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Backyard homes: revenue or extra income housing, granny flat or multi-generatonal housing, caregiver for the elderly or child care, or the manufactured home option. Courtesy photo
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Family business makes backyard homes a reality

When it comes to providing quality work and expertise, Crest Backyard Homes likes to keep it in the family. 

As San Diego’s top accessory dwelling unit (ADU) builders, Vista-based Crest Backyard Homes specializes in installing backyard living quarters that are commonly used to house either multigenerational family members or to help a household gain some extra income and provide more local housing by renting out the additional space. 

The team consists of experts with more than four decades of manufactured home experience and more than three decades of construction experience. 

Though ADUs have been around since the 1980s, their popularity didn’t start to grow until 2017 when State regulations began to change, making ADUs a more appealing and affordable investment.

 Crest Backyard Homes designed and installed its first manufactured home in 2002 in Leucadia under its own name as opposed to being the installing contractor for several dealers. 

“We’ve been doing this for a long time,” said founder John Arendsen.

Now a licensed general contractor, manufactured home contractor, real estate broker, manufactured home dealer Tiny Home and Park model dealer and developer, Arendsen first started his real estate and manufactured home contractor business, On The Level, in 1986, just a few years after he moved his family from Orange County to Vista in 1981. 

The company expanded over the next decade. Then, Arendsen started and ran his next company, Crest Backyard Homes, in 1997.  In 2017 Arendsen and Tim Hipps joined forces and expanded the team to what it is today.

While Arendsen operates as a contractor and developer marketing, promoting and running the front end of the business, Hipps runs the back end as the dealer by working directly with clients on selecting the ideal floor plan, options and upgrades for their property and budget. He also coordinates with the contractors on the site development and utility installation.

Arendsen and Hipps both born on August 8th are longtime friends and former friendly competitors, which is why Arendsen chose him to help on the production side of the ADU business.

Also on the tight-knit team is Lenska Bracknell, the lady in the field. She interfaces with our client from beginning to end. In many ways you might say she’s our best all around player, MVP so to speak. Lenska is not only a licensed real estate broker, analyst and investor she is also a licensed drone and fixed wing pilot specializing in real estate photography, site evaluation and feasibility. But most importantly she’s the teams project manager.

Arendsen is also joined by his wife, Janis, also an industry expert, consultant and expert witness and who works with lenders, attorneys, engineers and myriad local building jurisdictions to help homeowners with permit processing and loan procurement. 

Keeping the family close by, their daughter Janeene Arendsen Lovell works as operations manager of all their businesses and creative director. The younger Arendsen has been dedicated to her family’s business since the age of 8 when she first began organizing its records and data.

“We have a really tightly wrapped team,” John Arendsen said.

The combined several decades of experience between the small but mighty team has earned them much praise from their past clientele.

Anna Hopkins, a satisfied CREST homeowner said working with the local North County-based ADU specialist helped them get answers and advice on ADUs during the height of the Covid-19 pandemic, making things even more challenging. Still, Hopkins was thrilled with their level of expertise throughout the process and the final results.

“The Crest Backyard Homes team went above and beyond in all aspects of the project to execute our dream of adding an ADU in our backyard,” said Anna Hopkins. 

Visit or call 760-815-6977 to make an appointment to see our furnished model, tour several of our projects and inquire about your future ADU.