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The Best Residential Architects and Designers in Houston

17 Min Read


Skyscrapers hog the headlines when it comes to Houston’s architectural scene. Most everyone has heard of Pennzoil Place or is at least vaguely familiar with the look of Johnson Burgee-era buildings. But Houston’s architects and builders have never limited themselves to a single style. They live here too, after all, and they want to create interesting structures. And Houston has many of those: from shipping-container homes on the cutting edge of hip, urban living to planned high-rise villages on the Woodlands waterfront. Here are 10 architects who help make Houston home, and who are receiving impressive accolades from regional and national associations.

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

Collaborative Designworks

James Evans
Adriana Camacho
Matt Peterka

AIA Houston Young Architect Award,
AIA Houston Design Award

4415 Woodhead Street, Houston TX 77098

About Collaborative Designworks

Collaborative Designworks is a small firm staffed by lifelong architecture professionals. They offer construction, design, and planning services. The firm is owned by James Evans, who spent six years as an associate architect at Kirksey. Adriana Camacho rounds out the design team. Camacho received a Bachelor’s and a Master’s of Architecture from Tulane University and spent five years as a designer at Energy Architecture. The firm’s projects appear regularly on the annual AIA Houston Home Tour and their work has been featured in the Houston Chronicle, Houston Modern Luxury, and Texas Architect Magazine, among others. Evans received the AIA Houston Young Architect Award in 2010.

Featured Projects

Collaborative Design Works showed its commitment to community planning and environmental preservation with House 1700 in Cherryhurst. The 4,357 square foot home was designed around the location of a mature oak tree. The firm worked with the Houston Planning Department and the local homeowner’s association on a plan that made room for the tree and the building on the 5,000 square feet lot by increasing the setback. Dark walnut covered the home’s second-floor exterior while terraces and outdoor spaces were placed under the tree for a “modern treehouse effect.” House 1700 was included on the AIA Houston Home Tour in 2017. House 2045 was arranged for a client concerned about future mobility issues and grants full access on one floor. The house employed few doors and a design that relied on two intersecting, rectangular tubes. House 2045 was included on the Rice Design Alliance Home Tour in 2010 and received a Design Award from AIA Houston in 2006.

Dwight Patterson Architects

1334 Brittmoore Road, Houston, TX 77043

About Dwight Patterson Architects

Dwight Patterson Architects, also known as DPA, is guided by a client-inspired and design-driven principle, one that has elevated its status to prominence on the Houston architectural landscape. The award-winning studio has a core focus on modern and functional design and offers key services that center around residential, commercial, restaurant, and worship architecture. Customer-relationships are also integral in its operations, and fortifying bonds through positive collaboration and dedicated service is well-ingrained in its team. Its talented roster of craftspeople is led by eponymous principal Dwight D. Patterson, an industry veteran with over 25 years of experience and expertise in architecture and design. Patterson is a registered architect in Texas and California and his firm is an affiliate of the AIA’s national, Houston, and Orange County chapters as well as the Texas Society of Architects (TSA).

Featured Projects

The Seidel Residence featured is a residential project designed by DPA. The three-story Houston home features monumental mass elements that ground its structures and clear glass walls that allow homeowners to enjoy its scenic natural surroundings. Minimalist exterior design complements the crystal and stone elements, giving off a stylish elegance fit for a magazine spread. At night, the open layout is illuminated by bright lights installed all throughout the house, rendering the modern manor a beacon in the neighborhood.

Greymark Construction

Leslie King

Greater Houston Builder Association Prism Award,
Texas Association of Builders 2017 STAR Awards

1207 Bingham Street, Houston, TX 77007

About Greymark Construction

Greymark Construction brings a practical approach to its architectural and design-build services. The firm’s focus is mostly on remodeling and design. “We will not design something that can’t be built on a budget because we are the ones who will have to build the project for the stated amount” the firm states on its website. Greymark president Leslie King studied business administration and management at Sam Houston University. Architectural expertise comes from project manager Courtney Doss-Lomas and designer Jorge Arreola. Doss-Lomas, a native Houstonian, earned her Master of Architecture at the University of Houston. Graymark has awards from Professional Remodeler magazine, the Texas Association of Builders, and the Greater Houston Builders Association.

Featured Projects

Greymark Construction remodeled a River Oaks Home in a stylish, upscale neighborhood. The final version had a black, winding metal handrail on curved stairs, black-accented rectangular long-pane windows that opened onto a pool, and a long kitchen island with room for six stools to rest comfortably. Easy-open doors were attached to the entertainment area to quickly create an indoor-outdoor living room.


Carrie G. Shoemake

AIA Houston Design Awards,
AIA Houston Firm of the Year

5305 Jackson Street, Houston, TX 77004

About GSMA

GSMA was founded in 1996 as Glassman Shoemake Maldonado Architects, Inc. The name was later shortened to reflect its initials, but the firm’s ethos remained: to create unique buildings with personality. GSMA works on a variety of residential, civic, and commercial projects with services that include architecture, new construction, renovation, preservation, and design. Founding partner Carrie G. Shoemake, FAIA, is a Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design Accredited Professional (LEED AP) and Houston native who attended the University of Texas at Austin. She was the president of the Rice Design Alliance and an active member of the Houston Design Sub-Committee and Museum of Fine Arts. GSMA has received 10 AIA Houston Design Awards and was named AIA Houston’s Firm of the Year in 2013.

Featured Projects

GSMA constructed the second LEED Platinum residential home in Houston called the Bluegate Street Home. The firm used efficient construction techniques—LED lighting, tankless water heaters, and a yard designed to avoid excessive water waste—to reach the added environmental standards. Its structural design was based on the owner’s memory of a childhood house. The Bluegate Street Home was included on the City of Houston Green Building Tour in 2013. GSMA exhibited its capacity for custom design at the Terramar Beach House in Galveston. The client wanted something small, comfortable, and private. The firm responded with a modest two-story home. A combined palette of light blues and mild browns form a natural, airy theme. The house frame was shifted to improve views of the sky and minimize views of neighboring homes.

Keechi Creek Home Builders

Brandon Lynch
Sheri Lynch
Tommy Strong

Greater Houston Builders Association Custom Builder of the Year,
Better Business Bureau Award of Excellence

21175 State Highway 249, No. 328, Houston, TX 77070

About Keechi Creek Home Builders

Keechi Creek Home Builders is run by a married couple and a third-generation carpenter. It’s a full-service design-build firm that helps clients through each phase of the home-building process. Brandon Lynch serves as the firm’s president, and Sheri Lynch is CFO. Tommy Strong, the carpenter for the firm, is also the project manager. Sheri and Brandon both attended Texas A&M University. Brandon is active with the Greater Houston Builders Association and chairs the Custom Building Council. He was named Custom Builder of the Year in 2015. Strong studied English at the University of Texas and has written for Remodeling Magazine, Professional Remodeler, and the Houston Chronicle. Keechi Creek Builders is a Better Business Bureau Award of Excellence Winner.

Featured Projects

A 10k-square-foot Teaswood Home in Conroe, north of the Woodlands, has everything required for a large family: four bedrooms, four-and-a-half bathrooms, a game room, a study, and a dining room, with a sauna for relaxing. The home design is contemporary casual, with a curved banister on the stairs, a large yard, and wooden, decorative furnishings in the restrooms and lounging areas. The house was certified Green Built Gulf Coast, a program by the Greater Houston Builders Association that recognizes environmentally sustainable building practices. A pool house addition by Keechi Creek Builders received the award for Best Specialty Room from the Texas Association of Builders in 2011. It was designed with a vaulted ceiling to be spacious enough for comfortable entertaining, while still feeling small enough for intimate conversations.


Ted Flato
David Lake

Global Award for Sustainable Architecture,
AIA Firm of the Year,
American Institute of Steel Construction Merit Award

311 Third Street, San Antonio, TX 78205

About Lake|Flato

The architects at the San Antonio-based Lake|Flato believe that architecture should have a sense of place. They strive to create buildings that relate to the natural or built environment in which they are constructed, which shines through their Houston work. Founded in 1984, the practice currently has an 89-person staff that boasts 31 registered architects and 42 LEED Accredited Professionals. Six of its partners are accredited fellows of the AIA, including Ted Flato and David Lake, founding partners of the firm. Flato is an active member of the AIA Committee on the Environment and focuses on sustainable design. Lake is an urban development enthusiast and Austin native who oversaw the opening of Lake|Flato’s Austin office. Their firm has won over 270 architecture and design awards, including the Global Award for Sustainable Architecture and the AIA Firm of the Year award. It was named among Fast Company’s list of the 10 most innovative architectural firms in the world.

Featured Projects

A Bayou Residence by Lake|Flato was named Architecture Magazine’s Home of the Year. The steel and glass structure hides in the dense greenery of its residential Houston neighborhood and is separated into three parts. Rolling panels allow the residents to reconfigure the space into smaller, intimate rooms or create larger sections for entertaining. Wall-length glass panels allow for ample natural lighting within the two-story section of the building. The Bayou Residence won a Merit Award from the American Institute of Steel Construction. A Bellaire Residence designed by the firm used white ceilings, domed lamps, and black metal beams for contemporary, youthful elegance. Light and dark brown tones complemented the thin rectangular pool while greenery climbed the short concrete walls around the residence.

Masa Studio Architects

3211 Edloe Street #107, Houston, TX 77027

About Masa Studio Architects

MASA Studio Architects is one of the most renowned firms in Houston and has earned a stellar reputation in the city’s architectural arena. Its name is short for Mark Atkins Studio of Architecture and operates as a full-service architecture and interior design practice. The studio is formed on the four pillars of architecture, interiors, fine arts, and design and excels in each department through a solid roster of craftspeople and consistent quality workmanship. His team has worked on both small and large scale projects, each one treated with commitment and creative savvy to deliver top-quality results. Their work encompasses residential, ecclesiastical, retail, corporate, and commercial sectors.
The aforementioned Mark Atkins spearheads the firm, a seasoned expert of his craft with an extensive portfolio of projects in Houston 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. His industry affiliations include the AIA, NAHB, Texas Association of Builders, and the GHBA.

Featured Projects

The Over the Brook residence featured was completed in 2020. The lavish mansion showcases a serene aesthetic and a minimalist design both inside and outside the estate. Its contemporary interior layout exudes a muted palette of predominantly white hues with black accents and strategic pops of vivid colors.

Natalye Appel + Associates Architects

Natalye Appel

Houston AIA Firm of the Year,
AIA Houston Design Award

2523 Bartlett Street, Houston, TX 77098

About Natalye Appel + Associates Architects

Natalye Appel + Associates Architects is a small partnership founded in 1987. The five-person firm works on houses, civic projects, and offices. It was founded by Natalye Appel, FAIA and LEED AP, who attended the Rice University School of Architecture and is a regular presence around Houston. Appel designed a curved concrete pavilion with enough room for a symphony orchestra in Levy Park and created an indoor-outdoor eating area and art car design for Houston’s Saint Arnold Brewing Company. She is on the board of the Hermann Park Conservancy and has served on the boards of the AIA, the Rice Design Alliance, and the Greater Houston Preservation Alliance. Natalye Appel + Associates Architects was the Houston AIA Firm of the Year in 2012 and awarded an AIA Houston Design Award in 2017.

Featured Projects

The 2,850 square feet Cohen Residence in Houston Heights exemplifies Appel’s knack for creating indoor-outdoor spaces. The three-story home has the main living areas and master bedroom on the second and third levels, with large balconies that provide an excellent view of gardens on the base level. Guest bedrooms are on the first floor and have quick access to a covered patio and driveway. The Cohen Residence was included on the Houston AIA Home Tour in 2009 and the Houston Heights Association Home Tour in 2011. Natalye Appel + Associates reconfigured a Triebel-Gist Renovation for a client who didn’t want to tear down the historic structure. The firm removed all unnecessary material to simplify the floor plan and added recyclable metal roofing and high-quality insulation for energy efficiency. The Triebel-Grist Renovation received a Good Brick Award from the Greater Houston Preservation Alliance in 2010.

Newberry Architecture

Ken Newberry
Clint Johnson
Gina Brown
Jorge Carranza

Houston Heights Association Community Improvement Award,
Houston Design Center Leader in Design Award

6990 Portwest Drive Suite 190, Houston, TX 77024

About Newberry Architecture

Newberry Architecture was founded in Houston in 1997 and has since completed projects across the country and around the globe. Its work can be found on the West Coast, New York, and Connecticut, and as far from Houston as Belize and Italy. Founding principal Ken Newberry is a LEED Accredited Professional who studied architecture at the University of Rome in Italy and at the University of Houston. The firm offers feasibility studies and residential and commercial architecture services. Newberry Architecture received a Community Improvement award from the Houston Heights Association in 2013. Gina Brown, a principal at the firm, was given a Leader in Design award by the Houston Design Center in April. She joined Newberry Architecture in 2006 and has worked on projects featured in Luxe magazine and Architectural Digest.

Featured Projects

After Hurricane Ike destroyed the Jafarnias’ family home, they hired Newberry Architecture for the rebuild. The result was a 7,400 square-foot space with ample room for their three children. Newberry met the family’s request for more natural light with a glass panel that took up an entire wall and made the pool and back patio feel like an extension of the room. Newberry suggested melding the living and dining areas into one room, an idea the client appreciated later. A 1933 Mansion renovated by Newberry Architects was included on Architectural Digest’s list of “nine Texas homes where sophistication is key.” The building had an elaborate trim and was set back behind gates, conjuring images of an Old World estate.

Nonya Grenader Architects

Nonya Grenader

AIA Houston 2017 Lifetime Achievement Award,
AIA Houston Design Award for Residential Architecture

2406 Quenby Street, Houston, TX 77005

About Nonya Grenader Architects

Nonya Grenader has received the American Institute of Architects’ highest honor—inclusion in its prestigious College of Fellows, often abbreviated FAIA—a designation shared by only three percent of its members. She is the principal of Nonya Grenader Architects, a small firm that works on residential and civic restoration projects. Sam Grenader joined the firm in 2014, six years after receiving his master’s from the Columbia University Graduate School of Architecture. Nonya Grenader has taught at the Rice University School of Architecture since 1994. She is a professor in practice and the associate director of the Rice Building Workshop, which focuses on affordable housing and architectural community engagement in Houston’s Third Ward. Grenader received the AIA Houston 2017 Lifetime Achievement Award at its annual December holiday party.

Featured Projects

Like many great architects, Grenader’s interest in design extends to her home, which received a Design Award for Residential Architecture from AIA Houston in 2009. The 1,800 square feet house is raised with a pier-and-beam foundation, which gives it a treehouse feel and adds privacy and flood protection. The house is linked by a bridge to a small studio nearby and allows for natural use of the elements with multiple rows of awning-style windows. An L-shaped home at 823 Shirkmere designed by Grenader was included on the Rice Design Alliance 2017 Spring Architecture Tour, titled “Living in Floodplains.” The house, located in the deed-restricted Timbergrove Manor neighborhood of mostly ranch-style homes, had an elevated first-floor plate designed for buildings in floodplains. The main windows were configured to face north, which helped the L-shape maximize proper airflow, avoid excess heat from the nearby railway, and provide privacy for the backyard pool.

Shane Cook Designs

Shane Cook

Paper City Design Awards,
American Society of Interior Designers Awards

P.O. Box 70247, Houston, TX 77270

About Shane Cook Designs

Shane Cook Designs offers services in architecture, new construction, project management, and interior design for residential and commercial projects. Owner Shane Cook earned a Bachelor of Architecture at the University of Arkansas and then moved to Houston, where he spent 12 years as a senior designer at Morris Architects. Shane Cook Designs uses traditional architectural practices to create stylish contemporary homes. The firm was featured on a Season 4 episode of HGTV’s House Crashers and has received several awards, including Paper City Design Awards in 2014 and 2015 and American Society of Interior Designers awards from the Gulf Coast Chapter for Single Space Utility, Commercial-Healthcare, and Commercial-Corporate. Cook is also a practicing artist and was featured in the Lawndale Arts Center show “Art by Architects.”

Featured Projects

Shane Cook showed his firm’s forward-thinking stance on land-use when he built a Shipping Container Home for a family in Houston Heights. Two gray containers were stacked with the top container longer than the other; the base consisted of metal beams to allow room for parking. The owners commissioned a local graffiti artist to paint a mural on the lower level for an authentic urban theme. The home won a Paper City Design Award in the Green Project-Use of Sustainable Products category. In a Montrose Condominium, Cook used his expertise in alternative living to help a client renovate a 768 square feet space. Cook took out everything—right down to the drywall—except for the bathroom. The kitchen was elevated and porcelain tiles covered the floor. The bedroom was flipped to create extra space and a privacy divider was added to its interior.

StudioMET Architects

Yoonchul You
Stephen Andrews
Shawn Gottschalk

AIA Houston Firm of the Year,
HGTV Faces of Design Award,
Decorative Center Houston Stars of Design Award

2500 Summer St., Suite 3112, Houston, TX 77007

About StudioMET Architects

StudioMET is well respected in Houston, and for good reason. The firm was AIA Houston’s 2016 firm of the year and received the Decorative Center Houston Stars of Design Award for Architecture in April. The studio was founded in 2007 and has remained firmly dedicated to Houston for over 10 years. It offers an architectural scholarship to students at the University of Houston, the University of Texas at Arlington, and Texas A&M University. The firm’s philosophy is to approach each project as a unique endeavor and to create timely, environmentally sustainable buildings that meld with their surroundings. StudioMET has three principals: Yoonchul You, Stephen Andrews, and Shawn Gottschalk. Yoonchul You has two Master of Architecture degrees, one from the University of Houston and another from Konkuk University in Seoul, Korea. Andrews received his master’s from the University of Houston and Gottschalk earned his at the University of Texas at Arlington.

Featured Projects

The Houston Modern Architecture + Design Society hosts an annual Modern Home Tour that takes participants into that one house “you always drive by and wonder what it must be like to visit it, design it, or even live in it.” StudioMET’s Wharton Home was included on the 2017 tour—a structure that uses wood and earth colors for a natural look that blends with the 5,000 square feet lot in the Energy Corridor where it stands. Another tour-favorite from StudioMET was the Underwood Home, which was included on the AIA Houston Home Tour, featured in Modern Luxury Interiors Texas, and a semi-finalist for HGTV’s Faces of Design Award. The 5,500 square feet Underwood Home mixes black, yellow, and brown color schemes with a gray inset gabion wall and a two-island kitchen for a relaxed, suburban experience. A small rectangular pool adds a luxurious finishing touch.