Overview

The architectural scene in the rapidly growing city of Austin reflects a commitment to sustainability, the natural landscape, and contemporary construction elements. A commitment to the spirit of Texas is also present through the use of materials and earthy colors, and 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 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 all stylishly unique. The firms on this list deliver the highest quality residences with innovative and sustainable designs, and they have been recognized by industry professionals through accolades and publication features.
 

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

Architects:
Derek Barcinski

Address:
4117 Guadalupe Street, Studio B, Austin, TX 78751

About Atlantis Architects

Atlantis Architects is an architectural studio based in Hyde Park, Austin, TX. 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. Since 1989, the firm has focused on hand-crafted houses and small-scale constructional projects using local resources and sustainable design. The firm approaches each project in four phases: schematic design, design development, construction documents, and construction observation. Though based in Texas, the firm has also designed buildings in California, Colorado, Montana, Arizona, and New Mexico. Their work has been featured in Their work has been part of (AIA) Austin’s Home Tours and Preservation Austin Awards.

Featured Projects

One of the studio’s standout projects is the two-story brick house pictured. Its classic stone exteriors and contemporary interiors complement each other perfectly and add a timeless charm to the abode’s aesthetic. A pristine white palette is inside the home, though depicted in varying shades and textures. The lounge area has a low central table surrounded by cozy furniture, light fixtures, and muted decor. The kitchen features side drawers, counters, and an island with counter space and room for barstools. The space is adjacent to the dining room, a lavish hub accentuated by a large chandelier above the main table. The living area is designed with plant ornaments and personalized decor that brighten the room. Tall glass windows also allow natural light during the daytime.

Clark Richardson

Architects:
April Clark
Ed Richardson

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

Address:
2709 E 5th St Unit 120b, Austin, TX 78702

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. Their designs are always formulated by the clients’ needs and lifestyle and 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 including 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 employs timeless materials and colors in a Hyde Park style. The long porch has vertical windows that peek through the exterior façade. A recessed, cedar-clad entry and foyer space greets you before you enter the rest of the home. An open floor plan, an interior screen porch, a linear lap pool outdoors, and a hidden deck is included upstairs above the living room. Another residential design is its Zilker homes. Located blocks away from Barton Springs and the Umlauf Sculpture Garden, the units open out to landscaped courtyards and its second-floor balconies overlook the downtown area. A simple palette is used, and one of the units includes a gallery space that features prized prints and sculptures.

Cornerstone Architects

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

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

Address:
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 Rodney Palmer with Bob Wetmore as principal partner, this worldwide firm’s design approach blends interior design with architectural disciplines to create cutting-edge design. The company has received numerous awards for its work over the years, including 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. The firm’s work has been featured in several publications such as Water Enjoyment, Austin Home, American Style Villa, and Modern Home Tour Austin.

Featured Projects

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

Danze & Davis Architects, Inc.

Address:
4701 Spicewood Springs Road, 200 Austin, TX 78759

About Danze & Davis Architects, Inc.

Danze & Davis Architects, Inc. is one of the most renowned firms in Austin and has fully earned its stellar reputation over the last 58 years. The full-service architectural practice has worked on many residential projects, each one treated with commitment and creative savvy to deliver top-quality results. Donovan Davis spearheads the firm, a seasoned expert of his craft with an extensive portfolio of projects in Austin and beyond. The detail-oriented principal has spent decades in the industry, mastering the art of efficient and gorgeous designs that transcend trends and form a lasting impression on people. Its industry affiliations are the AIA, AIA Austin, AIA Custom Residential Architects Network (CRAN), Texas Association of Builders, and the HBA of Greater Austin.

Featured Projects

The Lake Travis residence featured here was completed in 211. The modern Austin home features wood elements in its exteriors and wide open space in its interiors. Tall glass windows are prominent in its structure, which gives homeowners a stellar view of the surroundings from the inside. Its air conditioning system can be shut down in unused sections of the home, minimizing energy consumption. A patio with a cantilevered roof improves comfort and outdoor living convenience. A roof deck was installed over the garage for optimal outdoor space and better site lines.

Dick Clark and Associates

Architects:
Mark Vornberg
Kevin Gallaugher
Kim Power
Kristopher White

Awards:
Austin Green Award,
AIA Austin Chapter Design Award

Address:
2120 East 7th Street, Austin, TX 78702

About Dick Clark and Associates

Dick Clark + Associates is a full service architecture and interior design firm based in Austin, TX, whose work covers a wide range of project types from high-end custom residential to large commercial projects.
The firm was started in 1979 by the late Dick Clark, and is now led by partners Mark Vornberg (principal), Kim Power, Kevin Gallaugher and Kristopher White. For over forty years, DC+A has been integral in central Texas as a champion of good design and unique spaces. The firm prides itself in creating memorable landmark projects and inspirational spaces capturing the unique quality and lifestyle of Austin. DC+A approaches each of their projects with energy and vision to deliver the best solution for their clients. The firm is deeply engaged in the community, participating in the shaping of the city, Central Texas and beyond. Dick Clark’s original commitment to mentorship and collaboration has built a team that expresses hard work, creativity and great design in each and every project.

Featured Projects

Dick Clark and Associates recently completed the 5,400 square-foot Bud’s Place residence. 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 selection and simple color palette in both the interior and exterior evokes a sophisticated atmosphere complemented by an extremely functional and open floor plan. Another example of their excellent design skills is a 5,000 square-foot residence in West Lake Hills. Located in between mature oak trees, the house is long and linear, directing the perspective to impressive views of downtown Austin. Sliding glass doors allow the best view of its environment. 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.

J Square Architects

Architects:
James Shieh
Martin Dupont

Address:
818 Morrow Street, Austin, TX 78757

About J Square Architects

J Square Architects was founded in 2007 and has built a strong reputation for its 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 inspiration from Central Texas materials and space, infused 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.

Featured Projects

The 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 the Westlake Hills residence. Unique features include an office bridge over the driveway and a garage in the back that 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 that make use of those views and create welcoming gathering spaces outside.

Kipp Flores Architects

Architects:
Carey Kipp
Sabas Flores

Awards:
Max Award,
McSam Award,
Star Award

Address:
11776 Jollyville Road, Suite 100, Austin, TX 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. The firm has grown to include 32 experienced professionals, all committed to quality work and excellent service. Their practice specializes in residential architecture, custom home designs, and multi-family residential designs. The award-winning firm has won a Max Award, a McSam Award, Star Award, and many more.

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 home for students since it’s so close to campus. The renovated property includes a carport and a two-sided porch that serves as a great gathering space. Jack and Jill baths also 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 spaces 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

Architects:
Jim LaRue

Awards:
Max Awards,
Star Awards

Address:
500 N. Capital of Texas Hwy, Building 8, Suite 110, Austin, TX 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; its team brings that considerable experience to every project. LaRue earned his Bachelor of Environmental Design from Texas A&M University and has over 30 years of experience in residential design and construction. The industry veteran is 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. This modern home has an inviting entryway that looks visually attractive from the street and features floor-to-ceiling glass on its front door that evokes an open and welcoming vibe. Tucked in a steep hillside, the strategic design captures the views of the hill country yet also gives the homeowners privacy. Another contemporary design by LaRue Architects is the 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 renders 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.

Michael Hsu Office of Architecture

Address:
4910 Burnet Road, Austin, TX 787569

About Michael Hsu Office of Architecture

Established in 2005 by its eponymous founder, the Michael Hsu Office of Architecture is one of the most prominent firms in the Houston and Austin architectural landscape. The practice specializes in design-driven architecture that provides stylish convenience to every client, each project completed with a solid focus on creative, innovative, and cost-effective designs. With these values in mind, seasoned principal Michael Hsu and his team have rendered a wide array of services throughout the years, such as furniture, lighting, exterior, and interior design. The AIA and IIDA affiliate has built a versatile body of work from residential and hospitality establishments to commercial and urban development projects. Adaptive reuse elements are also integrated into the firm’s work.

Featured Projects

The project featured is the Rosedale Residence located in Austin. Designed by Michael Hsu for a local homeowner, the two-story home’s exteriors evoke a modern aesthetic with sharp edges and geometric visuals. The contemporary home’s layout consists of a wide workspace area, a private conference room with sliding glass doors, and an outdoor lounge at the terrace. The interior’s palette is predominantly white and exudes a clean, pristine ambiance with minimal fuss. Stylish furniture and design fixtures spruce up space, with the occasional pop of color to liven up the spot.

Rick O’Donnell Architect

Architects:
Rick O’Donnell

Address:
510 Westbury Ln B, Georgetown, TX 78633

About Rick O’Donnell Architect

Founded in 1997, Rick O’Donnell Architect is an award-winning full-service firm. It is based in Round Rock but also services Austin and much of central Texas. O’Donnell, the founding principal, graduated from the University of Texas. In addition to his extensive architecture experience, he also spent 13 years in home building as well as seven years in the land development business. The designs of his practice can be described as regionalism; much of the inspiration comes from early Texas shapes, forms, materials, and details, yet with a modern, urban twist. The firm has received awards from the Texas Capital Area Builders Association, the Home Builders Association of Greater Austin, the Veterinary Economics Hospital Design Competition, 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.

Stuart Sampley Architect

Architects:
Stuart Sampley

Address:
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 full 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 possesses a vast knowledge of the city’s complex building codes and is especially interested in designs that marry sustainable design with the eclectic spirit of Austin. The industry expert 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.

Featured Projects

One of Sampley’s unique and innovative designs is the Lakemoore Residence. The lot came with eight protected trees so Sampley designed a Z-shaped home to work around the natural barrier. The views from the property are the main attraction, but bold pops of color sprinkled throughout the interior are also noteworthy. A custom shiplap—a process that took over eight weeks—adorns the walls, complemented by white oak planks that 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 façade, 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.

Vanguard Studio

Architects:
John Hathaway

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

Address:
6601 Vaught Ranch Road, Austin, TX 78730

About Vanguard Studio

Vanguard Studio is based in Austin and specializes in luxury custom and speculative homes. 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 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. The stonework is complemented by dark wood throughout the home. Vaulted ceilings in the living area render the area spacious: a full-height sliding glass door is used 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 bar stools. Another featured project is the Transitional French home. The 7,740 square-foot residence has a large exterior space since outdoor living was a huge priority for the homeowners. There are several different gathering spaces outside including a fireplace, a fountain, a barbeque area, and a pool. The home’s interior is mostly white with dark wooden accents that capture a French vibe.