If you are considering a remodel, addition, or any other building endeavor and want the ease of working with a single contractor for the entire project, you will want to hire a design-build firm. In the past, construction projects typically involved working with a designer or an architect then handing over the plans to a general contractor to execute them. Now, these specialties exist under one roof. Whether led by an architect or a builder, all true design-build firms offer both design and construction capabilities.
The most skilled design-build companies approach the building process with precision and thorough understanding of client goals. As this process brings together all members of a project team early on, they can address various construction concerns from the onset. To make sure that your project is carried out with the utmost care for functionality, longevity, and industry standards, take a look at our list of the best design-build firms in Oakland.
We have selected and ranked the top-performing general contractors offering comprehensive design-build solutions in the city. These firms were assessed based on a number of criteria, including years of experience, mastery of the trade, and industry accreditations and certifications. The strength of their portfolios, awards and press recognition were also taken into account in the evaluation of these contractors. The final list features a variety of firms capable of designing and building architecturally-sound and visually-striking structures and spaces in Oakland.
15) Artisanov Construction
10708 Prince Royal Ct., Oakland, CA 94603
With over a decade of construction and remodeling experience, Artisanov Construction is equipped with the necessary tools, equipment, and professional expertise to handle virtually any project with European artisan-quality expertise. The firm specializes in remodels and renovations, eco-friendly green building, and other design-build activities.
Consisting of reliable and skilled professionals, Artisanov covers all aspects of a build from foundation to finish. The team brings the same level of care and attention to every building endeavor, which greatly contributes to the quality of the work the firm produces. In addition, the company is mindful of the utilization of sustainable materials, construction methods, energy efficiency, and sound containment. This approach ensures that Artisanov creates spaces and structures with classic, timeless aesthetics that also emphasize stewardship of the land and integration of efficiency and nature.
14) Studio Z Design and Construction
2660 Union St., Oakland, CA 94607
Through the years, Studio Z Design and Construction has operated as a one-stop-shop for various design, planning, logistics, installation, and contracting needs. The firm works with homeowners in many capacities to ensure that each project results in a space that matches their vision.
As a design-build company, Studio Z Design and Construction is very particular in handling each phase of a project. The team ensures cohesion in sketching out initial design concepts, finalizing architectural drawings, obtaining permits, and framing and trimming out rooms. Additionally, key personnel constantly monitor and address various client needs and concerns.
Owner and lead designer Tom Zakim brings a unique combination of skills and experience to the company and its respective projects. He has a Ph.D. and M.A. in History, specializing in California Architecture and Aesthetics from the University of Southern California. Combined with his extensive building and design experience, Zakim provides an insightful vision into every Studio Z project.
13) Bayview Builders, Inc.
2063 Mountain Bl. Suite #6, Oakland, CA 94611
Having more than 35 years of experience in various facets of the housing industry has allowed Bayview Builders to significantly transform the Northern Californian landscape. Among the firm’s specialties are custom home design, development, construction, project entitlement, design-build project development, additions, and ground-up construction. As an owner–developer, construction manager, and general contractor, the firm has developed and built thousands of homes and multifamily units from the ground up. Bayview has also been actively engaged in renovations and restorations, from the simplest home specifications and designs to ultra-high-end estates.
In every project, the firm ensures building to exacting specifications. At the same time, it takes into account the disparate yet distinctive goals of clients, neighboring property owners, and partners. As a result, Bayview designs, develops, and specifies homes and projects that fit sensitively within their surroundings and individual needs. In addition, the team uses sustainable materials and green management practices while maximizing aesthetic and economic value.
12) Berkeley Design Build
5427 Telegraph Ave. Suite A, Oakland, CA 94609
Berkeley Design Build (BDB), together with Linvill & Pond Architects, specializes in designing period-sensitive residential, mixed-use, and small- to medium-sized commercial structures. Veteran architects Chris Linvill and Mike Pond have worked together for a decade and a half, and have more than 40 years of architecture, design, and construction experience between them. Although the two companies officially operate separately, together they offer a seamless approach to architectural design and full-service general contracting.
In every project, clients work with a single managing architect or general contractor who oversees the entire process, from conceptual design through to completion. The team combines an extensive knowledge of the locale, expertise on historically-sensitive designs, strong working relationships with local municipalities, and a practical sense for space planning to create beautiful and lasting structures in and around Oakland.
11) DVB Design + Build
2 Westminster Dr., Oakland, CA 94618
Bay Area residents have been recipients of DVB Design and Build’s exceptional design, consultation, and construction services since 2007. With key personnel touting 25 years of experience in residential home building, the firm transforms spaces and structures with sophistication and practicality. The company also has an investment arm, VanBeek Associates, which was established in 2013.
The firm was established by construction industry veterans and husband-wife team David and Denise Van Beek. Upon DVB’s establishment, Denise used her construction and design experience to begin developing and remodeling homes from the ground up. The firm’s broad experience includes the restoration of a historical building at 2130 Filbert St. in San Francisco. Built in 1865, the structure was the Ghirardelli Stables and a grocery store at one time. The project took a year and a half to complete, yet the finished product sold almost immediately in a down market. This serves as a testament to DVB’s building proficiency and meticulous work.
10) Temescal Design Build
2923 Martin Luther King, Jr. Way, Oakland, CA 94609
Temescal Design Build is a full-service residential architecture and general contracting firm serving the East and North Bay Areas. It is a collaboration between general contracting firms Temescal Design and Dwight Builders, who have been adding value and character to spaces and structures around the region. Temescal Design Build has amassed an impressive portfolio featuring well-coordinated new construction projects, custom built homes, accessory dwelling units (ADUs), remodels, additions, kitchens, and bathrooms.
Working on a variety of construction projects has allowed the firm to hone and advance its building processes and custom designs. For instance, the Temescal team brought this 1800s Victorian home to the modern era with an open floor plan and a new kitchen. This project highlighted a custom reclaimed fir island, new fir floors, and matching cabinet details.
9) Lorick & Martinez Design Build, Inc.
5052 Woodminster Ln., Oakland, CA 94602
Whether a project involves designing and building an addition, renovating a kitchen or bath, replacing or repairing foundations, or addressing water infiltration issues, Lorick & Martinez excels in bringing together different elements into a single vision. It has created stunning spaces and structures in Oakland and the Bay Area since 1993 through its comprehensive civil engineering, plan production, permit acquisition, and project management, as well as its construction services. The firm is led by design-build talent Gigi Lorick—who has completed over 500 remodels through the years—and after almost three decades of being a solo act, she has welcomed Mike Martinez as general contractor, responsible for overseeing all of the firm’s projects.
Lorick homes are the result of a well-established process with three distinct stages. First is the development of a feasibility study that presents clients with what is possible given their property and budget. Next is the creation of design and construction plans, which include the necessary city permits and documents. The last stage involves the formulation of a contract that clearly details the construction schedule. The firm’s exacting attention to detail and consistent quality help create spaces and structures that are the result of the highest standards and practices.
8) Wheeler Design Build
651 Santa Ray Ave., Oakland, CA 94610
Family-owned and -operated company Wheeler Design Build offers choice modern, contemporary, and green design-build services for diverse remodels and new construction projects. Residential and commercial clients alike look to the firm for its linear, cohesive, and low-stress design-build process. In addition, Wheeler’s design services are available for large and small-scale projects as well as ones that are still in the initial phases of conception. The latter allows for the delineation of larger projects into manageable portions of time and financial resources.
The firm pairs unique remodeling and construction solutions with meticulous work and communications. This approach is emulated in all of Wheeler’s undertakings, resulting in well-coordinated and highly-functional spaces. One such project is Residence 651, which involved the multiple-phased repair, remodel, and renovation of a 100-year-old craftsman home. The firm’s owner, Ezra Wheeler, and his father worked on this project, which spanned the course of over 15 years.
The design for the kitchen and interior was an intensive collaboration between Wheeler and his parents during his first few years at the Austin School of Architecture at The University of Texas. They created a master plan to orchestrate the phases of the remodel to ensure the fluidity and continuity of the design. This also allowed them to start the major remodel in a more flexible and sometimes non-linear manner.
7) DLR Custom Builders
2160 41st Ave., Oakland, CA 94601
DLR Custom Builders is a custom build contractor-developer that has been serving Berkeley, Oakland, Piedmont, and the East Bay Area since 1983. It specializes in residential construction and provides a total building solutions package—this includes in-house design, cost planning, construction installations, construction consultation, construction supervision, and related services.
This 3,400-square-foot custom hillside home in Ruthland exemplifies the firm’s creativity and building expertise. It has four bedrooms, three and a half baths, a home office, a gym, a storage room, and laundry rooms. It also touts three fireplaces, an elevator shaft, and a wine cellar. A Spanish tile roof and a cantilevered front terrace flavor this Mediterranean style home, providing a good complement to the building’s hard trowel stucco finish, faux stone cornice, and intricate window sill details.
6) Wolfe, Inc.
544 58th St., Oakland, CA 94609
Established in 2003, Wolfe has developed a reputation for cohesively transforming plans into tangible solutions. The firm’s design-build team ensures efficiency from conception to completion, working in tandem with expert subcontractors as well as architects, designers, landscape architects, and landscape designers.
Wolfe is also deeply committed to environmental sustainability, utilizing recycled materials in each project and properly reusing and recycling waste. Whenever applicable, the firm also uses sustainably harvested or recycled lumber. In addition, the company offers composite decking, a recycled material that offers huge savings with low to no maintenance. Additionally, the firm incorporates many California native and other drought-tolerant plants in landscaping, as well as semi-permeable materials and dry stack rock walls.
Oakland residents Louise and Arlyn sought Wolfe’s expert services on two major construction projects. One involved the extensive remodel of the back quarter of their house along with two bedrooms, hallways, and entryways. The team also created an outdoor living space designed to be used at any time of the year and in any kind of weather. Meanwhile, the other project involved the construction and installation of an outdoor kitchen and full hardscape in the backyard. Wolfe removed 50 cubic yards of soil to accommodate the new structure and built wood retaining walls and masonry walls.
5) Design Draw Build
2866 Webster St., Oakland, CA 94609
Despite being founded only in 2010, Design Draw Build has made a name for itself as one of the most sought after design-build firms in the Bay Area. Its architects and contractors tout impressive adaptability in various facets of building; this in-house team of professionals brings to life the firm’s dynamic process, resulting in economic, creative, and goal-driven designs and finished constructions.
Design Draw Build offers diverse interests and experiences to its wide range of projects. The firm has worked on numerous residences, education centers, religious buildings, international clinics, historic renovations, custom furniture, and temporary festival architecture throughout the region. The company remains small enough to give each client the personal attention they deserve, yet skilled to ensure the same level of care and quality in every architectural design, construction, design-build, and development project it undertakes.
4) Douglah Designs
3586 Mt. Diablo Blvd. Suite B, Lafayette, CA 94549
Specializing in luxury home remodeling, Douglah Designs is an acclaimed interior design-build firm in the Bay Area. With a team of over 30 employees—including architects, designers, product specialists, and a full in-house construction team—and two showroom locations, the firm has successfully completed hundreds of projects. Since 1997, Douglah has extended to clients its expertise in kitchen and bath remodeling, additions, and entire home remodeling.
One of the reasons why clients prefer the firm over others is that it offers a one-year follow up after project completion. The team checks in and provides any necessary adjustments, whether it involves tightening a dripping faucet or fixing a door that hasn’t quite settled right, carefully ensuring that its work holds up over time.
The featured kitchen project exemplifies the firm’s creativity and building prowess. The newly remodeled space features custom cabinetry, hardwood flooring, granite countertops, and a copper hood.
3) Canyon Design Build
66539 6th St., Desert Hot Springs, CA 92240
Founded in 1966, Canyon Design Build has developed a reputation for integrity, seamless teamwork, and exceptional building solutions. With over 600 residential remodeling projects under its belt, the firm is passionate about bringing beauty, utility, and value to every Canyon project. The company’s specialties lie in kitchen and bath remodels, room additions, and whole home remodels, but its scope of work also extends to green remodeling, creating rental units within existing spaces, in-law units, basement conversions, seismic retrofits, modular home installations, and site work development.
The firm constantly keeps an eye on progressive technologies, sustainable building practices, and new materials. As a member of the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC), Canyon’s designers and contractors are Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED)-accredited and Certified Green Building Professionals who are highly educated on the latest green innovations. This has allowed the firm to blaze green trails throughout the years.
Canyon built its first sod-roof, recycled-content home in 1969. The team also submitted the first recycling plan for a remodel project that used recycled timber, drywall, cabinets, siding, lighting, plumbing fixtures, and appliances. Additionally, the firm’s design work has been featured in Metropolitan Home for receiving the highest LEED Platinum rating in the country for an existing residential building. Another crown achievement of the team is a LEED Platinum Certified historic restoration in Moraga, which is one of the most energy-efficient buildings in the country.
The firm designed and procured every detail of this Midcentury Revival mansion and private home spa, from the initial conception to the final finishes. All the architectural details of the building as well as interiors and exteriors, including the landscape and hardscape design, were expertly handled by the team.
2) building Lab
999 43rd St., Oakland, CA 94608
With almost 20 years of experience in the industry, building Lab has developed significant expertise in the design and construction of Bay Area spaces. The firm excels in implementing full design-build and general contracting solutions, with projects ranging from extensive remodels and kitchen and bath renovations to new construction, master planning, and landscape design. Along with its passion for modern architecture, the team offers intelligent, practical, and sustainable solutions. The firm also often implements green building principles and practices in its projects.
Located adjacent to Linden Park, the featured property is transitional on many levels. Intended as a live/work compound, the building was designed to accommodate an office, a residence, and an original workshop. The firm handled the conversion of shipping containers, which became a significant part of its extensive green building credentials. The project included myriad reclaimed, non-toxic, and sustainably sourced materials and a solar thermal system servicing both domestic hot water and hydronic heating. In 2008, Build It Green featured the property on a green home tour.
1) HDR Remodeling
2952 Sacramento St., Berkeley, CA 94702
Design-build and remodeling contractor HDR Remodeling has been serving the Greater East Bay Area for over three decades. Initially founded as a handyman company named Honey Do Repair, the firm transitioned to full-service residential design, construction, and remodeling as a result of countless clients vouching for the team’s expertise and creativity. HDR Remodeling has since been revamping homes in the region through its remarkable kitchen and bath remodels, additions, garage and basement conversions, and whole house renovations.
The featured project is an Oakland accessory dwelling unit (ADU) that won a handful of awards recognizing the team’s remodeling excellence. These include a 2018 Remmies Award and the 2019 Contractor of the Year Award from the National Association of the Remodeling Industry (NARI), as well as a 2019 Chrysalis Award. The ADU was designed with zero threshold transitions, contrasting floors and counters, a roll-in shower, and other features to accommodate aging-in-place. Additionally, the home has green and energy-efficient features such as insulation made from non-toxic recycled blue jeans, radiant heating, and a container garden roof.