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The Best Residential Architects in Tampa

18 Min Read

The housing market in Tampa Bay, St. Petersburg, and the surrounding neighborhoods is growing rapidly to meet demand. Real estate data firm Attom Data Solutions says the area is a top-10 national location where homebuyers are looking to purchase. Tampa Bay area home prices surged more than 14 percent last December, the biggest year-over-year gain of any major metro area in the state of Florida. In order to keep up with demand, Tampa’s residential architects of the area have created a wide diversity of residential housing options, from apartments to high-end homes on the lake. We’ve compiled a well-researched list of the best residential architects in Tampa to help you find the perfect fit for your next project.

Bucklew Design

3110 W. Agawan Street, Tampa, FL 33629

Bucklew Design was founded by its lead principal Keith Bucklew as an architectural, interior design, and construction firm in the Parkland Estates neighborhood of Tampa. Since the firm’s inception in 1980, Bucklew Design has worked to develop numerous projects across the area, including residences in Ybor City, legal offices in Hyde Park, and homes in Palma Ceia. A lifelong resident of Tampa, Bucklew is known for renovating the iconic 1950s-era Bern’s Steak House in Hyde Park. He serves on the boards of the Tampa Theater and the Arts Council of Hillsborough County. Bucklew Design has over three decades of experience in interior and exterior design, restoration, art consulting, architectural specifying, and project coordinating. The firm’s design work has been featured in Tampa Bay Illustrated. It is also known for its art curation, excellent furnishing selection and procurement, and space planning. It has also secured a name for its hands-on design consultations, architectural material selection, and landscaping services.

Project by Bucklew Design

Built in 2015 by Bucklew Design, this unique home in the Sunset Park neighborhood of Northern Tampa overlooks the beautiful waters of Old Tampa Bay, with views of Saint Petersburg’s skyline in the near distance. One of the most expensive homes sold in 2015, to Edgar D. Ramirez, an anesthesiologist, and his wife, Jennifer, purchased it for $3.5M. As designed by Keith Bucklew, the 6,136-square-foot home includes five bedrooms and seven baths. Although evocative of traditional Cuban and Havana architecture, the home features a long list of modern amenities. The base floor includes a living and dining room, a butler’s pantry with two wine coolers, a furnished kitchen with two islands, a separate breakfast room, and private guest suite, all oriented to enjoy the beautiful water views. The second floor holds the master bedroom, which includes a balcony and a master bath made of Carrara marble. The second floor also includes three more bedrooms and a game room with a full wet bar. Outside the home, besides the view itself, is an outdoor kitchen, a saltwater pool, and patio with a fire pit. Other amenities include a second-floor laundry room, a three-car garage, and professionally landscaped grounds.

Design Styles Architecture

1708 E Columbus Drive, Tampa, FL 33605

Founded in 1998, Design Styles Architecture is a full-service architecture and interior design firm specializing in residential, commercial, and educational projects, and restaurants. Design Style Architecture (or DSA) is led by Andy Dohmen. He is affiliated with the United States Green Building Council (USGBC) and the Florida Green Building Coalition (FGBC), making the firm’s projects highly efficient and sustainable. Since 2011, the DSA has also been shepherded by Chief Operating Officer and Lead Principal Jason Dickens, who has had the privilege of being nominated for the CFO of the Year award by the Tampa Bay Business Journal. He is extremely committed to giving back to Tampa Bay and the St. Pete area, serving as the president of the Tampa County Place Homeowners Association. He is also on the board of the local history Ybor City Museum and sits on the East Tampa Community Redevelopment Area (CRA) Advisory Committee. The firm offers a complete and diverse range of skill sets and has had the honor of having designed some of the area’s most luxurious homes.

Project by Design Styles Architecture

One of DSA’s projects include the “Grasmere Drive Residence” in Land O’Lakes. The single-family project was in need of a remodel. The firm focused on the kitchen, master bathroom, and master walk-in closet, which needed major structural architectural work. A wall was removed that divided the kitchen and the living space, providing better lighting and an open concept peninsula. The kitchen layout was also reworked, moving the refrigerator, stove, and sink to provide a better configuration for cooking and entertaining. The rest of the home was remodeled to coordinate with the finishes and selections of the master bath and kitchen. Design Styles Architecture also were the residential architects of record for the “Carolina Circle” single-family home in St. Petersburg. The 4,000-square-foot coastal contemporary home was designed with a circular drive entrance and a concrete block and turf courtyard. The firm worked within the community’s HOA guidelines to accomplish the look and feel the client wanted to achieve for the home.

Devonshire Custom Homes

3412 W Bay to Bay Boulevard, Tampa, FL 33629

Devonshire Custom Homes, found in the Palma Ceia neighborhood of Tampa, designs and builds homes across Tampa and St. Petersburg. Their firm offers more than 100 years’ combined experience in building luxury homes. The managing partner and principal of Devonshire Custom Homes, Josh Layton is a lifelong resident of the area, currently residing on Davis Island, and is a second-generation Tampa Bay home builder. A graduate of the University of Florida, Layton has over 15 years of experience working in the area. Brooke Layton is the other partner of Devonshire. She was born and raised in Tampa where she grew up with a family of builders.  Having graduated from the University of South Florida, Brooke now takes on many responsibilities at Devonshire including day-to-day operations. Both Brooke and Josh are members of the National Association of Home Builders’ Builder 20 Club. Devonshire has done design work across numerous communities and neighborhoods in and around Tampa Bay and St. Petersburg. Just some of those places include Bayshore, Beach Park, Davis Islands, Palma Ceia, Parkland Estates, Sunset Park, Virginia Park, Hyde Park, Snell Island, the Gulf Beaches, Shore Acres, and Placido Bayou.

Project by Devonshire Custom Homes

The Davis Islands neighborhood is one of the most prestigious locations in the Tampa Bay/St. Pete area. Davis Islands has slightly more of a tropical feel than South Tampa, and much of the architecture is more Mediterranean in style. Designed and built in 2014 by Devonshire Custom Homes, the home on Davis Island covers 5,580 square feet and includes five bedrooms and four full bathrooms. The home was designed in the West Indies Style and include an open floor, an expansive dining area, wood flooring, a lath powder room, a movie theater with distributed audio, and a three-car garage. One of the priciest homes in the area, the estate on Hillsborough Bay was purchased in 2016 by Kent Hughes for $5.4M dollars. Hughes is managing director of the Quartexx/MFive Sports agency, which represents many players in the National Hockey League. Hughes’ clients includes beloved former Tampa Bay Lightning captain, and potential Hall of Fame player, Vincent “Vinny” Lecavalier.

Halflants + Pichette

715 N. Franklin Street, Tampa, FL 33602

Halflants and Pichette is an award-winning design-build firm with offices in downtown Tampa and Sarasota. It services the entire Tampa Bay area, St. Pete, and other surrounding neighborhoods. The firm offers a comprehensive and complete range of services that include architectural design, interior design, master planning, and full construction services for residential projects. It is led by lead principal architects John Pichette and Michael Halflants. Halflants is a tenured USF professor teaching design studio and the tropical design course. He studied architecture in Brussels and worked in New York City before moving to Florida. Halflants is the recipient of numerous National AIA awards. He was also honored with the 2018 AIA Florida Medal of Honor for Design, the highest design honor for an architect practicing in Florida. John Pichette is both a registered architect and a licensed contractor. As such, the firm builds many of its own designs. The firm is best known for its modern work and highly contextual process.

Project by Halflants + Pichette

Halflants + Pichette were the architects of record for the residential design project entitled the “Indian Beach Residence” in Sarasota, Florida. The project was awarded the 2009 SRQ Home of the Year Platinum Award. The house sits on a grade with commanding views of the bay. The firm designed the residency so the western elevation of the home features large expanses of glass that exploits the bay views, while the eastern elevation maintains a more opaque private front. Large terraces were created on the west, where the indoor rooms effortlessly flow into large outdoor living spaces in the entire front yard. Another project was the “Guberman-Kennedy Residence” in Venice, Florida. Halflants + Pichette, for their work on the single-family residence, was awarded the 2014 National ALA Design Award, the 2012 Tampa Bay AIA Design Award, and the 2012 Gulf Coast AIA Design Award. The large, two-story residence is divided into two wings. The main living quarters is on the second floor, to take full advantage of the views. The ground floor accommodates the guest bedrooms, a small guest living room, and the foyer. The firm carefully designed the home so that the kitchen view corridor captures the setting sun in the winter, while the living area captures the summer setting sun.

Johnson Cartwright Jarman Architects

2700 N Macdill Avenue #212, Tampa, FL 33607

Located in Old West Tampa, Johnson Cartwright Jarman Architects was established in 2006. It primarily draws inspiration from its principals’ decades of experience in the industry. The firm is led by Principal Kevin Jarman, who previously worked at Cooper Johnson Smith Architects from 1998 to 2007. He is joined by W. Scott Cartwright, who first gained experience working at The MacEwen Group and at Blackney Hayes Architects. Since its inception, the firm has completed custom single and multi-family residential, educational, mixed-use, commercial, religious, tenant improvement, and planning projects that combine to over $200M of work. All the firm’s Architects are members of the American Institute of Architects (AIA) and are certified by the National Council of Architectural Registration Boards (NCARB). Johnson Cartwright Jarman Architects has worked on residential design projects for large, master-planned, community, and single-family homes throughout the Tampa Bay Region, as well as riverfront cottages in North Florida.

Project by Nicholas Carl Design

Johnson Cartwright Jarman Architects was responsible for a waterfront home in Clearwater, Florida. The 4,600-square-foot home was designed to create a modern interior while providing an exterior that would match the aesthetics of other, older Florida Beach cottages. The firm designed to maximize views of the water both to the north and to the west, while adhering to strict FEMA regulations at the ground level. The three-story family home includes a porch area to provide a calming and soothing environment for relaxation while taking in the beauty of Florida’s west coast. The interior of the home features uniquely designed central corridors, a central stairway, and an elevator. The master suite bedroom includes an additional porch. There is a three-car garage at the ground floor. The main indoor entertaining area is open to the kitchen and adjacent bar area, which offers outdoor views through a series of glass doors and windows of the beautiful beach outside.

Jones Architecture

3239 Henderson Boulevard, Tampa, FL 33609

Jones Architecture is a residential design firm serving the Tampa, Sarasota, and Winter Park areas. At its helm is Gregory A. Jones, who received his Bachelor of Architecture from Auburn University and is on NCARB. Jones began his career practicing architecture in Colorado and later came to Tampa in 1991. He previously worked at Chancey Design Partnership, where he helped grow the company from four employees to over 60 during his two-decade tenure there. In 2010, Greg founded Jones Architecture to offer innovative solutions to individuals and companies through authentic, enduring design that enhances the community and emphasizes sustainability. The firm’s portfolio includes a long list of custom-designed, single-family homes for high-profile clients in the business world and professional athletes. It has had the privilege of being recognized for its work and is a proud recipient of a gold award from the Best in American Living Awards.

Project by Jones Architecture

Jones Architecture was the architect of record for the single-family “South Frankland Residence” in Tampa. Inspired by European architecture, the single-family home features open kitchen, dining, and living areas organized to take advantage of views to the Palma Ceia golf course. The main living level also includes a guest room, home office, and master suite. The second floor contains the family bedrooms, a gym, and game room. Another residential project was the “Siesta Key Residence” in Sarasota, Florida. Located on a classic Gulf-front lot, the home is divided into three gable-roofed pavilions that are oriented towards giving the best views of the Gulf of Mexico. The central living pavilion contains open living and dining areas, which encourage family gathering. This area is contained by large expanses of glass and protected by deep porches, ensuring the interior spaces are flooded with natural light.

Klar & Klar Architects, Inc

28473 US-19 #602, Clearwater, FL 33761

Klar and Klar Architects, otherwise known as K&K, is a Tampa Bay Area-based firm that offers a full range of architecture and interior design services. It has worked on a variety of office buildings in Tampa Bay and the St. Pete area as well as the surrounding metropolitan area. K&K is led by Roberta S. Klar, who is also a certified agent for the Florida Green Building Coalition, a WBENC-Certified Women’s Business Enterprise, and the president of the Clearwater Arts Alliance. Roberta works alongside Steve L. Klar, who serves as the firm’s principal architect and an adjunct instructor at St. Petersburg College in the Architecture Department. They are joined by Tim G. Knowles, who was distinguished with the Horizon Award in 2008. Together, they have led the firm to its position as a leading architectural firm best known for its dedication to high-quality solutions, economical construction, and energy efficiency.

Project by Klar & Klar Architects, Inc

Klar & Klar Architects was the architect of record on the 6,400-square-foot lakefront residence located at 3771 Mullenhurst Drive. The private residence, which evokes the architecture of I.M. Pei, has unique roofing and dynamic angular patios. Those patios offer an incredible view of the Lake Tarpon of Pinellas County, a freshwater lake only just 10 miles from the salty seawater surrounding Tampa. The home was built by K&K over a half-acre lot, with a beautifully maintained lawn space that includes local botany and large palm trees. The home features seven bedrooms, six full bathrooms and one half bathroom. Klar & Klar Architects worked to install all the traditional and modern details: a fireplace, but also central air, and a controlled internal heating system. Outside, it also includes a large swimming pool that reflects the unique geometric shapes of the house itself. In an extremely popular residential area, the home is now valued at almost $2M.

Traction Architecture

3412 W Bay to Bay Boulevard, Tampa, FL 33629

Established in 2012, Traction Architecture is led by Jody Beck, a former adjunct professor at the University of South Florida, where she has taught courses on the history, theory, and culture of architecture. She has had the honor of receiving various industry awards such as the Eduardo Garcia award from the AIA. Prior to starting Traction, Beck worked on architecture projects in New York City, Los Angeles, and San Francisco. She also serves as chair of the City of Tampa’s Architectural Review Commission. She is joined at Traction by Ross-Alan Tisdale, who became a principal at the firm in 2012. The firm has been featured in numerous publications, including Out of This World: The New Field of Space Architecture, The Wall Street Journal, Dwell Magazine, Sarasota Magazine, and the American Institute of Architects National Magazine. The firm and its principals have also been lauded with the AIA Tampa Bay 40 Under 40 Award, were featured in the Florida Museum of Photographic Art/Architectural Photography Exhibition, received the AIA Tampa Bay Design Honor, and the AIA Gulf Coast Design Award for Architecture.

Project by Traction Architecture

One of the residential projects led by Traction was the “Bougainvillea House” in Sarasota, Florida. The 2,800-square-foot home, with a 500-square-foot studio, was completed in 2014. The firm designed the home’s openings in the front and rear facades to enable unobstructed views of the backyard, where a lap pool separates the home from the detached studio. Inside the main house, the double-height living area opens to a second-story den where a dramatic glass corner filters northern light into the home, and it contains a window seat with treetop views.\nInspired by the Art Moderne style, the deeply inset window is positioned at eye level to serve as an oculus to focus the view. Another project was the 3,000-square-foot “Seagrape House” in Anna Maria. Completed in 2013, the home has won numerous awards, including LEED Platinum Certification, an AIA Tampa Bay Design Award, an AIA Gulf Coast Design Award, and SRQ Magazine’s Home of the Year. The home’s livable spaces are carefully elevated on concrete columns to protect the home from storm surge and to allow the dune vegetation to meander below. A time capsule containing family mementos was cast into the concrete shear wall, reinforcing the notion of the house as a constant as time passes and children grow.

Twelfth Street Studio

101 S. 12th Street, Tampa, FL 33602

Twelfth Street Studio was formed as a collaboration between longtime colleagues and previous firm principals Rick Penza and Brandon Hicks. Centered in downtown Tampa, the online magazine 83 Degrees called Twelfth Street Studio one of the coolest offices in Tampa and St. Pete—an example of the “slew of progressive, out-of-the-box workspaces emerging throughout the region.” The residential architecture firm is led by Rick Penza who has won the 2002 Eduardo Garcia Award and the 2004 Planning Commission Community Design Award of Excellence. He has worked with famous celebrity architect Nate Berkus from TLC’s Nate and Jeremiah By Design. Penza’s work has also been featured in Florida Architect Magazine and Florida Designers Review Magazine. Brandon Hicks, on the other hand, has been awarded the USF School of Architecture and Community Design Service Award 2013, the 2012 Eduardo Garcia Award, and the Andrew Ferendino Endowment Scholarship in 2000. He is also an adjunct professor at the USF School of Architecture and Design. The firm’s process emphasizes the importance of taking into account site factors, cultural and economic environments, programming, and of course budget constraints. This makes its process highly personalized.

Project by Twelfth Street Studio

One of Twelfth Street Studio’s residential projects was the “Palma Ceia” Residence in Tampa. The firm worked with their client with renovations that encompassed significant changes to an existing traditional structure. Large-scale alterations included a new entry sequence, reflection garden, and second-floor recreation room. The project also included custom stairing, a wine room, furniture, and door handles. Another project was the “Westshore Residence” in Tampa. This 8,000-square-foot, new-build residence used an open floor plan designed around a series of protected grand trees. The firm worked to create an incredible interior design in collaboration with Nate Berkus Associates. Twelfth Street Studio also worked on a “Hyde Park Residence,” converting an original 1908 Sears and Roebucks kit house, located in the Hyde Park Historic District in Tampa.

Wannemacher Jensen Architects

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

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 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.

Project by Wannemacher Jensen Architects

The Bayfront Tower has stood in Downtown St. Petersburg since the 1970s. One of the first waterfront condos built in St. Pete, the Bayfront Tower is an indelible part of the local skyline, and it couldn’t just be knocked down. When it came to renovating the building for 2017, Wannemacher Jensen Architects led the rebuild and redesign of the tower’s interior and exterior renovation. Exterior renovations include a beautiful new paint job, replacing the aluminum screening, repainting the iconic navy blue, and adding new windows. Wannemacher Jensen Architects also provided interior design services for the towers, completely remodeling the community library, gym, ballroom, bar, sauna, game-room, and large event space. A high-market building, current prices for an apartment at the Bayfront Towers currently start at $820k.