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The Best Residential Architects and Designers in San Mateo and Redwood City, California

17 Min Read

San Mateo and Redwood City are two ideal Northern California cities. Great educational institutions and all of the opportunities that go with them are paired with a vibrant downtown area; not surprisingly, Redwood City is an attractive place for families and young professionals. And San Mateo has all of Silicon Valley’s economic firepower in technology and retail combined with an intriguing collection of historic buildings, beautiful parks, and thrilling entertainment areas. 

These San Mateo County cities share one thing in common—they are both places where great architects can be found. This article presents 10 of the best residential architects in San Mateo and Redwood City. Most firms in this list are members of industry organizations like the American Institute of Architects (AIA) and the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC). Some of the firms in this were also mentioned in publications like Elle Decor, Luxe, California Home + Design, Curbed SF, and the North Bay Business Journal.

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.

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.

Bartos Architecture

1730 S Amphlett Blvd. Ste #225, San Mateo, CA 94402

Bartos Architecture was established in 2008 at the height of the financial crisis. Since then, the firm has built up a reputation for its services in architecture, construction, and program management. The firm’s expertise helped it gain recognition from North Bay Business Journal and the 2014 American Institute of Architects (AIA) San Mateo’s Outstanding Firm Service Award.

Currently, the firm has founder and principal Mark Bartos at the helm. An architect with 30 years in architecture and engineering, Bartos has copious experience developing and implementing strategies for complex, non-traditional, and sometimes, even radical projects.


58 Fairlawn Ave., Daly City, CA 94015 USA

From programming through construction administration, Baukunst has been involved in over 600 projects that vary in type, program, and scale. Since 2000, it has crafted several residential homes in a number of locations including San Leandro, San Francisco, and San Mateo. Though it has done several projects in California, the firm’s portfolio extends to Hawaii and the Philippines. Take note of this modern home in Tiburon, California. Framed in steel, this unique residence has a traditional front façade and a contemporary rear that presents a sweeping view of the bay. This firm was founded by Mark Bucciarelli, AIA. With over 30 years of experience in the industry, Bucciarelli has worked on various building types for different firms in the San Francisco Bay area.

Take note of this modern home in Tiburon, California. Framed by steel and constructed with solid concrete, this unique residence has a Craftsman façade and a contemporary rear that presents a sweeping view of the bay. This firm was founded by Mark Bucciarelli. With over 25 years of experience in traditional architecture, Bucciarelli has worked on various building types for different firms in the San Francisco Bay area.

EASA Architecture

307 South B St., #12, San Mateo, CA 94401

EASA Architecture is known for designing homes of elegance and grace in a wide variety of styles, including Modern, Mediterranean, and Craftsman. The firm was established in 1992 by Ellis A. Schoichet AIA, an Architect with broad experience in the residential markets of San Mateo, San Francisco, Santa Clara, Marin, and Alameda Counties. Ellis also has significant expertise in a wide range of non-residential project types such as institutional, R&D, industrial, and commercial interiors. Over the course of his career Ellis has worked with design firms in New York City, Chicago, Los Angeles, and the San Francisco Bay Area.

An excellent example of his and the firm’s work is a Spanish Colonial Revival home that’s been completely transformed from its previous incarnation as a deteriorating faux-Polynesian rancher. The home has been significantly expanded and remodeled- with elegant living areas that open up to and take full advantage of the lovely site. The Master Suite is designed for comfort, and features windows that capture and frame the surrounding views as an integral part
of the house itself.

Essalat Architects

312 N. San Mateo Dr., #200, San Mateo, CA 94401

Since its establishment in 1981, Essalat Architects has devoted itself almost exclusively to custom residential work in the Bay area. Thanks to this focus on one market, the firm was able to create stunning residences that gained the firm a well-deserved reputation for high-quality Tuscan, Mediterranean, Italianate, French, and shingle style homes. One great example is a European style home in Atherton. Constructed with renowned builder Pinnacle Group, its unique selection of stone finishes, extensive millwork, and ceilings with various designs combine for a beautiful effect. Though the home is a 17, 302-square-foot tribute to quality and craftsmanship, it is more of a hidden gem in Atherton, set out of view from the street for the utmost privacy.  

Currently, the firm is headed by company principal, Farro Essalat, who takes inspiration from his surroundings, and the work of the nineteenth-century architect, Richard Norman Shaw. A member of the Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA), Essalat practiced his discipline in London before becoming a professor at Tehran University. He climbed the school’s ranks and became the Chairman of the School of Architecture and Vice Dean of the Faculty for the Arts.

G + S Architecture

3130 Alpine Rd. Ste #288-475, Portola Valley, CA 94028

A mutual admiration for a Scandanavian blend of functionality and beautiful design is what formed G + S Architecture. Founded by the firm president, Rich Gillern and principal architect, Mark Sutherland, G + S Architecture is most recognized for implementing Danish design philosophies that integrate and highlight its materials through functional spacial plans that flow harmoniously with the surrounding environment.

Gillern and Sutherland are both passionate professionals. Gillern earned a Professional Bachelor’s degree from Cal Poly San Luis Obispo before his career mostly started to revolve around master builder traditions first as a carpenter before he owned a residential/industrial design practice and fabrication studio for 14 years. Sutherland meanwhile earned a Master’s in Architecture from CAL Berkeley. As a professional with a self-owned solo practice, Sutherland carries ten years of experience. Thus G + S provides proficiency and full service practice from concept and implementation through permitting and construction management.

Combining their experience and skills, the firm soon grew into one recognized for various projects, particularly its custom residential architecture. The firm has many of these projects scattered throughout Northern California from San Francisco and the Bay Area to Carmel By The Sea. One of its most notable works is this modern contemporary home in San Mateo. A two-story home, it has numerous windows which draw in California’s natural light while framing and embracing the site’s natural landscape, creating a seamless integration between inside and out. Like many other modern homes, this residence exhibits clean, aesthetically pleasing lines. 

HrH Architecture

611 Veterans Blvd., Redwood City, CA 94063

Established in 2004, HrH Architecture is a firm that has effectively created various long-standing professional relationships with collaborators, consultants, and builders. Over the years, HrH Architecture has crafted homes for clients in Hillsborough, Monte Sereno, Los Altos Hills, Burlingame, Pleasanton, Belmonte, and San Mateo. One of these notable works is the Drayton, a state-of-the-art smart home carrying the traditional Norman style façade. Built and inspired by the home it replaced, this Tudor-style residence exhibits the firm’s superb attention to detail. Superb, distinctive woodworking gives the home its signature. The home’s natural slate roof’s exposed stained wood is a great example. The home’s cathedral ceilings allow for a private second-floor bridge that overlooks the room below and connects to the master bedroom. Another unique feature is the hydronic heating system installed in the floors.

Hamid Hekmat’s experience and dedication to his craft inform every single one of these homes. Before establishing the firm, Hekmat worked on large scale projects around the world designing private residences.

John Matthews Architects

335A East 4th Ave., San Mateo, CA 94401

Aimed at designing commercial, public work, hospitality, multi-family, and single-family homes, John Matthew Architects has built itself into a solid firm thanks to its collaborations with a diverse set of clients. These clients include homeowners, businesses, religious and community non-profit organizations, developers, and local municipalities. Thanks to these collaborations, John Matthew Architects has a diverse portfolio that extends to clients in Woodside, Atherton, South San Francisco, and San Mateo. One great example is a cozy Craftsman home in San Mateo’s Sonora Avenue. 

Before establishing the firm in 1986, John Matthew was employed as a project architect with Peterson Architects for Menlo Park. Prior to that, he was also employed by other companies including San Francisco’s Whisler-Patri Architects. John is also a member of a number of industry organizations including AIA California where he became a member of the 1995-1996 board of directors.

Kastrop Group Inc. 

160 Birch St.Suite B, Redwood City, CA 94062

Ever since 1994, Kastrop Group Inc. has crafted a wide variety of commercial, public, and residential projects for clients in Redwood City, Belmonte, Portola Valley, and Woodside. One great example is an addition and remodel for a ranch-style home in Redwood City. Previously a single-story home, this house was remodeled into a modern farmhouse style residence with contrasting colors that emphasize the dark-framed windows and accentuate the gabled roofs’ lined tiles.

One of these roofs emphasizes a small porch at the entry where a door was painted a pleasant honey-yellow that gives the home a distinct appearance. Like this home, most of the firm’s projects usually possess hints at the green design methods and techniques that earned the firm a feature in Climate online. The firm has also completed work for brands like The Gap and The Limited. 

Currently, Kastrop Group Inc. is handled by husband and wife duo D. Michael and Lorianna Kastrop. Aside from the duo’s connections with the local government and non-profit organizations in the community, Michael Kastrop worked as a partner for a San Mateo based firm for several years. 

Knorr Architects 

1120 Palm Ave., San Mateo, CA 94401

Founded in 1951, Knorr Architects is a small architecture firm known for crafting homes in Atherton, Woodside. Palo Alto, San Mateo, Menlo Park, and San Francisco. Though it only works on two to three homes per year, Knorr Architects has a wide collection of beautiful residences and focuses on new traditional residences alongside some residential remodels. One of these homes is a Mediterranean styled Los Altos Hills Villa. A two-story home, this residence has an earth-toned brick and stone façade that highlights the home’s elegance.

Knorr Architects has been honored with awards such as the Golden Nugget Award, the Sunset Awards for home of the year, and the AIASMC 20 year firm award. Aside from its membership in the AIA, Knorr Architect’s credibility also stems from the company president, Torin Knorr. An architect who has served as president and board member of the San Mateo County AIA, Knorr has worked for several commercial clients and had crafted homes for celebrities like James Brolin, Kenny Loggins, and Steve Young. For more information on Knorr Architects, you can visit their website here.

Robert Medan

1936 Los Altos Dr., San Mateo, CA 94102

Robert Medan was established in 1999 as a firm that provides architectural services to homeowners, business owners, and construction firms. After many years, the firm was able to build a reputation for designs that blend in flawlessly with the surrounding neighborhoods. That ability stems from the expertise of its founder, Robert Medan.

A graduate of the University of California at Berkeley, Medan worked for an architecture firm that specializes in residential architecture for Atherton, Hillsborough, and San Mateo. He had the opportunity to design multi-million dollar homes and oversaw the planning process while performing onsite construction management. His expertise has helped the firm create projects for clients not only in San Mateo, but also in Hillsborough, Los Altos, Burlingame, and Millbrae.

SDG Architecture

876 Kaynyne St., Redwood City, CA 94063

Known for its outstanding service, attention to detail, and its creative approach to its craft, SDG Architecture has completed over 500 projects for clients in Woodside, Atherton, Palo Alto, and Redwood City. Since SDG Architecture was established 31 years ago by Steve Simpson, the firm has become especially skilled at maneuvering through confusing zoning ordinances and design review boards.

Aside from its expertise in handling complicated paperwork, the firm is also well-versed in an impressive range of architectural styles and has created modern, farmhouse, and traditional styled homes. One of these beautiful homes takes on the farmhouse style. A two-story residence, its wide floor plan highlights floor-to-ceiling windows that allow the natural light from the mountains to stream through the home and emphasize the home’s mix of eclectic and modern interiors.

Stewart Associates

1351 Laurel St., San Carlos, CA 94070

Founded in 1982, Stewart Associates is a small architecture firm focused on crafting single-family residences. These homes can either be small additions or interior remodels to large estates with over 10,000 square feet of building area. One great example of the firm’s work is a Spanish revival home. This home has numerous notable features, but its most significant is its take on classical architecture. The firm’s homes are recognized for not only offering homebuilders efficiency and ease of construction but for their use of natural light. 

The firm has crafted homes in many communities along the Peninsula. Though most of these residences have different designs and complex challenges to go with them, Stewart Associates has a good network of consultants and contractors to make things less complicated, and have contacts at most of the planning and building departments in the area. 

Currently, John and Jason Stewart manage this firm. John Stweart founded the firm and has been its principal for over 30 years. In addition to his work as the principal, John has served on the board of directors of the San Mateo county AIA chapter for ten years as director, secretary, vice president, and president in 2010. Jason Stewart started apprenticing for the firm in 2010. He gradually became more involved in the business. He also became an expert in the latest computer software thanks to his attendance in many courses and presentations from the Institute of Classical Architecture and Art (ICAA).

Suarez Kuehne Architecture

2412 14th Ave., San Francisco, CA 94116

A firm that has been around since 1997, Suarez Kuehne Architecture provides a range of services on residential, commercial, and university projects. Combining the firm’s experience in various markets, Suarez Kuehne Architecture brings both sophistication and organization to its residential scale projects. One that exemplifies this expertise is the Hexagon House in Sonoma. Originally, the home was a 1970’s hexagon kit house. The project included an addition and remodel that extended the existing geometry. The new design opened up the living area to the scenic hillside through new roof forms and expansive windows. Since the home is set on a hillside in Sonoma’s wine county, solar panels and a high-efficiency fireplace were placed to reduce energy consumption.

Though this home demonstrates the firm’s keen attention to detail, Suarez Kuehne Architecture is a company that was purposefully kept small. As a result, the firm has been able to produce homes that beautifully reflect the firm’s hands-on collaboration with clients. The firm is managed by founders Scott Kuehne and John Suarez, who bring 54 years of collective experience in architecture. Both are award-winning architects: Kuehne has been honored with the AIA Honorable mention and the National Professional Fraternity for Architecture and Allied Arts’ Alpha Rho Chi medal; Suarez has won the AIA Henry Adams Medal, the Gerson Memorial Prize, and the Eisner prize. 

Hayes Group Architects

2657 Spring St., Redwood City, CA 94063

A recognized leader in design and creative architectural solutions, Hayes Group Architects has had a strong presence on the Peninsula for the past 25 years. Hayes Group Architects is known for not only its architectural solutions but for the services they provide in navigating projects through the planning and entitlement process, the permitting process and finally through the construction phase of each project ensuring that their solutions are realized.

Hayes Group Architects has been featured in Sunset Magazine, the San Francisco Chronicle and has been recognized by the AIA, the City of Palo Alto and Los Altos for providing outstanding design winning many awards. Its most recent awards came from 2018 and 2016 when it won honors such as AIA’s Silicon Valley Honor Award, the San Mateo County Merit Award, and the San Mateo County Citation Award. Such honors come from homes like the Atherton residence. A modern two-story home, it has a design that makes use of geometric shapes highlighted by the home’s warm, earthy tones.

TRG Architecture

1014 Howard Ave., San Mateo, CA 94401

A member of several industry organizations, including the USGBC and the AIA, TRG Architecture has completed several mixed-use commercial and residential projects in the 24 years of its existence. The firm has crafted structures for clients throughout the San Francisco Bay Area, North Carolina, Maine, Michigan, Iowa, and Florida. 

Headed by founders Randy Grange and Leslie Lamarre, TRG Architecture has several notable works. One of the most visually striking is the Rubenstein family’s Eco Resort in Hillsborough. A single-story home, it was featured in California Home + Design for its modern aesthetic. With its wide layout, this house is perfect for large social gatherings and has a contemporary style that harmonizes with the grassy surroundings. The home’s living spaces are concentrated around the wide central courtyard. Inside, the home has wide hallways that cater to the family’s son who uses a wheelchair and simultaneously allows for the natural light and cool breezes to slip through the wide floor to ceiling glass doors and windows.

And this is just one spectacular example of the home’s work. TRG Architecture has created a number of award-winning homes, earning 60 regional and national design awards. And Elle Decor, Luxe, Professional Builder and M are just some of the national publications that have featured its homes. 

How can I find a contractor or home builder near me?

Read our latest articles on the best residential contractors and home builders in and near San Mateo and Redwood City. If you don’t see your city or project type below, just let us know – we are happy to create a tailored recommendation list just for you.

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About Our Rankings

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.