Overview

Chicago’s residential design-build firms are setting a high standard with two trends in elegant, family-friendly dwellings. The custom home builders are buying up oversized lots in upscale neighborhoods, like the Gold Coast and Lincoln Park, and offering ready-to-build custom designs perfect for the area. In downtown highrises, as well as in neighboring North Shore suburbs, design-build firms are winning awards for their historically sensitive renovations. Whether it’s expanding or renovating an existing home or starting from scratch, these design firms are offering first-rate services from the design phase through the finished product. Ranked below are Chicago-based firms receiving attention in local and national publications, winning awards for their exemplary customer service and designs, and designing award-winning homes.

Top Custom Home Builders & Design-Build Firms

A. Perry Homes

Principals:
Tony Perry

Awards:
Make It Better Magazine Best Architect and Builder

Address:
1220 Washington Avenue, Wilmette, IL 60091

About A. Perry Homes

With over 30 years of experience, founder Tony Perry has been the design architect on over 400 homes, surpassing $600M in construction costs. Specializing in luxury homes in the North Shore suburbs, A. Perry Homes offers design-to-build services for remodels and new construction. They were named Best Architect and Builder for Make It Better Magazine’s Best Of lists from 2013 through 2017. They’ve also been featured in Luxe Magazine and the Chicago Tribune.

Featured Projects

The firm’s custom-designed home in Glencoe, Illinois was featured in Luxe Interiors and Design. The family of six takes advantage of the 8,656-square-foot space. The design offered a sensitive mix of formal and informal family areas made of durable elements for the active family, such as distressed hardwood floors. The home has a grandeur that combines the old-world and coastal living appeal.

Airoom Architects Builders and Remodelers

Awards:
National Kitchen and Bath Association National Builder/Remodeler of the Year

Address:
6824 N Lincoln Avenue, Lincolnwood, IL 60712

About Airoom Architects Builders and Remodelers

With over 60 years of experience, this firm has completed over 16,000 projects all over the Chicagoland area. Airoom specializes in home additions, kitchens, and bathrooms, but the firm also builds complete custom homes, as well. The firm was named the 2017 National Builder/Remodeler of the Year by the National Kitchen and Bath Association. They have received additional remodeling awards from Build Magazine, The Chicago Home Book Design Competition, Professional Remodeler Magazine, among many others. Their projects have been featured in Kitchen and Bath Business Magazine and Modern Luxury Interiors Chicago.

Featured Projects

Airoom’s task for this family home in Lake Bluff was to revamp a crowded first floor with four small rooms into a more practical living space that would accommodate a busy family. The team removed load-bearing walls and moved or hid elements like upper-level plumbing. The result was an open split level, utilizing two large rooms with natural light and a more comfortable overall flow.

Benvenuti and Stein

Design-Build President:
Geno Benvenuti

Awards:
Professional Remodeler Magazine Design Award,
Professional Remodeler Magazine Market Leader Award,
Chrysalis Awards,
Marvin Integrity- Red Diamond Achiever Award,
Village of Winnetka Preservation Award,
City of Evanston Preservation and Design Award,
Village of Glencoe Historic Preservation Award,
Village of Wilmette Preservation Award

Address:
2001 Greenleaf, Evanston, IL 60202

About Benvenuti and Stein

Benvenuti and Stein offers remodel, addition, and new construction services, as well as custom cabinetry. Founder Geno Benvenuti has been an active architect in Chicago since 1977. Especially active in Evanston, he is a board member of the housing and the nominating committee for Housing Options of Evanston. The company runs a design center and showroom in Winnetka, as well as a custom cabinetry shop in Evanston. Professional Remodeler Magazine awarded the firm a 2015 Design Award and a 2007 Market Leader Award. The firm has also received numerous Chrysalis Awards presented by Qualified Remodeler and Kitchen and Bath Design News.

Featured Projects

The firm’s rehab project for a 1950s home in Winnetka won the 2016 Winnetka Preservation Award for Rehabilitation, a Professional Remodeler Magazine Design Award, and the Marvin Integrity Red Diamond Achiever Award. This massive rehab started in the home’s bones, gutting the framing of the first floor to the roof rafters. With coveted views of the lake in almost every room, the newly designed home features glass walls and an open floor plan.

BGD&C

Awards:
NAHB Best in American Living Award,
Home Builder Association of Greater Chicago Diamond Key Award

Address:
875 N Michigan Avenue, Chicago, IL 60611

About BGD&C

In 1986, Rodger Owen and Charles Grode teamed up to form a small contracting firm serving the city’s high-end architects. After much success, they expanded their offerings to offer a complete set of design and build services. The firm focuses on the Lincoln Park and Gold Coast neighborhoods. Their houses have set records for the highest selling prices of a single-family residence in the city. The firm has lots available in the neighborhoods’ hottest areas, including North Orchard Street, where empty lots go for around $3M and are ready for their $9-$12M custom-designed home. Roger Owen was recently inducted in the Merchandise Mart Hall of Fame for his contribution to the residential design industry. The firm won the 2019 Best in American Living Award by NAHB.

Featured Projects

BGD&C collaborated with KADLEC Architecture and Design to design and build a 13,000-square-foot home in Lincoln Park. Per the client’s wishes for a mix of formal and informal living spaces, the home blends a classic French Provincial style with more casual, contemporary elements. Recreation spaces include a pool and a dedicated playroom. KADLEC focused on the interior design, while BGD&C oversaw the planning, overall design, and building portions of the project.

Foster Design Build

Principals:
Robert Berg

Address:
564 W Randolph – Second Floor, Chicago, IL 60061

About Foster Design Build

Founded by Robert Berg in 2010, this firm offers custom home design and building services for residential and commercial clients. With nearly 30 years in the construction business, Robert Berg has worked on a wide range of projects, from luxury custom homes to the renovation of the O’Hare International Airport Food court. He also led the renovation of Randolph Place Lofts which, at nearly a million square feet, was the largest residential conversion in the country.
The company has developed multiple properties in the trending Lincoln Park neighborhood. It has become one of the top names for custom luxury home designs, while also standing out for its dedication to historic restoration. The company has been featured in Luxury Home Quarterly, NBC News, and the Chicago Architecture Blog, among others.

Featured Projects

In 2012, Luxury Home Quarterly featured the firm’s renovation of a century-old residence in Hyde Park, which just happened to be right next door to President Barack Obama. The renovation included careful replacement of the dilapidated windows and brick facade, which needed to be approved by the City of Chicago’s Department of Landmarks. The renovation, which upgraded the 6,000-square-foot home to 11,000 square feet, also added new smart features and many practical offerings, such as kid-friendly storage space.

Leader Builders

Principals:
Peter Antonow

Address:
6327 W Dempster Street, Morton Grove, IL 60053

About Leader Builders

Owner and President Peter Antonow has operated this design-build firm out of Morton Grove for over 30 years. Leader Builders offers home improvements, additions, and renovations, as well as new home design and construction. They have been featured on several episodes of HGTV programming, including House Hunters Renovation. Their work has also been featured in Wall Street Magazine, The Chicago Tribune, and Trends Magazine.

Featured Projects

The Chicago Tribune covered the firm’s renovation of a three-bedroom Gold Coast high-rise condo. The condo’s previous owner made structural and decorative modifications that its new occupant felt did not match the architecture of the building. The firm worked with Powell/Kleinschmidt Architectural firm to strip the condo down to its bones and start over. Finishing touches included custom stone and millwork, new cabinetry, and tinted solar screens for the windows.

Moss

Principals:
Laura Cripe
Matt Nardella

Address:
2855 West Diversey Avenue, Chicago, IL 60647

About Moss

Moss is a full-service architecture and design studio serving the residential, retail, and commercial sectors. The firm assists clients from site selection and design to the permitting and construction process. Moss creates site-specific designs with an emphasis on integrating natural light and air, creating and protecting green spaces, and using sustainable materials. The firm was co-founded by Laura Cripe and Matt Nardella, AIA, LEED-AP. Cripe is a certified permaculturist and urban farmer and manages the firm’s business development. A graduate of the New School of Architecture, Nardella returned to his hometown of Chicago to establish his own firm after spending a decade designing sustainable architecture in San Diego. Moss was selected to be part of the Chicago Architecture Foundation’s 50 Designers, 50 Ideas, 50 Wards Exhibit. They’ve been featured in Chicago Architect Magazine and have made a number of appearances in CS Interiors.

Featured Projects

Moss’s Erie Street Loft project was Curbed Chicago’s 2011 Home Remodel of the Year. The 2,400-square-foot, two-story loft accents its industrial origins. To give it an open feel, parts of the floor have been left open, and the loft includes a glass walkway on the second floor. The loft also features a reclaimed wood fireplace, custom shelving, Shoji doors, and a green roof terrace. The project has been featured on Apartment Therapy and CS Interiors Magazine.

Nicholas Design Collaborative

Principals:
Peter Nicholas

Awards:
American Licensed Architects Design Awards,
Association of Licensed Architects Award of Merit,
AIA Chicago Honor Awards

Address:
509 N Wolcott Avenue, Chicago, IL 60622

About Nicholas Design Collaborative

Principal Peter Nicholas, AIA, NCARB, founded his own architectural firm in 1989 and added the design/build component in 2001. The firm can now guide clients through the design phase through the building process. Before founding his own firm, Nicholas worked for two respected Chicago architecture firms, namely Skidmore, Owings and Merrill, and Booth/Hansen and Associates. Among the firm’s many distinctions, NDC has won design awards from the Association of Licensed Architects and AIA Chicago.

Featured Projects

In 2015, Chicago Architect Magazine featured NDC’s Periscope House, located in the Edgewater Glen neighborhood. A complete renovation of the 1970s-era 1,200-square-foot home added two new bedrooms and one new bath to the existing two of each. The entire project raised the square-footage to 2,500. The second-floor master bedroom suite was designed with floor-to-ceiling glass, creating a periscope effect with a view of the tree-filled street. The open living space below wraps around a stunning urban courtyard.

Norsman Architects, Ltd.

Principals:
Brent Norsman

Address:
1309 N Wicker Park Avenue, Chicago, IL 60622

About Norsman Architects, Ltd.

This full-service architectural firm offers collaborative and sustainable-focused services for commercial, residential, and mixed-use developments. Through the firm’s construction arm, House Plant, Inc., the architects work closely with clients and subcontractors to create the best possible finished space. Founder Brent Norsman teaches at the Illinois Institute of Technology. He received his Master of Architecture degree from the University of Illinois at Chicago.

Featured Projects

Completed in 2013, a Wicker Park home was built around a 13-square-foot sunken living space. The 5,500-square-foot home maintains a clean modern aesthetic using an open floor plan, concrete and walnut floors, and cabinetry. The open winding stairway calls attention to the beautiful pine ceiling treatment. The firm completed an adaptive re-use to an Oak Park single family residence in 2012. The project included a substantial rear addition, bringing the total square footage to 5,700. Additions include a new great room and kitchen area, a playroom, and second-floor bedrooms. A custom-made plate steel, glass, and wood stairway joins the addition to the existing structure and serves as a central point of balance. The firm moved a one-car garage to the front to the house, which opened up space at the back of the lot. The added great room uses large corner windows to take advantage of their newly claimed greenspace. Standing seam exterior siding acts as a rain-screen and redirects runoff to a rain garden.

Orren Pickell

Address:
740 W Fulton St., #601, Chicago, IL 60661

About Orren Pickell

Orren Pickell is a design-build, remodeling, and home maintenance professional serving the Chicagoland area, Southern Wisconsin, and Harbor Country Michigan with time-tested practices. For over five decades, the Pickell family has been putting up premium custom homes all over the North Shore. Orren has personally made a name for outstanding design and construction in his over forty years in the industry. These qualities led the firm to multiple Crystal Key and Platinum Key awards for residential projects.

Featured Projects

This traditional home in Lake Geneva is a Crystal Key award-winning residential project done by the firm. The home has a clean appeal achieved with neutral colors and finishes, along with traditional design elements. This project packs exterior millwork, cropped stone for the gardens, and porches with impeccable stone detailing.

Power Construction Co.

Principals:
Brandon Rogalski

Awards:
Professional Builder Magazine 40 Under 40

Address:
8750 W. Bryn Mawr Avenue, Suite 500, Chicago, IL 60631

About Power Construction Co.

Founded in 1926, Power Construction is the largest construction firm that focuses exclusively in the greater Chicago area. In the 1990s, Power created the Luxury Residence Group to focus on the design and construction of luxury-scale condos and single-family homes. The firm is managed by Brandon Rogalski, whom Professional Builder Magazine named in its 40 Under 40 list in 2011 while he was the senior project manager at Norcon.
Beyond the self-standing homes, the group has designed condos in The Waldorf Astoria, The Palmolive Building, and The Ritz Carlton Residences among many other prestigious places. The firm often pairs with other notable architecture firms and contractors to provide the best services to their clients.

Featured Projects

Working alongside Gary Lee Partners, an independent interior design collective, Luxury Residence Group completed a massive renovation of a historic Hyde Park residence in 2015. The home was originally designed by architect Henry Van Doren Shaw in 1904.

Scott Simpson Design + Build

Address:
1529 Shermer Rd., Northbrook, IL 60062

About Scott Simpson Design + Build

When it comes to luxury homes, Scott Simpson has been a leading name for over 30 years. The firm has captured the attention of luxury home magazines and home building organizations all over the North Shore. Publications such as Realtor Magazine, Interiors Chicago, and Modern Luxury took notice of the firm’s top-notch workmanship.

Featured Projects

The firm’s portfolio sports age-old classics including Ranch homes, Tudor, and Prairie homes. The photo displays a Rustic home with Ranch elements, one of the firm’s finest works. This unique home has an exterior with a combined wood and stonework which makes a statement of elegance and good taste.