling on the lowest bid is not the best choice and may lead to a bad home renovation by under qualified contractors. Chances are, the quoted price will be easier on your wallet initially, but may come with a hefty price tag later when you’re trying to sell and have to pay (again) for shoddy workmanship. There is no substitute for good professional help with design and construction to prevent renovation mistakes. You will find that hiring a properly licensed, bonded, and insured company for your renovations will be worth every dollar.

Woman upset with bad home renovation

Make Your Renovation Profitable

A renovation may be planned or it may be forced, due to a busted plumbing pipe or structural issue. Either way, keeping the future sale of your house in mind, when renovating, is always a good idea. When done properly, there are certain renovations that will have a stronger return on investment, which is always a bonus. Deciding on renovations that don’t support the local market is never recommended and can lead to renovation mistakes that will be hard to fix. Updating a kitchen or bathroom is never a bad idea and can usually be profitable in the end. Room additions are a fantastic way to increase your square footage, adding that extra space everyone needs.

Hire An Unbiased Eye

Lavish upgrades that stand out like a sore thumb with the surrounding environment will not work to your favor and is a mistake that should be avoided. On most residential blocks, more bling does not equal more cha-ching, and may be one of the many renovation mistakes to avoid. Quirky home customizations are not always appreciated by the masses and place high on the list of bad home renovations.

Just because your house is worth considerably more than the surrounding majority, does not mean you will get more than the average market value when you go to sell. It is always a great idea to hire an unbiased, professional eye for an in-home consultation to decide on a strategy.

Saving Energy Is Always Trending

Who doesn’t love to save money? Installing energy efficient upgrades is the way of the future. You cannot go wrong with investing in solar panels, or a drought tolerant landscape for the yard. Renovation mistakes include inefficiency. Don’t forget that replacing original windows with eco-friendly windows is a great way to save more on utility bills. Saving energy is never a bad home renovation decision and will be lucrative in the end.

Don’t Forget About The Outdoors

In Los Angeles, it’s crucial to consider how indoor-outdoor living spaces enhance the appeal and functionality of your property. By improving your yard and outdoor ambience, you can boost your home’s value and better enjoy your entire square footage. An enclosed or exterior patio is a great way to add extra recreational space to your house. It will never be a renovation mistake to create a place for enjoying cookouts and parties with family and friends. Having an outdoor deck installed is a great way to get a little fancy with your upgrade design. Consider a hot tub or fire pit to enjoy Southern California’s night-time weather year-round, as well.

Renovated pool backyard villa

Be Smart About Who You Hire

Besides costing you an obscene amount of money, a bad home renovation can cause great distress in your life. Make sure you are avoiding common renovation mistakes and that you are only increasing your home’s value, not diminishing. Ready to take your renovation ideas to the next level? Contact A-List Builders today for your no cost, no obligation, in-home consultation.

Complete Home Remodeling Guide for Estate Property Renovations

A complete home renovation is a dream for many homeowners. Most people wouldn’t hesitate to add more luxury and personality to their property. But larger estate and family property owners have to decide if property renovation is the right move when their home has so much history and character. And upon making that decision, how do you get started, and when is it a good idea to hire a property renovation specialist? While there will be some challenges, one thing is clear — a complete home renovation takes preparation, time, and being prepared for a surprise or two doesn’t hurt!

Elegant kitchen with light tones remodeled in a complete home renovation

Preparation is Key

Your estate property’s complete home renovation is going to be a large and demanding project, and you certainly won’t want to pick an arbitrary place in the house to start and spontaneously go from there, especially in a home rich with history. Preparation is key. Every nook and cranny in every room must be accounted for from the beginning.

Hiring experts makes the process easy from start to finish. Your team will outline their plans before the work begins, and provide a tentative schedule so you know what to expect. Because challenges are inevitable, setting a course in the beginning makes a huge difference in the long run.


Your complete home renovation is an investment, and therefore requires a budget. Remember that when you have a team of property renovation specialists by your side, you are far more likely to make the most of your money. They will guide you through every step of the process and offer expert insight into every big decision, and there will be many as you proceed. When you have professionals in your corner, their experience can be highly valuable.

Also remember to give your budget some leeway. Plans are inevitably going to change throughout the complete home renovation process and while a budget can give you a good ballpark figure, be prepared for the initial numbers to change at least once, and quite possibly more often, so be prepared to expand the budget as needed. In fact, take the original number you come up with and add 20%. This will prepare you for any additional costs.

Partial vs. Complete Renovation

You have two options when it comes to property renovation for your estate or family home: partial or complete. Remember that in an older home like an estate, the difference between a newly-renovated space and an original space will be noticeable. The solution to this dilemma would be to consider a complete home renovation, rather than a partial one. Certain rooms like bathrooms renovate tastefully and can accurately depict original architecture in an estate or family property. It’s amazing what can be done with these beautiful properties! Working with property renovation specialist allows you find balance between the original details of your estate property, while updating to suit modern living. We at A-List Builders have experience tailoring complete home renovations to vintage styles and tastes.

Luxurious bathroom remodeled with natural stone shower and cherry wood vanity


Indoor remodels improve the functionality and livability of your home such as a renovated kitchen, bathroom, or flooring, Consider adding rooms to your estate property, which is a popular option for many property owners. A complete home renovation could include revamping your outdoor areas as well. Many estate property owners find that an overhaul on gutters, landscaping, and exterior walls will ultimately serve their property renovation projects well.

Outside area of a luxury Mediterranean-style estate in Los Angeles with pool

Why Use Property Renovation Specialists

When it comes to estates and family properties, you’re working with a delicate home that needs a good amount of TLC.

When it comes to maintaining the integrity of your estate property, your renovation specialists will put forth all the care the home requires. Because of the nature of a complete home renovation and how big of a job it is, we highly recommend this practice. Our team has experience completely renovating estate homes and we enjoy giving you our best results.

Working with Your Renovation Contractors & Staff

It’s important to stay engaged in the process with your property renovation specialists. Asking questions, offering suggestions, and being involved are critical. Estate property renovations, being older and rich with history, tend to be more successful when there are fewer last-minute changes. Because your specialists will be working with older foundations and materials, a clear vision will help.

Planning Your Complete Home Renovation

Our luxury design-build experts are ready to talk to you and/or your estate manager about your goals for your property. We take care of everything from concept to completion to bring your property dreams to life. Contact us today and you’ll be in touch with one of our team members.

8 Luxury Home Upgrades That Increase Value

If you have been searching for luxury home upgrades that add value to your home, look no further. Although, there are many kinds of upgrades that can be done to any property to add value, we’ve put together eight luxury upgrades that are sure to put you and your property ahead of the pack.

Energy Consumption Is Passe

Modern trends are leaning more and more towards eco-friendly, energy-efficient upgrades. Everyone is looking to save on utilities. Modifying your house to be more environmentally friendly, or “green,” is a luxury home upgrade that adds immediate value to your home. Consider solar panels for electricity to add extra value to your home. Consider replacing aged windows and entryways with eco-friendly windows and doors to save on heating and cooling. Drought-tolerant landscaping is another functional way to make your yard look gorgeous and perform efficiently.
Luxury home upgrade solar paneling on roof

Make Your Home “Smart”

Converting your home to a “smart” home is not just a fad, it is the way of the future. This forward-thinking investment will definitely impact you home’s value moving forward. Being able to control lighting, heating/cooling, and security features with the ease of a mobile device is a clever luxury home upgrade. The ability to zone conditioned air using a “smart” thermostat is another positive selling point for the new homebuyer.

More Space = More Money

Is there such a thing as too much space? Not for the modern-day family. Current and potential homeowners place a high value on plenty of space. Adding an addition to your home is an excellent way to add more worth to your property. Even adding a 1000 sq.ft. bedroom is a luxury home upgrade that will have an enormous impact.

The Basement Isn’t Just For Storage Anymore

Maybe you want to work with what you already have. Make your home worth more by finishing the basement. You can easily make this room the coolest in the house; temperature wise or with a game room. Hiring a professional design and remodel company to make this space luxuriously livable can recoup around 70% of it’s costs at the time of resale.

Extend Your Luxury Living To The Outdoors

Turn your outdoors into your own private entertaining venue or spa oasis. Your luxury home upgrades do not have to end where your interior living space does. A custom patio is an excellent way to extend your living room to the outdoors. Deck remodels are a fantastic way to add excellent craftsmanship to your inviting outdoor area. Incorporating a pool or hot tub into the mix are home upgrades that are sure to add value. Don’t forget the landscaping and hardscaping to turn your yard into that oasis you’ve been dreaming about.

Patio design home upgrade that adds value

Open It Up

No one likes to feel closed in, so start thinking about luxurious open-floor design concepts. Maximizing a home’s interior is a luxury home upgrade that will add long lasting value to your property. Don’t go grabbing your sledgehammer yet. Load-bearing walls need to be kept in mind so as not to compromise your structure’s integrity. A-List Builders has got you covered and will alleviate any guesswork for you.

Don’t Forget To Look Down

One home upgrade that adds value, is right under your feet. Long gone are the days of wall to wall carpeting. A necessary luxury home upgrade is trading worn carpet out for gorgeous, functional, flooring. Not only does carpet trap bacteria, dirt, and odor, but it stains easily. Giving your floor a luxurious facelift is a great way to make any room stand out.  Customize a floor’s stain or finish to change the ambience while adding dollar signs.

What’s On The Outside Counts

First impressions are made at first sight, and are often based upon a structure’s outside aesthetics. Remodeling the exterior wall covering is a luxury home upgrade that will transform the appearance of your home, instantly. Nothing will turn heads faster than a stunning exterior. A-List Builders will ensure the correct coating is used for your home’s unique exterior surface. Whether your architectural plans are ready to go or you are looking for a custom design by knowledgeable professionals, contact our full-service home renovators to handle all your remodeling needs, so you don’t have to.

Home Renovation Tips for Remodeling Old Houses

If you are thinking about renovating a house, the age of the home is a major factor in developing the plans for this overhaul. Old house remodels take a special touch when renovating. Old homes were built before modern day building standards were in effect. They were also built of different materials and from a different kind of contractor than your average modern day track home. Thus requiring extra care and a little more effort than your everyday fixer-upper.

Is fixing up an older home worth it? It depends on the project and what your long-term goals are for the property. Home renovation tips are a little different when it comes to reconstructing the bare bones of an old house. Here is some advice to keep in mind so that your endeavours are not in vain and your health stays intact.

What You Need to Know About Old House Remodels

Outdated House Systems

Old homes have antiquated major house systems, as opposed to the modern building appliances that you are probably used to seeing. Your heating/cooling, plumbing, roof, exterior, and electric systems will need to be considered when planning your major update. An important home renovation tip when redoing any major house system, is to always seek further evaluation from a qualified professional before you go cutting wires and replacing roofs.

Health Risks

If your house is truly old, chances are, it is full of unsafe materials like lead and asbestos. For your health, you should have your home’s paint tested for lead so you know what dangers you are working with. You should also watch out for a white substance you see in the home’s building materials while renovating. Unfortunately, asbestos was used frequently in the construction of older homes. Please remember this home renovation tip: never attempt to remove asbestos on your own. It is highly dangerous to your health, if disturbed. An abatement company will need to be called for removal.

Unavailable Materials

You may run into building material problems. Sometimes the materials used to build your home are no longer available. Old house remodels may require you to visit an architectural salvage store or other similar reuse/recycle centers. If you are looking for original materials, be ready to pay the price. It can get expensive to find the real thing.

Multiple Owners or Generational Ownership

Your house is old, so you know it has changed ownership a few dozen times in its life, or it’s been your family’s ownership for generations without much change. A home renovation tip to keep in mind is to allow wiggle room in you budget for unforeseen corrections that may need to be made. A lot of times, while renovating, you will come across the haunting handy work that a past owner has left behind. This usually involves unapproved methods and almost always involves budget-friendly techniques.

For Homeowners Looking To Completely Renovate

It’s best to err on the side of caution with your allowed time to complete your project. Old house remodels tend to take some time, if done properly. Make sure you budget much more time and money for your home renovation than you think you need. A home renovation tip and a good rule of thumb to practice, is to set aside a contingency account for unexpected problems and changes that will most likely occur with such a project. This will help alleviate some of the stress that can come along with major renovations. Electrical wiring and plumbing problems are common in older homes. If your house was built before 1960, galvanized pipes were used for both interior plumbing and sewer lines. They tend to get clogged and corrode over time. A good home renovation tip to consider when replacing old plumbing, is to exchange the galvanized pipes for PVC or copper. Additionally, the property’s electrical system will need to be brought up to code to avoid major safety issues.

Home renovation tip to replace plumbing

All renovations done by a licensed, qualified company will need to be brought up to standards. Meaning all receptacles will need to be updated to GFCI and possibly AFCI protection. Smoke and CO2 combination detectors will also need to be installed in every room on every floor, including the garage.

Tips For Property Managers

If you currently manage an old property or are renovating one to eventually manage in the future, maintenance is the key to your success. All old homes need continual maintenance to keep the whole home system working properly. Proper exterior covering protection and a solid roof system are any buildings first defense. The most overlooked home renovation tip is to always ensure proper ventilation. This will prevent mold and moisture issues, which is your home’s mortal enemy. Inform your tenants to keep their bathroom windows open, unless you decide to install mechanical venting. During an old house remodel, make sure not to overlook the things you can’t see. Seek help from a professional design and remodeling company who can help you find or recreate the look and feel you are looking for.

Top 5 Beach House Designs & Coastal Home Renovation Plans

Your beach house is your home-away-from-home, and it deserves to be just right. Whether you’re planning to invest in a new construction in Santa Monica or purchasing an existing property and putting your stamp on it in Malibu, there are an endless number of designs that are both beautiful and beachy. Which one you choose can depend on how you intend to use the house, how often you plan to use it and how many people will typically be staying there, and, of course, your own sense of style. Look to these five beach house design ideas for inspiration as you transform your coastal retreat into the getaway of your dreams!

Beach Bungalow

The cozy cottage-style bungalow is the perfect beach house design for the occasional weekend getaway. This style house typically features two or three bedrooms on a single floor with one or two bathrooms, at anywhere from 800 to 1800 square feet. With coastal real estate at a premium, a beach bungalow is an ideal option for those who only need to accommodate a few people at a time versus a large family. This style of home lends itself to a relaxing covered front porch with room for rocking chairs, a hammock –– and a cool drink of your choice!

Farmhouse by the Beach


A farmhouse and a beach house share a similar DNA, in that both evoke rest and relaxation away from the hustle and bustle of the city. Perhaps that’s why the farmhouse style works so well near the beach. A coastal farmhouse-inspired home is particularly suited for Palisades, Topanga, Malibu and other coastal homeowners who live close to the beach, but also in mountainous areas that offer more acreage. This beach house design is best suited for more spacious properties, as the design features wide front porches that provide a wide view of the land. The layout of farmhouse style houses are also conducive to being expanded upon, so as your family grows, you can build out accordingly.

Contemporary Sandcastle Beach House Design


Of course, you can always go traditional. A coastal traditional design is defined by its embrace of Colonial-influenced architectural styles, such as Georgian, Victorian, and Cape Cod. If you’ve ever strolled the promenades in Manhattan Beach or Venice Beach, you know how eclectic each property is. That’s what makes beach towns so idyllic! The benefit of this style is the ability to include a mix of traditional and modern layouts on the interior of the home. Depending on your taste, your traditional coastal home can feature a more classic layout with bedrooms upstairs and living room spaces downstairs, while others feature inverted floor plans in order to maximize your coastal views.

Get Beachy with A-List Builders

At A-List Builders, we want to make your beach house design dreams come true. We offer a complete range of services, from indoor remodeling and outdoor renovations to restoration projects and estate restoration services. We’ll work with you to design the beach home you’ve always wanted, whether you have the blueprints ready to go or you still need some professional input on those competing coastal bathroom ideas. To get started on your coastal home plans, give us a call at (877)-582-7770 or shoot us a message today!

If you’re building on or very near the water, consider a low country, waterfront property style. The telltale stilts which elevate the home are more often made from concrete now, to mitigate deterioration from the elements. The designs for this style of beach house also typically features more square footage to accommodate larger families. This can also be valuable if you’re planning to generate income by using it as a rental property. With extended balconies that stretch from one side of the house to the other, you’re guaranteed incredible views, especially if you’re lucky enough to be right on the shore!

Coastal Traditional


Of course, you can always go traditional. A coastal traditional design is defined by its embrace of Colonial-influenced architectural styles, such as Georgian, Victorian, and Cape Cod. If you’ve ever strolled the promenades in Manhattan Beach or Venice Beach, you know how eclectic each property is. That’s what makes beach towns so idyllic! The benefit of this style is the ability to include a mix of traditional and modern layouts on the interior of the home. Depending on your taste, your traditional coastal home can feature a more classic layout with bedrooms upstairs and living room spaces downstairs, while others feature inverted floor plans in order to maximize your coastal views.

Get Beachy with A-List Builders

At A-List Builders, we want to make your beach house design dreams come true. We offer a complete range of services, from indoor remodeling and outdoor renovations to restoration projects and estate restoration services. We’ll work with you to design the beach home you’ve always wanted, whether you have the blueprints ready to go or you still need some professional input on those competing coastal bathroom ideas. To get started on your coastal home plans, give us a call at (877)-582-7770 or shoot us a message today!

Los Angeles coastal beach house designIf you’re the type who favors a more modern style, a contemporary beach home may be for you. Incorporating glass, steel, and concrete into the design can give your beach house the modern appeal you’re looking for.

A large sliding glass doors and windows, steel cable railings along the balconies, a minimalist interior aesthetic, and sharp, clean lines are the trademarks of this style. But by folding in dark wood elements and bright palms and ferns, your contemporary sandcastle can still mesh with the beachy surroundings. For the perfect contemporary-coastal bathroom idea, consider a large picture window to elevate your bathroom into a spa experience. You, or your guests can enjoy uninterrupted, private views from a soak-style tub. Contemporary style homes often feature large, open kitchens that include stainless steel appliances and state-of-the-art fixtures, bright open living and dining room spaces, and chic bathrooms. That makes this beach getaway ideal for larger groups who plan on staying a while.

Coastal Plans for Waterfront Homes

If you’re building on or very near the water, consider a low country, waterfront property style. The telltale stilts which elevate the home are more often made from concrete now, to mitigate deterioration from the elements. The designs for this style of beach house also typically features more square footage to accommodate larger families. This can also be valuable if you’re planning to generate income by using it as a rental property. With extended balconies that stretch from one side of the house to the other, you’re guaranteed incredible views, especially if you’re lucky enough to be right on the shore!

Coastal Traditional


Of course, you can always go traditional. A coastal traditional design is defined by its embrace of Colonial-influenced architectural styles, such as Georgian, Victorian, and Cape Cod. If you’ve ever strolled the promenades in Manhattan Beach or Venice Beach, you know how eclectic each property is. That’s what makes beach towns so idyllic! The benefit of this style is the ability to include a mix of traditional and modern layouts on the interior of the home. Depending on your taste, your traditional coastal home can feature a more classic layout with bedrooms upstairs and living room spaces downstairs, while others feature inverted floor plans in order to maximize your coastal views.

Get Beachy with A-List Builders

At A-List Builders, we want to make your beach house design dreams come true. We offer a complete range of services, from indoor remodeling and outdoor renovations to restoration projects and estate restoration services. We’ll work with you to design the beach home you’ve always wanted, whether you have the blueprints ready to go or you still need some professional input on those competing coastal bathroom ideas. To get started on your coastal home plans, give us a call at (877)-582-7770 or shoot us a message today!

4 Common Issues to Look For When Buying a House That Needs Renovation

Purchasing a home is an exciting event, but buying an older home that requires renovation can come with its challenges. The prospect of being able to put your stamp on a home is enticing to many house hunters, but if you’re not careful, the hidden costs can add up and your renovation budget can increase dramatically.

That’s why we’ve outlined a few of the most common issues to be aware of when buying a house that needs renovation.

The Age of the Roof


One of the most fundamental issues that you need to consider when buying a fixer-upper is the age and quality of the roof. First, you’ll want to determine when the roof was last replaced and what material was used, as each material has a different lifespan. For example, composition shingles need to be replaced about every 15 years, while asphalt shingles can last up to 25 years.

The chimney and any vents on the roof should also be looked at carefully, as well as the quality of the installation of the roofing materials. The integrity of these can make or break the integrity of the house overall; if moisture has been able to penetrate through the roof over time, this could seriously affect the entire structure.

Condition of the Kitchen and Baths

The condition of the kitchen and bathrooms are important when it comes to buying a house that needs renovation. While most house hunters already pay close attention to the surface-level condition of these rooms –– the style and decor, the layout, and the overall quality of the materials and appliances –– you need to look deeper to understand what’s happening below the surface. Specifically, you and your inspector should carefully examine the condition of the plumbing running through your kitchen and bathrooms to ensure it is up to code, that the water pressure is adequate, and that the faucets run both hot and cold water. Similarly, check for signs of hard water or iron-rich water around faucets, sinks, and toilets. This may appear as rust-colored stains or a scummy build-up. Kitchen and bath remodels can be significant investments when it comes to home renovation, but being able to make those upgrades using your existing plumbing can make a huge difference when it comes to your budget.

Broken Windows


Windows are an integral part to maintaining a comfortable and energy efficient home, but when you’re buying a house that requires renovation, replacing windows can be an enormous expense depending on the age, number, and style of the windows.

First, check the window frames for rot, damage, or cracking; if there is significant damage to the frame, you’ll probably need to replace these. If the frames appear to be in good shape, you may be able to get away with only replacing the glass.

Next, look for any windows that have a frosted look to them, or a build up of condensation or fog, as this could indicate that the window seal is broken. This occurs when a window pane is made from two panes of glass to enhance the insulation and the seal between those panes breaks. In addition to obscuring your view, this will cause air to leak in and out of your home, and therefore, means they need to be replaced.

Outdoor additions

The exterior space of your home shouldn’t be overlooked when you’re considering a home that will require renovations. Older homes may not have garages or storage spaces; without these spaces, you could find yourself parking your car on the street indefinitely. If the house has an elevated deck or balcony, you’ll want to carefully inspect the supports underneath to make sure they’re solid. If the property has no outdoor living spaces, such as patios or porches, it may be worth asking why. Can the foundation support the addition of an outdoor space? Are there zoning or permitting issues in play? Answering these questions sooner rather than later can save a lot of time and heartache, since the thing you would want to do is have a vision for indoor-outdoor living that you ultimately cannot execute.

Contact A-List Builders

If you’re committed to buying a house that requires renovation, you want to make sure you choose an experienced contracting service that you can trust. At A-List Builders, we have a team of dedicated designers and committed craftsmen who can guide you through the renovation process from start to finish. From indoor and outdoor remodeling to those restoration and renovation for estate properties, we’ve got you covered. Get in touch with us today to schedule a free in-home consultation!

Managing Water Damage & Roofing Issues in Southern California

The greater Los Angeles Area enjoys beautiful weather year-round, but that doesn’t mean the region is spared from rainfall entirely. In fact, the average annual rainfall in Southern California is about 21 inches, which is more than enough to cause significant damage to your home if your roof isn’t sound. Rainfall, of course, is not the only culprit when it comes to water damage, as leaky plumbing, fire-extinguishing sprinklers, or other sources can also lead to necessary repairs or restorations. Combined with the region’s infamous and unfortunate fire season, rains that occur shortly after fires can cause additional trouble for homeowners. When you suspect water damage in your roof, it is important to act quickly and decisively, and there are steps you can take ahead of bringing in a professional to resolve. Below, we’ll outline a few ways to manage water damage and related roofing issues so you can better protect your home.

Check the ceiling for water stains

Ceiling stains due to water damage. Let A-List Builders handle your big roof renovation. Serving all of the Los Angeles Basin!

If there is a leak in your roof that is affecting your ceiling, you should focus on managing these areas first as they may pose a safety risk. When ceilings are exposed to sustained water, this can weaken their structural integrity and lead to sagging or eventual collapse. Look for water stains along your ceiling, and block off any areas underneath those spots to avoid injury. For large areas, you will likely want to consult a professional to replace the damaged portions of the ceiling and ensure that the repaired ceiling matches your existing ceiling.

Replace damaged siding

Roof problems can also lead to water damage in your external siding, as well. Ice dams and other roof problems can cause water damage to siding materials as well. Here, there is a danger of water seeping behind your siding and causing permanent damage to more vulnerable materials underneath, such as unsealed wood. Be sure to have the affected siding removed or replaced before it begins to rot.

Address any plumbing issues

If the source of the damage is related to plumbing, and especially if you notice a consistent pooling of water that seems to be difficult to stem, you will need to contact a professional plumber to ensure that the problem is addressed quickly. To identify whether or not your water damage is related to plumbing, first turn off the water at the source. If you still see a leak, drip, or pooling of water, the plumbing may not be the problem. However, if you notice that turning off the water at the source does provide temporary relief, you can pass this information along to your plumber so that the issue is identified and addressed more quickly.

Remove any mildew or mold


One of the serious long-term consequences of a leaky roof is the potential build up mildew or mold. Both mildew and mold thrive in damp, humid conditions, and once it begins to grow in a section of your house, it can quickly spread through the vents and air ducts. Prolonged exposure to mold spores can cause health issues, especially for people who may be susceptible to respiratory conditions such as asthma. You’ll want to use specialty cleaning products to kill the mold and prevent it from spreading further. Any parts of the home, including the ceilings, walls, or framing that are severely infected may need to be removed and replaced completely.

Reach out to A-List Builders

If you’re looking for a trusted fire and water damage restoration company in Southern California, contact A-List Builders. We provide complete restoration services, including home restorations related to water damage and roofing, fire damage, natural disasters, and more. Our team can work with you to rebuild your roof so that it meets code requirements and even offer suggestions to prevent future water-related issues. We also work with you to maintain your project after it’s complete to ensure long-term success.

To get started, reach out to us at [email protected] or give us a call today at (877)-582-7770.

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!

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