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Found Space: A Garage-Turned-Cottage in LA

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Found Space: A Garage-Turned-Cottage in LA

May 12, 2021

Here at Remodelista, we love a grottage, a term coined by our own Michelle Slatalla for a garage transformed into cottage-style quarters—for guests, mother-in-laws, and anyone else in need of their own space. Right now, the latter, of course, is something we all dream of having.

Shanty Wijaya, founder of LA boutique real estate renovation and development firm Allprace, was prescient two winters ago when she decided to convert the two-car garage connected to a recently built house into what’s popularly known in California as an ADU (Accessory Dwelling Unit). In 2017, the state enacted legislation making ADUs legal and removing most fees; since then backyard structures have been more popular than ever. Join us for a look at this one, which Shanty notes is also perfect as a rental/Airbnb: “By turning the garage into an ADU—with plumbing, electrical, an HVAC system, kitchenette, bedroom, and bath—we increased the square footage of the house and added value for the future homeowner.” Plus a place to quarantine in style.

Photography by Jessica Alexander, courtesy of Allprace Properties (website under construction; see the latest @allprace).

Inspired by the historic Craftsman-style houses in the surrounding Jefferson Park neighborhood, Shanty added the board and batten siding, painted the exterior in Benjamin Moore&#8
Above: Inspired by the historic Craftsman-style houses in the surrounding Jefferson Park neighborhood, Shanty added the board and batten siding, painted the exterior in Benjamin Moore’s Wrought Iron, and introduced custom carriage doors with a cedar pergola.

Shanty grew up in Jakarta and came to this country to study biochemistry and molecular biology. She’s a self-taught designer who thinks like a scientist—”I love to research, problem solve, and invent things”—and treats each property as a passion project. She says that one distressed house turn-around in 2009 led to another, and that’s how she got into the business. She’s currently at work on three remodels. Just don’t call her a house flipper, she asks: “We put design, artistry, and workmanship ahead of business and profit. Our mission is to create well-designed, high-quality houses regardless of price point and to help beautify neighborhoods.” Allprace partners with Humble Design, and a portion of Allprace’s proceeds go to the nonprofit’s creation of furnished houses for families transitioning out of homelessness.

The private entrance on the side of the structure opens to a compact mudroom with a built-in bench and combination shelf and hanging rack—&#8
Above: The private entrance on the side of the structure opens to a compact mudroom with a built-in bench and combination shelf and hanging rack—”all very easy to have made,” says Shanty. The hanging trifold mirror is one of several vintage objects that she deployed to “instantly personalize the interior.”
In place of two cars, the approximately 400 square foot space has a kitchen, eating area, and bed. The flooring is engineered European oak. The walls are painted Farrow & Ball&#8
Above: In place of two cars, the approximately 400 square foot space has a kitchen, eating area, and bed. The flooring is engineered European oak. The walls are painted Farrow & Ball’s Wevet on the walls and Ammonite on the beamed ceiling.

Shanty says she always works with skilled contractors (“inexperienced and cheap will cost you in time and frustration”) and makes sure to have “clear and detailed contracts—with contingencies: trust me, renovations rarely end up under budget.”

The kitchen has a walnut butcher block counter from Floor & Decor, and an Ikea apron-front sink with a Rohl faucet. Shanty had her carpenter build the wooden plate rack between two shelves, painted like the cabinets in a Farrow & Ball white.
Above: The kitchen has a walnut butcher block counter from Floor & Decor, and an Ikea apron-front sink with a Rohl faucet. Shanty had her carpenter build the wooden plate rack between two shelves, painted like the cabinets in a Farrow & Ball white.
Mugs hang on S hooks from a brass rail. See more in Trend Alert:  Kitchens with Utensil Rails.
Above: Mugs hang on S hooks from a brass rail. See more in Trend Alert: 13 Kitchens with Utensil Rails.
A Chambers fridge—&#8
Above: A Chambers fridge—”picked for its retro design and size”—is enclosed in a simple, affordable wooden frame. The brown sconces are Schoolhouse Electric’s Allegheny Indoor/Outdoor LED design.
The table for two is set off by Pom Tassel Curtains from Anthropologie.
Above: The table for two is set off by Pom Tassel Curtains from Anthropologie.
The carriage door wall has horizontal paneling that Shanty says is similar to Home Depot&#8
Above: The carriage door wall has horizontal paneling that Shanty says is similar to Home Depot’s Primed MDF Interior Shiplap Siding. Thinking of applying your own shiplap? See The Enduring Appeal of Shiplap and 15 Things to Know About Shiplap.
The bath has beveled subway tiles on the wall and Cle&#8
Above: The bath has beveled subway tiles on the wall and Cle’s Cement Arc tiles patterning the floor. The sink and bath fixtures are by Brizo, and the wall light is Schoolhouse Electric’s Abrams Double Sconce with striped Straight Bell Shades.
The EDU is positioned next to the front of the main house. Though the carriage doors don&#8
Above: The EDU is positioned next to the front of the main house. Though the carriage doors don’t face a pool or yard, they add light and an enhanced sense of space to the interior.

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