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The Best Custom Home Builders & Design-Build Firms in Denver

14 Min Read


Design-build firms in Denver carry a complex toolbox. They are required to bring the technical, the practical, the artistic, and the visionary to each project they tackle, as they help their clients design and construct unique, sustainable Denver homes. The list below includes both boutique and large-scale firms — firms that specialize entirely in residential and ones in which residential is only one branch of a bigger tree. Each firm brings a commitment to sustainability, which is a hallmark of Denver’s construction value system, while also building structures that can withstand the city’s distinct four seasons and its record hailstorms.

Top Custom Home Builders

Work Shop Colorado

4373 Jason Street, Denver, CO 80211

About Work Shop Colorado

True to its name, Work Shop Colorado builds all of the elements that go into its custom homes in-house, from the façades to the built-ins. Founder Brad Weiman has led this team of talented designers and builders in serving the Denver Metro Area since 2007. Seth Donnell, AIA, joins him as Design Principal and Lead Architect, drawing on nine years of design experience.

Featured Projects

This home in Quail Creek Estates showcases the firm’s expertise. The sprawling home, with its varied roofline, opens to a loft-style interior, with a massive fireplace wall anchoring the double-height living room beneath the wood-beamed ceiling. Window walls on either side bring in a lot of light. A built-in wine rack marks the eight-seater dining area off to one side. Further down this wing is the wood motif kitchen, which features a tiered eat-in island at its center. The vaulted ceiling master bedroom is warmed by a pipe fireplace. Gold-framed mirrors hang above the two vanities and dresser area lining the marble-walled master bath in front of the freestanding tub and glass-doored alcove shower. A trellised patio leads out to the lap pool in the expansive landscaped backyard, overlooked by black metal-railed balconies.

ArcWest Architects

Todd L. Heirls
Kevin H. Anderson

2406 W 32nd Avenue, Suite A, Denver, CO 80211

About ArcWest Architects

ArcWest Architects is a more recent addition to the Denver scene, and they believe in design that is progressive and innovative. Since 2006 ArcWest has built an impressive portfolio that includes residential, commercial, warehouse, and corporate projects. Founding partner Todd L. Heirls enjoys collaborating directly with senior management. He happens to have expertise in welding and often steps in to execute custom steel details. ArcWest’s other founding partner, Kevin H. Anderson, brings over 25 years of experience as a licensed Colorado architect and enjoys working on a large scope of projects that represent the diversity of the field. ArcWest was named one of the top 19 best architects in Denver on Expertise and received the 2016 Mayor’s Design Award.

Featured Projects

The Wyandot Street home was completed in 2014 at 4,223 square feet and represents ArcWest’s capacity to design a new home in a traditional style, without sacrificing the integrity of their artistry. The clients wanted their new build to respect the historic character of the surrounding neighborhood, and the result was an elegant home with brick exterior, a large front porch, an upper back patio, and plenty of natural light. ArcWest did a spectacular job with an N. Pecos Street build that reflects the urban feeling of the LoHi neighborhood. The exterior spaces take advantage of passive winter sun as well as summer shade. The upper floor master bedroom balcony provides privacy and comfort, and the top level terrace allows residents gorgeous sunset and city views. The exterior materials are a combination of hard stucco and horizontal cedar siding.

BONSAI Architect-Led Design+Build

Josh Oqueli

2931 W. 25th Avenue, Denver, CO 80211

About Bonsai Design + Build

BONSAI is a new take on the former company Studio Q4. Josh Oqueli realized the power of integrating architecture with the world of construction and founded BONSAI Architect-Led Design+Build and Bonsai Construction in 2013. Oqueli received a Bachelor of Environmental Design from the University of Colorado Boulder and a Master of Architecture from the University of Colorado Denver. He is NCARB-certified and has 16 years experience in total. 7 in practice with BONSAI and 9 working with different architecture firms.BONSAI is made up of a small but effective team of 6, who manage to make waves with high-performance design and construction of additions, single-family residences, duplexes, townhomes, and multi-family residences. The firm’s work has been featured in Colorado’s Best Kitchens Magazine and Modern in Denver.

Featured Projects

When BONSAI put its skills to work on the Lohi Urban Cottage project, the firm crafted a product that combines comfort, high performance, and pizzaz. The exterior was made from structural insulated panels (SIPs), which minimize the thermal breaks that can be a disadvantage of modern framing. Instead of a standard HVAC system, BONSAI opted for small air handling units positioned throughout the home to generate a more efficient heating and cooling process. More of the home’s highlights include textured wood, an open staircase, a spiral outdoor staircase, an enclosed upper floor sunroom/walkway, and a 300-square-foot deck with views of downtown Denver.


3325 Brighton Blvd., Denver, CO 80216

About Desibl

Capable of architectural design, construction, and fabrication, Desibl is a multifaceted design-build firm operating all over the Denver Metro Area. It was established by former members of the design and construction firm, Design Platform, which served the city of Denver for a decade. While Desibl’s venture into the design-build industry has just begun, the firm is well-versed in various styles, as evident by its work portfolio.

Featured Projects

The projects in Desibl’s portfolio demonstrate the firm’s fluency in cabinetry, architectural design, and construction. Featured here is an updated 1980s split-level estate filled with contemporary design elements, such as a waterfall countertop, a Salamander green island cabinet, brass features, and walnut cabinetry. This project reflects the contemporary lifestyle of a modern family living in a bustling metropolitan area.

Doerr Architecture Firm

Thomas Doerr

Mayor’s Design Award

4848 Curie Court, Boulder, CO 80301

About Doerr Architecture Firm

Doerr Architecture Firm is a full-service design firm based in Boulder making a unique stamp on ecological design that is also expressive, contemporary, and boundary-pushing. The firm’s green building practices and sustainability principles have garnered critical acclaim, and the firm’s projects have included passive solar building designs, historic renovations, urban infill development projects, and net-zero energy homes. Principal architect Thomas Doerr also lends his talent to the educational sector, having taught a Green Building course at Naropa University that focused on the environmental impacts of buildings, as well as the LEED system.
The firm has been featured in LOCALE Magazine, and its work on the Finch House earned the Mayor’s Design Award. The Finch House was lauded for its dynamic aesthetics, great passive solar design, and various other energy-efficient measures.

Featured Projects

The Finch House is like looking at a hip, modern version of a dwelling you’d find in Tolkien’s Shire. It combines cozy with charm and functional with sustainable. The progressive artistic vision evident in this structure shines in the dynamism of the vaults, the circular staircase, the exposed wood connector beams, and the appealing overall curvature of the building. Not to mention, the home’s shaded southern windows and thermal mass make for sturdy insulation. This beautiful home features excellent daylighting, a highly efficient furnace and appliances, green materials, and passive solar design.

Dohn Construction

659 Santa Fe Dr., Denver, CO 80204

About Dohn Construction

Since 2008, Jeff Ayres and Jeff Gates, alongside their growing team, have been pursuing their dream of offering reasonably priced, high-quality designs, with Denver Design Build’s (which operates through its parent organization, Dohn Construction) full-service expertise. The firm executes its clients’ visions for custom homes throughout the Denver metro and Front Range areas. Denver Design Build was recently awarded first place for Best Home Builder and Best Commercial Builder in ColoradoBIZ Magazine’s 2017 Best of Colorado Awards, and the firm was a finalist for the C.A.R.E Awards in Remodeling Excellence. The firm was also nominated for Best Custom Home Builder in the 2015 Homebuilders and Associates in Partnership Awards and was featured in Modern Builder & Design and US Builders Review.

Featured Projects

The Denver University Transitional showcases Denver Design Build’s keen eye for smoothly integrating elegant and traditional with youthful and industrial. The open concept kitchen features can lights and industrial light fixtures, and the cherry wood of the island is handsomely accentuated by the white- and gray-speckled marble countertop. The large windows and French doors in the living room allow for ample daylight, and the window reading nook in the upstairs bedroom creates a feeling of simple spaciousness. For the Berkeley Park Modern, Denver Design Build created spectacularly intentional divisions of window panes and slanted window angles that make the home feel like a contemporary art piece, while the black iron staircase railing; the slanted wood-paneled, can lit patio overhang; and the floor-to-ceiling beige stone fireplace backdrop create a new take on the rustic ranch aesthetic.

Factor Design Build

Jane Blumer

3246 Larimer Street, Denver, CO 80205

About Factor Design Build

Factor Design Build relishes in the inherent challenge of versatility, and that’s why the firm’s projects range from urban lofts to old-world farmhouses. Regardless of the aesthetic, the firm is dedicated to fusing life-enhancing design with eye-catching artistry.
Founded by Josh Fiester and Kent Simpson, Factor Design Build has worked in the Denver metro and Boulder areas for more than 30 years, on both residential and commercial construction. Simpson has more than 20 years of construction, property development, property management, and home building experience. He graduated from Colorado State University, and when he’s not designing custom construction, he’s creating public art installations that win Mayor’s Design Awards. Fiester was formerly in charge of business development for Melton Design Build and brings 12 years of experience with large-scale commercial and residential projects. He is LEED certified and served as the project manager for the first LEED Platinum commercial building in the country.

Featured Projects

Factor Design Build’s Osceola home shows a flawless integration of clean, bright design with efficient, spacious living concepts. The project’s highlights include a three-level, open staircase (which features wooden steps accented by a black iron base), built-in shelving behind the fireplace, French doors in the kitchen, an oversized island with a convection oven, and well-spaced can lighting throughout the residence.

KGA Studio Architects, PC

Jerry Gloss
Paul Mahony

Nationals Silver Award for Best Architectural Design,
MAME Awards,
BALA Award

950 Spruce Street, Louisville, CO 80027

About KGA Studio Architects, PC

Founded in 1977 by John Knudson, KGA Studio is a nationally recognized firm with a specialty in residential design. Within KGA are two design studios: one that focuses on custom homes and one that focuses on production housing. The firm prides itself on collaboration and unique attention to every client and type of project. The team has several repeat clients and enjoys building enduring relationships. KGA has been recognized with hundreds of awards and honors, including the enlistment of Senior Partner Jerry Gloss into the Best in American Living Awards Hall of Fame.

Featured Projects

The Chanin Residence in Boulder took the 2008 Best in American Living Award for Best One-of-a-Kind Custom Home, and it’s not hard to see why. The cutting edge, rectangular shapes of the home, the open staircase, the glass windows, and the bright modern kitchen are only some of the structure’s highlights. The Urban Traditional home of 4,107 square feet of farmhouse-inspired beauty includes a wraparound porch, a window seat breakfast nook, a floor-level patio, and a country-style kitchen. This project represents KGA’s versatile capacity for executing modern takes on old, cherished styles.


David Berton

2899 Speer Boulevard #102, Denver, CO 80211

About RealArchitecture

RealArchitecture is an architecture and general contracting company that completes design-build projects in the Denver metro area and the Colorado Front Range, including single-family residences, apartments, lofts, mixed-use properties, remodels, additions, and row homes. RealArchitecture holds tight to the belief that successful projects rely on the foundation of strategic planning, and the firm’s goal is to create safe and productive working environments for its team’s optimal performance.
David Berton, the AIA and LEED-certified principal architect and founder, received his bachelor’s and master’s degrees in architecture from the University of Florida and founded RealArchitecture in 1995. He has taught at the University of Colorado Master of Architecture program and sits on the Board of Directors for various nonprofits, including Colorado Youth for a Change.

Featured Projects

The stunning residence on 3453 Navajo Street was handled with care by RealArchitecture, all the way from the acquisition of the land to the execution of the contemporary, artistic final product. Obtuse and acute angles, exposed steel, and both private and open spaces cultivate a sense of presence and comfort. The interior features clean lines, modern fixtures, and a blend of neutral and bold colors.

Sexton Lawton Architecture

Sarah Sexton
Matthew Lawton

AIA Denver Merit Award,
AIA Colorado Merit Award,
2011 AIA Colorado Honor Award.

1627 Gilpin Street, Suite A, Denver, CO 80218

About Sexton Lawton Architecture

Sexton Lawton Architecture is a full-service firm founded and run by Sarah Sexton and Matthew Lawton, who both attended Cornell University and worked for award-winning design firms in San Francisco, Philadelphia, Albuquerque, and Denver before establishing their own. During his university program, Lawton studied in Italy, where he received the Charles Goodwin Sands Memorial Medal for his thesis project.
The firm is licensed in the states of California and Colorado and believes in environmental responsibility, local product sourcing, and hands-on collaboration with clients. The firm received the 2011 AIA Denver Merit Award as a Sustainable Stuart, the 2011 AIA Colorado Merit Award, and the 2011 AIA Colorado Honor Award.

Featured Projects

The Belcaro Residence is a fabulous display of what a well-executed renovation and expansion can do to make a midcentury ranch sparkle with modern appeal. The inclusion of operable glass walls to link indoor and outdoor spaces, as well as custom storage walls, makes the space highly functional and full of light. Original flagstone chimneys were extended horizontally to create an exterior fireplace, giving the residence a polished yet rustic aesthetic.

Stone Cloud Design

Bryan Bozeman

1284 South Clayton Street, Denver, CO 80210

About Stone Cloud Design

Stone Cloud Design, founded by Bryan Bozeman, is comprised of a modest team, yet the firm manages to execute highly artistic home designs that exemplify its unique eye for well-balanced contrast. Bozeman holds both a residential and commercial contractor license, as well as a real estate license, allowing him to bring diverse expertise to Stone Cloud’s projects. Stone Cloud was featured in Denver Life Home & Design’s Summer Issue in 2015 and on the Modern Architecture and Design Society Denver Home Tour in 2017. Stone Cloud is dedicated to working with nonprofit organizations in the Denver community. The firm is currently involved with Colorado Uplift and Make-A-Wish Colorado.

Featured Projects

Inspired by the Frank Lloyd Wright “Frederick C. Robie House,” the residence on 558 South Gaylord Street presents prairie charm clad with contemporary flourishes. The ultra-modern kitchen, including legless countertop chairs and a dramatic hanging metal light fixture, is a bold contrast to the simple exposed wood beams and skylight on the upper floor. That’s what makes the Gaylord house so interesting. Stone Cloud successfully intermingled strong statements, room to room. The bathroom, with a full glass-enclosed shower that houses a freestanding, oval-shaped tub and shower bench inside it, is simultaneously breathtakingly simple and exceedingly lush. Topped off with an outdoor, exposed brick fire pit, this home brings comfort, artistry, and entertaining into a new kind of balance.

Sustainable Design Build

3330 Larimer St., Ste 1C Denver, CO 80205

About Sustainable Design Build

With a clear-cut approach to the design-build construction model, Sustainable Design Build aims to provide the full range of design-build services with the environment and the community in mind. Priding itself on its local roots, the firm partners with local peers and councils to ensure that local communities are properly represented and taken care of. Founders Zach McKendry and Mike McCarty are no strangers to the construction industry. Prior to opening the firm in 2016, McKendry worked with and operated several construction companies. He is a fourth-generation builder and a savvy real estate entrepreneur. McCarty has around a decade of experience in the real estate market, garnering more than 20 properties in his portfolio.

Featured Projects

The firm understands the role of financing and value engineering in property development. Remodeling, when done properly, will increase the market value of properties in the long run. While the firm focuses on remodeling and home additions, it also provides ground-up construction and custom homes.The contemporary-style property featured here is a home on Yates. The home has an interesting silhouette and structure that emphasizes proportion and placement. This project also utilizes neutral tones very well, adding to the overall minimalist and contemporary appeal of the home.


  • Jake Gustafson

    Jake has served as Senior Editor at Denver Architects and brings a wealth of experience rooted in his passion for building. Holding a degree in Construction Engineering Management from Oregon State University, he actively engaged in industry-related activities, including membership in the Associated General Contractors of America student chapter and participation in the Associated Schools in Construction student competition. Previously, Jake served as a project engineer for a prominent general contractor in Portland, where he played a pivotal role in various aspects of construction projects, from pre-construction to subcontractor management. His expertise extends to working on innovative projects, such as North America's largest CLT commercial building. Expertise: Commercial Construction, Commercial Remodeling, Home Design and Build Key Highlights: Editor at Denver Architects, Project Engineer for Portland-based general contractor, Field Engineer for the largest CLT commercial building in North America Education: Oregon State University, Degree in Construction Engineering Management