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The Best Custom Home Builders in Silicon Valley

December 20, 2017 15 Min Read


Silicon Valley is home to some of the nation’s most influential and powerful CEOs, tech leaders, and entrepreneurs. As a result, this area is becoming a hub for some the most iconic homes in the country, so it isn’t surprising that there would be a demand for quality renovations, remodels, and custom-built homes. Let’s take a look at the top 10 design-build firms in Silicon Valley. Each firm was selected based on their quality of projects and service, prevalence in the Silicon Valley area, and established portfolio, including recognition and awards.

Top Custom Home Builders & Design-Build Firms


Oren Dagan

Angie’s List Super Service Awards

1631 N. 1st Street, Suite 109, San Jose, CA 95112

About SOD

SOD Builders, Inc. is a design-build firm located in San Jose that emphasizes an ability to simplify projects, provide professionals in every area needed for a project, and collaborate to deliver quality service. SOD is an award-winning firm that has earned Angie’s List Super Service Awards three years in a row. SOD takes pride in allowing their clients full access to schedules and a full online database, so they can have access to all the information and the project status to feel comfortable in the process, particularly with big projects. SOD consistently receives positive feedback and rave reviews, which is why they are on the top 10 for best design-build firms in the Silicon Valley area.

Featured Projects

SOD specializes in kitchen and bath remodels, exterior renovations, room- and second-story additions, and new home construction. As for kitchen remodels, SOD is happy to bring older kitchens up to date, like their project for a Los Altos home. The remodel features a beautiful sepia-toned kitchen that plays with wood textures and a mixture of glossy white cabinets to reflect lots of natural light. The furnishings are scaled back and simple for a clean, refined look and feel. The large island and updated seating area makes it perfect for the family and entertaining.

CAGE Design Build

David Wampler
Kelly Funk

PO Box 6030 San Jose, CA 95150

About CAGE Design Build

CAGE Design Build was started in 1996 by David Wampler and Kelly Funk. The San Jose firm serves the Silicon Valley area and offers residential design, remodeling, home additions, and more. With every project under one contract, and functioning as one team, CAGE is able to provide seamless services and an efficient process that delivers the client’s concept on time and on budget. CAGE has a great reputation and has been recognized for their professionalism, integrity, and quality. They maintain high standards every step of the way, beginning with initial consultations all the way to project completion. CAGE is committed to their clients, and they focus on bringing unique visions to life.

Featured Projects

One of their projects was a San Jose home remodel which posed its own unique challenges around added functionality in limited spaces while meeting requests about storage. To achieve these results, the bathroom was completely gutted for a more functional result, and walls were removed to open up the floorplan and give more space in the kitchen, dining room, and family room. A wine cabinet was added underneath the staircase, and the garage door was moved to create space for more cabinets and storage in the kitchen. Each element was thoroughly planned to take advantage of space and allow the home to reach its client’s vision. Details were added to refresh and update the home.

Timeline Design

Matthew Harrigan

NARI Meta Awards

14401 Big Basin Way, Saratoga, CA 95070

About Timeline Design

Timeline Design is located in Saratoga, CA, just south of Cupertino, and was established by Matthew Harrigan in 1990. Harrigan’s passion for quality and planning established Timeline Design as having a mission for every project to be “on time and on budget.” Timeline has been committed to providing timely results and communicating with their clients in order to build strong relationships. Timeline is truly a top-tier firm with a long list of awards to their name, including Meta awards from the National Association of the Remodeling Industry (NARI). They were recognized as one of the “Big 50” by Remodeling Magazine in 2002 and were also named one of the Top 50 fastest growing privately held companies in Silicon Valley in 2005. Their work has been featured in Design/Build Business, Kitchen & Bath Business, Remodeling Magazine, Eichler News Network, and San Jose Magazine.

Featured Projects

Timeline is known for their remodels as well as for their custom homes. Their home projects range in style from breezy and simple to classic California Bungalow. The bungalow project featured low pitched roofs, eaves, and unenclosed rafters throughout the main part of the house. With shingle siding, cool green tones, and beige stucco, there is an organic look that plays well with wood and stone veneer. The structure smoothly merges into the yard and takes into consideration its surroundings. Even the simpler home designs are gorgeous, taking advantage of open-concept floor plans and gourmet kitchens with plenty of natural light. Light cabinets with marble create more openness, while the darker countertops, flooring, and island bring comfort and warmth for a timeless style and aesthetic.

TBS Construction

Mamuka Grigolia

3283 De La Cruz Boulevard, Ste A, Santa Clara, CA 95054

About TBS Construction

TBS is a Bay Area firm that specializes in design-build projects, particularly residential custom homes, remodels, and even round-the-clock emergency services for extreme cases, such as disaster response, restoration, and reconstruction. They serve the Silicon Valley area and have received recognition from the National Association of the Remodeling Industry (NARI) and the National Kitchen & Bath Association (NKBA). In addition to the construction firm, TBS has a design gallery that features the latest products and technology in the industry. The gallery acts as a creative hub for architects, designers, and builders, so clients can see their resources and products in person. For TBS Construction, a hands-on approach is key to quality service and to projects that meet the highest standards.

Featured Projects

A truly unique and notable project is the Los Gatos Historic Mansion restoration. TBS was hired to restore the English-style Sunnyridge Mansion. TBS worked hard to maintain the historic structure and the estate’s traditional beauty. They even expanded the stone work in the entryway in order to emphasize the welcoming atmosphere. From full-sized sauna additions to heated floors, TBS Construction is up-to-date on the latest and greatest when it comes to the remodel and construction industry. Some of their most recent projects include some beautiful kitchen work that means bringing a space up-to-date while keeping it functional. Window benches and added dining space allow the kitchen to be the heart of the home. Custom cabinets, durable windows, and quartz counter-tops create a sleek, high-end looking space that is also functional.

Brownhouse Design

Julie Brown

101 Main Street, Los Altos, CA 94022

About Brownhouse Design

Brownhouse Design is dedicated to creating the best spaces that meet their clients’ specific lifestyles and tastes. Principal designer Julie Brown is behind the firm and has created a company that emphasize timeless designs, quality service, and long-term client relationships for the past 20 years. Brownhouse Design focuses on residential design-build projects, interior design, and confidentiality for potential high-profile clients. Brownhouse Design specializes in custom homes and renovations, particularly in traditional and contemporary styles that meet the tastes of those in the Los Altos, Palo Alto, and surrounding areas. However, their portfolio boasts a rich variety of styles, including European, eclectic, relaxed urban, sleek, formal, and Asian-inspired.

Featured Projects

A recent project completed just last year is a custom contemporary home in Los Altos Hills. It features a beautiful central courtyard with a multilevel pool complete with custom copper siding. The interior features an open-concept kitchen, nook, and family room. Waterfall edge details on the kitchen island and custom leather seating make the space warm, inviting, and eye-catching. There’s even an open concept bar that separates the formal dining area from the kitchen. Sliding doors open out to a covered porch, while plantation shutters allow for privacy. The living room features a seamless corner window with a view of the courtyard and pool. The halls and bedrooms play with texture, while the master has two full vanities with custom tile, high-gloss cabinets, and matte black sinks.

Nerland Building & Restoration

Alex Nerland

724 12th Avenue, San Francisco, CA 94122

About Nerland Building & Restoration

Nerland Building & Restoration is a design-build firm founded by Alex Nerland more than 14 years ago. Alex has a unique perspective, as he worked in technology in Silicon Valley for 10 years before launching his firm. Alex’s wife, Lisa, is a co-designer and project manager and is a licensed California real estate broker.

Nerland was founded on the principle that design-build is the best approach to meeting your schedules, cost, and quality goals, because it eliminates conflicts between architects, designers, and contractors. Tailored solutions and overseeing the project from beginning to end are at the core of Nerland’s business.

Featured Projects

NBR has a knack for home restoration and recently updated and expanded a Lone Mountain residence from a two bedroom, one bath to a two bedroom, two bath with a brand new kitchen. They opened up the home and included a beautiful jewel box in the guest bathroom, with an inviting and elegant master bathroom. The emphasis and use of white brightens up the whole place and makes it feel energized. Another beautiful remodel was the transformation of a 10-year-old townhouse into a more modern, loft-type space. NBR installed a brick wall to completely change the look and feel, as well as a new backsplash in the kitchen, a new deck featuring an outside bar, and movie screen with a view of the Golden Gate Bridge.

AT6 Design Build

Jason Langkammerer

SF Architects Best Design Build Firms,
AIA/LA Citation Awards

746 Natoma Street, San Francisco, CA 94103

About AT6 Design Build

AT6 Design Build is a well-known design firm in the Bay Area. They are process-oriented and focused on modern eclectic styles and aesthetics. On staff are principals like Jason Langkammerer, who is Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) accredited and Building Science Principles (BPI) certified, and has been with AT6 Design Build since 2002. AT6 Design Build has been recognized for their work in the media many times: they have been featured in Fine Homebuilding, Baan Lae Suan (A Thai shelter magazine), Small Eco Houses, 2011 American Institute of Architects (AIA) East Bay Home Tour, and California Home & Design Magazine, and they were honorees in the SF Architects Best Design-Build Firms. Additionally, they’ve been featured in the San Francisco Chronicle and Dwell Magazine and received AIA/LA Citation Awards. AT6 Design Build also emphasizes that their projects are energy efficient, green, and sustainable.

Featured Projects

A notable Bay Area project is the Berkeley Cube. This was a contemporary master suite and family room addition contained in its own structure and connected to the house by a short hallway. The solution made for a more efficient construction process and allowed for some variation between the original structure and new building. The project included an infrastructure for solar and cement board rain screen exterior cladding. The Church Street residence in San Francisco was a full renovation and addition to simplify and even erase the ornamentation of the original structure without losing a connection to its history. The spaces resulted in a cleaner, more modern look, which still kept much of the original architecture, like the wainscot and trim details.

building Lab

Stephen Shoup

Remodeling Magazine Merit Award,
REmmy Awards Grand Prize

999 43rd Street, Oakland, CA 94608

About Building Lab

As we enter the top three of the list, Building Lab takes this spot as an award-winning design-build firm that not only has a passion for quality and green building practices, but is also on the cutting edge when it comes to solutions and projects that are still practical, sustainable, and meet client needs. Stephen Shoup, founder, started Building Lab in 2001, based on his belief in a holistic approach to the design and building process. He built his team to help bring his vision to life, and they received the Merit Award from Remodeling Magazine, Grand Prize from the REmmy Awards, and more. Their work and projects have been featured in such publications as Hunker, Dwell, Marin Independent Journal, Berkeley Times, and Home DSGN.

Featured Projects

The Appleberry Drive residence was a whole-house remodel driven by simplicity and clarity in order to honor the original design. The solution included such elements as a fence that defined the front courtyard and a large picture window in the dining room that drew attention from the street. The central focus on the kitchen allowed for a core to work off of. The entire project preserved and reinvigorated the eichler original design. A recent project is the Paseo Way residence, which was a whole-house renovation for a family of four. The open concept created an improved flow to the home and made for a more family-friendly living space. Partitions and cladding were taken out in order to free up space and emphasize the higher ceilings. With a white painted interior, the whole structure felt bigger and lighter. Accent walls helped to draw the eye and create movement. Added windows and glass sliders brought in more light, while interior additions like a breakfast nook, added storage, and a hidden desk add functionality and comfort.

H2H design + build, LLC

Angela Rasmussen

NKBA Clay Lyon Honorary Award,
NKBA People’s Choice,
NARI Gold Awards

1264 South Bascom Ave, San Jose, CA 95128

About H2H Design Build

H2H Design Build is an award-winning firm with recognition from NARI, NKBA, CotY, and HGTV. They have laser focus when it comes to quality design solutions and remodeling services. Their ability to create a no-nonsense, thorough approach enables them to truly meet their client’s needs. They emphasize a turnkey process that makes them unique from other contractors and design-build firms. They want their clients to be taken care of and to not have to lift a finger when it comes to renovation. H2H believes in open communication and transparency. They have an up-to-date process that includes full technology integration of homes in a way that simplifies everything, allowing you to control all of your smart systems with one device. This includes everything from thermostat, audio, media systems, lighting, security, gate access, and more.

“With the understanding that Silicon Valley homeowners were too busy to add anything else to their daily to-do list, much less a remodel, we began in 2009 to build a company from scratch that would encompass a full-service approach to concurring the task. Starting only with my husband Matt as the general contractor and myself as the lead designer (backed with a fresh business sense) we conquered one remodel at a time as a 2 person team. We bootstrapped from the beginning, each remodel fueling the growth of the team and our abilities to take on larger projects. In only a short 8.5 years in business, we have managed to earn a total of 31 local and national awards for our work and continue to earn more. We are excited to be where we are and always work toward the next challenge.” -Angela Rasmussen

Featured Projects

H2H renovated a beautiful home in San Jose, and the project truly embodies rustic royalty. The kitchen features state-of-the-art, stainless steel appliances, including a spacious range in the center island, perfect for entertaining and multitasking. The wood floors in contrast with white walls and cabinets create a perfectly calm, rustic cottage feel, with plenty of counter space and storage. The kitchen opens up to a gorgeous sitting area complete with a fireplace and beautifully textured chairs. The dining room features a large window for tons of natural light. The entryway has a perfect farm-style door and leads into a comfortable family room that is warm, cozy, and inviting. The restrooms continue to carry the rustic feel, with deep earthtones and updated fixtures.

Nova Designs and Builds

John Schrader
Fabien Lannoye

SF Architects Best Design Build Firms

296 C Kansas Street, San Francisco, CA 94103

About Nova Designs and Builds

Nova Designs and Builds is spearheaded by Principal John Schrader, a licensed general contractor and certified green builder, and Principal Designer Fabien Lannoye. Nova believes in creating partnerships and joint ventures and pushes the boundaries even further by investing their own capital into a project. Nova prides itself as a firm that pursues a variety of projects while incorporating technique, materials, and pricing. Nova’s media mentions include SFGate and Elle Decor. SFGate calls John Schrader a “contemporary renaissance man,” as the firm is behind over 1,000 homes in San Francisco alone.

Featured Projects

Nova tops this list for their extraordinary renovations of luxury homes in San Francisco, most notably a house in Pacific Heights that is currently the most expensive home for sale in the city, starting at $22M — a four-story masterpiece. Additionally, Nova renovated a Pacific Heights townhome that featured a direct view of the Golden Gate Bridge and Alcatraz. The remodel posed a number of challenges, including zoning and fire codes, but the full-glass doors that lead to a deck are worth everything, and that priceless view from the family room is measured in jaws dropped. Additional remodels, like 2807 Clay Street, showcase creativity in smaller spaces. Each remodel takes full advantage of the beautiful cityscapes and rooftop decks in order to capitalize on the location in one of the most expensive regions in which to live.