Houzz Pro Spotlight: 3 Ways to Reclaim Your Forgotten Spaces

Who: Golnaz Motamedi of Reliance Design Build Remodel
Where: Los Angeles

In her own words: “It’s exciting to walk into a new client’s garage or basement for the first time — with all of the grime and clutter — and imagine everything it could be.”

The price of houses in highly desirable neighborhoods, especially in Southern California, drives many people to buy homes that are within their budget but not necessarily fully functional for their lifestyle.

“I love the challenge of figuring out the best way to make better use of an unfinished basement or an attic,” says interior designer Golnaz Motamedi, co-owner of Reliance Design Build Remodel in Los Angeles. “They may at first seem too dark and cramped to be usable for anything other than storage.”


All in the family. Motamedi, who has a background in space planning, joined her two older brothers’ business after graduating from college. “One has a degree in civil engineering and the other is an architect, so the three of us fit together as a comprehensive home-remodeling team,” she says. “We were close growing up, and our parents always encouraged us to support each other. The family business happened naturally.”


Vision of transformation. Motamedi and her brothers combine creativity and technical know-how to create a new vision of a space. “People have trouble seeing past everything that’s wrong in a dark basement, or they forget about a closet that can be knocked down to make enough room for an extra bathroom in an attic,” she says.

Read Motamedi’s tips below on making your underutilized spaces functional and beautiful.


1. Repurpose Small Spaces

Repurposing an attic or closet can open up a world of possibilities, such as a larger bedroom or the study you’ve always wanted. The creative couple who own this Sherman Oaks home had always wanted a study. Motamedi and her brothers provided a cozy loft for reading and writing by knocking out a closet and raising the ceiling. “We were able to add about 80 square feet to make the bedroom more functional as a multilevel space,” she says.

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2. Reconfigure Your Garage

Sunny L.A. is the perfect place to park your car on the street and turn your garage into a versatile personal space. On the other hand, you don’t want to give up all of your storage. The owners of this home in Culver City needed to keep some storage space in their two-car garage, but they also wanted an office and workout area. 

“She’s a pro athlete and he’s a scriptwriter, and their small home didn’t accommodate all of their needs,” Motamedi says. “We put some storage lockers against the wall where they hang their bikes, and there’s still plenty of room for a desk and to work out. Plus, it still looks like a garage, so if they sell the home future owners can use it that way.”

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3. Brighten Dark Rooms

It’s not always possible to add windows to a basement, and even if you can there may not be enough natural light. However, the right lighting and reflective surfaces can add up to a bright, cheery atmosphere.

The 1,000-square-foot basement in this West L.A. home was unused space except for the water heater and furnace. “The floor wasn’t even finished,” Motamedi says. “We poured concrete and added a high-gloss finish. The shiny floor, along with the black soapstone counters and glass tiles behind the bar, reflect the diffused LED lighting. We added some accent lights as well.”

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