The architectural scene in the rapidly growing city of Austin reflects a commitment to sustainability, the natural landscape, and contemporary elements. A commitment to the spirit of Texas is also present through use of materials and earthy colors. With so many people moving to the city, residential architects are in high demand for custom homes. The following list ranks the best custom home architects in Austin. These are architects who specialize in creating unique homes based on the needs and aspirations of the diverse homeowners they serve. From modern gems to traditional ranch houses, the designs on this list are remarkable. The firms on this list deliver the highest quality residences with innovative and sustainable designs, and they have been recognized by industry professionals and with industry awards.

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.


Top Architects

Atlantis Architects

Derek Barcinski

4117 Guadalupe Street, Studio B, Austin, TX 78751

About Atlantis Architects

Located on Guadalupe Street, Atlantis Architects is a boutique architectural firm in Austin. The firm was founded by Derek Barcinski, who graduated from Rice University. Prior to opening his own firm, Barcinski worked with Cambridge Seven, Moshe Safdie, Graham Gund and Paul Lamb. When the firm was founded in 1989, the focus was on hand-crafted houses, using local resources and sustainable design. They have also taken on small-scale commercial projects. The firm approaches each project in four phases: schematic design, design development, construction documents, and construction observation. Mostly working in Texas, the firm also enjoys creating designs in other places as well. The firm has designed buildings in California, Colorado, Montana, Arizona, and New Mexico. Their work has been featured in 2017’s American Institute of Architects (AIA) Austin’s Home Tours.

Featured Projects

One of their featured projects is their Hyde Park home design. New windows and a skylight add ample natural lighting. The kitchen has an island with counter space and room for barstools, as well as shelving near the ceiling for storage and artful display. A backyard area gives plenty of room for patio chairs, a barbeque, and a fireplace. The master bedroom includes a vaulted wooden ceiling that gives the space a tranquil feeling. Atlantis also designed a stunning Westlake home. The design used floor-to-ceiling windows in the kitchen and dining area to maximize the views of the property. Teal stonework above the fireplace inspired other teal accents throughout the home, as seen in the teal built-in cabinets in the office.

Stuart Sampley Architect

Stuart Sampley

817 West Gibson Street, Austin, TX 78704

About Stuart Sampley Architect

Stuart Sampley is the sole practitioner of his full-service architectural firm, allowing him to give all his attention to each of his clients. Founded in 2006 and based in Austin, Texas, Sampley’s practice is dedicated to personal and detailed spaces within the home. He’s especially interested in designs that marry sustainable design with the eclectic spirit of Austin. However, he always works with his clients directly to understand exactly what style they are attracted to. Sampley currently serves as the Advocacy Commissioner on the board of the Austin Chapter of the American Institute of Architects. He’s especially familiar with the city’s complex building codes.

Featured Projects

One of Sampley’s unique and innovative designs is the Lakemoore Residence. The lot came with eight protected trees, so to work around that natural barrier, Sampley designed a Z-shaped home. The views from the property were the main attraction, but bold pops of color are sprinkled throughout the interior. A custom shiplap (a process that took over eight weeks) clads the walls. White oak planks serve as the flooring. Another project by Sampley is the Dexter Residence. Simple volumes and a material palette of concrete, glass, and stucco anchor the design. The house has a flat roof, clerestory windows, and a one-story facade, mimicking the other mid-century modern houses in the neighborhood. The home earned a 5-Star Austin Energy Green Building rating and was featured on the 2014 AIA Homes Tour.

Rick O’Donnell Architect

Rick O’Donnell

510 Westbury Ln. Georgetown, TX 78633

About Rick O’Donnell Architect

Founded in 1997, Rick O’Donnell Architect is an award-winning full-service firm. O’Donnell, the founding principal, graduated from the University of Texas. Based in Georgetown, the firm also services Austin, central Texas, as well as projects all over the state. In addition to his extensive architecture experience, he also spent 13 years in homebuilding, as well as seven years in the land development business. Always responding to the site, the designs can be described as “regionalistic,” with much of the inspiration coming from early Texas shapes, forms, materials, and details, now in a modern urban context. The firm has received awards from the Texas Capital Area Builders Assoc., the Home Builders Association of Greater Austin, Veterinary Economics Hospital Magazine, the National Association of Homebuilders and the Texas Association of Builders. Rick O’Donnell Architect has also been featured in Luxury Magazine, Architectural West Magazine, Custom Builder Magazine and Southern Living Magazine.

Featured Projects

One of their most impressive projects is Casa Del Sueno residence. The “Hacienda-style” architecture is energy efficient with its thick-walled, insulated concrete forms (ICFs) and metal framing. The central part of the design is a Spanish courtyard and also includes imported doors, flooring, and custom mahogany windows. Drystack, “chinked” flagstone, stucco, and a clay tile roof all embody a historic Mexican feeling. Another Rick O’Donnell design is Lampasas Ranch. Originally a ranch house, the new home was rebuilt from the foundation into a welcoming home with a focus on entertaining. The central gathering space is the anchor for the design and looks out on the beautiful surrounding views. Earthy colors and natural materials were used to evoke the form of early Texas ranch homes and connect the residence to the land on which it was built.

J Square Architects

James Shieh
Martin Dupont

818 Morrow Street, Austin, Texas 78757

About J Square Architects

Their Westlake Marina home is a first-rate example of the firm’s work. Integral stucco cladding with clear aluminum and storefront windows and doors are the main aspects of this open floor plan. Neutral tones with orange and purple accents set the tone in this home that overlooks Lake Austin, Westlake marina, and downtown Austin. Motorized shades, optimal window placement, and elegant concrete walls ensure privacy. Another project is their Westlake Hills residence. A unique feature of the home is an office “bridge” over the driveway. The garage in the back houses a rooftop terrace. Stucco, hardie siding, pine soffits, and a standing seam metal roof were the materials used in this home with stunning views across the valley. The home has large decks and balconies to make use of those views and create welcoming gathering spaces outside.

Featured Projects

J Square Architects was founded in 2007 and has already built a strong reputation for their superb commercial and residential designs. Currently, their focus is on using natural resources sparingly, responding to the sites, and reducing reliance on nonrenewable energy sources. Their designs draw on inspiration from Central Texas materials and space, all with a contemporary aesthetic. James Shieh is one of the founders of the firm and is a graduate of the University of Texas School of Architecture. He also served as a City of Austin commissioner on several commissions, as well as the vice secretary of the Zoning and Platting Commission and chairman of the Design Commission. Martin “Jay” Dupont is the other founder. He has diverse design experience, from hospitality and theaters to parking garages and custom residential. The firm has been featured in Texas Architect, Luxury Home, and Austin Monthly.

Clark Richardson

April Clark
Ed Richardson

South West NARI CoTY Regional Award,
Austin NARI CoTY Award,
National NARI Green Project Award,
AIA Design Merit Award

618 Lavaca Street, Suite 7, Austin, Texas 78701

About Clark Richardson

Principals and real-life partners April Clark and Ed Richardson founded the firm in 2009. Their goal is to create contemporary design through form, sustainability, and detail. Clark and Richardson have collaborated since meeting in graduate school at Yale University School of Architecture. Based in Austin, their award-winning designs can be seen throughout Texas, Arizona, New Mexico, Nevada, and Alabama. Always formulated by the clients’ needs and lifestyle, their designs have won several awards, including AIA Merit and local and regional awards from the National Association of the Remodeling Industry (NARI). Clark Richardson has personal connections with the city of Austin, so efficient feasibility studies are executed quickly. The firm has completed several diverse projects: numerous office projects, several custom homes, mixed-use projects, amenity complexes, fitness centers, a church, and even a creature under a bridge and up a creek!

Featured Projects

Clark Richardson designed a Central Austin residence, which utilizes timeless materials and colors in a Hyde Park style. The long porch has vertical windows that peek through the exterior facade. A recessed, cedar clad entry and foyer space greets you before you enter the rest of the home. An open floor plan is employed, along with an interior screen porch and a linear lap pool outdoors. A hidden deck is included upstairs above the living room. Another residential design is their Zilker homes. Located blocks from Barton Springs and the Umlauf Sculpture Garden, the units open out to landscaped courtyards. Second floor balconies overlook downtown. A simple, edited material palette is used, with whites and cypress. One of the units has a gallery space, featuring prized prints and sculpture.

Kipp Flores Architects

Carey Kipp
Sabas Flores

Max Award,
McSam Award,
Star Award

11776 Jollyville Road, Suite 100, Austin, Texas 78759

About Kipp Flores Architects

Carey Kipp and Sabas Flores started their careers working for a large, national builder. While at the national company, Kipp served as vice principal of architecture. Flores has served on the Austin McMansion Task Force and the Mueller Task Force, as well as on the Board of the Mueller New Construction Council. Both Kipp and Flores graduated from the University of Texas at Austin School of Architecture. They brought the efficiency, communication, and relationships that they cultivated there to their own firm, Kipp Flores Architects. Specializing in residential architecture, they also do custom home designs and multi-family residential designs. The award-winning firm has recently won a Max Award, McSam Award, Star Award, and more. The firm has grown to include 32 experience professionals.

Featured Projects

A unique residential design is Plan 2086, an urban farmhouse. The 2,099-square-foot home is located just west of the University of Texas and designed to be a possible home for students since it’s so close to campus. The renovated property includes a carport and a two-sided porch — a great gathering space. Jack and Jill baths maximize the bathroom space. Plan 1627 is another excellent design by Kipp Flores. This home was featured in Austin’s 2016 Modern Home Tour. Two decks, on the main and upper levels, extend the living areas and capitalize on the views of the surrounding areas. The master bedroom is on the main level, and the home boasts an oversized utility. Space is maximized on a typical urban lot.

LaRue Architects

Jim LaRue

Max Awards,
Star Awards

500 N. Capital of Texas Hwy, Building 8, Suite 110, Austin, Texas 78746

About LaRue Architects

Founded in 1989 by Jim LaRue, LaRue Architects is passionate about creating homes that are custom, responsive, and sustainable. The firm has completed over 400 offices and homes, and they bring that considerable experience to every project. LaRue earned his Bachelor of Environmental Design from Texas A&M University. With over 30 years of experience in residential design and construction, he is also involved with the National Association of Home Builders and the Green Building Association. The firm has been recognized by the Texas Society of Architects Convention, the AIA Austin Homes Tour, Home Builders Association, and HBA Parade of Homes. LaRue Architects has also been featured in Home Design & Decor, Contemporary Texas Architecture, Luxe Magazine, Western Art and Architecture, and Modern Luxury Interiors Texas.

Featured Projects

LaRue recently completed their House on the Hill project, a 6,442-square-foot residence in Austin. With an inviting entry, this modern home is attractive from the street. With a floor-to-ceiling glass front door, the entry space is open and welcoming. Tucked in a steep hillside, the design captured the views of the hill country with extensive windows, but also gave the homeowners privacy. Another contemporary design by LaRue Architects is their Blanco House, a 6,504-square-foot home. The open floor plan was designed with entertaining in mind. Only ceiling transitions define the living, dining, kitchen, and breakfast rooms. Glass is used throughout the home, which makes the exterior living area and pool visible from the inside. Neutral colors were used inside with warm wood accents, giving the space an inviting feel.

Vanguard Studio

John Hathaway

Home Builder Association of Greater Austin Best Product Design,
Texas Association of Builders Best Custom Builder Home

6601 Vaught Ranch Road, Austin, TX 78730

About Vanguard Studio

Specializing in luxury custom and speculative homes, Vanguard Studio is based in Austin. The principal architect and founder John Hathaway received his Bachelor of Architecture from Texas Tech University. He is joined by two other project architects, Robert Tobias and Steve Courtney. Vanguard strives to combine the timeless qualities of the past with today’s modern elements. They have received awards from the Home Builder Association of Greater Austin and the Texas Association of Builders. Their gorgeous homes have been showcased at The Cimarron Hills Parade of Homes, The Symphony Showcase Home, The Flintrock Falls Showcase of Homes, and the Colony Parade of Homes.

Featured Projects

One of Vanguard’s noted designs is a contemporary Italian farmhouse in Austin. Stonework is complemented by dark wood throughout the home. Vaulted ceilings in the living area makes the space spacious. A full-height sliding glass door is used in that room to make the views even more accessible. A large island in the center of the kitchen provides plenty of counter space and room for four luxurious barstools. Another featured project is their Transitional French home. The 7,740-square-foot residence has 4,891 square feet as part of its interior, since outdoor living was a huge priority for the homeowners. There are several different gathering spaces outside, including a fireplace, fountain, barbeque area, and pool. The home’s interior is mostly white, with dark wooden accents to capture a French vibe.

Cornerstone Architects

Architects (Partners):
Bob Wetmore
Mark Carlson
Rodney Palmer
Ranjit Gupta

Best of Houzz,
Austin Monthly’s Best of the City,
National Commercial Builders Council Awards of Excellence

7000 Bee Cave Road, Suite 200, Austin, TX 78746

About Cornerstone Architects

Cornerstone Architects is an architectural design firm that specializes in custom commercial and residential buildings. Founded in 1989 by Bob Wetmore and Mark Carlson, this worldwide firm’s design approach blends interior design with architectural disciplines to create cutting-edge design. The company has been featured in numerous publications and has been selected on multiple AIA Austin and Modern Homes Tours. Cornerstone has also received numerous residential and commercial awards for its work over the years, including Best of Houzz every year since 2012 and several Awards of Excellence from the National Commercial Builders Council, a Merit Award for Northwest Hills Medical Center, a Grand Award for Belterra Amenity Center and Gateway Community Church, and Project of the Year for Fiori Day Spa.

Featured Projects

One of Cornerstone’s featured projects is their Cat Mountain residence. The inspiration for the design came from the stark landscape views in the rear of the property. Stone accents and exposed ceiling beams reflect the exterior in the interior of the home. The backyard area is especially stunning, with a patio and swimming pool. Custom shelving in the living area offers a great storage and display area. Their Ridgewood Residence design is an elegant example of their work. The exterior pairs a dark wood with light stonework. A simple but bold light fixture is the main feature of the entryway. A gorgeous stone fireplace is the focal point of the family room. Open and spacious, the kitchen has several places to gather and eat, making the space inviting.

Dick Clark and Associates

Mark Vornberg
Kevin Gallaugher
Kim Power

Austin Green Award,
AIA Austin Chapter Design Award

207 W. 4th Street, Austin, TX 78701

About Dick Clark and Associates

Dick Clark started his own firm in Austin in 1979. Throughout the years, it has grown immensely. The team, mentored by Clark until his recent death, has created work in Austin, the surrounding areas, and in other parts of Texas. Educated at the University of Texas at Austin School of Architecture, Clark also attended Harvard University’s Graduate School of Design. Clark, one of the best known architects in Austin, was awarded the inaugural Downtown Austin Alliance Award for all of his involvement in the projects that revitalized downtown Austin and the Warehouse District (home of Dick Clark and Associates). In 2013, he received the AIA’s highest honor, the level of Fellowship in AIA, for his exceptional work and contributions to architecture and society. The firm recently won an Austin Green Award and an AIA Austin Chapter Design Award and has been published in several publications.

Featured Projects

Dick Clark and Associates recently completed the 5,400-square-foot Bud’s Place residence tucked in the hills. Situated on top of a slope, the residence maximizes its views of downtown Austin and the Colorado River with full-height, sliding glass doors in the living and dining areas. A minimalist material palette and simple color palette in both the interior and exterior serves the sophisticated home. The open floor plan is extremely functional. Another example of their excellent design skills is a 5,000-square-foot residence in West Lake Hills. In between mature oak trees, the house is long and linear, directing the perspective to impressive views of downtown Austin. Sliding glass doors make the best use of this view. Stucco, stone, and zinc were the primary materials used on the project. With the Brownwood Residence, Dick Clark and Associates created a contemporary home that is extremely sleek and modern. The firm made ample use of the outdoor space with an oversized back patio that resembles a rustic poolside oasis.