Formerly a nice retirement community with affordable real estate for middle class families, Menlo Park is now known for housing the wealthy. Menlo Park real estate has increased anywhere from 10 to 20 fold over the past 30 years, depending on the area. Because of the boom in the technology industry in the Peninsula, many residents are tech moguls and employees who have transformed the once bohemian town of Menlo Park into an upscale and trendy neighborhood.
Architecture in the area has also evolved—from quaint Craftsman and Ranch homes to contemporary estates and mansions. Now more than ever, architects are vital in providing the dream home of many in Menlo Park. This list features the top architects in the area. They are capable of creating new homes as well as updating existing ones. Our team selected them based on their accreditations, certifications, professional affiliations, and the recognition each firm has received in the form of industry awards, client reviews, and features in the press. We have also laid out the range of services the firms offer, their specializations, and years in the industry.
Ana Williamson Architect
885 Santa Cruz Ave., Menlo Park, CA 94025
Ana Williamson, a member of the American Institute of Architects (AIA), is a California-based architect and Colombia-native. Throughout her career, she continued to be influenced by architects from the international community, such as Alvaro Siza Vieira and Michael Graves Architect. Williamson’s design vision is vibrant, responsive, and dynamic—perfectly encompassing the California lifestyle. She gained exposure to architecture at an early age from her uncle, Vicente Nosi, an Italian-born architect who established a successful practice in South America and was a contemporary of Le Corbusier. She earned her master’s degree in architecture at Princeton University and her bachelor of design from the University of Florida.
In 1994, Williamson opened her own practice in Menlo Park and has been continuing to change the architectural landscape across the Peninsula. She and her diverse team of young architects employ a design process that they describe as intuitive, collaborative, and intensely creative. With a mindset rooted in invention and discovery, AWA provides innovative design solutions that are relative to each project’s challenges and opportunities.
One of the firm’s best works in this remodeled 1960’s Eichler. It overcame the challenge of the unusual placement of the original structure and created a direct connection to the backyard garden that had been previously overlooked. A gently sloping roofline reaches upward towards the tree canopy, creating an additional connection to nature.
Menlo Park, CA
Established in 1994, Blome Architecture is a boutique architecture firm specializing in residential design. Its work can be found in communities at the heart of Silicon Valley such as Menlo Park, Palo Alto, Atherton, Woodside, Portola Valley, Los Altos, Los Altos Hills, and Mountain View. It prides itself on working only on residential projects. Having perfected its process, the firm is able to completely dedicate itself to developing solutions for the perfect home. To date, the firm has more than 300 creations.
Company principal and founder Fred Blome has been a practicing architect since 1978. Prior to starting his firm, he worked with other firms and prominent designers in the San Francisco Bay area. This gave him a depth of knowledge in residential and commercial architectural design, technical skill, and construction understanding. He is also a Certified Green Building Professional and a Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED)-Accredited Professional. This diverse background allows him to effectively lead and guide his designers in addressing the needs of all clients. His work has been featured prominently in Home + Garden, Home + Design, California Homes, and Kitchen and Bath Ideas.
130 Portola Rd., Portola Valley, CA 94028
Portola Valley-based CJW Architecture provides architecture, construction management, and planning services for residential, commercial, and institutional projects in the greater Bay Area. Its leadership team possesses extensive experience and excellent backgrounds in design, architecture, and construction. Principal architect and firm founder, Carter Warr brings more than 25 years of experience to the firm. He founded the firm in 1988 after working on education and institutional projects. He leads programming design, estimating, value engineering, and construction administration. He is joined by Kevin Schwarckopf, William Gutgsell, Kelly Bryant, and Wyatt Powell who each have specializations in architecture, project management, design technology, and construction.
CJW Architecture’s residential portfolio features traditional and contemporary home styles. Craftsman, Mediterranean, and farmhouse silhouettes are often infused with contemporary details to bring a perfect mixture of the old and new. Its projects can be seen in Portola Valley, Menlo Park, and the rest of the Bay Area communities.
2089 Avy Ave., Menlo Park, CA 94025
Saratoga-native Chris Kummerer started in CKA Architects in 2001. He has spent most of his life in San Francisco and is more than familiar with its communities and lifestyle. He pairs this personal background and experience with the area with his extensive education in construction and architecture from the University of Oregon and on-the-job learnings. His training includes working on a construction crew and interning at two Bay Area residential design firms. He is joined by principal designer, Emilie Blase. She worked in lighting design and with another local architecture firm before coming into the firm in 2005.
CKA Architects is an architecture and design studio with a focus on residential projects in Menlo Park, Atherton, Woodside, Saratoga, and Los Altos. Its work is punctuated by careful coordination of practicality and elegance. From a sprawling Mediterranean estate in Saratoga to a classic Craftsman home in Menlo Park, it delivers refined architecture suited to any lifestyle and built around the client’s requirements and needs.
Gary J. Ahern/Focal Point Design
1150 El Camino Real, Menlo Park, CA 94025
Born and raised in Redwood City, he earned his degree in design from the College of Architectural & Environmental Design at Arizona State University. He supplemented his architecture education with studies in Urban Planning as well as graduate studies in construction. All of these have led him to start his own firm in 1991. Focal Point Design runs on Gary’s invaluable experience in designing residential and commercial projects. This boutique architectural practice does custom residential design across the Peninsula as well as light commercial projects in Alaska, Arizona, and Idaho. The firm is responsible for more than half a billion dollars worth of real estate.
Focal Point Design is capable of a wide variety of home styles, from traditional silhouettes to modern contemporary abodes. Its work is defined by intricate details, tastefully curated materials, and efficient layouts.
Jim Maliksi & Associates
675 Menlo Ave., Menlo Park, CA 94025
Specializing in high-end, custom-designed homes, Jim Maliksi & Associates covers everything from full architectural services and conceptual design to construction administration. Jim Maliksi started the firm in Menlo Park in 1989. While a small firm of four architects and an interior designer, it has big capabilities in terms of services and can take on residential and commercial projects. Its size also allows it to offer a more personalized and more focused approach to each project.
The firm serves Menlo Park, Atherton, Los Altos, Palo Alto, Portola Valley, Redwood City, and Woodside. It can take on a variety of residential projects, such as home restoration, remodeling, additions, kitchen and bath remodeling, and new custom homes. Its design expertise spans traditional and contemporary styles, including Ranch, French, and modern Industrial.
Joma Studio Architects
200 Industrial Rd. Suite #150, San Carlos, CA 94070
California architect Antony Joma uses his more than 30 years of architectural experience to deliver bespoke architectural services to residents and businesses across California. His strong sense of space and proficiency in programming and master planning makes him a reliable design and construction partner to many. He has worked on a wide range of project types, including custom single and multifamily residential, urban infill, commercial and light industrial projects in California and East Coast. He studied architecture in England and the U.S. and is a licensed architect of California and Washington D.C.
Residential works from Joma Studio Architects combine classic silhouettes with modern conveniences. Featured here is a Menlo Park Italianate villa that features immense architectural detail and a detached guest house. The 5,900-square-foot home has two stories, lots of large windows for natural light, decorative details, and a large entertainment space at the back.
JSD Architecture + Interiors
1328 Ebener St., Redwood City, CA 94061
JSD Architecture + Interiors is a boutique design and architecture firm that offers design and construction administration services for residential and commercial projects. It prides itself on being detail-oriented and collaborative in every step of the design and construction process. From schematic designs to construction documents to interior design coordination, the firm ensures a smooth and comfortable construction experience for its clients.
Design principal and architect, Jessica Sin, heads this Redwood City-based firm. She has more than eight years of experience in architecture and interior design. Some of her career highlights include having worked for internationally acclaimed interior designer Brian Cluckstein and award-winning architectural firm KPMB architects. She is joined by partner and operations manager, John Leung. He is a Silicon Valley native and has more than 15 years of experience in running a business. In his career, he has stepped in various roles such as project manager, construction manager, property manager, developer, and real estate agent. John is also a LEED Green Associate and a member of the AIA.
Larick Alan Hill Architecture
Portola Valley firm, Larick Alan Hill Architecture, offers services in architecture, interior design, and construction management. It is notable for its command of timeless design, balance of functional requirements, and on-site involvement throughout the process. Its goal is consistent—to produce the highest quality homes and living spaces delivered on time and on budget. Aside from residential work, it also specializes in commercial and office spaces. Its projects can be found all over the San Francisco Peninsula.
This whole house remodel in Menlo Park involved redesigning and restructuring the house. Architectural details were added to give character such as dormers, eaves, and brackets. The firm also added numerous windows to open the house up to its wooded backyard and let natural light illuminate the interiors. By the time it was completed, this charming Craftsman home was more functional and more aesthetically pleasing.
Pacific Peninsula Architecture
718 Oak Grove Ave., Menlo Park, CA 94025
The Pacific Peninsula Group has been designing and building the Peninsula for 30 years. It has three companies under its umbrella—development, architecture, and custom home building. It is a collective of 60 individuals comprising architects, designers, project managers, coordinators, and custom service representatives. The company has a full suite of services design and building services that include pre-design consultation, preliminary design, design development, bidding and contract negotiations, construction progress reviews, and sustainable design and building.
Stephen Ackley established the company in 1989 with partner Bradley Smith. The two have a common background in finance, banking, and real estate. They guide projects through today’s complex development environment by evaluating real estate development opportunities and interpreting modern trends. They are joined by co-principals John Maxwell and Jude Kirk. Maxwell heads the company’s custom home group while Kirk serves as principal architect and head of the architectural group. Additionally, Kirk is an NCARB-certified architect as well as a Certified Green Building Professional.
Twenty years ago, Pacific Peninsula Architecture primarily designed traditional homes, from Meditteranenean to shingle-style to colonial. Today, it specializes in contemporary architecture that uses more organic and warm materials. Its homes are contemporary light-filled spaces created within the framework of timeless architectural styles. These projects have been featured on Architectural Record, California Homes, Veranda magazine, California Home and Design, and Luxe.
Samuel Sinnott & Company
1127 Chestnut St., Menlo Park, CA 94025
Another firm that provides construction services along with architectural design is Samuel Sinnott & Company. With a team of in-house, licensed architectural and construction staff, it is capable of providing turnkey services in architecture, construction, and interior design. Its residential work is defined by contemporary elements mixed with traditional forms to create fresh interpretations of successful styles. It has also done architectural work for retail, office, hotel, multifamily, and institutional projects. Additionally, the firm is committed to green design and construction practices. It uses LEED design standards established by the U.S. Green Building Council for new structures or the rating system created for existing residences by Build It Green in Berkeley.
Samuel Sinnott, AIA, started the company in 1984 in Menlo Park. In the years since, the company has compiled a long list of satisfied clients in the South Peninsula. An example of a Menlo Park project from the firm is this classic home done in the French Provincial style. It features mahogany doors and windows, cherry wood floors, bronze railings, a limestone fireplace, and a spacious patio and driveway.
Zak Johnson Architects
900 College Ave., Menlo Park, CA 94025
As a residential architect, Zak Johnson Architects focuses on creating designs geared towards the family. For the firm, residential architecture must reflect a family’s needs and design values. It balances practicality with emotional and aesthetic qualities for a calm, comfortable, and beautiful house. The firm works on interior designs and architectural services for new houses, home additions, and remodels. Zak Johnson Architects is a partnership between Karen Zak and sister-in-law Kelly W. Johnson. They earned their bachelor’s and master’s degrees in Architecture from the University of Michigan. The pair have lived and worked in California for more than 20 years.
This new two-story home in the Allied Arts neighborhood is just a sample of the firm’s work in Menlo Park. The house is designed in a traditional style and defined with a warm appeal and clean modern lines. Large windows and multi-paneled doors open up the home to natural light and to the surrounding porches and patios—engaging the site to indoor/outdoor living of California and the heritage oak tree in front.
2053 E Bayshore Rd. Suite #14, Redwood City, CA 94063
Zeden Jones leads Redwood City-based Zephyr Architecture—a commercial and residential design firm that offers architectural services as well as construction and engineering services. Jones has more than 20 years of experience in commercial tenant improvements and store development. He has worked with numerous small businesses and full-service restaurants serving as the project manager, construction manager, and design head.
While his background shows great competence in commercial architecture and construction, Jones is also well-versed in residential architecture and design. He has led projects as small as kitchen remodels and as large as multi-million dollar custom homes around the Bay Area. He and his team do everything from site planning and 3D modeling to civil engineering and energy analysis.