These days, more homeowners are making the switch from buying new properties or using caretaking facilities to building accessory dwelling units (ADUs) on their own lots. ADUs are a popular choice for those who would like to house in-laws or family members, or simply for those who would like to expand their properties.
This list compiles the best accessory dwelling unit builders in Oakland, builders who can help homeowners customize their dream units to fit their lifestyles and needs. These builders were chosen for their backgrounds, their experience with these units, and their ability to work around the restrictions of lots and properties while still suiting the needs of their clients.
1889 Alcatraz Ave. Berkeley, CA 94703
Serving Berkeley, Alameda, Oakland, Piedmont, and the greater East Bay Area, HDR Remodeling is a full-service residential design-build and remodeling company led by founder and chairman Philip Anderson and president Chris Fellows. For over three decades, the firm has been providing homeowners with quality design, construction, and residential remodeling services.
The firm’s work in ADU building is particularly stellar, with the firm earning a few awards for its work on these units. One example is this Alcatraz ADU, which won the 2019 National Association of the Remodeling Industry (NARI) Contractor of the Year Award and a 2019 Chrysalis Award. This ADU was completed in collaboration with local architect Carrie Shores of Inspired Independence. The unit was built for a client who was ready to downsize to a smaller footprint and live with her son and grandson on their property in Oakland. The home was designed for aging-in-place: zero threshold transitions, contrasting floors and counters, a roll-in shower, and many more features to accommodate changing needs. Overall, the unit’s environmental impact is small and the design is low maintenance. And although it took up the place of the existing garden, the roof was engineered to support a container garden to make up for this loss of yard space for gardening.
1212 Glen Avenue, Berkeley, CA 94708
McDunn ADUs began doing business with the specific goal of becoming the premier ADU builder in the East Bay. Since 2018, the firm has completed 20 ADUs which received rave reviews from both clients and construction partners. Prior to engaging in this specialized practice, the firm was engaged in whole house remodeling, apartment building repositioning, and speculative redevelopment for investment and for clients. The firm has since completed over 150 projects for these different project types.
Pictured below is an example of the firm’s work on a modern farmhouse ADU completed in 2020. From the outside, the unit looks like a charming shed. Inside, the home is compact and complete, housing a living room, a kitchen, a bathroom, and an upstairs bedroom. The unit has enough space for the basics, and it lays these spaces out functionally, for a simple, structured abode. Certainly, the occupants want for nothing in this basic but modern ADU.
Canyon Design Build
3630 Park Blvd, Oakland, CA 94610
Canyon Design Build is a full-service design-build general contractor that offers comprehensive building services from concept to completion. That includes preconstruction, including space planning, design, architectural drafting, and obtaining permits. Although the firm was established in 1966, it continues to cultivate a reputation for seamless teamwork and craftsmanship through the hundreds of residential building and remodeling projects it has completed and continues to complete today.
An example of the firm’s work on a residential project is pictured below. This modular glass ADU functions as a guest house, office, and a private gym, all in one. The structure seamlessly brings together industrial aesthetics and green design practices to create a multifunctional, indoor/outdoor living experience. Situated on an oak-covered slope, the home is able to take maximum advantage of the view to the east, with sliding doors giving direct access to a wood deck.
2120 University Ave, Berkeley, CA 94704
New Avenue is a growing design and construction practice that includes a team of designers and builders with diverse experiences across projects of all types, sizes, budgets, and styles. The firm’s practice is collaborative, and it continues to build relationships with partners nationwide. The firm’s work has been featured in the San Francisco Chronicle, The Atlantic, Sunset Magazine, and The Wall Street Journal.
Pictured below is an example of the firm’s work on a backyard guest suite in Berkeley. The unit used to be an old cow barn before the firm stepped in and transformed the space into a home office and guest room. The design made space for conversion into a full accessory dwelling unit in the future by adding a kitchen. The firm also maintained the existing building’s footprint, which sat on both the side and rear lines of the property.
2705 Webster St., #5755 Berkeley, CA 94705
Proyecto is a full-service construction and remodeling company that keeps a full, in-house staff of skilled technicians and project managers to ensure project goals are met. The firm also has a network of trusted design professionals who help clients realize the visions they have for their homes. Because its practice is so collaborative, the firm is able to build and remodel homes on budget and on time.
Pictured below is an example of the firm’s work on an ADU. Completed in 2021, this unit was situated in a tight spot on the owner’s lot. This required making use of the limited space to its maximum potential. The ADU includes a kitchen, a shower, and plenty of closet space. It also features exposed beams and a skylight that makes the area feel airy and spacious.
Oliver Builders, Inc.
1031 Pardee Street, Berkeley, CA 94710
Oliver Builders, Inc. is a residential building and remodeling company whose services include new homes, extensive second-story additions, kitchens, and bathrooms. The firm is also proud of its work on woodwork, custom staircases, and high-end finishes. For the firm, being a builder in an earthquake-prone area is no small task, which is why Oliver Builders is prepared for the challenges that arise when considering how natural elements and disasters will play into its designs and builds.
Pictured below is an example of the firm’s work on an ADU. Situated above a garage, this unit is a great example of how to maximize limited space. The unit has a kitchen, a living room/home office, and a bathroom. It features a clean, grey and white color palette for the walls and the furniture. The room’s functional spaces, such as the kitchen and living room, are well-delineated from each other, but they still blend well together into the space, making the unit one wide and spacious entertainment space, should the owners need it to be one.
Design Draw Build
2866 Webster St, Oakland, CA 94609
Located in Oakland, Design Draw Build is a design-build firm that offers architecture and construction services in residential, commercial, and civic sectors. It also offers custom design and architectural fabrication. The firm was founded by Tyler Kobick in 2011, however Tyler has over two decades of experience in both architecture and general contracting.
Pictured above is an example of the Design Draw Build’s work on the Warwick ADU. From the exterior, this ADU looks grand and rather large for an ADU. The unit consists of two stories of functional space, with the second floor connecting to the main house through an ipe roof deck and bridge. The interior of the ADU include space for offices, a living area, bedrooms, and other outdoor areas.
1136 Parker Street, Berkeley, CA 94702
Previously known as Kimmich Construction, Axiom ADU is a construction company that has been serving the East Bay for more than 10 years. The firm, led by Benjamin Kimmich, adds living space to homes and properties across the East Bay by offering ADUs, including additions, conversions, and backyard homes. In addition to these services, the firm builds both prefab and custom homes, as well as design-build services.
Pictured below is an example of the firm’s work on an ADU. From the outside, this unit has a modern style, with a roof that cantilevers slightly over the structure. The mixed-material façade also adds texture and character to the unit. Inside, the home has a cozy floor plan, featuring a bed, a study area, and a couple of chairs and a table to entertain the occasional guest. As Axiom ADU says, although the space is small in square footage, it is definitely big in style.
585 Mandana Blvd #6, Oakland, CA 94610
With over a decade of experience in remodeling and design, Dror Postiner and Dor Ashkar run A2Z Remodeling, a locally-owned business serving the Bay Area. The firm specializes in remodeling, but also offers garage conversion, room additions, and ADU services. The firm encourages homeowners to build ADUs in particular so that they can get more out of their properties and increase their value.
Pictured below is an example of the firm’s work on an ADU. With its dark silhouette, this unit stands out from its woodsy surroundings without looking out of place. The roof overhang adds a dramatic touch to the modern structure, making the unit look impressive and slightly imposing. Inside, the amenities include a bedroom, a living room, and a couple of chairs and a table by the glass doors. This unit is perfect for compact living, as well as entertaining occasional guests.
Manzanita Design Build
2923 Martin Luther King Jr Way, Oakland, CA 94609
Comprising seasoned builders and detail-oriented designers, Manzanita Design Build is a design and construction firm offering design-build and remodeling services to clients in the East Bay. The firm is led by founder, designer, and general contractor Ben Obriecht. Together with his team, they create warm and light-filled spaces that reflect the lifestyle of their occupants.
Pictured below is an example of the firm’s work on an ADU. This 400-square-foot unit was built as a full studio apartment for a classic Berkeley shingle home. The firm created both a very open feeling for the unit and a compact footprint by connecting the large outdoor patio with an intentional window layout. Manzanita also designed the backyard cottage to double as a home office by incorporating a custom murphy bed/couch unit.