Located on the east side of San Francisco Bay, Oakland is known as one of the busiest ports in the world for container ships. Its inhabitants live in an eclectic mix of house and building styles. In this area, housing is cheaper than that of San Francisco, with a median price of $458,500. Common architecture styles include Italianate, San Francisco Stick, and Queen Anne. Some of these styles can be seen in the many historical homes scattered around the city.
One of these historic homes is the Dunsmuir-Hellman Estate. Located in eastern Oakland, this 16,224 square foot house was designed by San Francisco architect Eugene Freeman. It was also the filming location for 1979 horror film Phantasm. Built in the Neoclassical Revival style (a style quite popular in the 1800s), it is a 37 room building featuring wood-paneled public rooms, 10 fireplaces, a Tiffany-style dome, and inlaid parquet floors. The area also has several other homes designed by well-known Bay Area architects, such as Julia Morgan, Bernard Maybeck, and Joseph Eichler.
This list features a plethora of general contractors specializing in remodeling homes. Some only do kitchen or bathroom remodels, while others extend projects through the entire house and give clients a new home that still has the house’s original look and feel. All of the firms on this list have been evaluated on their accolades, memberships in associations, craftsmanship, and customer service; they are all capable of building a home that will meet and exceed your expectations.
If you are thinking about remodeling a kitchen, we recommend checking each builder’s license with the local licensing board, speaking to past clients, and using our bidding system to get competitive quotes from at least 3 contractors. Getting multiple bids is the best way to ensure you get a fair price and that bids include the complete scope of work.
13) Rojas Construction and Remodeling
2224 Tiffin Road, Oakland, CA 94602
Rojas Construction and Remodeling has more than 30 years of experience in the construction industry. Besides design/ build, the firm also does small repairs, painting, and exteriors. The firm mostly does residential homes in modern, traditional, and contemporary styles, but it also dabbles in commercial work. Known for its construction work, Rojas Construction and Remodeling has done 1273 projects in Alameda, Oakland, Danville, and Walnut Creek. Founded by Tito Gutierrez, the firm won the 2018 Pulse of the City for Excellence in Customer Satisfaction.
One of the firm’s notable projects is a modern kitchen remodel. Open to the dining and living rooms, the kitchen has dark slate countertops and white lacquer wall cabinets. The floor is also decorated with diagonal ceramic tiles.
12) DLR Custom Builders
2160 41st Ave., Oakland, CA 94601
Founded in 1983, DLR Custom Builders is a member of the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB). Its principal, Daniel Ramirez is also a former chapter principal of the National Association of the Remodeling Industry (NARI). The firm generally works in contemporary, traditional, modern, and Mediterranean styles, and services the Berkeley, San Francisco, and Oakland areas.
One of the firm’s notable projects is a restored kitchen in Piedmont. The kitchen has tall white lacquer custom built cabinets and full height wall cabinets that reach the ceiling. The counters are also topped with white Carrara marble, and extra-wide shaker doors add authenticity. In the center of the space stands a wide island, which can serve as a workplace and eating area, and has extra cabinets underneath for storage space.
11) Marzolf Brothers Construction
430 23rd Ave., Oakland, CA 94606
Wayne Marzolf graduated with a degree in business management, but after joining his brother in a construction crew, he found a passion for building and founded Marzolf Brothers Construction in 1977. The firm focuses on small to medium-sized residential remodeling and light commercial work throughout the greater Bay Area. The firm was featured in East Bay Times and Alameda magazine, where Marzolf’s interest in the community came into light.
One of the firm’s notable projects is a kitchen remodel simplifying a Victorian kitchen. Originally, the kitchen included four doorways, a fireplace, and an awkwardly sized pantry. With a cohesive room in mind, the firm removed the chimney and replaced it with a hood, and closed one of the doorways, creating more room cabinets, storage, and appliances. Behind the range is a backsplash design, as well as Carrara marble countertops chosen by the homeowner.
10) Cameron C. Habel Construction
3693 Lily St., Oakland, CA 94619
A member of NARI and Build It Green, Cameron C. Habel Construction was established in 1993 with a Green building certification. Since then, the firm has worked with many local architects, like David Arkin and Anni Tilt. The firm generally works in Craftsman, bungalow, modern, contemporary, traditional, and eclectic styles. One of the firm’s most notable projects was a collaboration with Andrew Lee Architecture and was designed by Joseph Esherick. Previously a small kitchen, it gained a new design that stayed true to the original but added numerous practical features and modern conveniences. The space was enlarged to hold a breakfast nook, bright eye-catching cabinets, and efficient workspace. A redwood divider between the kitchen and living room was expanded to include larger openings, a counter that can be accessed from either side and smooth tracking systems for the shudders.
The firm’s founder, Cameron C. Habel was an artisan by heart and grew up working with his hands and imagination. In the 1970s, he learned about home maintenance in San Diego, where he worked as an apprentice for a custom home builder and began to learn about construction and remodeling. Habel has 30 years of experience in construction and design.
9) Integrity Remodeling Inc.
PO Box 3508, Oakland, CA 94609
Integrity Remodeling Inc. was founded to realize Eli Israel’s mission of building unique homes that both meet his clients’ visions and are built with integrity. Since 2001, the firm has kept this mission at hand and has consistently delivered projects large and small within the timeframe and specified budgets. Thanks to this work ethic, the firm has numerous great reviews from clients; in fact, its client base is drawn mostly from referrals.
The firm was featured in the 2010 issue of Sunset magazine and was awarded the City of Piedmont 2012 Design Award for Best Remodeling. One of its notable projects is a kitchen remodel in Piedmont. A collaboration job with local architect William F. Holland, this kitchen gives the homeowners a light feeling thanks to its use of light colors and open space. Another notable feature is the center island topped with Carrara marble. Just beneath it, the island has numerous cabinets offering more space.
8) Mueller Nicholls Builders
2400 Union St., Oakland, CA 94607
A well-established company, Mueller Nicholls Builders does not just build homes. It also operates a large, solar-powered cabinet shop. Since the firm’s central location is in Oakland, it is able to manage building projects all over the Bay Area, including the East Bay, San Francisco, Marin County, the Peninsula, and Contra Costa County. Mueller Nicholls Builders has kept a devoted following of clients, design professionals, builders, and friends since Steve Nicholls established the company in 1981, and the firm has become a leader in both the cabinet and construction industries. In 2010, the firm won the Chrysalis award for the Best Green Remodeling Project over $250k.
The project included the use of green building techniques that opened the house to picturesque views, and enhanced interiors and exterior connections throughout the clean and timelessly designed house. Another one notable project was featured in Luxe magazine and included a collaboration with architects Lewis Butler Glenda Flaim of Butler Armsden Architects. A 1908 Italianate-style home, it has interconnected living, sitting, dining, and kitchen areas. Mueller Nicholls completed the walled custom cabinetry and the center island topped with a butcher-block countertop, both made in the firm’s own millwork shop.
7) DC Construction
1068 44th Ave., Oakland, CA 94601
Founded in 1986, DC Construction offers services from ground-up building construction, building renovation, and historical restoration to seismic upgrading. Many of these projects are completed in the modern, farmhouse, and vintage styles. The firm’s houses have been featured in magazines like Alameda and Oakland. Additionally, the Alameda Times-Star and the Oakland Tribune named it Best of the Bay Area in 1999, 2000, 2001, and 2003.
One of the firm’s notable projects is a complete renovation of the David Gordon house in San Francisco’s Eureka Valley. The residence has an industrial-style kitchen with beautiful blue tiles, which work as a striking contrast to the white wall cabinets. In the middle is a wooden center island that could be both a workstation and an eating space.
6) Wolfe Inc.
544 58th St., Oakland, CA 94609
Known as a visionary and socially conscious company, Wolfe Inc. was founded in 2003 and invests heavily in providing its clients with the best options for sustainable resources. As a firm observing green building practice, Wolfe Inc. uses many native California plants to craft attractive spaces that harmonize with nature. Whenever possible, the firm uses lumber that has been sustainably harvested. It also offers composite decking, which involves using recycled material, and offers huge savings with little to no maintenance necessary. Once a project is done, the firm collects concrete debris and green materials before taking them to a transfer station where the materials are processed for reuse to avoid contributing to landfills.
The firm is a member of the NARI, Bay Area Green Business, California Landscape Contractors Association, Build it Green, and Oakland Growth. The firm’s awareness of green building stemmed from its founder Spencer Wolfe’s love for nature. In 1985, Wolfe worked with Deamar Skylights, Inc. and worked in landscaping before co-founding a framing company in Boulder, Colorado. In 1998, he worked in The East Bay Conservation Corps in Oakland. His expertise in this company combines his love of nature, building, and working with people.
5) FMS Projects
5429 Telegraph Ave., Oakland, CA 94609
From kitchens and bathrooms to home additions and basement conversions, FMS Projects shows noteworthy and quality craftsmanship. For over 30 years, the firm has been known as an award-winning remodeling firm valuing open communication, realistic pricing, and personal attention to detail. These values have allowed the firm to win accolades for years, including the 2018 REMMIE award and Piedmont Planning for ADU United Commission award. In the same year, it also won first place for a bathroom remodel and a first place award for a whole house remodel.
FMS Projects is also a member of Rebuilding Together, NARI, Business Network International, and is Lead certified by the EPA. One of the firm’s notable projects is a kitchen and bath remodel in Piedmont completed in collaboration with Ware Architects, a local award-winning design firm. The modern kitchen has a dominantly white palette, and a skylight was installed to maximize natural light.
4) Building Lab
999 43rd St., Oakland, CA 94608
Founded in 2001, building Lab is an award-winning firm specializing in thoughtful and highly refined residential design and building. They are passionate about modern architecture, dedicated to precision quality construction and committed to green building practices. Their clients come to them with visions of creating a perfect home for their family. This may mean locating an ideal plot of land in the community they love and building a dream home from scratch. This may mean fast-forwarding a tired mid-century gem into a stylish 21st-century edition. It may also mean upgrading an older home with more current function + feel. Facilitating the process of bringing such dreams to reality is their passion at building Lab. Their service areas include San Francisco, East Bay, Marin, and the Upper Peninsula.
The firm is highly accoladed for its practices. In 2012, it won three First Place awards and one Grand award from the NARI. In the same year, Remodeling magazine awarded it with its Grand award. Most recently, the firm won the 2016 REMMIE awards’ Grand Prize. It is also a member of the US Green Building Council, NARI, Remodelers Advantage, Build It Green, CSLB, and is Lead safe certified by the EPA.
One of its notable projects is the Sharon Avenue Residence. The remodel opened the kitchen to the family room, improving the room’s working area and capturing more natural light while tying the spaces with fine details. In the center is a large island that straddles and accentuates the kitchen’s eight-inch kitchen ceiling and the family room’s airy, vaulted height. The room also has large storage spaces, a lightly saturated eating nook, and a discrete computer workstation.
3) HDR Remodeling
2952 Sacramento St., Berkeley, CA 94702
Known as one of the best design/build residential remodeling companies in the East Bay area, HDR Remodeling specializes in rebuilding homes built between 1910 and 1930. These impressive projects have garnered many awards. For seven years running, the firm won the NARI Bay Area Remodeling Awards from 2012 to 2018. In 2011, Remodeling magazine named it one of the Big 50 remodelers, and for two consecutive years, Remodeling 550 listed it as one of the top 550 full-service remodelers. HDR Remodeling is also a member of the NARI, NKBA, Rebuilding Together, and the NARI San Francisco Bay Area Chapter.
The firm’s founder, Philip Anderson, established the company over 30 years ago. In 1987, it was known as Honey Do Repair. However, the firm was soon recognized as providing homeowners with quality design, construction, and residential remodeling services. One of its most notable projects is a kitchen remodel in Oakland. With a modern aesthetic that keeps the home’s historical design, the kitchen has a sitting space for the children and a space beneath the island dedicated to cookbooks. The kitchen also has double doors opening up to the backyard, which helped the clients keep an eye on their kids while cooking.
2) McCutcheon Construction Inc.
1280 Sixth St., Berkeley, CA 94710
Founded by fourth generation builder Michael McCutcheon in 1980, McCutcheon Construction Inc. is known for its residential remodels, historical reservation, custom commercial, and specialty projects. Some of these projects have won awards, mostly from NARI’s Bay Area Remodeling awards. The firm recently won the 2018 project award for an entire house over $1 million, the project award for a bathroom priced over $100k, and was named the Best Building Contractor for the Best of Oakland and the East Bay. Last year, one of the firm’s projects gained it the name of National Contractor of The Year for a kitchen over $150k. The firm has also been featured in many magazines like Professional Remodeler, which named it as one of the 2015 Market Leaders, most specifically the leader in Sustainable Design and Construction category in the Western Region. In the previous year, it was also featured in Luxe magazine, which named it the Leading Homebuilder in the SF Bay Area.
One of McCutcheon Construction’s most notable projects is a kitchen remodel in Berkeley. What was previously a 100-year old kitchen was restored to its former classical inspired craftsman style kitchen. The new design removed dividing walls and raised the ceiling nine feet, resulting in more cabinet space. A central island reorients the space toward the outdoors. To highlight the craftsman/classical theme, the firm installed honed Carrara marble countertops and Shaker style cabinet doors. The brickwork chimney of the dining room fireplace was exposed as a bold and rustic counterpoint to the cabinetry.
1) Custom Kitchens by John Wilkins Inc.
6624 Telegraph Ave., Oakland, CA 94609
A family-owned company, Custom Kitchens was founded in 1950 and is a member of the National Kitchen and Bath Association (NKBA) and the San Francisco Bay Area NARI. Specializing in home construction and remodeling, Custom Kitchens has been featured in numerous magazines. The firm also won awards from the NARI in 2014 and 2013. Most recently, Alameda Magazine named it the best kitchen remodeler for 2016. One of its most notable projects is a contemporary kitchen that boasts a colorful and eye-catching design. Simple and modern, the kitchen has wooden cabinets that maximize the room’s space, and a breakfast nook with shelves that serve as more space for plates underneath.
The firm’s founder John Wilkins is known as a pioneer in the remodeling industry. In 1958, Wilkins started his own cabinet shop which catered to the needs his clients couldn’t find in 1950s cabinets. By the end of the 1960s, Custom Kitchens by John Wilkins Inc. had become a household name in the San Francisco Bay Area and remains so to this day.
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This list takes a range of ranking criteria into consideration, including but not limited to: work history, customer satisfaction, awards and recognition, geographic area of work, cost, building permits, and clientele. We spent over 40 hours researching local contractors before calculating the final ranking for this post. If there is additional information about your business that could affect these rankings, please fill out this form and we will take it into consideration
Get Bids For Your Build
If you are thinking about building a custom home, we recommend checking each builder’s license with the local licensing board, speaking to past clients, and using our bidding system to get competitive quotes from at least 3 contractors. Getting multiple bids is the best way to ensure you get a fair price and that bids include the complete scope of work.