Top Remodelers, Local Architects & Builders in DC, Maryland, & Virginia

Here are local architects and builders who get good recommendations.

By: Mary Clare Glover

Washington is home to hundreds of good contractors and design/build firms. To help you find remodeling professionals, we went to the source—the professionals themselves.

Top Remodelers

This list includes two types of remodelers: design/build firms, which have both contractors and architects on staff, and general contractors, who usually work with an independent architect and handle the construction portion of a project. Most of the firms perform a range of work, including renovations, additions, and new construction.

Acadia Contractors, Bethesda; 301-320-6702. Architects appreciate Acadia’s detail-oriented approach to construction and customer service.

Accent General Contracting, Rockville; 301-294-9295; accentgc.com . A top vote-getter, Accent General has a reputation for outstanding craftsmanship.

Anthony Wilder Design Build, Cabin John; 301-907-0100; anthonywilder.com . Wilder’s firm does everything from whole-house renovations to interior design. Peers admire his creativity.

Bethesda Contracting, Chevy Chase; 301-656-9020. Mike Thiede gets high marks from architects for superior workmanship.

Bowa Builders, McLean; 703-734-9050; also in Middleburg; bowa.com . Bowa specializes in large renovations, custom homes, and condo remodeling. The firm also has a home-projects division to work on small and midsize projects.

Brenneman & Pagenstecher, Kensington; 301-933-9305; brenpag.com . Architect Dean Brenneman and builder Peter Pagenstecher teamed up about ten years ago to do high-end additions, renovations, and historic preservation.

Case Design Remodeling, Bethesda; 800-513-2250; casedesign.com . The country’s largest full-service remodeling company, Case has four offices around Washington and about 70 franchise locations. The firm’s size and experience translates into accurate estimates and good project management.

Commonwealth Home Remodelers, Vienna; 703-255-9861; commonwealthhome.com . Owned by an architect/engineer couple, this design/build firm is known for clean, simple lines.

DeMarne & Day, Potomac; 301-299-6500. Touted by architects for its attention to detail, this contractor is a good choice for large residential projects.

Gibson Builders, Northwest DC; 202-364-1555; gibsonbuilders.com. Primarily a custom-home builder, Jim Gibson’s firm also does large renovations. A top vote-getter, Gibson comes highly recommended by architects, builders, and clients.

Gilday Renovations, Silver Spring; 301-565-4600; gilday.com. Kevin Gilday’s ten-person team includes architects, interior designers, and builders who work in both contemporary and traditional styles.

Glass Construction, Northwest DC; 202-362-6012; gcidc.com . Tom Glass works mostly in Georgetown and Cleveland Park and specializes in historic renovations.

Hopkins & Porter Construction, Potomac; 301-840-9121; hopkinsandporter.com . Guy Hopkins Semmes and Michael Porter Denker founded Hopkins & Porter almost 30 years ago. The design/build firm has two architects on staff and offers handyman services for smaller jobs.

Horizon Builders, Crofton; 800-726-4876; horizonbuildersinc.net . Among our top vote-getters, this design/build firm gets praise for being detail-oriented and finishing projects on time.

Landis Construction Corporation, Northwest DC; 202-726-3777; landisconstruction.com . The Landis brothers—Ethan, an MBA, and Chris, an architect and president of the National Association of the Remodeling Industry’s Washington chapter—design and do high-end additions and facelifts.

Levine Group, Silver Spring; 301-585-4848; thelevinegroup.com . Jerry Levine has more than 30 years of experience as a builder and remodeler. His design/build firm specializes in midsize to large projects and provides architectural, construction, and interior-design services.

LifeCraft, Northwest DC; 202-362-3830; lifecraftinc.com . This contractor, a top vote-getter, specializes in large renovations and new homes.

Mark IV Builders, Bethesda; 240-395-0400; markivbuilders.com . Mark Scott’s design/build firm does lots of “contempolonials,” or Colonial exteriors paired with contemporary interiors.

Mauck, Zantzinger & Associates, Northwest DC; 202-363-8501. Architects say Michael Mauck and Richard Zantzinger are easy to work with and do a good job on medium and large construction projects.

McNamara Brothers, Silver Spring; 301-589-3767. Robert and Michael McNamara work closely with architects on high-end renovations and additions mostly in Northwest DC, Bethesda, and Chevy Chase.

MT Puskar Construction Company, Flint Hill; 540-675-1510; mtpuskar.com. This firm works well with both big and small clients; architects admire the company’s high craftsmanship standards.

O’Neill Development, Potomac; 301-840-9310; oneilldev.com . Brendan O’Neill’s 35-year-old contracting firm takes on everything from small renovations to new construction.

Peterson and Collins, Northwest DC; 202-234-4500. Ted Peterson and George Collins received the most votes from architects in our survey. This contractor does high-end homes, renovations, and additions.

SBR Construction Company, Silver Spring; 301-388-2320. Mike Baker’s detail-oriented approach earns high marks from architects.

Schroeder Design Build, Fairfax; 703-449-1700; schroederdesignbuild.com . This design/build firm does projects large and small, with a specialty in great rooms.

Sun Design Remodeling Specialists, Burke; 703-425-5588; sundesigninc.com . This 17-year-old design/build firm wins praise for customer service and is a good choice for smaller projects.

Wentworth Studio, Chevy Chase; 240-395-0705; wentworthstudio.com . Architect Bruce Wentworth specializes in remodeling older urban homes.

Winchester Construction Company, Crowns-ville; 410-987-5905; winchesterconstruction.net . Bert Winchester works on custom homes and renovations mostly on the Eastern Shore and in Annapolis.

More Ideas and Information

One way to find a good architect or builder is to talk to neighbors and friends about their experiences.

Home-design magazines such as Dwell, Kitchen and Bath Magazine, and Architectural Digest can provide ideas and inspiration.

Here are other good resources:

American Institute of Architects, 800-242-3837; aia.org . This site has a searchable database of architects, sample contracts, and a section called “You and Your Architect” that provides guidelines on finding an architect, negotiating an agreement, and maintaining a good relationship.

The three local chapters—AIA DC (aiadc.com) , AIA Northern Virginia (aianova.org) , and AIA Maryland (aiamd.org) —also provide information on finding and hiring architects.

Angie’s List, angieslist.com . This consumer-networking Web site ranks home-improvement companies—not just remodelers—across the country on price, quality, responsiveness, and professionalism. Membership is $51 a year or $5.95 a month (plus a $10 initiation fee).

National Association of the Remodeling Industry, 800-611-6274; nari.org . Provides referrals to certified builders, carpenters, kitchen-and-bath designers, and other remodeling specialists by Zip code. The Homeowners section includes tips on living through a remodeling project and warning signs of fly-by-night operators.

National Kitchen & Bath Association, 877-652-2776; nkba.org. This association certifies kitchen-and-bath designers. The Web site offers a searchable database of designers plus project photos, a remodeling guide, and tips on sticking to a budget.

Referral services. Three area services offer free referrals to contractors and other home-improvement businesses that they have screened. Urban Referrals (urbanreferrals.com) and Home Connections (homeco­nnections.com) serve the Washington area; Home Solutions Connection (homesolutionsconnection.com) focuses on suburban Virginia and Maryland.

Washington Consumers’ Checkbook, checkbook.org. The Neighbor-to-Neighbor section of this Web site (accessible only to Checkbook magazine subscribers) contains homeowners’ recommendations of remodeling specialists.