Studio City Complete Home Rebuild – [Case Study]

Complete Home Re-Builds, especially in Los Angeles, are always our favorite projects. Not because we do not enjoy a home addition, or a complete house remodel, but because it gives us the opportunity, with our client, to transform the design of a home. Shifting it from being outdated towards a new customized home. Not only does this increase your property’s value but it will also abstain your family from purchasing a new home and moving.

In this case, we are going to be looking at a particular case study of a complete home re-build in Studio City’s Wrightwood Estates beautifully positioned on a 9,600-square-foot lot with approximately 3,000 square feet of perfectly-lighted interior space.

Context:

There is a vast difference between working with a family seeking to get their home rebuild and working with an investor whose objective is to rebuild the property to renovate it, sell it and make a profit from the investment. This project, in particular, is an investment property. Therefore, we had to work with the investors to accommodate the design and architecture with a budget that will optimize the investment, and that will, at the same time, have; as a result, innovative design and construction that will reflect the latest standards of the industry. As a resale project, it was also imperative that our plan would be a unique property in the area. Fortunately, and as the result of extensive planning, we were able to achieve a beautiful house.

However, every project has many challenges that will dictate the duration of the process, and this home rebuild is not any different. So let’s go over the timeframes in which the project took place.

Before, it is essential to clarify once again that this was an investment; therefore, we didn’t have the time pressure that is normal when working with a family that has to relocate during the duration of the construction. However, we did have to meet specific timeframes and deliverables that would ensure the viability of the investment.

Planning:

Like we have mentioned in our previous blogs, the success of every construction project depends highly on the planning stage. This stage of the home rebuild has to consider the total budget meticulously to be able to appropriate it wisely in all the areas that will result in a successful finished result.

Once we completed a diagnosis of the state of the property, including foundation, framing, electrical, plumbing and HVAC units we began the initial design and architecture planning. This detailed analysis always informed our design/build team on the aspects of the re-build that were essential to the completion of the project. With this information, we were able to begin what many consider the most tedious part of any remodeling project; the bureaucracy of obtaining the appropriate city permits to approve our construction.

Once we had a general idea of the direction of the construction, we began obtaining all the necessary permits. When working with a contractor or construction firm, always request references of their experience obtaining the proper city permits. This knowledge will speed up the process and avoid incurring in your contingency budget. In total, we had two months of planning. During this period, not only did we get the before mentioned permits, but we were also able to detail the design of the whole property.

The design is usually one of the most fun aspects of these types of projects. Our team’s imagination can meet our investor’s budget goals. 3D renderings are a great way to have your vision become real (link to new design section). It is also critical, that when you are working on the design of your home, you have a healthy balance between ideas and research. In this project, in particular, as we do with every project, we did extensive market research to find the right products and means to obtain them. We also analyzed past sales and market tendencies to ensure that all of our materials and designs will be consequent with the most up to date remodeling tendencies.

In this case, we chose a modern contemporary design that would open up the living spaces and create a clean yet cozy look throughout the house. Design should always have the final user as the reference. Intricate designs that are only abstract ideas that do not consider the family that will inhabit the house may seem appealing but are usually not functional. Our design and architecture team always works hand in hand with our clients to ensure a living space that will accommodate families’ needs and not the other way around. You shouldn’t adjust to your home, but you should personalize your home to adapt to your needs. This Studio City home was no different! To see more of the changes we did, we invite you to visit our project’s section with several before and after photos so that you can envision the total transformation of the house in regards to design.

After a two month period of planning, we began the construction phase of the home rebuild.

Construction:

The construction phase of any home rebuild will usually present the most inconveniences and unwanted surprises. Sometimes as you begin demolishing, your team realizes that the current foundation needs some major work to withhold the walls and framing, or that the existing plumbing needs renovation. Moreover, that is the case with almost every project, so you must always seek a team of professionals that can foresee these types of challenges, and that has the proper experience to handle them within time and budget.

These types of surprises will be avoided if you work with one team that can handle all of your project’s needs. At Levi Design Build, we count with a group of designers, contractors, architects and builders that work together, optimizing communication and reducing the probabilities of unwanted errors.

Our construction began with lots of demolishment! Usually, the word ‘destroy’ is a negative verb in development. However, proper deconstruction will be the foundation of a fantastic construction. For this project, we had to strip the house to the studs, literally! We removed all the electrical, plumbing and HVAC units. Our existing framing got taken down by 90%. So don’t be terrified when your project needs significant demolishment, we encourage you to see it as the first step to a more attractive and stable building!

Challenges:

One of the significant difficulties encountered for this project was in the foundation. We noticed that the foundation had critical problems, and trust me, no one wants foundation problems! We had to restructure 50% of the existing foundation.

Sometimes challenges are excellent opportunities to improve the original design. In this case, two months into the project, we recognized a unique opportunity in the roof, and the best solution was to expose the ceiling, opening up the existing space and making it bigger. This technique allowed us to create an appealing effect of a bigger space. The change on the original plan could only be executed after the demolition stage since it allows to estimate the cost more accurately. In this project, as in every project, you must count on a team that has the expertise to adapt to the surprises that will appear as the construction goes on; as you can see, we were able to make out of a proper demolition an excellent opportunity to better the whole design by opening up the ceilings, which with their vaulted design allowed for more space and light coming in in the great room.

Once we opened up the ceiling, and recognized that the original time frame was extended, our team of designers took advantage of the opportunity of more time and selected a handful of materials, that due to their exclusivity would take longer time to arrive. Giving the whole ambiance a beautiful and modern look with technology packed Viking appliances throughout the chef’s kitchen.

Working on a complete remodeling project requires from your design/build firm to have the ability to adapt efficiently to the terrain and the materials already provided by the existing home. In this Studio City home, one of these adaptations was regarding the stucco. It was recently re done, so why change it? Instead, we smoothed out the stucco and painted it. These types of fixes reflect the contractor’s experience, be mindful of these types of suggestions and the reasons why your contractor suggests them.

In any rebuild project, you require a team that can plan ahead and can take advantage of the challenges that surface as the project develops. This project is a perfect case study that reflects that capacity. We are a solution based firm, and in every project your contractor should provide viable solutions to the difficulties or building surprises encountered. Not doing so will limit the end result from exceeding your initial expectations. As you can see in our videos or images, this project ended up better than our initial plan, and that should always be the attitude of a team of construction professionals.

Scope:

To bring a more comprehensive view of the total range of the work done on this Studio City home rebuild, we will list some of the many things renovated in the house.

1. 50% of foundation redone.

2. We changed 90% of the interior framing.

4. All new electrical system.

5. All new plumbing.

6. All new HVAC units.

7. All new insulation.

8. New drywall.

9. New floors.

10. Added a big custom stackable pane Fleetwood sliding door that seamlessly open to an entertaining deck giving this home an indoor/outdoor flow.

11. Added all new windows and doors.

12. Added an outdoor kitchen with a dining pavilion, seating area with contemporary fire pit and an elevated deck to enjoy the beautiful mountain view.

13. Beautiful vaulted ceilings.

13. Complete new gorgeous chef’s kitchen featuring Viking appliances and a smart WiFi refrigerator.

14. All new bathrooms.

15. High-tech smart home technology.

Total planning time: 2 months.

Total construction time: 8 months.

These are just a few of the many changes we had done on the house. The reality is that a thorough description of this project through words is impossible, and it won’t do it any justice.

Please check all our project photos and our video to see how this Studio City dream became a reality!

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