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The Best Custom Home Builders (Design-Build) in Tampa

16 Min Read


Unlike just architects or interior designers, design-build firms offer clients the opportunities to build projects from under a single contract, from the concept and design phases all the way to construction services. There are numerous such design-build firms and custom home builders working across Tampa Bay and St. Pete, but the very best luxury builders know how to work in the area. Some work in boutique homes, some in office spaces, some in large depots, and others in apartments or breweries. But understanding the local laws, ordinances and characteristics of the local community allow these design-build firms to thrive. Here are the Top 10 custom home builders and design-build firms in the Tampa Bay and St. Petersburg area.

Top Firms

David L. Wallace & Associates

David L. Wallace, Jr.

542 Douglas Avenue, Dunedin, FL 34698

About David L. Wallace & Associates

Located in Dunedin, Florida, in-between Clearwater and Palm Harbor, are the offices for David L. Wallace and Associates, P.A. The firm was founded by David L. Wallace in 1981. Wallace came to Tampa after a long career working in hotel and resort architecture throughout the world. Moving to center his business to the Tampa/St. Pete area, he started a firm with his son, David L. Wallace, Jr., member of the National Council of Architectural Registration Boards (NCARB) and the American Institute of Architects (AIA). The design-build firm has experience working in single-family residencies. The work of the firm has been featured in publications like the Sun Sentinel, the South Florida Business Journal, and Lodging Magazine. With a stellar reputation with clients, the father and son, as well as the co-principals, are currently the Architects of Record on over $500M worth of projects in development, with a shared history of projects valued at over $6B.

Featured Projects

Led by in-house designer Juan C. Ricardes, Intl. Assoc. AIA, David L. Wallace & Associates designed and built a modern-styled “Tampa Home” in 2008. The 3,500-square-foot home features three bedrooms, and two-and-a-half bathrooms on a 50 x 115 lot. The project was featured on It features many unique design elements, utilizing modern and clean lines that maximize the space for best functionality. Structurally, all areas of the home converge into the core of the house with an open space for social functions, while related to the exterior through a variety of windows and openings. It features a metal staircase-tower and the 12-foot panorama window in the kitchen. The loft-style ground floor includes a living room, dining room, kitchen, and powder room. The second-floor access features the master bedroom, two guest bedrooms, and open office. A tandem vehicle corridor and oversized two-car garage are accessed via tumbled block driveway.

Wannemacher Jensen Architects

Lisa Wannemacher
Everald Colas
Harold Somarriba
Erin McGonegle
Jason Jensen

H. Dean Rowe, FAIA Award for Design Excellence,
AIA Tampa Bay Firm of the Year

180 Mirror Lake Drive N, St. Petersburg, FL 33701

About Wannemacher Jensen Architects

Founded over 20 years ago, Wannemacher Jensen Architects is a booming architecture firm in the downtown neighborhood of St. Petersburg, Florida. The firm has worked on hundreds of projects throughout Florida, including over 250 projects in St. Petersburg. The firm has won the H. Dean Rowe, FAIA Award for Design Excellence by Tampa Bay’s chapter of the American Institute of Architects, and their work on the Largo Community Center was deemed Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) Platinum (highest LEED rating). Wannemacher Jensen Architects, the winner of the 2010 AIA Tampa Bay Firm of the Year, is led by a number of principal architects, including Founder Lisa Wannemacher, AIA, Everald Colas, AIA, Harold Somarriba, Erin McGonegle, and Jason Jensen, AIA, LEED AP. Jensen has been named one of the Florida Business Observers’ “40 Under 40” luminaries and Tampa Bay Illustrated’s “20 Under 40” in the area.

Featured Projects

Wannemacher Jensen Architects provided design-build work for the Saint Paul’s Early Learning Center in Clearwater, Florida. Found at 1600 St Paul’s Drive, the Early Childhood Center project is a two-phase design and build project that features an entire interior renovation of the existing classroom building, along with the construction of a completely new adjacent playground. There is a classroom that is a fire station, a library, a movie theatre, train station, library, and a candy store, while the director’s office is represented by a city hall store front. Each classroom’s facade was custom-built and is completely functional, with interactive features. Extensive structural work was required to remove load-bearing concrete walls that originally sat in the middle of the new “Main Street.” Structural beams were cleverly incorporated into the classrooms’ façades, allowing for the open winding concept.

Bayfair Custom Homes

Mike Morris

Tampa Planning Commission Grand Award for Housing,
Florida Homebuilders Association Aurora Award

1318 W Swann Avenue, Tampa, FL 33606

About Bayfair Custom Homes

Founded by Mike Morris in 1989, Bayfair is an acclaimed design-build firm in the Tampa Bay market. It is the winner of numerous local and state awards, including The Tampa Planning Commission’s Grand Award for Housing and the coveted Aurora Award from the Florida Homebuilders Association. The firm’s work has also been featured in the Tampa Bay Business Journal and The Tampa Bay Times. The firm also employs principal architect David Seidenberg. The team works with their clients to design and build custom homes that match the firm’s core foundational tenants, based on sound design, quality craftsmanship, and uncompromising customer service. The firm specializes in technological experiences, offering custom home theater suites, whole-house audio/video systems, home automation systems, advanced wireless data systems, integrated security cameras (CCTV), and home control systems.

Featured Projects

Bayfair worked with a client to create a design-build home called “Live a Life of Class Luxury.” Located in South Tampa, the two-story estate home includes every amenity for luxurious living. The firm designed and installed a grand arched entryway, a private outdoor living area, rich eucalyptus flooring, exquisite marble countertops, and the client’s dream. Bayfair also integrated a modern kitchen with contemporary wall appliances to maximize space, and a custom grand stairway. Another project in South Tampa was “The Larsen.” The two-story South Tampa home embodies the perfect amount of Southern charm and timeless elegance built in the Georgian-Architectural system. The one-family residence included a spacious, transitional gourmet kitchen, a luxurious stand-alone soaking tub, and custom hardwood flooring.

Haas Modern

Richard M. Haa

AIA Tampa Bay Honor Award for Design Excellence

12000 N Dale Mabry Highway #264, Tampa, FL 33618

About Haas Modern

Found in the Carrollwood neighborhood of Tampa are the offices of Haas Modern Architecture + Design. The firm is an architecture and interior design firm that works across Florida, specializing in middle- to high-end residential, small- to medium-sized commercial projects, and they work on both ends of the design-build process. The principal of Haas Modern is Richard M. Haas, NCARB. Haas is an award-winning architect licensed in the State of Florida and a graduate of the University of South Florida School of Architecture and Community Design, where he received Master of Architecture in 2006. In 2013, Haas received the Emerging Architect Award presented by the University of South Florida (SACD) School of Architecture and Community Design. He’s also received the AIA Tampa Bay’s 2011 Honor Award for Design Excellence. Before starting Haas Modern, Haas worked with David Lawson and Alfonso Architects, as well as the national design-build firms IPS and the Beck Group (Tampa and Austin). He was co-owner and founder of the award winning firm of H2W Studio LLC.

Featured Projects

One of their many residential works, Haas Modern’s “South Tampa Residence” is an example of the kind of homes that the agency can design and build. The 4,300-square-foot home was finished in 2008 and includes four bedrooms, a guest suite with a separate entrance, a private gym, a laundry, and a two-car garage. The exterior courtyard serves as the organizing element into which all spaces lead. Allusions to an exterior courtyard are reinforced by the large windows and glass doors on the rear facade. The large kitchen and courtyard spaces blend together through three arches, allowing an informal dining and gathering space for the client’s many social events and parties. Multiple interior and exterior balconies ritually lead the occupants outwards to experience the courtyard. The windows and doors at the north and south walls can be opened to allow cross-ventilation through the interior court.

Robert H. Delafield, Inc.

Robert H. Delafield

Aurora Awards

2700 N Macdill Avenue #217, Tampa, FL 33607

About Robert H. Delafield, Inc.

Robert H. Delafield, Inc. is a firm in Northwest Tampa founded in 1993 by Robert Delafield. Delafield has been involved in the design and construction business since 1971. The firm works with clients to bring new home projects from the point of inspiration to final completion, always with an eye on returning long-term value to his customers. For the past 20 years, Robert H. Delafield, Inc. has been engaged to complete many distinctive projects. An important component of their business is their relationships with architects and designers, vendors, material suppliers, and subcontractors. The firm is involved in new home construction, kitchen and bath renovations, and whole-house renovations and additions.

Featured Projects

One of the custom design-build, single-family residencies shepherded by Robert H. Delafield is the “View from Pirate’s Cove.” Built in the Westshore area, the 10k-square-foot custom home is built in a Mediterranean style. The rooftop balcony and the rest of the home offer beautiful ocean views of the cove nearby. The firm worked with the client to include an open floor plan perfect for entertaining, a private home office, a fully-integrated theater room, a custom kitchen with a butler’s pantry, bath vanities, a full swimming pool, and an outdoor kitchen. The custom-built foyer integrates stone trims and stone columns, and the floating stairway was built out of wrought iron railings. Another project was a custom home on Davis Island. It offers beautiful views Hillsborough Bay, and the skylines of St. Petersburg and Tampa. The home includes a spacious open floor plan with views of the water, a custom kitchen and entertainment areas, a private master suite, a home office, an elegant owner’s retreat, and a full garage with a guest suite and swimming pool.

The Fechtel Company

Jay Fechtel

Aurora Awards

15488 N Nebraska Avenue, Lutz, FL 33549

About The Fechtel Company

The Fechtel Company is a design-build architecture firm located in nearby Lutz, Florida. The firm has long associations with the American Lung Association Health House, LEED, and the U.S. Green Building Council. It has been featured in Tampa Bay Home & Garden, Tampa Bay Magazine, Custom Builder Magazine, and The Tampa Bay Business Journal. It also has a long list of awards, including the 2006 Aurora Energy for Efficiency, the 2009 Aurora Custom Home One of a Kind, the 2009 Aurora Kitchen Award, the 2009 Aurora Interior Merchandising Award, the 2010 Aurora Water-Wise Award, and the 2010 Aurora Energy Efficiency Award. The firm is lead by Principal, President, and CEO Jay Fechtel. Fechtel and his firm bring 25 years of design and construction experience to his clients and guides them through the entire building experience. Fechtel’s designs have received over 20 awards, including “Best in American Living.” He is also a member of the U.S. Department of Energy Industrialized Housing Partnership’s “Build America Team.” Fechtel is the owner and member of the C12 Group since its inception in 1990, and the National Custom Builders Council since its inception in 1996.

Featured Projects

The Fechtel Company was the design-build architect of record for the “Villa Serena” project. The 6,143-square-foot, custom-built home was built in the StillWater development in Lutz, Florida. The firm worked to design a home with inspiration from Mediterranean-revival and Moorish themes, the historic Jacobean houses in England, and the Pinewood Estate on the grounds of the Bok Tower gardens in Lake Wales. The newly designed home evokes a grand 1920s Florida house. Features include 13-inch walls of Venetian plaster, Turkish limestone floors, and a library bookshelf that opens to reveal a hidden staircase. The finished flooring is designed to be well above the 100-year flood level. Radon vents were built into the home’s foundation, and Icynene insulation controls the climate and dampness, and ultimately mold. Another design-build project by the firm is “The Renaissance House.” The 2.5-acre lot was the home for this “mansion” with vaulted ceilings, a curving staircase, balconies, and views stretching across the pool to the lake beyond. There are stone and wood, antiqued finishes, copper downspouts, and ornamental ironwork inside and out.

Soleil Design Build, Inc.

Karyn Sbar
Karim Tahiri

4321 W Bay to Bay Boulevard, Tampa, FL 33629

About Soleil Design Build, Inc.

Soleil Design Build, Inc. was started in 1993 when the founders graduated, and it has grown into one of the most reputable design-build firms in the Tampa Bay area. Their offices in Virginia Park in Northern Tampa currently have five full-time employees, including two project managers. They design and build homes exclusively in South Tampa, where they have extensive experience working on historic Hyde Park renovations. The firm is led by Karyn Sbar, their general contractor, and Karim Tahiri, their lead principal architectural designer. Sbar also serves as the president of the firm and is licensed Florida contractor. Tahiri is originally from Morocco, before moving to Texas and now Tampa Bay. He also serves as vice president of Soleil Design Build, Inc. Their work has been featured in Southern Living, The Tampa Bay Times, The St. Petersburg Times, and The Tampa Bay Business Journal.

Featured Projects

Soleil Design Build original home designs mix together a variety of different styles, including Mediterranean Revival, Florida Vernacular, Craftsman Style Bungalow, and Georgian Traditional. One of these examples includes a home they worked on in 2016, where they were the lead design and construction firm for a new residency at 5137 West San Jose Street in Tampa. With beautiful views overlooking Tampa Bay, the home in the Sunset Park area contains six bedrooms and seven baths over 6,468 square feet on a .41-acre lot. Valued at over $3M, Soleil Design helped the owners design and build their new home that visually reflected and embraced the visual language of Tampa Bay. The firm designed and constructed the single-floor, one-family house that features a terracotta-inspired red brick roof, a two-car garage, a pool, and a dock for a boat.


Steven J. Vinci
Eddie A. Mastalerz
Robert L. Blatter

6699 13th Avenue North, Suite 4A, Saint Petersburg, FL 33710

About ARC3

Established in 2002 in St. Petersburg Florida, ARC3 Architecture provides innovative, relevant, and thoughtful design and build expertise, working in architecture and construction to create projects that follow client desires, while still economically fulfilling programmatic requirements and working to protect environmental needs of the Tampa Bay area. Steven J. Vinci, AIA, was born in Saint Petersburg, Florida and studied at the University of Florida and the Vicenza Institute of Architecture. Vinci worked at CBB Architects as senior associate on the board of directors, before starting ARC3 Architecture in 2002. He is joined by Eddie A. Mastalerz, Principal. He studied at the University of Florida and the Vicenza Institute of Architecture. Before joining ARC3 in 2002, he worked at Robbins, Bell and Kreher Architects of Tampa and joined Gresham Smith + Partners. The third principal at ARC3 is Robert L. Blatter Jr., AIA. A graduate of University of Florida, he worked at Gresham Smith + Partners as a lead designer before joining ARC3 Architecture in 2005.

Featured Projects

ARC3 worked to design and build the luxury home complex located at 2801 Bayshore Boulevard in Tampa. Nicknamed “Over Bayshore,” it offers seven modern contemporary townhouses. Each home was designed and constructed with a private rooftop terrace, hot tub, and outdoor kitchen. Each building offers three bedrooms, three-and-a-half baths, a two-car garage, and square footage varying from 3,100 square to 3,400. Implementing all modern-day necessities and luxuries, ARC3 installed concrete block construction with super-insulated core, exterior walls designed with premium insulation for sound and energy efficiency, and 10-foot ceilings on the main living level, with Hurricane Impact windows and doors throughout. Each home features a dramatic 30-foot rotunda ceilings at the entry level foyer, four-level elevator with roof terrace deck access, new-era that offers the the highest level of “Smart Home” technology, including security, lights, shades, blazing speed wi-fi everywhere, and multimedia.

Matta Architecture

Hani F. Matta

265 8th Ave N, Tierra Verde, FL 33715

About Matta Architecture

Matta Architecture was founded and led by Registered Architect and General Contractor Hani F. Matta. The firm has worked out of the Tierra Verde neighborhood of Tampa since 1983. Before starting Matta Architecture, Hani was an architect at Koly International, LLC, as well as a General Contractor. Hani has almost 40 years of experience in architecture and general contracting. He’s worked on a variety of design-build projects, including hotels, condominiums, shopping centers, office buildings, and high-end custom homes, acting as Architectural Designer on over 100 multi-million-dollar residential properties in Florida. Some of Matta’s projects include a $5M project at The Surf Hotel located in Treasure Island, Florida, featuring a new six-story building with 32 spacious units, and a $12M project Crystal Palms hotel in Treasure Island that included a six-story building with 56k square feet of hotel space.

Featured Projects

La Bella Vita Condominiums was designed and constructed by Matta Architecture in 2004 through 2005. The new $14M project at 108th Avenue in Treasure Island. The project includes a five-story building with 70k square feet of residential space. La Bella Vita offers prime waterfront views, with the apartments sitting only 340 feet away from the Bay. Apartments at La Bella Vita are currently between $1M and $2.5M. Each apartment offers three bedrooms, three-and-a-half baths, and 3,000 square feet and balcony space. Matta Architecture worked to integrate high ceilings, columns, and a gourmet kitchen, for each apartment that surrounds a shared beautiful waterfront pool. Matta Architecture worked closely with La Bella Vita Condominiums to create one of the few luxury waterfront complexes in the area that offer boat slips to their residents.

Halflants + Pichette

John Pichette
Michael Halflants

National American Institute of Architects Award,
SRQ Home of the Year Platinum Award,
Tampa Bay AIA Design Award

305 S. MacDill Avenue, Tampa, FL 33609

About Halflants + Pichette

With offices in both Uptown Tampa and in Sarasota, Halflants + Pichette have truly made the Tampa Bay, St. Pete, and surrounding neighborhoods its home. The firm offers a range of services that include architectural design, interior design, master planning, full construction services for residential projects, and design-build projects. Halflants + Pichette is led by lead Principal Architects John Pichette and Michael Halflants. Pichette, AIA, is a registered architect and licensed contractor. He’s overseen design documentation and construction administration for over 40 buildings in the area, many of which are local and Florida AIA award-winning projects. Pichette is also a AIA Gulf Coast board member, where he serves as their treasurer. Halfants, AIA, LEEP AP, is an awarded and heralded architect. After graduating from Brussels at the Institut Superieur de St Luc, he was honored in 2007 with the University of Florida’s Young Architect Award. And in 2012, Halflants was given an National American Institute of Architects award.

Featured Projects

Over the past few years, Halflants + Pichette has completed design-build residential projects throughout the Gulf Coast, including six American Institute of Architects award-winning projects. Some of these include the Bayshore Design Build, a house located on the Tampa Bay shores. Unique design elements include a roof that extends 30 feet beyond the conditioned enclosure. The roof is held on one side by a pair of exposed concrete columns aligned with the existing dock. The uniquely constructed and designed overhanging plane folds down to become a wing wall, creating a unique way to block a power plant from the residents’ views. The concrete columns, the roof, and the wing wall all taper towards the desired view. Another project from Halflants + Pichette is the Phillippi Creek Design Build in Sarasota. The home sits on the banks of the water and is designed to accommodate a uniquely shaped triangular lot. The expansive design and construction took full advantage of Florida’s climate and natural beauty. The living room, bedroom, and detached garage together form a private courtyard. The living room runs along the creek and opens to long, beautiful views of Sarasota’s Phillippi Creek.