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Seattle’s housing market performed relatively well in 2018, with numbers of active listings climbing to as high as 60 percent in the latter part of the year. Today, data from Zillow shows that the city’s median home value has hit $728,300—a 0.9 percent jump from its previous annual record. Moreover, home buyers can expect a median home price of $702,900 from the currently listed properties in the area.
Buying a home is always a big financial decision and while there are several real estate listings that aspiring homeowners can look at, others consider the option of building their homes from the ground up through an in-depth and personalized process. Building a custom home allows a homeowner to create a living space that embodies their unique lifestyle, a sanctuary that celebrates their individualities in the form of a safe, comfortable, and well-built residence.
Below is the list of Seattle’s best custom home builders that have helped the city’s most discriminating clients transform many dream home visions into practical reality. The ranking is based on the firms’ quality of work, their accolades, their years of experience, and their professional memberships. We also took into account the attention they received from local, regional, and national publications.
15) Carlisle Classic Homes
7353 15th Ave. NW Seattle, WA 98117
Carlisle Classic Homes is known for their efficient system that ensures clear and constant communication between builder and client. Since Rob Carlisle founded the company in 2002, he has proven how this method can help future homeowners take informed steps when it comes to decisions involved in home-building.
Included in the firm’s customer-centered approach are weekly status meetings, email updates, and phone calls. Additionally, it offers a comprehensive Gantt chart that shows the most important milestones over the course of the building process.
It’s no wonder the company is nationally recognized. In a 2010 Guild Quality survey, the firm got the highest marks of customer service and work quality satisfaction. In the following year, Remodeling Magazine included the firm in the Top 50 list for the best remodelers—-not just in Washington, but in the entire U.S.
14) Quadrant Homes
15900 SE Eastgate Way Suite #300, Bellevue, WA 98008
Quadrant Homes’s approach is designed to showcase the individuality and uniqueness of every custom home that they build — and one of the initial services that it offers is a lifestyle consultation with its clients. This step allows the firm’s designers to understand how future homeowners visualize their dream house according to how they live, their indulgences, hobbies, and design preferences.
Aside from the subjective factors that shape the home’s final design, the same consultation will give clients an overall picture of how their new homes will operate and function. Homeowners are informed about all specifics, from something as technical as the electrical and mechanical aspects of running a house, to something as personal as selecting exterior paint colors.
The firm’s 50 plus years of experience has led them to improve on these steps and the results have been truly outstanding. And thanks to its high-quality home projects, it has won notable accolades such as the 2016 Gold Nugget Award for Single Family Detached Home, the New Home Council Tribute Awards for Best Home Design, and Builder Magazine’s 2015 Builder of the Year.
13) Estes Builders
259003 Hwy. 101 Sequim, WA 98382
Kevin Estes is a third-generation builder who founded Estes Builders as a one-man operation in 1989. Today, it has grown into a dynamic team of designers, experts, and builders with a current portfolio of over 450 completed homes.
The firm has sealed its reputation as one of the top builders in the industry by winning the nation’s highest distinctions, including America’s Best Builder, the National Housing Quality Gold Award, and the 2013 Avid® Custom Builder Diamond Award winner. These accomplishments helped the firm develop a solid network of builders, designers, and managers to complete one of Seattle’s best teams of homebuilders.
The firm is a staunch advocate of green building, with a construction portfolio showcasing ranch, farmhouse, and sustainable modern homes. Kevin Estes, the firm’s founder, ensures that every project is c environmentally responsible relying on efficient designs and a careful, informed choice of materials that refuses to compromise on quality and durability.
12) Mercer Builders
3026 78th Ave. SE Mercer Island, WA 98040
When Thom Schultz established Mercer Builders in 2006, his dream of combining the expertise of large companies with the overhead of boutique firms came to life. Today, the firm is one of the largest in the region, with specializations in luxury residential construction and high-end remodeling.
The founder’s unique vision has helped develop an efficient approach that is characterized by a direct and hands-on project management style. Unlike other large construction companies, the firm runs its construction from the field, not from an office. That unique approach is made possible through highly-trained superintendents and a well-organized crew that handles every phase of the construction process.
Many regional publications such as Gray Magazine, Luxe, and the Seattle Times Pacific NW Living Magazine have taken notice of the company’s impressive portfolio, highlighting notable projects such as the AIA-distinguished Mercer Island Residence—a modern haven that sits on a beautiful piece of land overlooking Lake Washington.
11) Ventana Construction
5958 California Ave. SW Seattle, WA 98136
Ventana Construction is an EPA-Lead Safe Certified professional that specializes in custom home building, home addition, and home remodeling. The firm’s accomplishments can be attributed to its reliance on an equal balance between quality construction and effective management. Staying true to this approach has been a constant inspiration for the company’s current principals.
The company was founded by Clarence Higuera, a master carpenter with over 30 years of industry experience, and Anne Higuera, a Certified Graduate Remodeler (CGR). Together, the couple leads a team of seasoned professionals and craftsmen, and these collaborations and their high-quality results helped them win several recognitions such as the 2010 Chrysalis Award, and the 2013 Westside Business of the Year.
Most of the firm’s awards and press features recognize the company’s stunning remodeling projects and green home constructions. Its other accomplishments can be read on the pages of Seattle Times, Seattle Homes & Lifestyles, and Professional Remodeler Magazine.
10) CTA Design Builders
1101 N Northlake Way Suite #201, Seattle, WA 98103
CTA Design Builders Inc is a design-build company that specializes in custom home construction and remodels. Its founder, Julie Campbell and Buzz Tenenbom, are both AIA-certified architects. That notable affiliation explains why the company has relied on art and pragmatism as the defining factors in designing and building many of Seattle’s architecturally-stunning homes.
The firm’s team is composed of architects, interior designers, and a residential contractor, whose ultimate goal is to create living spaces that are beautiful, functional, and enduring. Most importantly, as a custom home builder, the firm collaborates with future homeowners during a process that starts with an initial consultation, information gathering, schematic design, document processing, design development, and finally, construction.
The firm’s modern, Mid-century modern, contemporary, traditional, and Craftsman-inspired homes can be found around the greater Seattle area, and in several of the finest neighborhoods of the Pacific Northwest.
9) Design Guild Homes
10001 NE 8th St. 201 Bellevue, WA 98004
George Glass founded Design Guild Homes in 1976, and he has passed down the company as a legacy to his sons, Joel, Steve, and Tom Glass, the firm’s current principals. These brothers grew up learning about every aspect of the family trade, and eventually pursued their own expertise that ranges from art, to design, to finance, and operations.
Since the firm was established, it has been singled out for acclaim from the industry’s biggest award-winning bodies. For instance, the firm was once chosen as the MAME Award winner for Best Custom Home for their Marabella Estate, the Wood, Stone, Water Residence, and the Fleur De Mercer home. In the past, the Seattle Times and the AIA Times also featured one of their homes as the American Institute of Architects’ (AIA) Home of the Month.
Craftsman, contemporary, Ranch and Mediterranean-inspired residences are the most common home styles showcased in the firm’s rich portfolio, and many of these residences can be found in Washington’s high-end neighborhoods.
8) Roberts Group Custom
5914 Lake Washington Blvd. NE Kirkland, WA 98033
Roberts Group Custom’s goal is to build residential homes that embody the firm’s ethics and at the same time, create a lasting contribution to the homeowners’ quality of life. Unlike other construction companies, the firm has chosen to take on a limited number of projects annually, in order to guarantee the highest caliber of work and the highest quality of homes.
Owen Roberts, the firm’s principal, is a third-generation builder who mastered the craft of carpentry at a very young age. He leads a crew composed of seasoned designers, carpenters, and supervisors with proven skills and experience in their respective roles in the home building process.
The firm’s projects that range from contemporary, modern, Ranch, to European-styled residences have caught the attention of many publications such as the Seattle Homes, Luxe, The New York Times, and Elle Decor.
7) Walter F. Toth Construction
6506 Second Ave. S Seattle, WA. 98108
Walter F. Toth established his firm in 1976 and he led that firm until his sons, Klaus and Erik, took over the company’s daily operations. Today the brothers handle all levels of the business processes, including the management of the firm’s development projects across Seattle and the surrounding areas of Puget Sound.
The Toth family’s values of integrity and high-quality craftsmanship have been incorporated into their firm’s everyday practices, with its principals leading their team of designers, managers, and builders under an exacting, cohesive collaboration. Additionally, the firm’s work philosophy has helped it secure memberships in several organizations like the Master Builders Association (MBA), the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC), Built Green, and the Residential Masonry Contractors Association (RMCA).
Walter F. Toth Construction’s traditional, modern, and contemporary-styled luxury homes have been featured in industry’s leading magazines such as The Pacific Northwest, Home by Design, This Old House, Jim Olson Houses, and Luxe.
6) Bender Custom Construction
1800 112th Ave. NE Suite #210, W Bellevue, WA 98004
Bender Custom Construction has a 36-year experience in home construction and remodeling. But the firm is not just a builder of Washington’s premier custom homes, it’s also a long-standing member of Built Green, an organization that helps the nation’s biggest developers to advocate for environmentally-sound design and eco-friendly construction practices.
Luxe Homes Magazine, Dreamhouse Pacific Northwest Magazine, Green Building & Design, are just three of the several publications that have featured the company’s sustainable buildings, inspired by the modern, contemporary, ranch, Spanish, and Craftsman styles.
Don and Steve Bender is the father-and-son duo responsible for the firm’s outstanding milestones. Relying on their expertise and an efficient team of builders, the company can handle eight to ten projects simultaneously. Today, the firm has completed over 360 luxury custom homes throughout Washington’s Pacific Northwest neighborhoods.
5) Rainier Custom Homes
East Side, Bellevue, Mercer Island, WA 98040
For more than 25 years, Rainier Custom Homes has been a premier home builder and residential remodeler on the Eastside, Bellevue, Mercer Island and now the South Sound Gig Harbor area. With a depth of experience in building, architecture and construction management, Rainier works tirelessly to help each client and design team plan the build of their new home or residential remodel. The team at Rainier Custom Homes is professional and a strong emphasis on communication along with transparent cost planning fosters a collaborative team approach to help maximize the individual goals of every project.
One notable project that has caught the attention of several publications including the Seattle Times and the Pacific Northwest Magazine is the 1946 concrete-and-glass Innis Arden Residence. The firm took the time to understand their clients wants and needs then helped select the design team commissioned to create the vision. The design and construction teams partnered with their client to transform an old architectural landmark into a modern structural wonder.
4) Joseph McKinstry Construction Company
3304 Beacon Ave. S Seattle, WA 98144
Joseph McKinstry Construction Company (JMCC) has been around for over 30 years, incorporating its founder’s knowledge of old-world craftsmanship into every construction project. With the company’s decades of experience, it has delivered cost-efficient and on-time results by overcoming the complex challenges in construction: tight budgets and schedules, difficult sites, and fine-tune detailing for the most discriminating clients.
One of the firm’s most significant construction and remodeling collaborations was with Janof Architecture’s Cue Amy Janof. The two firms worked on the notable Arts and Crafts Bungalow—a Great American Home awardee in Beaux Arts that has been featured in publications such as Sunset Magazine and the American Bungalow Stylebook.
JMCC’s other projects showcase a wide variety of traditional and emerging types of architectures such as Mediterranean, Queen Anne, modern, and contemporary-styled residences.
3) Prestige Residential Construction
1200 S Angelo St. Suite A, Seattle, WA 98108
The “prestige” in the firm’s name is not just an empty word; the term can accurately describe the company’s prestigious track record as one of Washington’s most distinguished residential home builders—all thanks to principal Jeff Santerre’s detail-oriented approach to custom home building.
Since the firm was founded in 1981, Prestige Residential Construction has been making their mark on the industry, winning accolades that go as far back to 1992. In its early years, it won the Master Builders awards, the Marketing and Merchandising awards, and Excellence in Remodeling awards. Recently, the firm has been recognized as the BALA Gold winner for One of a Kind Custom Home Award, and the 2016 President’s Honorary Award for the Most Innovative Material Combination category.
The firm’s ranch, modern, Tudor and French-Mediterranean luxury custom homes have been featured in several publications such as Master Builder Magazine, Seattle Met Magazine, Seattle Times NW Homes, and Luxe Pacific Northwest.
2) Robert Egge Construction
14328 157th Ave. NE Woodinville, WA 98072
Robert Egge Construction specializes in constructing luxury custom homes and most of its projects have been built on view, waterfront, and estate properties in the greater Seattle area. Scanning the firm’s portfolio will reveal a stunning parade of high-end contemporary, traditional, Colonial, and Craftsman residences.
Since it was founded in 1979, the firm has gained the approval of the industry’s leading organizations, securing their memberships in the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB), NAHB’s 20 Club Program, the Builders Association of Washington, and the Master Builders Association (MBA). Furthermore, the firm’s participation in the Seattle Street of Dreams resulted in multiple Marketing and Merchandising Excellence (MAME) recognition.
Robert Egge, the firm’s founder, believes that the quality of every home construction relies on the skills of the builder, especially when examining the crucial details involved in each stage of the construction process.
1) Hammer & Hand
1501 E Madison St. #250 Seattle, WA 98122
Hammer & Hand offers a wide variety of residential and commercial building services, but the company’s project scope and its ability to handle simple to complex constructions are not the only reasons why it is one of the best firms in Washington. The company is not just a typical general contractor but a technological innovator and a climate solution maker. The firm’s specialty in ranch, modern, contemporary and traditional architectures is combined with its knowledge in creating environmentally-friendly homes in Seattle and Portland. The firm was founded in 1995 by a Reed College alumni, Daniel Thomas.
The Madrona Passive House is a perfect example that highlights the balanced combination of the elegance of contemporary architecture and the practicality of a high-performance building, with both elements working together to create a resource-efficient, environmentally-responsive home.
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