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The Best Design-Build Firms/Custom Home Builders in Philadelphia

19 Min Read

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.

Atrium Design Group

1024 N 3rd Street, Philadelphia, PA 19123

The Atrium Design Group is a design-build company founded in 2014. The firm helps shepherd clients through their services from conceptual design through construction completion. Based in the Philadelphia area, the firm’s reach spans from New Jersey, Miami, and Tel Aviv in Israel. By managing the design and construction of a project the firm is able to provide more efficient and better quality homes.

Project by Atrium Design Group

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, Philadelphia Style Magazine, Philadelphia Business Journal, and Home & Design Magazine.

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.

Blackney Hayes Architects

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

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.

Project by Blackney Hayes Architects

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.

Cicada Architecture

1520 Locust Street, Suite 702, Philadelphia, PA 19102

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.

Project by Cicada Architecture

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.

Daedalus Design Build, LLC

501 West Prospect Avenue, North Wales, PA 19454

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 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 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.

Project by Daedalus Design Build, LLC

Daedalus has designed and built a variety of custom homes around the Philadelphia area, meeting every customer’s unique needs. One of the firm’s notable works is 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. On the 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 clawfoot tub. Care and time were 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, shower shelves, and a kitchen nook made from teak salvaged from a local bank.


702 N 3rd St., #55, Philadelphia, PA 19123

Greenwright is a full-service design-build firm serving Philadelphia with construction and consulting capacities. The firm specializes in new construction, adaptive reuse, and restoration. Greenwright highlights its strong background in sustainability, being accredited by the Sustainable Business Network of Greater Philadelphia and GSI Partners.
Robert M. Petito, the firm’s president, has been in the industry for over 20 years. His background in Philosophy gives him a unique perspective in the business and what it means in the greater context of sustainability. Robert A. Petito, Jr., the architect of the firm, has over 30 years in the business. He trained in the halls of Princeton University, the Pratt Institute School of Architecture, and the University of Pennsylvania.

Project by Greenwright

The firm’s portfolio of residential projects is an impressive display of practicality, sustainability, and beauty. Greenwright’s arsenal of homes is a testament that ecologically-conscious designs can also be timeless and visually striking.

Harman Deutsch Architecture

631 N 12th Street, Philadelphia, PA 19123

Harman DeutschOhler Architecture was founded in 1999 by Brett Harman and Craig Deutsch. Rustin Ohler, a graduate of Temple University, later joined the two in company leadership. The firm now employs 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 of mixed-use buildings, restaurants, hotels, retail spaces, office buildings, multi-family housing, and private residences.

Project by Harman Deutsch Architecture

The firm has 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 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.
Harman Deutsch Architecture is the designer and builder 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 the lower level up to the master floor.

Keast and Hood

400 Market Street #1250, Philadelphia, PA 19106

Keast & Hood is a structural, design-build, and engineering firm founded in Philadelphia in 1953. The firm 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.

Project by Keast & Hood

The firm is led by numerous principals, including Frederick Baumert, Matthew Daw, and Constantine Doukakis. Baumert joined the firm in 1980 after graduating from Pennsylvania State University with a degree in Civil Engineering. He earned an M.S. in Civil Engineering from Drexel University and was named a principal in 1989. He 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. Daw joined the Philadelphia office in 1997 and became a principal in 2005. He serves as a board officer of the Washington Architectural Foundation, board member of Preservation Maryland, and past chairman of the Structural Engineers Association of Metropolitan Washington. Doukakis, 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.

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 composed of operable wood shutters.

Myers Constructs

PO Box 27490, Philadelphia, PA 19118

Since its incorporation in 1998, Myers Constructs has been known to provide award-winning design-build services all over the Philadelphia Metro Region. The firm won the NARI Contractor of the Year Award in three consecutive years from 2016 to 2018. Myers also captured the attention of major publications in local home building including The Philadelphia Inquirer, The Philadelphia Inquirer Sunday Magazine, and Philadelphia Row Home Magazine.
The firm has a deep connection with the local industry and art scene. Tamara Myers, founder, sales manager, and design manager of the firm, knows and loves culture and the arts. She attended the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts and graduated magna cum laude in the Tyler School of Art in Temple University. She sits on design and zoning review committees of the
Northern Liberties Urban Design and the Kensington South Design Review Committees.

Project by Myers Constructs

The firm’s portfolio includes everything from simple kitchen and bathroom remodeling to full-scale construction. The firm’s feel for design’s cultural and artistic implications are plainly evident in all of the firm’s projects.

Period Architecture

53 Church Road, Malvern, PA 19355

Period Architecture is a custom architectural firm specializing in in new homes, additions, renovations, barns, and buildings with enduring designs tailored to each distinct client. This relationship creates dynamic places that enrich modern lifestyles with timeless design. A committed steward of the landscape and vernacular architecture, over ten years Period Architecture has grown from a three-person practice into an award-winning architectural firm with residential and commercial commissions along the east coast and beyond

Project by Period Architecture

One of Period Architecture’s 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, 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. The home also includes 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.

Postgreen Home

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

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.

Project by Postgreen Home

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.

Wiedenman Architecture

23 E Eagle Road, Havertown, PA 19083

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.

Project by Wiedenman Architecture

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.

Wyant Architecture

2103 Sansom Street, Philadelphia, PA 19103

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; 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.

Project by Wyant Architecture

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.