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Budget Breakdown: An Architect Overhauls His Garage Into a Finely Tuned ADU for $75K



Architect Valery Augustin of DNA Architecture + Design and his spouse, Kim, an artwork historian, had simply 60 days to search out one other dwelling when the proprietor of their beloved three-bedroom rental determined to promote. “We had this nice deal on a home in West Los Angeles,” Valery says. “We had been paying one thing ridiculous—like $2,000 monthly.”

They thought of attempting to carry onto the house, however it wasn’t meant to be. “The asking worth was to this point above our max ceiling,” Valery says. “We thought, okay—we’re not going to have the ability to keep right here.”

At first, the couple looked for different leases—however after 20 days they modified course and set their sights on buying a house of their very own. “The plan was to construct an adjunct dwelling unit, as a result of it was a stretch for us to purchase a home,” Valery explains. An ADU would assist offset the mortgage price—so he says they “scraped all of the pennies collectively” and began touring properties.

“I needed one thing daring and recent,” architect Valery Augustin says in regards to the hue of his ADU’s entrance door, painted Tangerine Dream by Dunn Edwards. The door is flanked by horizontal redwood slats and grey acrylic stucco. 

In the top, the pair fell for a Forties bungalow with a indifferent storage of their most popular neighborhood, simply quarter-hour from the seashore. “Ladera Heights is a various group situated within the coronary heart of Los Angeles,” Valery says. “The neighborhood displays our multicultural household, and that mattered lots to us.” Young households, close by parks, and walkability heightened its enchantment. “We put in a single provide, and we received fortunate,” Valery says excitedly.

$5,100
HVAC
$1,450
Insulation
$5,825
Electrical
$1,800
Framing Lumber
 $5,000
Site Work
$1,800
Landscaping
$1,200
Sewer Connection
$4,000
New Roof
$1,250
Redwood Fencing & Facade
$1,600
Custom Stainless Steel Awnings
$270
Exterior Lighting
$7,517
Finishes
$740
Windows
$6,200
Control Joints & Sealing
$1,400
Paint
$6,500
Interior Furnishings
$980
Doors
$900
Skylights
$6,034
Kitchen Appliances
$9,705
Cabinetry & Hardware
$349
Kitchen Sink & Faucet
$2,600
Kitchen Counters
$748
Bathroom Faucet & Vanity
$1,800
Shower Fittings, Tub, & Toilet
Grand Total: $74,768

Once they’d keys in hand, the couple set about reworking the present storage into the ADU of their goals. From the beginning, Valery needed considerable pure gentle and a totally featured kitchen outfitted with extremely sturdy surfaces. “Stylistically, I all the time take a look at open area, pure gentle—the easy issues,” he says. “Daylight makes any area really feel bigger than it’s, so I attempt to emphasize that within the design.”

The couple additionally needed to offer privateness for his or her household and renters. And since they had been working with a good funds, they wanted to make cost-effective selections—Valery determined to function the venture’s common contractor to assist offset bills.

The storage door turned the brand new unit’s entrance entry. The new construction maintains the identical sq. footage and incorporates a non-public patio within the again.

Demolition particles accumulates within the driveway because the staff prepares to pour a brand new concrete slab. The ADU wanted a brand new roof, too, which ate up $4,000 of the funds.

After buying permits in June 2020, the couple kicked off the venture by taking the storage right down to the studs. “We simply gutted it,” Valery says. The couple relied on a single framer handyman for a lot of the labor, though additionally they employed subcontractors for plumbing, electrical, tile, and cabinetry.

Once the shell was prepped, the couple opted for polished concrete flooring as an alternative of hardwood. “It appears counterintuitive, however all in all, pouring new concrete was cheaper,” Valery explains. “I appreciated the sturdiness, and the convenience of not worrying a couple of wooden flooring.” 

The ADU’s framing price about $1,800. The website work got here to a complete of $5,000, and {the electrical} added as much as $5,825.

The insulation in the principle dwelling area amounted to $1,450 of the entire funds. 

Originally, the storage had a flat ceiling, however Valery selected to vault the brand new dwelling area. “I assumed that was an vital factor to do, to make the area really feel larger,” he says. “We deliberate for 4 skylights, however ended up with simply the 2, which I feel is a lot.” They lined the storage opening with slatted wooden, save for the entry, and so they lower a gap into the rear of the construction for glass sliders to hook up with a personal patio.

“If you don’t seal redwood, it’ll flip grey after some time,” Valery says. “Loads of the design selections had been about sturdiness and upkeep.”

The entrance facade is accented by redwood slats. The low-maintenance wooden pairs properly with the white trim and a frosty grey acrylic stucco. As you step by way of the edge, the concrete flooring transitions from tough to polished.

To create a way of privateness, Valery designed a collection of full-height redwood partitions that result in the ADU’s entrance. At first, the couple thought of portray the entrance door a recent inexperienced, however they in the end landed on a joyful, electrical orange. “I like shiny, punchy colours—a variety of architects shrink back from colour, however I actually find it irresistible,” says Valery.

Since the venture is situated simply steps from their dwelling, the couple noticed their colour choices day by day earlier than making the ultimate alternative. “I painted samples on a bit of wooden, and we laid out paint chips and checked out them on a regular basis to see which of them actually grew on us.”

Valery spent $6,200 on the concrete flooring, which concerned pouring a brand new slab, putting in management joints, and grinding, sprucing, and sealing. “We simply put one layer of sealer on and so they floor it down a bit,” Valery says.

The new ADU sits throughout the storage’s authentic footprint, and it presents renters 390 sq. toes of cleverly designed dwelling area. The ceiling lowers as you enter the kitchen and loo areas, to offer room for air con ductwork. “It additionally defines that area,” Valery notes. “The unit is designed in thirds: The doorways line up with the center third, and the kitchen and loo are lined up underneath the drop ceiling.”

The kitchen counter tops, made from white manufactured Quartz, price $2,600 together with materials, fabrication, and a clear waterfall edge. The backsplash consists of textural Inedita tile in five-by-five-inch squares. “They are actually lovely; they’ve this sculpted form,” Valery says. “We thought excessive distinction with the black was good.”

The couple opted for a full kitchen—and to take the area to the subsequent degree, they spent $1,975 for a panel-fronted fridge. “It was exhausting to justify, even to myself—however to me, it’s in regards to the high quality of the design,” Valery explains. “You should buy a fridge for $400—and possibly that may’ve been smarter—however I needed a clear and stylish design, so I selected panel-front home equipment.”

The customized cupboards had been one other important funding—they price $9,525, and had been fabricated by Rowla Studios. “They do lovely cabinetry,” Valery says. “They’re the sort of millworkers you wish to work with for those who ever get the prospect.”

The baseboards, partitions, and ceiling are painted with High Reflective White by Sherwin Williams. “My ordinary is Dunn Edwards 3560,” Valery says, “however on this venture I strayed off script.” Two skylights, costing a complete of $600, usher in pure gentle from above. 

To present privateness, Valery averted putting home windows alongside the again wall. “I didn’t wish to have openings into our yard,” he says, “so it made sense to load the kitchen and loos on that aspect of the area.”

The rental‘s finishes got here to a complete of $7,517, together with prices for tile and set up. Valery prefers to take tile to the ceiling, making for a grand impression. The white hexagonal flooring/wall tile is by Antik, and the washing space tiles are by Demettra in Sculpture Gray.

Views to the non-public again patio are framed by $800 sliding double doorways. Furnishings for the inside, together with the mattress, tables and chairs, price about $6,500. 

Ultimately, Valery highlights the concrete flooring, and buying thoughtfully on-line and at Home Depot, because the sources of his biggest price financial savings. “I feel sourcing and spending cash in the appropriate place is vital,” he says. “I skimped in some areas so I may splurge on the kitchen.”

He additionally ordered supplies himself, and had subcontractors set up them. “If you will get the items your self, it can save you cash,” he says. “During the pandemic, my workplace was in the principle home, so 10, 12, or 15 occasions a day I’d get a knock on the door. I used to be continuously on-site, which made it simple for me to be accessible.”

The unit’s non-public again patio is a standout function. “Guests love sitting there with the bougainvillea, simply getting somewhat non-public area to themselves,” Valery says. The venture’s landscaping prices added as much as $1,800. 

“I’m not going to lie; it’s been a game-changer,” Valery says of their determination to purchase a house and construct a rental property. Now that it’s completed, the ADU has a 5.0 ranking on Airbnb—and he’s proud that the area is being loved by many company. “We have long-term renters; people who find themselves staying not less than 3-6 months at a time,” he says. “But we have now time blocked off for my in-laws, too. People actually appear to answer it, and it warms my coronary heart.”

Valery’s favourite a part of the design isn’t a component in any respect, however a time of day. “What I like is after I sit within the place at sundown, which isn’t too actually because it’s rented fairly solidly now,” he says. “The gentle is available in by way of the non-public rear patio, which is is likely one of the finest issues we did—folks find it irresistible.”

Floor Plan of Ladera Heights ADU by DNA Architecture + Design

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