Rock-solid and fast-paced are how industry watchers today describe Washington’s housing market. And key indicators suggest that tempo will continue for the foreseeable future. As the demand for new homes surges, Seattle is once again among the top 10 desirable cities in the US. Not only is it a bustling and trendy waterfront town, but it’s also a backdrop for enjoying the rugged beauty of the Cascade Mountains and the thundering Pacific shoreline.
With so much to offer, it’s no wonder that the Evergreen State is drawing more house hunters than before. This puts the spotlight on Washington’s custom home builders. We have handpicked 15 firms in the state with these qualities: proven experience, forward-thinking building systems, personalized service, undisputed integrity, superior craftsmanship, and widespread acclaim. Counting down to the top five, we gave more weight to the scope of a builder’s projects and, naturally, to a home’s artistic display. These are the market leaders offering buyers a sure path to the home of their dreams.
15) SBI Construction
Website | 425.672.0789 | 6306 215th Street, Mountain Lake, WA 98043
Based in Puget Sound, this rising custom home builder is run by partners Mark Schilperoort and Michael Brooks, who specialize in luxury residential and commercial projects throughout the Seattle metro area. The team’s services include green projects and full remodels. The ambitious team has won praise for blending traditional and modern styles, such as in a 2013 project in Washington Park that was featured in Pacific NW Magazine. The 7,400-square-foot home has a main entry built out of sandstone with an oak staircase, sandstone pavers, radiating heat flooring, and outer French doors.
Another critically acclaimed project was a green home in Redmond that was published in Western Interiors. The home showcases the latest in eco-friendly building systems with its steel frame and radiant heating system. And a recent modern design in Madison Park that has Alaskan yellow cedar, Corten steel, Padauk hardwood, and terrazzo tiles was featured in Metropolitan Home, Pacific NW, and Remodel magazines. SBI Construction belongs to the Master Builders Association of King and Snohomish counties.
14) Lockhart | Suver
Website | 206.545.7800 | 6201 Roosevelt Way NE, Seattle, WA 98115
Lockhart | Suver is the result of a longstanding working relationship between partners Burt Lockhart and Mike Suver. Both men are graduates of the University of Washington. Lockhart has a degree in architecture and ran a design-build firm before teaming up with Suver, who had experience as a superintendent. The firm they opened in 2004 has the distinction of working alongside nationally recognized architects like Replinger Hossner Osolin and Olson Kundig.
The duo have completed hundreds of homes in the Seattle area, with a highly skilled team that includes a Certified Sustainable Building Advisor (CSBA) and Leadership in Energy & Environmental Design (LEED) professional. The firm’s designs border on the unconventional, such as a Southpaw home that has a long axis running from East to West, just so the clients can look out on a south-sided courtyard. The home also has walls that appear to be cut from a single block of stone, beams made of reclaimed Douglas fir, and floors accented by Moroccan tile mosaics.
13) Fradkin Fine Construction
Website | 206.706.1123 | 811 First Avenue, Suite 451, Seattle, WA 98104
In both their new homes and remodeling projects, these big-name home builders show a solid understanding of green building and sustainable design. The firm was started in 1981 by Principal Steve Fradkin, a Stanford University graduate. Although it has dabbled in traditional builds, such as a Lake Washington Tudor fitted with artisan tile fireplaces and dark-stained coffered ceilings, it leans toward sleek, modern and contemporary designs. An example is the “kitchen laboratory” with a nine-foot-long solid quartz island that the Fradkin team built for clients, who are devoted cooks.
Such customized work has earned Fradkin Fine Construction praise from the likes of Seattle Magazine, which featured a home completed by the firm in 2015 that it called a “mid-century masterpiece.” The firm is also praised for its eco-friendly practices, which has made it a member of the US Green Building Council and Northwest Eco-Building Guild. The company has been the subject of articles in Better Homes & Gardens, Luxe, and Dwell. Its projects have also received American Institute of Architects (AIA) Home of the Month Awards.
12) Schultz Miller
Website | 206.281.1234 | 1015 NE 113th Street, Seattle, WA 98125
Schultz Miller is a top-tier custom home builder in Washington that procures most of its business through repeat clients and their children. Founded in 1981 by Thom Schultz and Terry Miller, both with decades of construction experience, the firm builds modern, traditional, and contemporary homes in Bellevue, Hunts Point, Medina, Redmond, and Yarrow Point. It is now currently owned by Steve Moeller and Paul Vassallo.
The firm prides itself on successfully completing projects that present a challenge, such as designing a modern home to serve as part living quarters and part gallery for a client’s massive collection of original paintings and sculptures. The recent project required the installation of museum-quality lighting and art display fixtures, which the firm accomplished by using floating English sycamore panels. The sleek, steel-encased exterior also features a green roof and a pool with a cabana that continues the design of the main house. Builds such as these have made the cover of Better Homes and Gardens, Luxe, Portrait of Seattle, and Seattle Homes & Lifestyles. Schultz Miller’s numerous accolades include being named to the 2018 Luxe Gold List.
11) Roberts Group Builders
Website | 425.483.0234 | 5914 Lake Washington Boulevard NE, Kirkland, WA 98033
This Kirkland-based contractor is distinguished among custom home builders in Washington by its ability to offer the efficient systems of large companies with the client focus of a small firm. It was founded in 2008 by President Owens Roberts, who learned the construction trade at an early age. Before that, Roberts operated his first home building firm, The Owens Group, which he ran for 20 years. Roberts Group Builders works throughout Bellevue and Seattle on homes that cost up to $12M.
By limiting output to building a few homes each year, the team can pull off projects like a 2014 build that was featured in the New York Times. The 4,200-square-foot home is propped on a hill near Puget Sound and has a living room built around a steel fireplace with walls of glass. Another stunning residence in 2015, which was featured in Seattle Magazine, is a 4,700-square-foot modern home with panoramic views of the Seattle skyline. Its four stories are stacked to resemble a giant Jenga tower. The company is often featured in Luxe, Elle Décor, Northwest Home & Garden, and Custom Builder.
10) Mercer Builders
Website | 206.275.1234 | 3026 78th Avenue SE, Mercer Island, WA 98040
The owner of these custom home contractors started the firm in 2006 with the intention of blending the expertise of large companies with the limited overhead of small ones. To accomplish that, Thom Schultz selected a small group of veteran builders and runs his company “from the field instead of the office.” By eliminating the middleman in this way, Schultz’s operation can focus on the high quality work that is often praised by the AIA.
Mercer Builders, which also does remodeling, has completed homes in over 30 neighborhoods, including Bellevue, Mercer Island, Hunts Point, Fairmount Park, and Sammamish, WA. It recently built a contemporary design on Mercer Island to serve as a sanctuary for clients who desired picturesque views of the Seattle skyline. Another Mercer Island project, completed in 2017, is a 5,500-square-foot home that offers space for private and public gatherings. The home’s masterful layout won the AIA Home of Distinction Award. Projects by Mercer Builders have been written up in Luxe, Gray Magazine, Seattle Magazine, and the Seattle Times.
9) Hamish Anderson
Website | 425.452.6526 |10829 NE 68th Street, Kirkland, WA 98033
Hamish Anderson Custom Homes has been the industry leader in custom home building for almost 30 years. The company was founded by Hamish Anderson in 1990 and has excelled in providing exceptional customer service throughout every stage of the homebuilding process. Tailoring living spaces to an individual or family’s unique need is Hamish Anderson’s passion. They carefully craft homes that reflect each of their customer’s personality, lifestyle and long-term goals. Attention to detail, quality materials and sound construction techniques put this high-end home builder on the top rung.
This family owned and operated business is managed today by Hamish’s two sons, Colin and Jared, who have been taught by Hamish himself to continue on the legacy for quality craftsmanship that has made this company one of the best in the business
The firm, which also does home remodels and speculative home development, belongs to the National Custom Builders Council (NCBC). In 2011, Hamish Anderson Custom Homes was voted Best Builder by 425 Magazine.
8) Charter Construction
Website | 206.382.1900 | 980 South Harney Street, Seattle, WA 98108
Operating in Washington and Oregon, this Seattle headquartered firm is renowned for their high-end modern and traditional custom homes. Charter Construction was founded by Frank Firmani in 1983 with $700 and a shop full of tools. In 2008, then vice-president Peter Saladino became president after Frank’s retirement. Eric Jackson joined as vice-president of Oregon operations. Now, thirty-five years later, Charter is an award winning general contractor that has grown to over 200 employees and is an employee owned company.
In its home state, Charter Construction builds throughout Hunts Point, Medina, Mercer Island, Seattle, and Yarrow Point. Its projects tend to be in the 4,000-square-foot-plus range, with one-of-a-kind amenities, such as a recent build in Alana that features a door resembling a bank vault entry and radiant floors. With a large team of highly skilled workers, the firm can pull off complex designs that required advanced engineering technology. An example is a Palladian-influenced home on Lake Washington’s shore that has an exterior made of cast-in-place concrete.
7) Krekow Jennings
Website | 206.625.0505 | 2011 E. Olive Street, Seattle, WA 98122
Some firms provide a photo gallery on their websites to showcase their completed homes. This highly acclaimed builder instead ticks off a list of its biggest accomplishments, such as building a two-story powder room out of stone and in the shape of a beehive. Or, fashioning a 24-car garage underground in the shape of a cycloid and building a 200k-gallon pond with waterfalls that drop 60 feet. Projects such as these have allowed Seattle-based Krekow Jennings to create a special niche in the market.
Over the past 38 years, the firm has amassed a substantial customer base and wide acclaim: it is licensed in six states and has completed projects in Hong Kong and France. It is owned and run by Barby Salimian, John Blackham, and Scott White, who, in a 2011 profile in Luxe, credited their success to putting trust in local talent. This has allowed them to build projects like a recent home in Seattle that provides 50,000 square feet of living space and required the work of over 200 skilled artisans.
6) BDR Homes
Website | 425.889.5400 | 11100 Main Street, Suite 201, Bellevue, WA 98004
BDRCustom Homes is a subsidiary of BDR Holdings, an award winning diversified real estate development company located in the Puget Sound region. BDR Custom Homes specializes in building luxury homes with fresh new architecture and the latest in home technology. It is run by prominent figures in the residential construction market: Founder and Chairman Todd Bennett and President Richard Obernesser. Each has won numerous industry awards, such as the Gold Nugget for building excellence and two Builder of the Year Awards from the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB). Together, they have also collected more than 100 Marketing and Merchandising Excellence (MAME) honors and awards from Built Green and Built Green Hammer. Bennett is a University of Washington graduate with bachelor’s and master’s degrees in finance, as well as experience in building 2,500 multi-family housing units.
BDR Custom Homes is currently building in the exclusive communities of West Bellevue, Medina, Yarrow Point, Clyde Hill and Mercer Island. It has over 50 ready-to-build home plans to choose from or you can work with their award winning in-house design team to build your vision from scratch.
5) Design Guild
Website | 425.455.3133 | 10001 NE 8th Street, Suite 201, Bellevue, WA 98004
The focus for this award-winning home builder is to construct homes that truly cater to each client’s whims. One client cut magazine pictures of her favorite designs, and Design Guild built a home combining them. The firm was founded in 1976 by George Glass. It is run today by Glass’s three sons, Joel, Steve, and Tom, each with his own expertise in finance, art and design, and operations. The firm’s homes are priced up to $1.2M and appear throughout Beaux Arts Village, Clyde Hill, Redmond, Mercer Island, and West Lake Sammamish.
Each home is built around a theme, such as transitional Zen or Cape Cod-inspired. A 6,000-square-foot Cape Cod shingle home in Issaquah, WA, has custom built accordion doors and walls made of thin Loon Lake stones. Its glass-encased exterior allows unobstructed views of Puget Sound. Design Guild has collected 17 Street of Dreams Awards, including Best Architectural Design, Best Interior Design, and Best Kitchen Design. It has also won 28 MAME Awards, including Best Custom Home.
4) Joseph McKinstry Construction Company
Website | 206.723.4651 | 3304 Beacon Avenue South, Seattle, WA 98144
Joseph McKinstry is a high-profile and highly esteemed builder who is often sought after by The Washington Post for his opinions on housing issues. McKinstry has enjoyed four decades of success in the Pacific Northwest, and his firm is one of the few that has survived amid several market downturns. McKinstry opened in 1977, providing new home construction and residential remodeling. His staff of about 20 employees works throughout Mercer Island, Issaquah, Woodinville, Tacoma, and Lakewood, building styles that range from Queen Anne and Mediterranean to contemporary Craftsman.
The firm is known for builds like a 2017 home, featured in Gray Magazine, which offers 4,480 square feet of space; a façade fashioned out of cedar, concrete, and brick; and ceilings made of tongue-and-groove cedar. Also in 2017 was a waterfront project that masterfully combines interiors and exteriors and was named a Home of Distinction by AIA Seattle. These and other stunning homes have garnered much press coverage in Luxe, Gray Magazine, The Seattle Times, and Luxury Home Quarterly. The firm has been honored on the Luxe Gold List and is regularly ranked on the Remodeling Big 50.
3) Bender Custom Construction
Website | 425.598.2038 | 1800 112th Avenue NE, Bellevue, WA 98004
The father-and-son duo who run this Bellevue firm specialize in high-end new construction and remodeling projects throughout the Pacific Northwest. Don Bender ran Bender Chaffey, a local custom home builder, before teaming up with his son, Steven, to start this new venture in 1984. Since then, the team has completed over 340 custom builds. The firm has what it calls a “close-knit company focus” to remain personally involved with each build. With homes typically costing between $1.5M and $15M, Bender Custom Construction builds in greater Seattle’s ritziest communities.
The firm’s signature style is reflected in a waterfront Washington Park home fitted with an exterior of Spanish limestone. Inside, rooms are separated by glass walls. The home’s innovative roof, water catchment, and solar heating system achieved an LEED Gold 5-star certification. Just as luxurious was a 7,500-square-foot contemporary stone structure on Meydenbauer Bay that has a room devoted to Xbox, a sport court, and a garage with room for 20 cars. The firm has received 10 MAME honors for Best Custom Home. Its stunning projects have been featured in Luxe, Dream Homes Pacific NW, and Green Building & Design.
2) Robert Egge Construction
Website | 425.883.1897 | 14328 157th Avenue, Woodinville, WA 98072
Homes by Robert Egge Construction replicate the opulence of 18th century France. The prominent Woodinville firm, which was founded in 1979 by Robert Egge, builds about one home each year, so it can provide an exceptionally high level of craftsmanship to each. The homes range in size from 3,000 to over 12,000 square feet and appear throughout Puget Sound, Seattle, and the Eastside. Most styles are traditional, Craftsman, contemporary, and Colonial.
The amenities in each home are dictated by the client’s lifestyle and preferences. For example, an estate in Seattle has a recording studio and helipad. One in Anacortes has a 90-foot, barrel-vaulted roof made of pure copper. A special waterfront home is anchored by a 40-foot stone tower and boasts wrought-iron balustrades, hand-carved mahogany doors, half-timber Cherry trim on vaulted ceilings, Brazilian walnut floors, French limestone surrounding fireplaces and secret offices, and the clearest views of the Olympic Mountains. Robert Egge Construction participated in the Seattle Street of Dreams and has won numerous MAME Awards. He is also a Master Builders member for 35 years and NAHB Builder 20 for 8 years.
1) Toth Construction
Website | 206.242.9093 | 6506 Second Avenue South, Seattle, WA 98108
The founder of this firm, Walter Toth, credits his strong German values for allowing him to build homes of the highest quality and to run his legendary company with uncompromising integrity. When Toth arrived in the US at age 15, he had already received a blacksmith’s license in his native Germany. This firm, which was founded in 1976, is now run by his sons, Klaus & Erik, who were schooled in every phase of its operations.
Toth Construction has earned industry recognition as a master builder; it belongs to the Residential Masonry Contractors Association. Its skill with traditional, modern, and contemporary homes has put it on the Luxe Gold List and in the pages of Better Homes and Gardens, This Old House, and Vogue. A March 2017 issue of Pacific NW Magazine showcased one of the firm’s LEED Gold certified projects. A 2017 profile in Luxe praised the Toth team’s artful integration of indoor and outdoor environments for a modern home in Seattle’s Eastside. The home features a loggia with an outdoor kitchen and a solarium covered in glass.