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LA family turns unused garage into small home Oasis (before/after)

They were running out of space in their two-bedroom bungalow for a family of four, a home office, and frequent family visitors, so Gennifer Leong-Alvarado and Pastor Alvarado decided to emulate their neighbors who had recently torn down their 1-car garage to replace it with an open-plan backyard home and garden oasis.

They called on Rebecca Rudolph and Catherine Johnson of Design, Bitches – the same architects who had made over their neighbors’ yard – and soon their tiny garage and cement driveway were being torn apart to make way for a spacious ADU (Accessory Dwelling Unit) and a backyard that they would really use.

Gennifer explains, “I never went behind my garage ever because it was kind of like a dead zone.” Rebecca says this is common. “What we’ve figured out over time is that people will go 10 feet out from their living space, so if we’d just converted the garage, they would have stayed in this section of the yard, so by putting it in the back, they’ll use the whole thing.”

Today, in the former “dead zone” sits their backyard cottage that serves as Pastor’s office, as well as a home for their parents (who are frequent visitors). Their old, cement driveway is now a grass soccer field used constantly by their 10-year-old.

And now, all the space between their home and the tiny home is used; there’s a swimming pool, a fire pit, a covered outdoor dining area, a hammock, and a boardwalk that connects the two spaces and gives the space a vacation-type feel.

The plans for Design, Bitches’ Midnight ADU has been implemented by the Los Angeles Department of Building and Safety (LADBS) as part of their Standard Plan Program so any other city residents can use the design to save on approval process fees.