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The 10 Best Residential Architects in El Cerrito, California

8 Min Read

Choosing a home design is equally challenging and engaging. On one hand, it is an opportunity to personalize the home in accordance with the lifestyle and design style of choice. On the other hand, it is a massive task that requires logistical and financial coordination.

Luckily, the El Cerrito area has plenty of residential architectural firms that provide top-quality architectural services that follow the latest in design techniques and timeless design virtues. This list features the best residential architects in El Cerrito, California. To come up with this list, our editorial team has created a list of local firms and assessed each based on a set of criteria that takes into account each firm’s work history, capabilities, and overall quality of work. 


Jace Architecture

76 Ramona Ave., Oakland, CA 94611

Jace Levinson is a prominent figure in local residential architecture and design, having strong ties with the academic community and the design community. Levinson is a guest lecturer of architecture and interior design at UC Berkeley and a Masters in Architecture alumnus of the university. His influence as an academic figure and an architect has brought positive relationships with many in his community.

The Jace Architecture portfolio is a treasure trove of contemporary architecture and sleek residential design. The featured project is the Horne Residence in El Cerrito. The home packs a clean look that blends perfectly with the times. It has a two-tone look, defined by the fluted metal section and an Earth-toned section. 


Fox Design Group Architects

116 Washington Ave. Ste. D, Richmond, CA 94801

Established in 1985, Fox Design Group Architects is a full-service architectural firm specializing in extensive residential and commercial architectural design. Company principal Dennis Fox is an active member of the community, serving as the consulting Architect for the Richmond Main Street Initiative and on the Board of Directors of the Chaparral House in Berkeley. His team of talented architects and seasoned design professionals have put in the work in each residential project, yielding high-quality results that blend in perfectly with each homeowner’s needs and demands. 

The Fox residential portfolio includes timeless residential projects such as this featured brick home. The home has an old-world appeal that doesn’t feel out of place in modern communities. Throughout the exterior, clay brick has surrounded the home from the landing stairs to the top of the home’s facade.


Sogno Design Group

1496-C Solano Ave., Albany, CA 94706

Sogno Design Group is an architectural studio that specializes in forging relationships with local homeowners, trade partners, and industry professionals. Principal Architect Kathryn Rogers has been in the industry since her graduation from Virginia Polytechnic Institute in 1988. She has laid the foundation for the firm through her strong track record in custom residential design and the way the firm interacts with the local community. The firm is known for its close-knit operations and efficient communication, resulting in many repeat clients.

The Sogno portfolio is a showcase of the firm’s ability to complete residential projects in multiple design styles. The Sogno team has designs that are in tune with Craftsman, modern, midcentury, and varying styles. The featured project is a Modern Craftsman home that found an intersection in between two different styles and made it a completely new look. The home combines elements of modern and craftsman looks through smart material selection and layout.


DSA Architects

1107 Virginia St., Berkeley, CA 94702

Offering a wide selection of residential design projects, DSA Architects has been around for over 30 years. Daniel Smith & Associates have come to be known for their site-responsive and creative design approach taking into account each client’s wishes and personalities. DSA is accredited by the American Institute of Architects (AIA) and the Architecture for Humanity for their efforts in green architecture and emphatic design. This design philosophy is visible in the firm’s residential portfolio.

Projects such as the Modern home featured shows this empathy and skill by the firm. The home has a vertical layout that supports the structure of the house as well as the compartmentalization of rooms and spaces within. The most prominent feature of the home is its interesting shape that follows unconventional geometric patterns and irregular window sizes, channeling an eclectic look and assuring that the home’s silhouette is unique.


Kaplan Architects

49 Zoe St. Ste. #10, San Francisco, CA 94107

A name synonymous with forward-thinking residential design and experience, Kaplan Architects is an architectural firm dedicated to custom homes, renovations, and additions. Principal Edward Kaplan has studied architecture in the halls of UC Berkeley in both his bachelor’s and master’s degrees. He is also a revered architect in the San Francisco area that gives the firm a favorable position in keeping strong relationships with clients and the community at large. 

Photo by Mitchell Shenker.

A trailblazer in design concepts, Kaplan has captured the attention of publications including Northern California Home and Garden, Sunset Magazine, and HGTV along with a strong following in Bay Area neighborhoods. Among the firm’s long list of gorgeous projects is the Tiny House in El Cerrito. Kaplan designed the restoration of this estate with the balance of preservation and recontextualization in mind. The result is a chic petite home with spacious interiors and an original style without feeling misplaced in the fast-growing El Cerrito setting. Learn more about their work at www.kaplanarchitects.com.


Trachtenberg Architects

2421 Fourth St., Berkeley, CA 94710

Trachtenberg Architects is a residential, commercial, and specialty use architectural studio known for pushing the boundaries of modern architectural techniques. The Trachtenberg team is a roster of talented architects led by David Trachtenberg, Isaiah Stackhouse, and Mauricio De La Pena, with the guidance of Robert Nishimori as principal emeritus. The leadership team has strong credentials with education from the likes of Harvard Graduate School of Design, UC Berkeley, and Anahuac University. 

The firm’s portfolio features outstanding residential projects done in various home styles including modern and mid century estates. This eclectic home in Beverly Hills has landmark features that have directly taken reference from 19th century poet Charles Keeler’s line “Berkeley architecture is hillside gardening with a few rooms in case of rain”. The home features garden spaces that are central to the home’s design elements. 


The Architects Office

6008 Chelton Drive, Oakland, CA 94611

The Architects Office is a boutique architectural studio known for its polished approach to residential design. The firm has put in award-winning services all over Northern California for over a decade, building strong working relationships with local homeowners, trade partners, and relevant organizations. Principal founder and senior architect Steve Swearengen studied Architecture and Urban Planning from the University of Washington and was a construction executive prior to opening The Architects Office. 

The Oakland Midcentury home displayed represents the firm’s capacity in residential design and ability to fit these designs into the homeowners’ lifestyle and personal wishes. The midcentury home also puts a strong emphasis on functionality and versatility, most of these spaces having multiple purposes.


Studio Bergtraun Architects

5500 Doyle St., Emeryville, CA 94608

Studio Bergtraun Architects is a prominent architectural firm founded in 1988 by Alex Bergtraum to extend his professional expertise to the California neighborhoods from Alameda to Sonoma. The firm has a clear-cut understanding of the California lifestyle and the intricacies of indoor-outdoor living. Studio Bergtraun is equipped with the formal training and comprehensive knowledge of the building techniques and material selection that best fit the West Coast residential architectural design.

The firm also makes a conscious effort to put in more ecologically-sound materials and designs that do respect the surrounding site. The featured project displays these sentiments with the use of quaint woodwork and strong emphasis on indoor-outdoor layout. The home has an undeniable appeal and clear fit in the California area where it was built. 


Robert Nebolon Architects

801 Camelia St. Ste. E, Berkeley, CA 94710

A Bay Area institution since 1993, Robert Nelson Architects is an award-winning firm built on the understanding that architecture is more than just design principles; it is also understanding the home’s topography, views, sunlight, and local climate. As seen in the pages of Sunset Magazine, 7×7 Design Magazine, HGTV, and SF Curbed, the firm is a purveyor of high-caliber modern and contemporary home projects.

One of the firm’s many beautiful works is this Modern California home. This project showcases a retreat-like atmosphere with a laidback nature brought upon by the high ceilings, natural lighting, and a unique wall of greenery and flowers. 


House + House Architects

1499 Washington St., San Francisco, CA 94109

Steven and Cathi House are architects who craft unique, magical and harmonious environments. Deeply sensitive to elements of form, color, natural light, and movement, House + House creates a tangible spirit within each home they design, molded to the process of living. They have produced a diverse body of work reflecting their passion for site specific, well choreographed buildings.

Perched on a steep slope with expansive views, this 3,500 square foot home gently embraces its site. Tucked into the land with primary access to the upper floor, a long level driveway leads to a level entry garden courtyard. Large windows extrude from the building face, divided and framed with massive cedar timbers, breaking the box, reaching toward the breathtaking views of windswept hillsides and sculpted fields of golden native grasses.

Over the years, the firm’s work has been built in California, Florida, Hawaii, and Virginia as well as Mexico, Honduras and the Caribbean. House + House Architects has received more than 50 design awards and has been featured in many national and international publications including two monographs.

Author

  • Shahe Demirdjian

    Shahe is an Editor at Home Builder Digest with around four years of experience as a writer and editor in the construction space. Shahe has always had a huge interest in commercial/residential construction and real estate. On top of his experience at Home Builder Digest, he has two years of experience as a Construction Partner Specialist at BuildZoom and six years of experience as a licensed real estate agent. In his work, he takes advantage of his expertise to take complex technical jargon from those realms and transform them into accessible, engaging content, blending his business administration expertise with a degree from Arizona State University with his experiential insights. Expertise: Architecture, Home Design and Build, Home Remodeling Key Highlights: Arizona Real Estate - Licensed Salesperson Education: Arizona State University - Bachelors in Business Administration