Accessory Dwelling Unit designers/architects

We are interested in turning our old shed into a living space for a family member. We are looking for an architect who has strong experience with accessory dwelling units (ADUs). If the firm is connected with a construction team, even better. Please let us know if you have any suggestions. Thanks!

Parent Replies

New responses are no longer being accepted.

We met with HDR Remodeling and really liked them. 

However, we didn't end up going through with them because we decided to go another route with our ADU.

Hi, I highly recommend Levitch Associates. They are a family company based out of Berkeley since the early 1960s. They are a design/build company so they can do design and construction or one or the other. They do beautiful work with meticulous attention to detail. I'm happy to talk about them in more detail, please feel free to contact me.

I am about to break ground on an ADU in Oakland. I have been using Nathaniel Muhler as my architect, and I would recommend him. (510)295-7092 We are pleased with the design. He has done a few ADUs, I believe. It's a long and complicated process, and he has been helpful navigating all the ins and outs with the city. Good luck!

We're interested in that too and we recently attended a free workshop about ADUs that was put on by McCutcheon Construction at their West Berkeley office. (I think they do this several times a year? Check their website.) We learned a lot about the ADU regulations in different Bay Area cities, how to estimate costs, different options you can choose, what to do first, where to get more ideas, etc. We had used McCutcheon for a major project on our house 15 years ago that we are still very happy with, so we'll probably go with them if and when we go the ADU route. For our previous project, we chose the builder first, based on friends' recommendations, and then asked the builder, McCutcheon, to give us names of some good architects they had worked with, who we then interviewed. McCutcheon has in-house design too but we opted to use our own architect.  This worked out really well for us, because an experienced builder can give you a better idea at the outset how much it's going to cost, how long it will take, and what the obstacles will be for your particular setting and the city you live in.  McCutcheon is now an employee-owned company that has been in the Bay Area for many years and has a reputation for quality work. We found them to be very organized and very professional.  They stayed on track and were always responsive, and we liked that they offered us a range of subcontractors to choose from, depending on our budget and design goals. 

We recently contacted a number of architects about a potential ADU renovation. We haven't chosen one yet but the two we liked the best are Tierney Connor in Oakland and Mork Ulnes in San Francisco. Almost all of the architects we spoke with have a relationship with a few contractors. 

I am using Prefab ADUS/Valley Home Development out of Fairfield.  You can find photos on Facebook and these are their websites  and  They have been building ADUs in our area for a while now and are very familiar with the revised laws supporting this movement.  They are a family owned design/build company who take care of everything from start to finish.  This includes getting the design plan through your city, getting the permits, removing structures, building from foundation to move in.  Their prices are quite reasonable.  Here is a recent interview Steve Vallejos (owner)  did with Kol Peterson (author of "Backdoor Revolution - The Definitive Guide to ADU Development).  They have also been in a number of articles in our local papers.

Rebecca Amato of Amato Architecture is AWESOME for ADUs.  

tel: 510.420.0210

1396 Park Avenue
Emeryville, California 94608


email: info [at]

We used Susanne Stadler and she was wonderful. Very easy to work with, experienced with creating small spaces in a small space. Highly recommend.