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The Best Residential Architects and Designers in Sacramento, California

18 Min Read

Set in the middle of a four-county metropolitan area, Sacramento is one of California’s oldest incorporated communities. Aside from interesting tourist spots and famous landmarks, Sacramento also offers a landscape of beautiful homes created by some of the most talented architects in California. 

This list features architecture firms with a number of awards and affiliations. Many of them have earned AIA’s Design Awards and awards from local magazines like Sactown Magazine, Sacramento, The Spruce, California Home and Design, and Custom Home. These firms are also credited by their affiliations with industry organizations like the American Institute of Architects (AIA), the National Council of Architectural Registration Boards (NCARB), the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED), and the American Society of Interior Designers (ASID). 

Many of these architects are also known for using modernist elements in homes that harmonize with the city’s sunny location. Aside from such elements, these homes also celebrate clients’ unique lifestyles and the principal’s architectural inspiration. Sometimes this inspiration may take the form of traditionalist elements mixed with modern designs; others highlight innovative, eco-friendly designs. 

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.

This list includes both licensed architects and residential designers who can both design stunning homes but differ in other services offered. Architects are trained in design, engineering, and project management and have passed a licensing exam. Residential designers typically don’t manage projects and plans will need to be approved by a structural engineer. Whether you choose to hire an architect or a residential designer will depend on your project needs and complexity. On the other hand, if you want to learn more about the cost of building a custom home in Sacramento, check out our cost guide article.

Bassal Architecture 

Rocklin, CA

Bassal Architecture was created on the foundation of over 30 years of experience in design and consulting. All that experience comes from company principal, Cherine Bassal who specializes in custom luxury residential and commercial designs throughout the greater Sacramento region and the Bay Area. Bassal Architecture grew from word-of-mouth referrals into the trustworthy and capable firm that it is today.

The firm’s portfolio features homes in the traditional, Mediterranean, and Spanish revival styles. One of the homes that best exemplifies Bassal’s life experience is this Spanish revival style home that exudes classical ambiance.


1121 Swanston Dr, Sacramento, CA 95818

Established in 2011 by Designer Curtis Popp, CPOPP WORKSHOP has created numerous beautiful projects in collaboration with a number of talented contractors, fabricators, graphic designers, and artisans. Some of these craftsmen help the firm provide its clients with more custom choices. The firm has designed modern and traditional homes that have brought CPOPP WORKSHOP features in numerous magazines, including Sunset, Remodelista, Dwell, Design Milk, Dezeen, Wall Street Journal, and Interni & Decor Magazine. Most recently, it was featured in the 2019 issue of Atomic Ranch.

One great example of the firm’s artistic custom homes is the Folsom home. A one-story modern home, this stylish, suave residence features a smooth linear design and incorporates geometric shapes that seamlessly connect to each other. The result is a feeling of subtle balance. 

Donald Joseph, Inc.

2620 21st St., Sacramento, CA 95818

Donald Fugina started Donald Joseph Inc. as an interior design and architecture firm in 1982. The Sacramento area has spectacular homes in various styles including modern, Craftsman, transitional, contemporary, and other eclectic styles, all provided by this excellent firm. Featured here is one of its notable works—a transitional modern cabin at Schaffer’s Mill golf course. The residence was designed to harmonize with its surroundings and combines modern elements such as a flat roof and horizontal siding. Alongside these modernistic features, the home also presents traditional elements such as pitched roof sections and a stone exterior. Inside, the home combines wood veneered wall products, quarts, granite counters, and porcelain tiles.

Homes like these are possible not only because of Donald Joseph, Inc.’s skilled team, but it also thanks to principals’ Donald Fugina and Kevin Bryan’s abilities and experience. Fugina has been in the architectural industry for 25 years and is a graduate of the University of California, Berkeley. Bryan meanwhile has been working and honing his design skills for over 14 years. During the first years of his career, he learned residential design at a top firm in San Ramon. Using their many years of design experience, the principals can easily focus on and fulfill their client’s visions for a dream home that suits distinctive lifestyles. 

Ellis Architects

Sacramento, CA

Ellis Architects’ bespoke homes have been well-received by homeowners and magazine readers alike. The firm has been featured in Sacramento Magazine, Sacramento Home Magazine, and Environmental Protection, while residents of the Arden-Arcade, Carmichael, Fair Oaks, Rancho Cordova, Sacramento, West Sacramento, and Granite Bay areas have all benefited from the firm’s tasteful architecture. One great example of the firm’s work is a mid-century ranch home transformed into a modern home. Its exterior makes continuous use of the brick façade to provide a more cohesive, contemporary exterior without removing the finishes and the windows’ locations and sizes. The interior was reconfigured to provide a more efficient flow throughout the home while providing connections between interior and exterior spaces. Aside from this home, the firm also has copious experience designing homes in the ranch and cottage styles. 

Currently, the firm has principal architect Sarah Ellis at the helm. A California licensed architect, Ellis is NCARB and LEED-certified. Before starting Ellis Architects, she worked as the project manager and lead designer for the award-winning architecture, planning, and urban design firm, Mogavero Notestine Associates. There, she honed her skills for beautiful, sustainable, and innovative designs for a wide range of project types including multi-family and single-family communities, mixed-use, retail, and office buildings. 

GEN M Architecture

Sacramento, CA

GEN M Architecture was only established in 2018 but it is already an architectural firm with countless contemporary residential projects primarily in California. One great example of its beautiful homes is the Switch house. A charming single-story home, it carries a modern infill design and exudes subtle sophistication with a striking dark and light palette that highlights the use of a clean, streamlined design. Aside from single-family homes such as the Switch House, GEN M Architecture is also capable of creating designs for multi-family housing, commercial, and mixed-use structures. The success of these projects is mostly due to the efforts of both the firm’s team and its principal, Gennifer Muñoz. 

Muñoz is an architect with a decade’s worth of experience in residential, commercial, developer-driven and large-scale architectural design, project management, and construction. Before starting the firm, she graduated from the University of Virginia with a Bachelor’s degree in architecture. She also has a Master’s degree in architecture from UC Berkeley College of Environmental Design. 

Hausman* Architecture

2209 J street, Sacramento CA 95816

Hausman* Architecture is a highly recognized firm known for its various architectural works throughout the Northern California region. The firm’s high-quality projects have been featured repeatedly in publications such as the Sacramento Bee and Sacramento Business Journal.

Since its establishment in 2008, the firm has designed homes in the traditional, Craftsman, Prairie, and modern styles. One of these notable homes is a residence in the Craftsman style. A two-story home, this residence exudes a cool colored palette that balances the bright and warm colors usually seen in the foliage around its neighborhood. 

Hausman* Architecture has Craig M. Hausman AIA as its current principal. After graduating from the University of Colorado Boulder with a bachelor’s degree in Environmental Design, Hausman worked as the former director of the AIA Central Valley. Before founding Hausman* Architecture, he worked for different architecture firms for more than 15 years. 

Henry + Associates Architects

730 Howe Ave. Suite #450, Sacramento, CA 95825

Henry + Associates Architects is a full-service studio with a history of delivering projects on time and within budget. In its 17 years in the business, it has designed both commercial and residential projects throughout California. Just one great example of these projects is the Intergalactic house. Exuding a contemporary design, this 3,000 square foot home in East Sacramento has minimalist features that go hand in hand with the home’s quiet touch of modern style. Aside from the Intergalactic House, the firm has designed residential in-fill projects and multiple school projects. 

These projects were completed with the experience of company principal, Stephen Henry. A UC Berkeley graduate, Henry has more than 25 years of architectural experience. His projects are a result of inspiration gathered from his childhood. From Hawaiian fishing shack architecture to Green & Green’s bungalows, to Samuel Mockbee’s Rural Studio, to Le Corbusier’s church at Ronchamp, these works served as inspiration for many of his projects.

Indigo | Hammond & Playle Architects

909 Fifth St., Davis, CA 95616

An architectural firm with LEED accreditation and Zero-Net Energy architects, Indigo | Hammond & Playle Architects is recognized for being one of the leading sustainable architectural firms in the state. Its overall mission is to bring climate-adapted and bioregional designs into mainstream architecture without compromising functionality. For three decades, the firm has been practicing these design methods on homes for clients in Sacramento, the Bay area, the Central Valley, and the Western region. 

One great example of the firm’s work is the PG & E Suncatcher house. Aside from functioning as one of the firm’s unique homes, this residence was actually a historic experiment sponsored by PG & E. Though the residence seems to be directed towards the sun, this house demonstrates that good orientation, thermal mass, and shaded windows help make a home comfortable even during hot summer days. Aside from creating green residential homes such as the Suncatcher house, the firm is also recognized for utilizing strawbale architecture—a method of building that uses rows of stacked bales encased in reinforced plaster. This material makes for lightweight but durable and strong walls that can function as a structural element or as a highly efficient insulating barrier. 

This innovative firm is currently headed by company principal and LEED-AP, Jonathan Hammond. A pioneer in the passive solar building and planning movement since the 1970s, Hammond is the founder of Living Systems and helped write the nation’s first energy-conserving city building code. He was also the first architect to design and build California’s first straw bale structure. 

Jeffrey DeMure + Associates Architects Planners, Inc.

5905 Granite Lake Dr. Suite #140, Granite Bay, CA 95746

An AIA and NAHB certified architect, Jeffrey DeMure + Associates Architects Planners, Inc. has been in the industry for 15 years. Since Jeffrey DeMure established it, the firm has been recognized for its signature red bench—a feature the firm installs in every community they have worked in. Specializing in private and community living spaces, Jeffrey DeMure + Associates Architects Planners, Inc. offers residential design, creative spaces for older adults, and land use and community planning services.

When it comes to residential homes, the firm has built unique homes for nearly 100,000 individuals. One great example of the firm’s work is Heartwood II in Schaffer’s Mill. This two-story mountain home is beautifully designed. Just one of its most notable features: the interior timberwork that reflects the home’s solid wooden exterior. Aside from this design, the firm also has experience crafting homes in the modern, French Country, and ranch styles. 

John Packowski Design

3095 Fair Oaks Blvd., Sacramento, CA 95864

Company principal John Packowski has been in the architecture industry for 30 years. He worked as a partner for an architectural firm before starting his own practice in his one-man concept studio behind his mid-century modern Sacramento home. His years in the industry include designing beautiful custom homes for 35,000 families across the country. After working on various home types including custom and luxury lofts, Packowski gained a background not just in architecture, but also in landscape and interior design. With this experience at his back, he is able to craft homes in several designs which include the modern, traditional, Spanish revival, and cottage styles.

One great example of the firm’s work is the Preserve Showhouse. A modern home with a hint of the mid-century style, this single-story residence exudes stylish modernism that still blends with the traditional elements of homes commonly seen in California. With homes like these to feature, John Packowski Design has been recognized in numerous publications. These include Traditional Home, Inside, Sacramento Bee, Sacramento Business Journal, and Comstock. 

Klopf Architecture 

2180 Bryant St. Suite #203, San Francisco, CA 94110

Over the years, Klopf Architecture has completed over 225 modernist architectural projects. Since then, it has been featured in numerous publications including The Spruce, Family Handyman, Sugar & Cream, Dwell, and Mid Century Home. Alongside these features, the firm has also won Gentry Home Magazine’s 2016 Design Excellence Award. In the previous year, it won Fine Homebuilding Magazine’s Silver award for best remodeling. 

The firm is known for designing modern and Eichler homes for clients spread throughout California and the Bay area. One great example of the firm’s work is a new modern residence in Sacramento which was crafted with project manager, Geoff Campen. Placed in a large plot of a semi-rural area surrounded by an open field, oak trees, and a seasonal creek, this residence’s design takes advantage of ample views and bright natural light. Aside from expanses of floor to ceiling windows, multiple indoor and outdoor seating areas are also provided. To highlight a strong connection with the calm environment, the home also makes use of a warm color palette.

Exceptional work like this can be most credited to hard-working team members like Campen whose bi-monthly trips to Sacramento during the project was a key element to the project’s success. Principal architect John Klopf’s efforts and experience have also been key to the firm’s success. He has already worked for several other firms before launching his own company. Klopf gained knowledge from Berkeley where he earned his architecture degree and the Branner travel fellowship for nine months of a fully-paid independent architectural study in Japan, Europe, and Scandinavia. Today, Klopf focuses on modernist homes, passive houses, net-zero energy homes, and mid-century modern buildings. 

Moniz Architecture

2401 C St., Sacramento, CA 95816

Quality places for living, working and playing—these are the types of projects Moniz Architecture is known for producing. Established in 2004, Moniz Architecture is the product of Alicia Moniz’s years of hard work and experience. An architect with over 30 years of field experience, Moniz has completed downtown projects, renovations, in-fills, commercial, civic, and interior projects. Over the years, her experience and skill helped Moniz Architecture design homes in the traditional, Mediterranean, and ranch styles. 

One of the most notable projects in its portfolio is the Fab Forties poolhouse. A true collaboration between client and firm, the homeowners designed the finishes and interiors while the Moniz Architecture planned the site, structure, and detailing. The result is an elegantly proportioned home with striking details. 

ORR Design Office, Inc.

Bay Area- Sacramento Valley- Sierra’s

Since 1996, ORR Design Office, Inc. has been working with a design process called “whole-vision thinking”. Creating timeless visions of home, interiors, and landscape architecture, the firm’s award-winning and cohesive approach can be most seen in new and remodeled projects throughout the Bay Area, Sacramento, and Sierra where homes are usually in the modern, transitional, or historic designs. One great example of these unique projects is a contemporary ranch house. Located in the East Bay area, this residence is a perfect ‘stay-at-home resort’ with its dramatic U-shaped gable-roofed floorplan centering around a courtyard with an infinity pool and wraps around dining patios, a built-in kitchen, and an outdoor fireplace.

Over the years, the firm’s work has been featured in various publications including California Home and Design, Barfoot Houses, Custom Home, Architectural Digest, and Sunset magazine. Aside from these features, ORR Design Office Inc. has also won awards, including California Homes Magazine’s award for Best Home under 4,000 square feet and over 30 local, statewide, and national awards.

Sage Architecture

947 Enterprise Dr., Loft B Sacramento, CA 95825

Sacramento-based Sage Architecture focuses on architectural designs that are both thoughtful and thought-provoking. Launched in 2001, Sage Architecture is a boutique architectural firm that specializes in modern, sustainably-designed residences and specialty projects like wineries. The firm is well-versed in the Northern California landscape, employing a thorough knowledge of the weather conditions in its green design approach. Over the years, the firm has created numerous beautiful homes with its signature modernist style. 

Featured here is the Flight House in Truckee’s Martis Camp. Designed for a couple who particularly loved modern architecture, this mid-century modern residence has countless notable features. The exterior is cloaked with stained cedar siding and Corten steel. Its large, wing-like roofs area combination of seamed metal roofing and single-ply membrane for better energy efficiency. Highlighting the firm’s use of green designs, the home is also heated with energy-efficient radiant flooring: it doesn’t require air conditioners. Instead, the windows are strategically placed to cross-ventilate the mountain’s natural breeze. Sage Architecture has also designed residences in the farmhouse style. As a result of these impressive projects, the firm has been featured in numerous magazines. Most recently, it was featured in Sactown Magazine for its work on the Three Leaf House. 

Sage Architects was founded by husband-and-wife team, Paul Almond and Pam Whitehead. Whitehead is a licensed architect in California, Nevada, Washington, and Massachusetts. She also held architecture degrees from the University of Pennsylvania and the University of Minnesota. Almond meanwhile is a registered architect in California and Nevada. He has an architectural degree from the University of Pennsylvania. During his career, he was able to work for Sarah Susanka, best selling author of the “Not So Big House”, while he lived in Minneapolis. With their combined experience and collaboration, the couple was able to design other gorgeous homes in Nevada, Missouri, Massachusetts, and Mexico.

Serrao Design | Architecture

Sacramento, CA

Serrao Design | Architecture is a firm known for its extensive skill in designing modern style homes. Since 1998, the firm has been doing mid-century modern conversions and restorations. One great example of the firm’s ability is the Schindler residence, originally designed by FJ McCarthy. The three-story residence is a complex, modern home that combines old and new styles. It was designed to capture light from all floors and is practically sheathed in windows. The design also highlights its modernist approach with mechanical, frosted glass louvers for privacy and visual control. The firm has also designed art galleries, office workplaces, urban in-fill, and technically challenging industrial facilities. 

With projects like these, Serrao Design | Architecture has been featured in several industry publications. Most recently, it was featured in Dwell’s 2017 issue. In the previous year, it was featured in Sacramento Home Inagural. It has won numerous awards including the AIA Central Valley’s Divine Details award, the Residential Architect Design Awards’ Grand Award, Metropolitan Home Magazine’s Home of the Year award, and the Custom Home Magazine Design Award’s Merit award for the San Anselmo residence.

Serrao Design | Architecture was founded by Melissa and Jay Serrao. While Melissa focuses on firm and project management, and design work, Jay designs every project as the firm’s master architect.

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Residential Architects in California

Interior Designers in California

Design-Build Firms in California

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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.