Approach the relationship with your designer as a collaboration. Show photos of what you like, and write a list of things that are important to you.—Stephen Gabor
Looking for a design build firm that combines professional design with your personal aesthetic? Since 2003, Stephen Gabor and Patrick Allen have been developing properties, building homes and creating sustainable landscapes that cover a breadth of styles, always graceful and inviting.
The team uses solid design principles to refine their clients’ ideas. “Often improving a home’s design is about making the lines cleaner, and finding simple changes that open up the space—moving a kitchen counter to align with cabinets, or removing a wall that separates the dining room and kitchen.”
To enhance flow in landscapes, Stephen and Patrick create transitions between elements. They might extend tiles used in an outdoor dining area into the garden to invite exploration. They design and build water features—gurgling fountains, ponds, cascades. Members of the U.S. Green Building Council and the Santa Monica Sustainable Landscape Professionals Program, G+A use sustainable materials and practices.
Patrick and Stephen are realistic with pricing and make the most of their clients’ budgets. They might re-face cabinets, so the client can afford new countertops. They can also plan projects in phases, so clients can proceed as their budgets allow.
Stephen quips: “We play well with our clients!” Patrick adds: “We love to collaborate, and people know we can be trusted in our performance.”
I have had the pleasure of working with Gabor + Allen on multiple projects. They are very forward thinking in their design. Every project is executed with impeccable detail and high quality materials. They have a very clean and modern aesthetic. They truly love their work and it shows throughout all stages of design and build. I have the immense pleasure of photographing all of their beautiful projects. Collaborating with them on photoshoots is always a very creative, professional and fun experience.
February 14, 2016
When you work with a contractor, the number one priority is trust. Trust that you aren't being over-charged for something you should be. Trust that the work is being done to the highest quality. Trust that your vision will be executed the way you hope it to be (even if it doesn't make sense, an expert should make sense of it). Trust that the people working on your property will treat your property and belongings with respect. It's the most important part of the relationship. I could write a review saying how amazingly collaborative, creative, passionate and helpful both Stephen and Patrick are to work with, but you get that point by reading everyone else's positive reviews of their work. I could tell you how much we love our kitchen, living room, interior, and front and back yard remodel and how enjoyable their team was to work with—from the design team in the office to the guys on-site every day who were knowledgeable and polite and so darn fast, but you'll get that point by reading everyone else's positive reviews of their work as well. I could also tell you that if you are a creative person yourself, they are the best team to hire because they love the creative process, so all of us Mar Vista-creative-tech-type families would get a kick out of the planning and executing of the creative vision together, but you probably already could tell that these guys would deliver if you're a creative person on this site. No, I want to tell you that these guys have my trust, and that's a big deal. Work with them and you'll see what I mean.
December 30, 2015
Our experience with Gabor & Allen spans 7+ years. We first hired them in 2008 after admiring their inspiring design work on a friend's house. The first project consisted of a living room addition plus a complete kitchen and bath remodel and some front yard landscaping. To this day, it still looks amazing and we get many, many compliments on the design and materials selected—it's modern, but not trendy so it has stood the test of time. This year we hired them to redo our master bath/bedroom plus complete our backyard landscaping, including an outdoor shower, pergola and outdoor fireplace. Remodeling requires a lot of collaboration, flexibility and honest communication so finding the right team can be a challenge. It goes without saying the Gabor + Allen team has a great sense of style and design. We also found Stephen and Patrick to be extremely professional, direct in their communication and kept a close eye on the budget and timeline (both our projects were completed within the estimated window). They were always open to our feedback, listened to our concerns/anxieties (remodels can be stressful!) and addressed issues as they arose by collaborating on a solution that worked for both parties. We thought their crew was friendly, hard-working, reliable and kept a tidy work area. We appreciate the design + build one team approach as we think it streamlines the process of collaboration, communication and execution. We highly recommend Gabor + Allen.
December 21, 2015
Gabor + Allen did a complete overhaul of our garden, front, back and side yards from the perimeter in. They are not the least expensive option but they do give the best value. Merging their expert design advice with the client's wishes and the factors unique to each property, they create and implement a design that truly respects the client's needs and optimizes the joy. They also know their plants and their materials. Highly recommended.
December 17, 2015
Stephen and team were incredible to work with. After meeting with several landscape architects, we knew within minutes of meeting Stephen that they were the team we would be going with. Stephen listened to all of our needs, offered excellent insight and ultimately over the course of the design phase delivered a plan that exceeded all our expectations. We had a hard deadline to meet on the project and Stephen and his incredible team went above and beyond to complete the project in time and to perfection. Stephen has remained available to us after the project for any questions, follow up, advice, and post completion adjustments that have been needed. I can't recommend Gabor & Allen enough.
January 27, 2014
Stephen did the landscaping design for my front and back yard, transforming the space from French Regency to a mid-century style. One thing I really liked was how after I told him what I wanted he took that idea and came back with three or four design plans. Once we started working on the project, Stephen was very responsive when things came up. He really held my hand during the process. He also let me come to his home so I could see the work he had done there. I was really happy with the finished results. People are always complementing me on my yard!
January 03, 2014
I worked with Stephen to redesign my backyard. I found him very responsive to my ideas and always available to address my concerns. The whole process was very easy for me, no headaches at all. I like the design build aspect, and that I didn’t have to speak with a designer and then find a contractor. Stephen and I sat down together on three or four occasions to discuss what I was looking for. Homes in Manhattan Beach can have small yards. I needed someone who understood how to get the best out of my space, and he did it. If there was a cost issue he offered me solutions at different price levels.
He produced exactly what I wanted: clean and modern. I do a lot of my own design work, and I was pleased that I didn’t have to return anything that he picked out for me, and that he understood my style so well. The pottery, the tables and seating, even the cushions he chose looked perfect! The lighting came out amazing, too. He addressed every single detail I wanted down to the soil covering.
David and Susan S.
October 06, 2013
Patrick and Stephen are remodeling the outside of our house, including landscaping. They are giving us a completely new look and have added a lot of curb appeal. They’re very creative at what they do. They listen, really hear what your thoughts are and any comments you make. They put what you’re envisioning into drawings and implement it for you. When we call they generally come over to the house pretty quick, they always go over the next steps, and they keep us updated along the way on everything that’s happening. They are a good value and will work with your budget. If there is something they can reuse on site in order to save you money, they will. They do what they say they’re going to do and have a great attitude about their work. They’ve been really pleasant people to work with and are there to support you during the whole process.
October 06, 2013
I contacted Gabor and Allen specifically for a kitchen and bathroom remodel. They drew up plans for both and gave me a nice price on the design. In the end I decided I was really only ready to do the kitchen, so we really focused on that. One thing I liked about them is they didn’t rush me in terms of the decision-making process. After listening to my ideas and hearing me explain my style they came up with four different design-plan options for me to look at. They were always very accommodating in terms of what my style preference was, but they also made suggestions and provided ideas that always took the design to a different level than what I would have come up with myself. They have the experience and really know what is going to work in your space. They never pushed me, but I went with their ideas a lot. Stephen and Chelsea worked on my project, and I definitely felt that their aesthetic was great. Both of them have really great taste. Throughout the process Stephen always remained easily accessible, even by text, and always got back to me right away. Stephen and Chelsea are detail oriented and were also very attentive to making sure things happened on time. I was living in the house while the job was being completed and their crew was very respectful. My neighbors even commented on how great the G & A team and entire construction crew were. Everyone worked hard, and the project was done within the set timeline and I just love how my new kitchen turned out!
December 10, 2013
Patrick and Steven landscaped my backyard. A client referred me to two landscapers but it just took one meeting with them to cement it for me. The work they did is AMAZING! You have to see my backyard! It's everything I wanted it to be. I spend time there every day and it's changed my home.
They gave me several designs, and really spent time learning my aesthetic -- what I wanted the backyard to be, for me and for guests. I have a small two bedroom and the backyard is really an extension of the house so I wanted to engage all 5 senses, color, texture, smell. They came through, and they were such perfectionists. Not afraid to disagree with each other and really work as a team. It was a wonderful experience.
They always came on time, were extremely prompt with email, and never let me slide. And they came in under budget. They took the time to understand who I was as a person and what I want from my home, and moving forward they are working with me as the seasons change which is what you want, an ongoing relationship. I've already recommended them. I myself am saving up to use them for my bathroom, the next project!
AG and JG
November 14, 2013
We have everything good to say about Gabor + Allen. We purchased a home that needed a lot of repair and improvements. They restored the floors, closets, painting, electrical, and more. We obtained three other bids and thankfully we held out for Gabor + Allen; they turned out to be a perfect match for us. They listened to everything and made good suggestions. Stephen said, "We can make it happen," and then that's just what they did! They took great care not only with functionality, but also aesthetics, and came in under budget. They used great subcontractors, too. They returned our calls right away. We wouldn't hesitate to recommend them.
February 17, 2012
I call Stephen Gabor my “magician” because he made a magical garden for me. It was an absolute pleasure to work with him. My arborist had recommended him. What Stephen did was very natural and appropriate for my house, the size of my yard, and for my neighborhood. Not splashy, just really pretty.
My yard is like a courtyard, and one of the walls is the side of my garage. I had wanted a wall fountain for that wall, but I didn’t like any of the fountains I saw online. Stephen said he could design and build one for me. He had a sense of what I wanted: minimal, straight lines that go with the architecture of my house. I call it my magic fountain. I love it! It has a water slot that creates a foot wide waterfall. The planting he did around it is just beautiful and he installed a light inside the fountain that makes the wall shimmer!
When I first met Stephen, I had ideas about things I wanted to do and types of plants I wanted in certain areas. He is a really good listener. Then he shared with me his ideas. So it really was a partnership.
Stephen is very responsive. We communicated mostly by email, but he came to the house many times throughout the project to check on things and change things if we needed to. Three different times we met at nurseries.
I really appreciated that there were no surprises at all with the budget. He gave me a spreadsheet of what each plant would cost, times the number I was getting and he gave me labor costs. I knew what everything was going to cost before we started. At the end we were absolutely where we were supposed to be. And it was a good value.
Lastly I love that once you do a project with Stephen, he stays with you. He comes back to look over the project, prune and see how things are coming along. It’s nice to know if I have questions or concerns, I can contact him. Stephen is so easy to work with. He just has a wonderful personality and a great demeanor. Everything he did was lovely.
January 19, 2012
I worked mostly with Patrick on our home remodel. Both he and Stephen came out initially to listen to what I wanted and to discuss my budget. They both had great ideas although we did have to work out some more budget cuts before we started. They were so easy and accommodating to work with. Together we came up with a workable plan. I was living in the house while they completely remodeled my kitchen, master bedroom and bathroom. They took the walls down to the studs. I had a large kitchen area that they completely redesigned with lots of counter space and cupboards. My bathroom is gorgeous and my bedroom is just lovely! I live in a mid-century home and instead of starting from scratch, we saved a lot of what was already here and upgraded the look, while maximizing the spaces. Patrick gave me good interior design ideas, too, helping me to purchase design pieces that would go with the new construction. He even went with me to a showroom to look at plumbing fixtures. They stuck to the agreed upon time line in a smooth manner, making it feel so easy. All their subs are great, too, leaving my house neat and tidy each day. This was my first remodeling experience and I have heard some horror stories. I tell everyone that remodeling has been a delight for me!
November 11, 2010
Working with Stephen was instructive and enjoyable. I found him because his sign was in my neighbor’s front yard. I had googled other landscape designers and they were too grand (advertising the celebrity gardens that they had done); this was a turn off for me. I wanted a hacienda style landscape in a courtyard to go between my 1921 Mission Revival style home and small guesthouse in the back. It wasn’t a big job. I gave him my budget and he worked within it. He worked nicely with my ideas about the landscaping. If I didn’t like a suggestion he was fine with it, very flexible. I particularly liked our trips to the nursery where I showed him plants I liked and he would explain to me what would work in this climate. His suggestions were creative, often what I would not have considered. His communication was good—I could almost always get him on the cell phone. The garden came together very quickly once we decided what we wanted. I had a luncheon in the garden recently for friends and everyone was impressed.
Marina del Ray
November 09, 2010
I had back-to-back water damage from the condo above and the condo below. Gabor + Allen worked on my kitchen, living room, master bathroom and another bathroom. They came to me from a recommendation from another condo owner, an architect, in my building, although I did get a bid on the initial water damage from another source. Their prices are right in line with the market prices.
What set them apart from the very beginning was that they made it sound and seem so easy, and made many helpful suggestions. My main concern, having been through some remodels in the past with big surprises, was that they not go over budget. I was very clear about that and they shared my concern. With their graphic design expertise, they actually designed the entire remodel online and showed me how they could make any changes on the screen. They then itemized each and every item; they had pictures of these items, from faucets and light fixtures to sinks and tubs. It was a totally detailed budget, including electrical, plumbing and flooring. NO SURPRISES! And then they stuck to it. They even did the legwork, going out into the field to find what we needed. Occasionally we met them on site or at stores. They were always on time and easy to communicate with, always responding promptly to our calls. They made it all much easier than it could have been.
December 05, 2009
Gabor + Allen took my rather closed in space and transformed it into an open loft-like feel taking advantage of my beautiful views. They helped me identify the clean, sleek, livable feel I wanted and carried it through in every detail. They went far and beyond, watching over workers to make sure the details they wanted were executed. They brought the job in on time and budget. Everyday I love the space I live in and owe it all to Gabor + Allen.
November 20, 2009
We had a good experience working with Patrick and his workers. Their pricing was very fair. At first the proposal was over our budget, so we told them what we could spend and they trimmed down the proposal. They were also great with us buying our own tile, toilet, and vanity, which really trimmed down the cost. Staying on budget was true to form. They completely abided by the proposal and even trimmed it down when the plumber came back with a less expensive quote. As for staying on time, the project from start to finish was 7 weeks. I was told it would hopefully take between 5 and 6, but I was fine with 7 weeks because the project came out exactly to our specifications. They did a great job and did not bat an eye at the alterations we asked for even up to the last week. Honesty was important to us, and Patrick's crew was always very straightforward about how things were going and how long things would take. The tilers Patrick used were perfectionists and very thorough. This was our first foray into the home improvement world, and our overall experience completely met our high expectations.
November 10, 2008
We remodeled our 1914 craftsman with Gabor + Allen. Patrick has a youthful enthusiasm and imaginative ideas, mixed with technical expertise – a nice combination! They were great with functionality, too. They really maximized the space. They are also lovely spirits – great personalities, which makes such a difference. The house is done and now Stephen is going to landscape our backyard!
Marina del Ray
October 17, 2008
Gabor + Allen are the ‘designers’ designer.’ I am a designer and I have very stringent standards. It was a treat to hire someone else to do a substantial remodel on my own place. Gabor + Allen had come highly recommended and they lived up to it. You could find another company to give you a lower bid, but I’ve learned that if you look only at pricing, you will end up spending more in the end. These guys are high quality and still affordable. Well worth the money!
November 16, 2007
We did a major remodel with someone else, but sadly found that “clean lines” translated into a plain box. Gabor + Allen re-landscaped our sloping front yard into steps and planters with mostly native, drought tolerant plants. They also redid the fa
Mary Beth Carosello
October 08, 2007
Gabor + Allen did a beautiful kitchen remodel for us. I interviewed three different companies and they were the only one that said they could stay within my budget. Patrick was amazingly wonderful. He really listened to what I wanted. He narrowed down the choices and went with me to choose fixtures and tile. I also wanted to use eco-friendly materials and he was great at showing me what was out there. Rather than put in new cabinets, he refinished my old walnut ones, and even redipped the hinges so they look completely gorgeous and new.
West Los Angeles
November 17, 2006
I used Gabor + Allen to re-landscape my backyard and to completely redesign my master bathroom. I was very, very happy with their work – they had terrific ideas. They were on top of the job every step of the way. They enhanced my bathroom and backyard incredibly; I loved the colors and the design.
David & Pam Young-Wolff
November 02, 2006
It was a very positive and wonderful experience, working with Gabor + Allen. They listened to our ideas, in stark contrast to other contractors we'd had. They took a real interest in our family and our requirements and came up with a magnificent design. I'd always wanted a vegetable garden, and they created raised vegetable beds outside our kitchen door. They had amazing ideas. I was blown away by how beautiful and unique our garden had become. We have two twenty-year-old kids; they, and all of their friends want to hang out in the garden with the fire pit.
October 22, 2006
Gabor + Allen are not just "grass and plants.” They brought a lot of creative input to the process, and at the same time, definitely listened to other ideas. Because one person is a landscaper, and the other is an architect, they addressed both structure and design.
October 21, 2006
I'm glad to give a rave review of Gabor + Allen. It was the best experience I've ever had with a contractor. They have excellent taste. They breathe new life into whatever you want them to do. They listen very carefully. They're perfectionists with tremendous follow through. I found them to be extremely fair and honest.
Tim and Michelle Guille
Marina del Rey
October 16, 2006
Stephen and Patrick truly went above and beyond the call of duty. They set up our house and garden to be completed in three phases, out of consideration for our budget. That we went back to them to do the second phase and will return to them for the third attests to the quality of their work. The finished product is stunning. They were attentive to our suggestions, on time, clean, flexible and trustworthy. They also hire really great workers.
September 03, 2006
I have nothing but glowing praise for Gabor + Allen. They were forthright, and visionary with our house addition. They were committed to making everything perfect: even when we were satisfied with certain things, they weren't, until it was done to their standards. They created a beautiful and spacious addition that we enjoy every day.