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Recently, our team had the pleasure of working with Designer, Host, Personality, Best Selling Author, Producer and Philanthropist Tracy Hutson.

We’re BIG fans of Tracy’s design aesthetic and sensibility! Inspired by nature and mixing both vintage and modern pieces, her unique designs are infused with warmth that instantly makes a house feel like a home. Tracy’s innate creativity, exquisite taste, and the ability to truly listen to her clients, makes her a Los Angeles gem, and we highly recommend her services as a consultant.

An expert in luxury and eco-friendly lifestyles Tracy, a Texas native, began her career in 1999 and quickly became known for her positive energy and keen sense of style – establishing her as one of the most sought-after talents in the design industry.

Here are just a few examples of Tracy’s gorgeous work….

If Tracy looks familiar to you and you’re not sure why, it’s because she starred in 10 seasons on ABC’s hit series, Extreme Makeover: Home Edition – the highly rated cultural phenomenon made Tracy a household name to millions of Americans. In her role as one of the show’s lead designers, Tracy witnessed firsthand the dramatic impact that living spaces have on the lives of the people who inhabit them. Each episode provided her with a unique opportunity to take her natural philanthropic spirit and create awe-inspiring spaces – showcasing her compassion, enthusiasm, and dedication to eye-catching style.

Tracy followed her experience on ABC by co-starring in her own series Picker Sisters for Lifetime, a show that allowed her to showcase her style and her passion for the world, by traveling the country, finding items that could be “up-cycled” as features of design. Tracy also had her own reality-TV series “Momtourage” on the Design Network and most recently, starred in the hit series Hollywood DIY for Facebook – where she showed do-it-yourselfers ways to improve their living spaces.

To learn more about Tracy and her work, visit: http://www.tracyhutson.com/ or follow her on Instagram and be sure to check out her best selling book, Feathering The Nest, her earth-friendly guide to decorating your baby’s room.

Angeleno Magazine “Women of Influence”

Each year Angeleno Magazine features “Women of Influence” in the Los Angeles area. I’m so grateful to be included in their 2020 edition along with so many smart and inspiring women in Los Angeles and the surrounding area. 

I’m appreciative of all of my clients and ambassadors out there for their support, trust, testimonials, and referrals. It’s truly the foundation of my business. Congrats to everyone included in this edition with this accolade. Cheers!

Below is an excerpt that first appeared in the March 2020 edition of Angeleno Magazine.

As Founder and Estate Director at the Dana Cataldi Group, Dana Cataldi leads an outstanding, all-female team who rank among the most in-demand professionals in SoCal. Cataldi began her real estate career in 2007 following many years of success in the entertainment industry. 

Over the last 13 years Cataldi has received a number of accolades from Real Trends, the Wall Street Journal, Top Agent magazine and Los Angeles magazine, who just named her a 2020 Real Estate All Star. Cataldi’s sterling reputation and sparkling personality have earned her a legion of loyal fans and amazing ambassadors both locally and nationally. 

“My mission is to help, teach, advocate, practice compassionate listening, leave ego at the door and  make sure that empathy shapes all interactions.” 

“I strive for transparency and honesty, so that good will is established up front and expectations are managed. In real estate, a best practice is when “I need to win” is replaced by “win-win.”

“I have grown my business by always showing up for my clients, ambassadors, friends, family and referral base, and by being a connector of people”.

“Everyone on my team understands “best practices” and puts them to their highest use every day. I am so proud of them and know that as a team we can make magic happen!”

“I want to continue to grow and inspire my team in the same way they inspire me. I want to be someone who is remembered for always making a difference.”

“I am inspired by my love of people and work to be a trusted advisor and an effective advocate for those looking for their dream home or next chapter.”

“I’m beginning a series of “Lunch and Learn” real estate seminars at companies across L.A. Knowledge is power and from there you grow and make great life/equity decisions.”

“This year I plan to start writing my first book. Both personally and professionally, I have a journey to share that I think everyone will be able to relate to and learn from.”

“I serve on the board of Beauty Bus – an organization that provides grooming/beauty services for clients battling life-threatening diseases and their caregivers. This important work provides a valuable perspective.”

“Being raised by a single mom taught me both hard work and empathy, traits that serve me well as I advocate for others and create meaningful connections daily.”

Founded by architect Frank Vafaee in 2009, Los Angeles based Proto Homes is composed of architects, engineers and contractors with a shared vision of reinventing the antiquated approach of the homebuilding industry. Using technology, process engineering and modern architecture, homeowners and developers can now build higher quality custom homes, far easier and more profitably that what is currently available. To date, Proto has built over 60 custom homes throughout Southern and Northern California.

Featured in the Los Angeles Times, Dwell, and Forbes, among others, Proto Homes was “conceived in the spirit of making modern architecture more accessible, without shortchanging quality or architectural integrity.”

Utilizing technology including predesigned and tested components, Proto Homes is creating architecturally significant homes in the Los Angeles area founded on “efficiency, flexibility and innovation.”

How do they do it? Proto Homes has created a unique prefabricated technology, which is unprecedented in the homebuilding industry. This technology makes the construction process predictable and streamlined, from beginning to end.

The result? They are revolutionizing the home building process to make modern architecture more accessible while “fostering sustainability and environmental consciousness.”

We are grateful to have worked with the Proto Homes team for many years, and we recently chatted with them about their process.

What are the common misconceptions about your work or the process?

One is that we build “modular” homes. We refer to our process as “system-built” which means we take the site flexibility and unlimited customization that has come with traditional “stick built’ methods and combine it with the quality and predictability that comes with building components in the factory. The result is a custom, high quality home, built in half the time and half the cost than any other way of building. It really is the best of both worlds. (Of note is that the financing, permitting and logistics follow “traditional” builds, not “prefab” providing greater flexibility, customization and financing options for homeowners and builders).

When people hear that we are building homes in a fraction of time and cost of traditional, it is sometimes assumed that we are using lower quality materials in our builds and/or there is little room for customization in our plans. We use standard, industry proven, high quality components, it is our revolutionary system-built and assembly process, our use of intuitive software, and our patented Proto Core housing all key components in a central unit that unlocks the time and cost savings inherent in every Proto Home.

How long does the process take?

Our system-built approach enables us to build a high quality custom home, from conception to completion in about seven months – 50% less time and from 30-50% less cost than traditional builds.

What is unique about the process?

There are three main factors that make a Proto home unique. First is our process for building that we outlined above. It is system built and assembled – meaning once the site is prepped it only takes a crew of 5 people 48 days to lay the foundation, assemble all interior and exterior walls, build out all electric, HVAC and plumbing leads – everything ready for interior finishings.

Second is our Proto Core – this is the control center of every Proto Home. In almost every traditional build the central electric, plumbing, HVAC, and smart functions are separated and spread out throughout the home. This is inefficient in the build and subsequently forces the homeowner to inconveniently maintain and access all these systems separately. We have brought all of these into one unit, to access anything, from heating to plumbing to the CPU that controls your smart home operating system, you can do so by simply opening a door and walking inside.

Finally, we utilize software to efficiently translate custom plans into precisely engineered building materials and to provide unparalleled visibility into the build for homebuilders and developers. For the homeowner, our Proto App provides access to all key details of the home and shortly it will automate all service and maintenance, allowing them to operate all the home’s smart functions from their phone.

Are there any occasions you wouldn’t recommend a prefab home?

Though it can be done, hillside lots are more difficult and costly due to the site accommodations necessary.

Building a home can and should be a great experience. If anyone out there is considering building, buying or developing a home, let’s connect – we think you’ll be surprised at how easy, cost effective and flexible this new way of building can be.


How can someone get started?

To make an inquiry, visit: protohomes.com and click “Get Started”.
For more information about Proto Homes or to view a gallery of their beautiful work, please visit www.protohomes.com and their Instagram page.

Do you need more living space for your family? A home office? Interested in building a she shed (female equivalent to a man cave)? Want to earn rental income? An accessory dwelling unit (ADU) may be a solution for you! 

An ADU is a dwelling unit with a full kitchen and bathroom, which is an accessory use to a primary or main single family residence. The ADU can be used as a rental, but cannot be sold separately from the primary or main single family residence. The existing residence must be a legally established structure.

On May 30, 2019, an ordinance was adopted for the county of Los Angeles that allows homeowners in single-family neighborhoods to build an accessory dwelling unit as long as there’s room for it on their property.

Recently, we chatted with Jill Swisher, an architectural designer and founder of Seed Architecture, a boutique design firm specializing in residential architecture in Los Angeles. Jill has an enormous amount of expertise and experience with ADUs from design to construction. We highly recommend Seed Architecture if you are curious or ready to move forward with an ADU or a remodel.

We were excited to hear about the new ordinance that was adopted earlier this year for ADUs creating new opportunities for housing. What has changed recently? What’s the impact of the change? 

The new ADU rules are a major change and a huge plus for many homeowners. For me, the most exciting part is the ability to now legally convert detached garages to usable space. Many homes in Los Angeles have detached garages at the rear of the property that is either accessed from an alley, or a driveway. Most people today no longer use their garages to park. But the City of Los Angeles required homeowners to maintain covered off-street parking, so legally these buildings, in most cases, couldn’t be converted for other uses. 

This meant 350-400 square ft buildings were sadly under-utilized until now. The city has changed the rule to allow homeowners to convert their existing garage to a living quarter, and only maintain off-street parking (no longer covered – in most cases this means as long as you can park two cars in your driveway, you are ok) or you can build a new ADU. The change was finally embraced by the city as a means to hopefully lower the housing shortage that we are facing.  The city is hoping that homeowners will convert and rent these units out. 

What’s the biggest misconception about ADUs? 

You have to live within a 1/2 mile radius from public transit in order to qualify. 

In your experience, what is the biggest challenge that homeowners face when strategizing and implementing a plan to add an ADU to their property?  

My biggest recommendation is to hire an architect or designer to create the space so it’s well thought out, flexible, maximizes storage, and privacy. I also highly recommend getting a survey to determine if your existing garage is within your legal property boundaries. Lastly, know that most likely your existing garage, if original, will need structural upgrades.

Can you share what your process is like? Design and implementation?

I love designing homes for people. It’s always exciting and fresh because every project is different. My process is very fluid because each project is so different, and every client’s needs are different. I map out a plan that fits each individual project. Renovating your home is very exciting, but can also be incredibly stressful for clients. I work really hard to streamline, educate, and communicate from design through construction, so it hopefully becomes less scary, and maybe even enjoyable!

How do I know if an ADU is right for me? 

There are several things to consider: do you have family members who need housing? Do you have aging parents who might eventually move in? Do you need additional income, now or in the future? A rental unit is a great way to add income, and help the community with the housing shortage. Even if you are providing a place to stay for your grown kids, or aging parents, you are freeing up a rental unit somewhere else. 

Any other helpful tips you want to share? 

If you decide to build an ADU, consider your neighbors in the process too. It’s easy to place windows and doors where they don’t disturb or intrude on your neighbors privacy, and direct noise away from buildings that are close. Plant trees for privacy and visual enhancement between properties, and/or buildings. Many of us live in close proximity to one another. It can be done, and pleasantly, if buildings are thoughtfully designed. 

Looking for a home that has potential for an ADU? Contact us today.

About Seed Architecture

Seed Architecture is a boutique design firm specializing in residential architecture. We believe a home should not only be beautiful and inspiring but also celebrates and complements the messiness of real life. To us, functionality is synonymous with good design.

For more info, visit seedarch.com and follow Seed Architecture on Instagram.

About the Dana Cataldi

Named by the Wall Street Journal and Real Trends as one of The Top 250 Best Real Estate Agents Nationally for eight consecutive years, Dana Cataldi is a recognized influencer and industry expert. As one of seven original partners and one of the first females at her former brokerage, Dana is above all a bold and dedicated leader with a stellar reputation. Though focused primarily on the Westside, Dana’s referral base has expanded to the far corners of Los Angeles. From the beachfront properties of Redondo Beach to the canyons of Topanga, it’s safe to say that Dana’s candid, driven and loyal nature follows her wherever she goes.

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