Before and After: Ali Wong Turns a Basic Basement and Backyard Into the Ultimate Indoor-Outdoor Living Space
While comedian Ali Wong is at the top of her game right now, she credits much of her early success to her best friend, Citadelle, whose tireless support helped her when she first started out in Los Angeles. In the most recent episode of HGTV’s “Celebrity IOU,” Ali decided to give her friend the backyard and basement renovation of her dreams.
Given Citadelle’s love of hosting, Ali wanted to focus on making the spaces in her Windsor Hills home as entertainment-friendly as possible (for the whole family, including Citadelle’s husband and kids). She requested that the basement become a relaxing lounge area and dedicated workspace for Citadelle. For the backyard, she wanted outdoor seating, dining, and a possible cooking space.
With the help and guidance of Jonathan and Drew Scott (“Property Brothers”), Ali began the four-week renovation by tackling the basement. The basement began as a spacious but aimless multipurpose downstairs area with a small bathroom, guest bedroom, and family room (which doubled as Citadelle’s desk and work area). The rooms had basic white walls and a light wooden floor. The slightly outdated and cramped bathroom needed the most focus, since the crew found termites in some of the structure, so they gutted the area and rebuilt it from the ground up. They removed the basic standing shower and added a luxurious spa tub with white stone (and herringbone cement tile walls).
Jonathan and Drew added new whitewashed hardwood to the other two basement spaces to help brighten things up. They turned the family room into a classy lounge by incorporating a small bar, a new couch, and an accent chair. Pillows and artwork gave the area some small but necessary pops of color. The brothers removed the old desk from the family room and put a new desk in the guest room, making the space into an office for Citadelle. To keep the room guest-friendly, they installed a hidden pull-down Murphy bed on the flip side of a storage shelf feature. Drew described it as an “office by day, bedroom by night.”
They added black-framed doors to connect the basement to the backyard, which initially began as a basic lot with a small sitting area and a swingset for the kids. The entire yard was set against the bland brown backdrop of the house. The yard also had a heavy slope, which meant that any rain would run towards the basement, so the Scott brothers leveled the yard before beginning their work. They also painted the house white with black trim, which was more in line with Citadelle’s tastes.
They extended the indoor lounge area by building an outdoor living space with seating, a stylish fireplace (with double-layered glass), and a white pergola. They also put in an outdoor dining and kitchen area, which could keep Citadelle and her family from running back inside while hosting an outdoor party. “When you’re adding an outdoor kitchen like this, a massive dining area, a beautiful lounging space — you are basically doubling the livable square footage in this house,” Drew said. Keeping the kids in mind, the brothers also added turf to the yard and play structure area.
“Celebrity IOU” airs Mondays at 9/8 central on HGTV and Discovery+.