Overview

This year MarketWatch called Philadelphia “the nation’s newest hot housing market.” With the city’s housing price index hitting record highs, the demand for new homes is off the charts. With this new demand for homes, somebody has to design and build them. Unlike some architect firms or interior designers, design-build firms & custom home builders offer clients the opportunities to build projects from under a single contract, from the concept and design phases all the way to construction services. When it comes to a shepherding project from design to construction, you need to work with people who really understand Philadelphia; its local laws, ordinances, rules, and unique characteristics make the difference between just a good design-build firm and a fantastic one. Here are some fantastic ones. Check out the Top 10 Design/Build firms in Philadelphia.

Top Home Builders

10
Cicada Architecture

Principals:
Mary Holland
Kurt Raymond

Awards:
American School & University Design Excellence Award,
Urban Excellence Rudy Bruner Award,
Preservation Alliance Grand Jury Project Award

Address:
1520 Locust Street, Suite 702, Philadelphia, PA 19102

Contact:
215-247-1430

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About Cicada Architecture

Cicada Architecture was co-founded by Mary Holland, member of the American Institute of Architects (AIA) and LEED Advanced Professional certified in Building Design and Construction (LEED AP BD&C), and Kurt Raymond, AIA, LEED AP, and National Council of Architectural Registration Boards (NCARB) member, in 1996. Located in the Center City neighborhood of Philadelphia, the firm has been recognized for with the Design Excellence Award from American School & University, the Rudy Bruner Award for Urban Excellence, and Preservation Alliance Grand Jury Project Award. It is also a certified as a Woman-Owned Business Enterprise (WBE). Holland has worked in architecture, planning, and interior design for over 30 years. She received her Bachelor of Architecture from Iowa State University in 1981 and attended the University of Pennsylvania’s Urban Design program, leading to dual master’s degrees in architecture and city planning from 1981-83. She has taught architecture at the University of Pennsylvania, Lehigh University, Drexel University and and the New Jersey Institute of Technology. She also served as the Chair of AIA Philadelphia’s Education Facilities Advocacy Committee. She is joined by co-Principal and Vice President Kurt Raymond. Raymond focuses on community development, commercial, and educational projects at CICADA. He received a B.A. in Natural Sciences from Colgate University in 1982, followed by a Bachelor of Architecture magna cum laude from Drexel University in 1989, and he is an adjunct assistant professor at Drexel University.

Featured Projects

Cicada Architecture has worked on a variety of design/build projects, including housing and religious centers. They worked on the renovation of the 1923 Parish House at 1082 Old York Road in nearby Abington. Work included reconfiguration of the lower floor for new uses, and restoration of the lost grandeur of the auditorium on the main floor. Cicada also worked with the church to improve accessibility within their three-building complex. The firm also worked the Philadelphia Housing Authority in North Central Philly to revitalize a formerly forlorn neighborhood. The project included 53 new rental buildings on 29 parcels, with a total of 89 new units across nine urban blocks. The new buildings range from two- and three-story single family homes and three-story, multifamily buildings. Two of the buildings will house seniors aged 55 and older. The project has been certified by the LEED and Enterprise Green Communities.

9
Period Architecture

Principals:
Joseph Mackin, Jr.
Jeffrey Dolan

Awards:
Society of American Registered Architects Award

Address:
516 Kennett Pike, Chadds Ford, PA 19317

Contact:
610-719-0101
[email protected]

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About Period Architecture

Based in Fairville Village, Chadds Ford, Pennsylvania, Period Architecture is a design-build firm committed to designing incredible homes for their clients. They’ve designed and built homes across Connecticut, Delaware, Florida, Maryland, New Jersey, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Vermont, and Virginia. The firm was co-founded by Joseph Mackin, Jr. and Jeffrey Dolan, who both serve as lead principals. Mackin, AIA,NCARB, LEED AP, ICAA, SARA, serves as president of Period Architecture. He graduated from the Tyler School of Art & Architecture at Temple University. Dolan serves as vice-president and graduated from Architecture program at Drexel University. The firm is affiliated with The American Institute of Architects, the AIA Philadelphia chapter, The Athenaeum of Philadelphia, the Institute of Classical Architecture & Art, and the Society of American Registered Architects. Period Architecture’s custom design-build work has been featured in Delaware Today, Main Line Today, Period Homes Magazine, Bucks County Magazine, and Fine Homebuilding. The firm has a long list of awards, including Best of Houzz 2013 through 2017, and the 2016 Society of American Registered Architects Award.

Featured Projects

One of Period Architecture’s design-build projects was the “Chadds Ford Residence.” Located along a hilltop meadow, the 5,000-square-foot home for a family of four was designed to reflect the classic Pennsylvania farmhouse style, including elements of the Federal and Georgian periods. The exterior includes an embellished cornice with dentil molding, a decorative entry transom, and arched-top Palladian dormer windows, which enhance the historically influenced presence of the home. The firm also designed a custom cedar shake roof with bespoke metalwork. The interior home includes painted millwork, wide plank reclaimed white oak floors, and wrought iron light fixtures; yet, it also accords an expansive floor plan, a state-of-the-art kitchen, geothermal heating and cooling, and large windows to frame the views and draw in the light. Another project was the “Horsham Residence.” Near the famous Talamore Country Club, the home was designed to evoke the work of early-20th century architect R. Brognard Okie. The great room, with its cathedral ceiling and bar, connects to the kitchen to allow for large gatherings and entertaining, while a separate dining room is used for more intimate or formal occasions. The family room opens onto a generous outdoor terrace that overlooks the creek and meadow beyond. The 7,000-square-foot home features period-appropriate millwork, casing, baseboards, stairs, paneling, and wainscot throughout.

8
Keast & Hood

Principals:
Frederick C. Baumert
Constantine G. Doukakis
Thomas J. Normile

Awards:
AIA Philadelphia Landmark Building

Address:
400 Market Street #1250, Philadelphia, PA 19106

Contact:
215-625-0099
[email protected]

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About Keast & Hood

Keast & Hood is a structural, design-build, and engineering firm founded in Philadelphia in 1953. Keast & Hood has helped establish government standards for the evaluation and repair of buildings, including early involvement with the Secretary of the Interior’s Standards for Historic Preservation. The firm is led by numerous principals, including Frederick C. Baumert, Constantine (Dean) G. Doukakis, and Thomas J. Normile. Baumert joined Keast & Hood in 1980 after graduating from the Pennsylvania State University with a B.S. in Civil Engineering. He earned an M.S. in Civil Engineering from Drexel University and was named a principal in 1989. Baumert also sits on the Buildings and Grounds Committee at Bryn Mawr College, where his owner’s perspective informs his daily engineering work with issues of operating efficiency, serviceability, and life-cycle costs. Thomas J. Normile, PE, joined the office in 1996 with a B.S. in Civil Engineering degree from the University of Pennsylvania and has held structural engineering positions both domestically and abroad prior to Keast & Hood. He also maintains involvement with the Philadelphia Chapter of the American Institute of Architects. Constantine (Dean) G. Doukakis, PE, who leads by example, joined Keast & Hood in 1986 and was named a principal in 1989. He also serves on the advisory board for the Civil, Architectural, and Environmental Engineering department at Drexel University.

Featured Projects

Keast & Hood provided structural engineering for the Margaret Esherick House at 204 Sunrise Lane. The home was built for the niece of sculptor Wharton Esherick and includes some of his remaining work. The house was constructed of concrete and Apitong wood. The hallmark design elements include the separation of servant and served spaces, T-shaped fenestration patterns, and an innovative ventilation system comprised of operable wood shutters. The Margaret Esherick House was named an AIA Philadelphia Landmark Building in 1992 and was added to the Pennsylvania Register of Historic Places in 2009 and the Chestnut Hill Architectural Hall of Fame in 2015. The Vanna Venturi House is an 1,800-square-foot home built in the Postmodern style. Keast & Hood provided design and structural engineering for the light wood frame and masonry structure of the house. Spaces are centered around a chimney, symbolically the heart of the home. The house received the American Institute of Architects Twenty-Five Year Award as a design “of enduring significance that has withstood the test of time.” In 2012, AIA Philadelphia and the Preservation Alliance for Greater Philadelphia recognized the house with the Landmark Building Award.

7
Daedalus Design Build, LLC

Principals:
Alan Henderson

Address:
501 West Prospect Avenue, North Wales, PA 19454

Contact:
617-320-1222
[email protected]

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About Daedalus Design Build, LLC

Daedalus was a mythological Athenian architect who built the labyrinth for Minos and made wings for himself and his son, Icarus, to escape from Crete. Daedalus Design Build, however, is a an architectural design-build firm of designers, builders, and construction managers focused on bringing craft and design to our clients’ lives, serving Philadelphia, Montgomery, Delaware, and Bucks Counties. The firm has been recognized with the Best of Houzz Awards in 2017, 2016, and 2015 for Design Work, and a Best of Houzz 2014’s Client Satisfaction Award. The firm is led by Lead Principal and owner Alan Henderson, LEEP AP. He completed his undergraduate degree in philosophy and economics at Tufts University, and then went on to complete his master’s in architecture at Boston Architectural College. Since 2002, he has owned and operated his firm Daedalus in Philadelphia, which specializes in residential architecture and construction, always with a focus on green design and materials. The company offers an an extensive network of subcontractors and collaborators whom they work with on projects. This team includes fully licensed and insured plumbers, electricians, structural engineers, carpenters, HVAC professionals, painters, furniture makers, and sculptors.

Featured Projects

Daedalus has designed and built a variety of custom homes around the Philadelphia area, meeting every customer’s unique needs. One of these is title the “Green House.” A solar array was installed on the roof in such a way that passing shadows would not result in the shut-off of the entire array. At ground level, impervious paving was replaced with sod and planting beds in an effort to retain rainwater and create a cooler, more livable open space for the owners. The firm recreated and matched plaster features, salvaging and relocating old wooden flooring and reviving features such as the refinished claw foot tub. Care and time was taken to source materials locally and choose materials with a small environmental footprint. Some of these materials included cork floors, locally fabricated concrete countertops and kitchen cabinets, and shower shelves and a kitchen nook made from teak salvaged from a local bank.

6
Wiedenman Architecture

Principals:
Thomas Wiedenman

Address:
23 E Eagle Road, Havertown, PA 19083

Contact:
610-649-4606
[email protected]

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About Wiedenman Architecture

Wiedenman Architecture is a design-build firm founded in 2007 by Thomas Wiedenman, AIA. Thomas has over two decades of experience working across Pennsylvania and New Jersey. He holds a Bachelor of Architecture from Drexel University. Thomas is a registered architect in Pennsylvania, Delaware, and New Jersey and is a member of the Philadelphia National Association of the Remodeling Industry (NARI). He also served as a volunteer for the Community Design Collaborative of Philadelphia. The firm has years of experience of designing hundreds of commercial and residential projects. They offer master planning, 3D visualization, accessibility review, sustainable design, and construction administration. Throughout the project, the firm brings their clients into every step of the design and building process. They consider the impacts of the site, building layout, construction materials, and building systems to help minimize any negative environmental impact.

Featured Projects

Some of the design-build projects by Wiedenman Architecture include a single-family home in Carversville, Pennsylvania. The home was built on a steeply elevated site near protected wetlands. The custom-designed home has three floors — including a finished lower level with a walkout — four bedrooms, three full bathrooms, a powder room, and a two-car garage. The exterior finishes includes real stone veneer, fiber cement siding, and standing seam metal porch roofs. Another project was a modern townhome on Fitzwater Street in Philadelphia. This new, luxury modern townhome holds three bedrooms, two-and-a-half bathrooms, a garage, a roof deck, and two balconies at the second floor. Working with their clients, Wiedenman Architecture worked to create an ultra-efficient home that features triple glazed windows, R-40 foam-insulated walls, and R-55 foam insulated roofs. The home is heated with radiant floor heating and gypcrete flooring. The home also offers great views of the Philadelphia skyline from the rear roof deck and the angled bay windows.

5
Atrium Design Group

Principals:
Luz Montiel
James Enloe

Address:
1024 N 3rd Street, Philadelphia, PA 19123

Contact:
215-923-1028
[email protected]

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About Atrium Design Group

The Atrium Design Group is a design-build company founded in 2014. The firm helps shepard their clients through their services from conceptual design through construction completion. Although based in the Philadelphia area, they’ve worked across the country and across the globe, include in Tel-Aviv, Jerusalem, New Jersey, Baltimore, Atlanta, and Miami. Atrium Design serves as the general contractor for their clients. By managing both the design and construction of a project, they are able to provide more efficient and better quality homes. The firm is led by principals and co-owners Luz Montiel and James Enloe. Montiel holds degrees from the Georgia Institute of Technology and the Pontificia Universidad Javeriana in Colombia. Atrium Design’s work has been featured in Curbed Philly, PhillyVoice.com, Philadelphia Style Magazine, Philadelphia Business Journal, and Home & Design Magazine.

Featured Projects

One of Atrium’s design-build projects is at 1012 North 3rd Street in Philadelphia. Built in 2011, the one-bedroom, one-bathroom, fully custom-designed project includes a balcony and an open floor plan. The custom built rowhouse includes an eat-in kitchen, stainless steel appliances, marble countertops, central air, hardwood floors, and a laundry room. Another project by the firm is at 609 South Delhi Street, completed in 2016. The townhome uses a custom wood and dark metal façade. The building includes contemporary designs across its three floors and three bedrooms, and Atrium worked to include a walk-in closet in the master bedroom. The home offers private parking, a roof deck, and a fully furnished basement, and the full kitchen includes all modern amenities and appliances. The firm also included central air conditioning with an energy efficient cooling system and natural gas heating.

4
Harman Deutsch Architecture

Principals:
Brett Harman
Craig Deutsch
Rustin Ohler

Address:
631 N 12th Street, Philadelphia, PA 19123

Contact:
267-324-3601
[email protected]

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About Harman Deutsch Architecture

Based In the Poplar neighborhood of Philly, Harman Deutsch (HD) Architecture was founded in 1999 by Brett Harman and Craig Deutsch. Their lead principals are Harman, Deutsch, and Rustin Ohler, a graduate from Temple University. Harman Deutsch Architecture now employees a team of over 20 staffers who are part of every step of the design-build process. The team offers construction administration, code consultation, site development, interior renovations, and new construction for mixed-use buildings, restaurants, hotels, retail space, office buildings, multi-family housing and private residences. They’ve worked across Philadelphia, including locations in Liberty Square, Chestnut Street, the Manayunk neighborhood, Delmar Street, the Spring Arts neighborhood, and Catherine Street. Harman Deutsch Architecture’s work has been featured in Philly Voice, Patch.com, philly.com, and Curbed Philly. The firm also offers art commission approvals/variances, parks department approvals, café seating drawings/approvals, health department drawings, real estate marketing materials, 3D renderings and structural engineering, geotechnical engineering, civil engineering, mechanical engineering, electrical engineering, and plumbing engineering services.

Featured Projects

Harman Deutsch Architecture are the designers and builders of the Ridge Park complex at 525 Roxborough Avenue in Philadelphia. The complex holds a collection of four new townhouses. Built in 2017, each home is valued at around $685k, and each house contains four bedrooms, three full bathrooms, and one half bathroom. Harman Deutsch designed the homes with cool, luxurious, urban living in mind, including a four-stop elevator from lower level up to the master floor. An open staircase on the first floor lets you see straight through to the rear of the house and creates a spacious living room perfect for entertaining. The large chef’s eat-in kitchen features an eight-foot island with seating for four people, stainless steel appliances, bar area with wine refrigerator, and additional cabinetry. The huge 17 x 17 master bedrooms features two large sliding glass doors to a balcony overlooking rear yard.

3
Postgreen Home

Principals:
Chad Ludeman

Awards:
USGBC and LEED for Homes Project of the Year,
AIA National Housing Award,
AIA PA Award for Architectural Excellence.

Address:
1732 N Howard Street, Unit C, Philadelphia, PA 19122

Contact:
267-250-2184
[email protected]

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About Postgreen Home

Founded in 2008, Chad Ludeman created Postgreen Homes as a design-build firm that specializes in the planning, design, and construction of modern, sustainable, and attainable homes in Philadelphia’s urban neighborhoods. The firm looks to create sustainable communities through conscious development. Through social and environmental issues, the firm offers opportunities to redefine modern living to their clients looking for new homes. They work to bring quality design and sustainable construction to their customers in Philadelphia who are pining for the kind of homes they see in the pages of Dwell, but with an eye towards sustainability. Postgreen Home has been honored by the USGBC and LEED for Homes Project of the Year in 2010, and it holds five LEED Platinum certifications. It’s also won the AIA National Housing Award and the AIA PA Award for Architectural Excellence. Their work has been featured in Dwell Magazine’s “See What Develops” issue, Metropolis Magazine, Philadelphia Business Journal, the Philadelphia Inquirer, Treehugger, and GOOD Magazine.

Featured Projects

The Two Point Five Beta in East Kensington at 2061 Amber Street is one of the design-build projects in Postgreen Home’s portfolio. The three bedroom, two bathroom home is certified LEED Platinum and offers their client a unique mixture of amenities. The third floor master suite includes a walkout roof deck that adds luxury amongst restricted space and floor plan, and the plan also offers a parking spot. Another design-build project by Postgreen Home is the Passivhaus in East Kensington at 2318-20 Amber Street. Costing around $415k, the project represents Postgreen’s attempt designing and building the German Passivhaus-style home for their clients. This home aims to reduce the heating and cooling load of the home by 90 percent, through super insulation and extreme air sealing techniques.

2
Wyant Architecture

Principals:
Jeffrey Wyant
Maria Keares Wyant

Address:
2103 Sansom Street, Philadelphia, PA 19103

Contact:
215-523-9394
[email protected]

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About Wyant Architecture

Wyant Architecture is a Philadelphia-based design-build firm led by Principals Jeffrey Wyant and Maria Keares Wyant. The firm’s work focuses on site-specific, custom residential architecture, including thoughtfully planned and detailed interior renovations, significant additions to existing structures, and sustainably designed new construction. Wyant Architecture’s work has been featured in a new hard cover book, Home Extended, edited by Francesc Zamora; on HomeDSGN.com; in the Spectacular Homes of Greater Philadelphia publication; in AIA Philadelphia’s Quarterly Journal; in Context Magazine; in Philadelphia Style Magazine; and in Garden House Magazine. Wyant, AIA, LEED AP, has over 25 years of professional experience managing a broad range of project types. He holds a Bachelor of Architecture from Carnegie Mellon University. He is a member of the American Institute of Architects and is registered in the state of Pennsylvania. Keares Wyant, RA, LEED AP, manages design development and construction documentation for many of the firm’s projects. She holds a Bachelor of Architecture from Carnegie Mellon University. She is NCARB certified and is a registered architect in the state of Pennsylvania.

Featured Projects

Wyant Architecture has designed and constructed a unique mixture of houses in and around Philadelphia, catering to their clients’ demands. Some of these houses include the “House in the Woods” in Lancaster, Pennsylvania. The firm created a modern rustic private residence that engaged the landscape. A U-shaped floor plan encircles a south facing exterior courtyard and pool, while interior rooms are gathered around a massive stone fireplace. Natural finishes, used throughout, create warm, welcoming spaces, and expansive window walls maximize light. Another project is “SIPs House” in Newtown Square. It is a modern, energy-efficient, single-family home with pastoral views looking towards the neighboring farm. The firm installed structurally insulated wall and roof panels (SIPs), and triple-glazed windows create an air-tight envelope. Additional sustainable technologies include solar power generation, geothermal/radiant HVAC, and heat-recovery ventilation. Public spaces open to one another and orient around a light-filled, two-story atrium — the play of light and shadow becoming decoration in otherwise spare interiors.

1
Blackney Hayes Architects

Principals:
Kevin R. Blackney
John Fox Hayes
Jennifer Crawford

Awards:
New Jersey Business & Industry Association “New Good Neighbor Award,”
Preservation Alliance for Greater Philadelphia’s Grand Jury Award,
AIA Philadelphia’s Preservation Award,
IIDA Pennsylvania Merit Award,
New Jersey and Delaware Chapter’s Best Interior Design Award,
10,000 Friends of Pennsylvania’s “Building A More Perfect Pennsylvania” Award,
New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection & Historic Preservation Office’s “Adaptive Reuse and Historic Preservation” Award,
Subcontractor Association of Delaware Valley’s Architect of the Year Award

Address:
150 S. Independence Mall West, Suite 1200, Philadelphia, PA 19106

Contact:
215-829-0922
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About Blackney Hayes Architects

Blackney Hayes Architects was founded in 1988, with a commitment to interactive design and exceptional service. The principals of the firm are Kevin R. Blackney, AIA, John Fox Hayes, FAIA, and Jennifer Crawford, AIA. Blackney is a founding partner of BHA, with over 30 years of professional experience. Fox has served as president and on the board of directors of the of the American Institute of Architects Member’s Philadelphia chapter. The Blackney Hayes Architects firm employees nearly 50 architects, engineers, and interior designers to cater to a variety of design-build needs. The firm has recently been awarded the 2014 New Jersey Business & Industry Association “New Good Neighbor Award,” the 2011 Preservation Alliance for Greater Philadelphia’s Grand Jury Award, the 2011 American Institute of Architects of Philadelphia’s Preservation Award and Merit Award, the International Interior Design Association (IIDA) Pennsylvania, the 2011 New Jersey and Delaware Chapter’s Best Interior Design Award, the 2011 10,000 Friends of Pennsylvania’s “Building a More Perfect Pennsylvania” Award, the 2008 New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection & Historic Preservation Office’s “Adaptive Reuse and Historic Preservation” Award, and the 2006 Subcontractor Association of Delaware Valley’s Architect of the Year Award.

Featured Projects

Blackney Hayes Architects has their own “Residential Studio” that focuses on designing and constructing homes. One home they built is in Radnor Township, inspired by traditional carriage house. The interior was designed to match the decor of an older home, but with more innovative spacing and planning, to open the house up to allow more consistent flow that is not found in older homes. The interior included customing shaping and molding, using materials from — and reminiscent of — the area’s working farms. The firm also included a formal fireplace and custom paneling in selected areas throughout the house. Another project was a home in Malvern, Pennsylvania. The home uses large, modern windows. The firm designed and built a two-story, glass storefront system that integrates steel and mahogany trellises. The firm also implemented custom flooring and lighting and a custom kitchen.

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