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Kitchen Remodeling can often be a daunting task for a lot of people. There are many things to consider, many questions to ask, and sometimes this can overwhelm to the point of giving up entirely. Rest assured that getting yourself ready for a Kitchen Remodeling project is far easier than you'd expect. Sherman Oaks is a wonderful up-scale neighborhood that we frequently have customers at. We want to present some ideas for our customers in Sherman Oaks, and all around Los Angeles, and Southern California.

Budget - One of the biggest things you can do that would help you is budget. Consider the cost that you are willing to bare, and an idea range that you're willing to spend. This chart will show you an average break down of your costs.

Knowing what is going to cost you the most will give you a leg up in knowing what kind of remodeling job you'd want.

Hire a Professional - It is almost a given that unless you've done a lot of home improvement projects yourself, you're going to mess up badly if you try this on your own. Hiring a professional may be the hardest part of the process, but it doesn't have to be. The kind of professional you want to hire should be extremely knowledgeable about the project you have in mind. They should have a taste for aesthetics, and help you select a color scheme. They should be able to provide you honest answers and give you a breakdown of their costs in relation to your budget.

Design - Make sure that the professional contractor you hired can provide you detailed and clear designs of how your kitchen will look like. If costs are an issue, try to keep the layout the same, because then there will be minimal work on the plumbing or electric rewiring. A good design will also show the kind of tastes and understanding that your professional has.

The Right Cabinets - Cabinets can be costly if you don't know where to look. Avoid buying directly from the factory or manufacturer and try out sites like organize.com and cabinetparts.com to get some really great deals. But if you were to go with a manufacturer choose a manufacturer that offers the door style and finish you want as a standard option with no up-charge.

Kitchen remodeling shouldn't be a headache. It can actually be a fun and creative experience. With the right kind of help and the right ideas you can have an incredibly great kitchen. We, at US Home Developers, are proud to take the extra step in helping our customers deal with the stress of a big project like this!


With nearly 2 million Asian Americans living in Los Angeles, no one can doubt that their culture, art, cuisine, and style has influenced Los Angeles in many great ways. As Los Angeles is a melting pot of dozens of nationalities, races, religions, and ethnicity, people tend to get eclectic about their design choices.

A particular trend in home remodeling is to create bathrooms with a heavy Asian influence. The tranquil and serenity of the style help people with hectic urban lifestyles find a moment of peace in a spa-like bathroom. Indeed, the style has a unique flair, with it's natural colors, natural materials and textures, and a clean geometric layout.
Of course, it is important for your contractor to know what kind of materials are necessary. Knowing how to balance the right colors, the texture and elements is key. Adding a glass partition, bamboo wooden floors, bamboo blinds and natural stone decorations and organic textures is critical. Understanding when to use natural and artificial light is also very important.

In a recent bathroom remodel, our team at US Home Developers did a beautiful Japanese-style bathroom, which also now served as a spa. Light and water would play a prominent role in this master bath suite. We combined half walls and full walls to create a sense of privacy and control. We installed Shoji-screens to allow natural light to filter through and provide the ability to open and close access to the dressing room. And to top it off we installed a new shower with a river-pebble flooring which creates a natural look.

A bathroom remodel can be on the most cost-effective remodeling jobs you can do at home. Why not treat it to a new style and flaire that is unique in it's origin, and unique in it's aesthetics? The right professional can help you create a little bit of Asia in your own home!


Los Angeles is home to a lot of a fires during it's late summer and early autumn period. And it's most prone areas are always in the hills around San Fernando Valley. Woodland Hills, Agoura Hills and Calabasas often get their fair share of fires. This is due to the chaparral environment that Los Angeles finds itself in. This kind of environment is covered in shrubs and grasses that grow quickly to take advantage of the wet seasons but dry out by the mid summer. Chaparral regions tend to ignite a lot of faster since a large percentage of it's plant life tends to die early. This in turn makes areas that are surrounded by large extent of wilderness like the residents that live north of the Santa Monica mountain range.

It is imperative for residents in these regions to maintain their backyards from accumulating too much dry brush, but in reality, accidents will always happen regardless. And it's because of this that the residents of these regions should definitely consider doing a remodeling job that would help protect their home from fire. There are many things that they can do, some are cheap and quick, and others are far more expensive but often times necessary. At US Home Developers we've seen an increase in recent years for home remodeling that take fire-safety into heavy consideration. Some ideas to remodel in your home for protecting it from fires:

Floor Remodeling - Consider changing the type of material you use for flooring. Carpet flooring ignites extremely quickly, because of the threads. Wood flooring ignites much slower, but because it's made out of wood it provides the fuel necessary for the fire to continue. Consider replacing the floor with stone slabs, marble, fire resistant vinyl or even ceramic flooring. If you insist on using wooden floors, consider getting materials that are fire-retardant which may cost a little more, but provide a huge benefit in terms of fire safety.

Ceramic Tile Roofing - If you have a wooden roof or wooden shingles in your roof consider replacing it with Class A ceramic tiles. Not only are they durable, fire resistant, and water resistant, they also provide a great natural style that fits perfectly with California's Spanish Mission architecture style. Ceramic Tiles are also cost effective, and wouldn't cost too much more than many of it's wooden counter parts.

Fire Resistant Wall Coatings - There is no perfect fire proof wall material, but there are ways of making the walls of your home resist fires a lot better. Metallic walls tend to buckle under extreme heat, and although wooden walls can ignite, with proper coating, the risk is reduced, and when it is caught on fire, the walls burn longer before collapsing.

Flame Guard Additive: this is a powder that goes into interior paint which help provide resistance to fire.

Flame Resist: a coating liquid that is non toxic used for treating wooden materials to be better at resisting fires.

Back Yard Safety - A large number of fire accidents can happen in the backyard. Especially if you have a fire pit, bbq, or an outdoor kitchen. Make sure to keep anything flammable at least 5-10ft away from anything that can produce a fire. That can include trimming branches, or removing furniture that can ignite away from those appliances. 

Taking all these safety tips into consideration can protect your family from a natural disaster that all too often causes tragedy. Make sure you hire professional contractors to install any kind of fire resistant materials, and make sure that they are fully licensed and knowledgeable about the materials, and how to install them.
Fire safety is a must while living in a drought stricken California. And if you live in the chaparral region of Los Angeles, it places a greater demand for fire vigilance.


It is no longer much of a secret that the suburban housing market has been struggling in comparison to the urban housing market. Millennial, distrustful of the housing market, have been moving in droves into small apartments and condominiums in larger cities. In fact it is the second tier cities (smaller than Los Angeles, Houston, or New York) that are receiving a bulk load of these young residents.

This has caused a spur in developing condominiums and apartments, since there is now far higher demand to rent than it is to buy. We at US Home Developers have certainly seen this trend in action as we've started taking on more and more jobs requiring remodeling of an apartment or a condo.

But remodeling such a small space comes with it's own unique limitations, concerns, and solutions. Addressing some of these can save you time and money in the future, especially if you're planning to remodel your current apartment or condominium to sell or rent out.

Because there is a limited pool of high-end renters, that investors now have to compete to get them to move into their properties. We offer a few tips that could help you beat the odds and place your investment property ahead.

1) Remodel Everything - If you're going to remodel just the kitchen in an apartment you have to realize that most apartments have their kitchen attached to the living room which becomes the main room that the house hold will gather in. Since the kitchen is not separated, it is crucial that the new kitchen style has should match the living room, or vice versa. Making sure everything works well together is key.

Same with the bathroom. You want to make sure that the bathroom fits the over-all look of the entire apartment. It would be odd if the apartment had two separate styles in it's limited amount of rooms, and since the area is so much smaller, these differences tend to become even more pronounced.

2) Replace Old Windows - modern glass technology has made windows that are so much more efficient in keeping the apartment warm or cold depending on the mood of it's resident. The smaller space in condominiums means that the air temperature tends to change faster - so having windows that lower heat loss during winter, or prevent the cooler air conditioned air from escaping in the summer is key!

3) Paint Job - it is essential to have a new paint job done every time an old resident household moves out and a new one moves in. You never know what kind of stains, damage, or neglect that the previous resident had. A small investment into repainting the entire condominium gives it a brand new, fresh look, which is very enticing for would be renters.

4) Modern Style - Although styles tend to be subjective, a sure fire bet is a modern style which is appreciated and enjoyed but a vast majority of people. Rustic looks are great for houses in suburbia, but when living in the big city, residents want to incorporate the fast pace life into the design of their apartments. This also tends to be great with apartments because of it's focus on minimalist furniture,  and design, allowing for more open room.

Having a place to live which has aesthetic appeal and comfort is key in attracting would be high end renters. A small investment can have long term returns, especially if you're building becomes increasingly attractive to higher and higher end renters.

Take the opportunity to make sure you hire the right remodeling contractor, one which knows and has experience with, apartment/condominium remodeling.


Fall season is nearly here and that means special things for Southern California this year. Firstly, September and October tend to be our fire seasons, so it is very important that you make sure that your home is ready for any kind of an emergency. But as the weeks go on and we get closer to the winter season, we will start to experience the first waves of the El Nino that is being predicted. That means be prepared for a wet winter.

It is crucial then that home owners get properly prepared for the next few months to protect themselves, their families, and their homes. We at US Home Developers have composed a list of ideas and suggestions to minimize the potential damage that can befall your home!

For our fire season:

Fire Extinguishers - fire extinguishers should be a must in every home. But often people buy the hefty large fire extinguisher and keep it in an area that is out of sight. The better idea is to buy small fire extinguishers that are easily usable by adults or kids. These fire extinguishers should be next to areas prone to an accidental fire, such as a kitchen, or the family living room near the fire place. Knowing how to use them is essential so it is wise to teach the whole family, no matter how young, the proper importance of fire extinguishers.

Smoke Detectors - the first warning sign of an y kind of fire danger is from Smoke Detectors. It is essential that smoke detectors are properly maintained. It is also essential that every room where people live, or sleep should have one. All too often people forget that smoke detectors run on batteries which inevitably lose energy.

Alarm System - if you haven't already, consider installing an alarm system that is connected to your smoke detectors. When the smoke detectors go off so will the alarm, and it will dispatch the fire depart immediately. This is a perfect way to buy time for you and your family to get out of the house while the proper help arrives.

Sprinkler System - most offices have them. Why not your home? Installing a sprinkler system can reduce the chances of someone dying in a fire by a 83% according to the National Fire Protection Agency.

For our rainy season:

Roof Inspection - Keeping a well maintained roof is extremely important for rain. When sudden rain hits an area that has had prolonged dry spell like So Cal has, the water does not get a chance to fully be absorbed. Because of this there is significant run-off, which is why the first rains always bring in a flood. Making sure the roof is well maintained can prevent any kind of leaks, cracks or damage.

Clean the Gutters- if you live in an area with a lot of trees take an afternoon to really clean out those gutters that have had the fall leaves stock pile in them. Gutters are the primary source of removing water from rooftops, and when they are full of leaves water gets absorbed and the leaves get heavier and heavier, enough to either clog the drain pipe or permanently damage it.

Repair the Drive way - during heavier rain, it is essential to make sure your drive ways get repaired. Cracks and fissures form and let water through. This water collects in the soil causing it to expand and cause even more damage to the drive way. This can cause an accident or damage to your vehicle  so it is important to make sure that any cracks or fissures are repaired during the dry season.

Many of these steps are simple and can be done by yourself. But don't rely on your own wits for the more complex projects. It is essential that you hire the right professionals for any major job that you need done, because these professionals would have the experience and the knowledge to properly protect your home from elemental damage.


In early 2014 Houzz, a very prominent website that has everything to do with home improvement, conducted an extensive survey of over 100,000 users about remodeling. It revealed some key insights into home remodeling and the housing market.

According to the survey "53 percent of those surveyed agree now is a good time to renovate a home." Indeed, the high majority of that is on the West Coast, in markets like Los Angeles, Portland, Seattle and San Diego. Although it's only 53%, the survey also puts it into proper context:  in comparing the results from 2013 to 2012, they saw an 8% decrease in people who want to delay their home improvement projects and of those surveyed, 48% want to renovate in the next two years.That means good things in terms of how confident people are about remodeling their homes.

The survey also comments on the state of the housing market itself. According to the survey "Seventy-five percent of U.S. homeowners surveyed also think now is a good time to buy a home, with confidence strongest in the Midwestern and Western regions of the country. " This is exciting news, because it shows that there is a trend of confidence growing among st home owners. In fact, homeowners are taking advantage of the confidence level by enhancing their kitchens and bathrooms, which, combined, make up to 51% of all planned renovations. In fact, more than half (54%) of all home owners surveyed report that selling their home is the primary motivation for home remodeling.

Not only that, a large number of home owners surveyed reported the need to have a more efficient home, such as better energy use, water conservation, and implementing newer technologies into their homes.

Over all the outlook is incredibly positive for both home re-modelers like US Home Developers, home owners who are looking to sell their home soon, and home owners who want to enhance the look and feel of their home, with better technology or efficient design.

You can view the 2013 Houzz Report right here: Houzz 2013 Report

We at US Home Developers are proud to be part of Houzz's network of contractors. Come visit our US Home Developers Profile page at Houzz.com


Most households we've encountered stick to going with traditional counter-tops when remodeling their kitchen. Granite counter-tops are durable, cost effective, and resistant to scratches. They also have a classic elegance to them, bringing a sense of luxury, at an affordable price.

But there has been a trend growing in alternative counter top ideas for people who want to remodel their kitchens in a different, or sometimes more modern styles. At US Home Developers we've come across customers who wanted something new and different than what they've seen their neighbors have. Indeed, in a world where everyone has granite counter-tops, sometimes a little alternative is exactly what you need to make your home stand out! 

Wood Counter top - Wooden Countertops are timeless. They are rustic and bring out a natural, warm, and comforting atmosphere to your kitchen. Many people are hesitant to use wooden counter tops for fears of bacteria, but researches at the University of Wisconsin discovered that wooden counter tops and wooden cutting boards actually repelled a lot more bacteria than traditional materials like plastics and granite.

Marble - Marble counter-tops are incredibly versatile and fit into any kind of kitchen design. It's color patterns, and delicate look brings a sense of antiquity and luxury to the kitchen. Marble has quickly become the current darling of the kitchen remodeling world. Although the stone is soft, careful care and maintenance can make your marble counter-tops last.
Stainless Steel - Heat resistant, nearly indestructible, the stainless steel material has long been used in professional kitchens, and restaurants. Although it's industrial use is without question, recent designers started working with stainless steel to make kitchens even more elegant. The stainless steel look is perfectly paired with either warm tones like orange and tan, and even cooler tones like blue or dark gray. It is easy to maintain and is sometimes even cheaper than traditional granite counter-tops.

Glass - Glass counter-tops are becoming an increasingly popular choice for designers who want to offer their customers a much more artistic look. Glass can come in semi-translucency or full translucency, but it's this factor that gives it the beautiful look. Glass is great for a futuristic, or an avant garde look, because it can be shaped into exotic shapes, and with proper lighting can make the counter-tops glow during dim light.

Copper - Copper is a great water resistant metal, that also has anti-microbial properties. It is softer than stainless steel, and less durable, but it offers a wonderful array warm colors that make any kitchen stand out and become inviting. Copper can come in a variety of colors, from golden yellows, to deep reddish browns, to tan - this allows it to be extremely versatile in kitchen design.

A variety options are always available for kitchen remodeling. Make sure that your contractor is able to provide you with the available materials that they can use, and if it fits your aesthetic. Good contractors would help you in that regard, and make sure to always be ready to provide a variety of counter-top options for their customers.


A room addition is a great way to expand your home's value, and quality of life. Room additions and remodeling can be new installations in open areas, or taking and converting existing rooms into something new that the whole family can enjoy.

There is such a wide variety of room additions to select from as well, all with their advantages and disadvantages. Here are 5 Room Addition ideas you can do!

1) Basement Remodeling

Don't have a lot of backyard space? Got a dusty, cold, and often times empty basement? Creating an additional room out of basement is a great way to create a new room for a wide variety of situations. With the right contractor you can create a luxurious game room or bar room for your friends to come and enjoy themselves. The enclosed area creates a sense of comfort, and properly done can be turned into the most popular place in your house.

Another popular idea is to convert the basement into another bedroom to serve as a guest room, or even a place to rent out. Our team at US Home Developers had a customer that converted their basement into a bedroom to house their parents who were facing hard times due to the economic downturn. We knew and understood the deep level of personal care that must be placed into the design, and we incorporated an old-fashioned wooden house look, which gave the elderly couple a comfortable and enjoyable living space.

2) Sun Room

We, in Los Angeles, get to enjoy a mostly sunny and warm climate that is perfect to build a sun room in. This is especially true if you live in areas with prestine native southern California wildlife like in Malibu, or Arcadia, Chatsworth, or Thousand Oaks, which, all hold breathtaking rolling hills, mountains, and forests.

Sun Rooms take advantage of the natural light. Often they are built nearly entirely out of durable glass, or wide windows to allow a maximum amount of natural light to flow through. But be careful! During the hot summer months the Sun Room can become very hot, so it is important to make sure you hire a proper contractor to handle the job, and design the room in away that let's you stay cool during the hot seasons.

3) Conservatory

Similar to a Sun Room, the Conservatory acts more of a place for those who love gardening. Conservatories act as a beautiful open gallery that has a lot of plants and flowers planted. This room typically has sky lights like a Sun Room, but often has it's walls made of out of natural material such as wood. 

Conservatories are incredibly elegant, and affordable rooms to build. They can act as a place to entertain guests, enjoy some time with the family or even by yourself. This multi functioning room is always an eye pleaser, and can turn a boring home into a elegant mansion.

4) Extension

An extension is a great way to create more space for an already existing room by pushing it out wards. The goal is to retain the architectural style of the house so that it conforms to the over all look of the property. 

Extensions are the most common way of adding a room. But it's perfect for rooms that are frequently used such as a Kitchen. Imagine increasing 50 additional feet to your kitchen, imagine remodeling that small area into something larger, more elegant, easier to move around in. Indeed kitchen extensions tend to be the most popular room extensions we've come across.

Remember, when looking to add or remodel a room, a great contractor makes all the difference. A poor design, or lack of any forethought into the functions of the room can become a nightmare.


As the summer months come to a close and we are seeing the full effects of the drought it may be time to start thinking of how you, too, can save on water. You do not need an oracle to predict that the current drought levels and lack of water in California is going to drive the costs of water incredibly high. And already California is finding ways to police water waste, and take greater steps in water conservation. What better time to save than now with a redesigned backyard or front yard that takes full advantage of the myriad of water efficient plants, pavements, and landscape design. Our team at US Home Developers would like to share some ideas worth remembering when designing your drought tolerant landscape.

Replace Those Plants!

Choosing the right kinds of plants is one of the first major steps you can take in saving water. Something that is often overlooked is that a lot of native Southern California plants are already drought tolerant and highly efficient in growing in low water conditions. They come in a huge variety of cacti, succulents, trees, flowers, brushes, that are great for your backyard, and are still beautiful to look at.

Some suggestions are: Showy Penstemon, a beautiful blue petaled flower native to California's dry climate, Coast Live Oak, Deergrass, and Coyote Mint. All of these are naturally grown in dry conditions, yet retain an amazing and vibrant color palette fit for any landscape.

Water Penetarting Hardscape

Did you know that the kind of hardscape you choose can greatly affect how much water you save? Replacing grass with hardscape such as a brick walkway, can save tremendously on water. Not only are you replacing water consuming patches of grass with stone work, but, if properly spaced apart, the stone work can actually help water penetrate the soil better. This would allow more water for the grass and plants next to or near the brick walkway, and less water that you have to waste to keep them alive.

Choosing natural looking flagstone slabs, and the right kinds of plants, you can really create a backyard that takes the best out of the native environment, and makes your backyard alive.

Take Advantage of Slopes

Southern California has a lot of hills. This is especially true in places like Woodland Hills, Tarzana, Calabasas, Agoura Hills, Simi Valley, San Fernando, and lot's more. These areas frequently have homes with backyards being partially on a slope. Slopes can be taken advantage of by creating terraces. Terraces help retain water because they flatten out a gradual slope that pulls water from the top of the slope to the bottom. A terrace would allow the water to flow downwards then spread out on a flattened terrace, before sinking again to the next step.

But even terraces themselves can be further made efficient in water use. Planting larger plants, such as trees, shrubs and bushes on higher terraces would allow the water to be used more efficiently as it is absorbed by the plants. Plants that require less water such as flowers and grasses will absorb the run-off that isn't absorbed by the larger plants. By the time the water from the top get's the bottom, all the plants will be able to drink their fill in much greater efficiency.

In a recent project in Agoura Hills, CA, our US Home Developers team had an opportunity to turn our customer's lush, green, and water intensive backyard into a water efficient backyard that is still green, but water efficient. We replaced their tropical plants and water intensive flowers with some native California flora.

We installed a new patio, which allowed for greater area of shade, with a tan natural stone patio floor. Then our team took the patches of grass and replaced it with natural looking pebbles which help retain water loss through solar exposure. We then planted native California flowers like Firecracker Penstemon, a gorgeous red flower that is very water tolerant, and brings out the red colors against the green California Sheep Fescue grass.

On their south western corner they had a slope that we carved into a beautifully natural shaped terraces. On the first (top) terrace we planted some Island Manzinitas, on the second terrace (bottom) we planted Chalk Dudleya, and on the ground around the terraces we planted patches of bearberry.

Our customer went from having to water his lawn every other day, to having to water it once a week. This not only is saving them a lot of money, now, but it will save them even more money in the future when water scarcity will make water prices sky-rocket.


Bathroom remodeling has become one of the most popular remodeling jobs in recent times due to the fact that many people recoup the money they invested in the remodeling job. This is especially true if you are adding an additional bathroom. However, often times, when adding a new bathroom, we are left with a small space. In such cases it is often desired to give special care to the aesthetic of how the bathroom looks. Often times, people want to make the bathroom seem larger, or more comfortable, or bolder. All these things spring from the desire to give the best look to the smallest area. Through the many years of experience, US Home Developers has learned quite a large number of design ideas that help make our customers' bathrooms look the best!

In terms of aesthetic, one of the best things customers and designers can do is go for a darker color palette. Dark grays, chocolate brown, even black, are great color choices that should be encouraged in small bathrooms, especially with natural light. 

Dark wall paper with vertical patterns can give the illusion that the bathroom is taller. Bold colors and patters that would, otherwise, overwhelm a much larger room are perfect for creating character in smaller bathrooms.

Consider using pedestal sinks for a small bathroom. They range in a huge variety from modern to traditional, and serve to minimize the area of the bathroom giving it a sense of open space. We also recommend using the largest mirror your vanity can handle, because mirrors reflect light, and magnify the visual space.

When focusing upwards, it calls attention to high ceilings. Bold cooler tones like blue and green painted on accented walls and paired with a beautiful chandelier may emphasize height with a minimal approach. Or as an alternative you can focus downwards towards the floor with an interesting tile pattern while keeping the rest of the bathroom's decorations to a minimal.

Knowing what the customer wants, and knowing what is going to make them happy is the cornerstone of great bathroom remodeling. We, at US Home Developers, know how important it is to make sure that our customers understand that there is a lot of options to make a small bathroom extremely beautiful, comfortable, and seemingly large.