We started Manzanita Design Build because we love creating carefully designed and crafted spaces people can feel at home in. Spaces where you can relax, connect, and celebrate all of life’s little moments.

Our Team

portrait photo of Ben the founder and general contractor
Founder, Designer, and 
General Contractor

Obsesses over window proportions and GANTT charts. Can be found deep in the garden, surfing with Thor, or geeking out on the latest sci-fi novel with his cat Pierre.

portrait photo of chris the lead carpenter
Project Manager and Lead Carpenter

A master of challenging framing and finish carpentry, Chris puts the craft in craftsmanship. When he’s not on the job site he can be found soaking in hot springs under a meteor shower. 

portrait photo of thor project manager and lead carpenter
Project Manager and Lead Carpenter

A devotee of architecture, sculpture, and furniture design. In his non-carpentry life he can be found surfing with Ben and studying the daily lives of crows.

“Ben’s keen eye for finishes and penchant for integrating woodwork wherever possible helped create a modern yet warm space that complements the rest of our house and is totally in tune with the Oakland hills.”

Our Philosophy


Construction uses large amounts of energy-intensive resources. We always seek to use materials that minimize the impact of our projects, as well as efficient construction techniques to reduce energy use for the life of the building. The end result is a comfortable and durable home that will last for generations and honor the resources that were used to create it.

Inviting the outside in

The Bay Area climate allows for seamless indoor-outdoor connection throughout the entire year. All our projects look to connect the home and natural landscape, bringing in ample sunlight while creating spaces to fully appreciate the climate and natural beauty that are abundant around us.


As carpenters we have a sincere reverence for wood as both a structural and aesthetic material. We take every opportunity to allow the inherent beauty of wood, concrete, steel, and glass to come through in a simple and natural way.


All projects exist in the context of a physical site and a human community. We appreciate the knowledge and craft that went into existing homes and seek to leave exemplary work for future generations. We strive to create an appropriate interaction between the home and its surrounding neighborhood, city, and community.


Craftsmanship is pride in your work, respect of your materials, and the ability to work collectively. We work with carpenters, subcontractors, and suppliers that share these values. We create an environment where each element of the construction process can be a work of beauty and the final product is a shared success.

Open Communication

Great work is built on trust and relationships. Our job sites are places of respect and authentic behavior. We depend on trust with our clients as well as great relationships with our subcontractors to overcome the inevitable hurdles of the building process.

Happy clients make for rave reviews

"All in all a pleasant experience, and the result stunned us--as in, how could there be so much more space than before? And not just more space, but beautiful use of that space. We are fans."

Alvy Ray Smith and Alison Gopnik
Project: Parker St. Remodel

Happy clients make for rave reviews

"Integrated design and construction helped us to quickly resolve a number of complicated structural and electrical issues and make timely decisions that helped keep the project on track. Ben’s keen eye for finishes and penchant for integrating woodwork wherever possible helped create a modern yet warm space that complements the rest of our house and is totally in tune with the Oakland hills."

Project: Ascot Ct ADU

Happy clients make for rave reviews

"Ben was great at helping us make critical decisions that would keep the project on track and ensure our new space was aligned with our tastes. We visited showrooms multiple times with him to look at certain materials like tile and flooring, and we valued his taste and input on the advantages and costs of some choices over others. Manzanita Design Build is very pleasant and professional to work with, we can’t recommend them more highly."

Project: Ridge Rd. ADU

Happy clients make for rave reviews

"I am now in the midst of my third project with Ben and Manzanita Design Build. Not only are they on top of all the deadlines, budgets, permits etc. in any given project, but they make each step easily understandable and lay out thoughtful options when necessary. Their pricing is transparent and fair and they are engaged and passionate about what they do. I would highly recommend them as designers, contractors and just all around good guys :-)"

Project: Blair Ave. Remodel

Happy clients make for rave reviews

"Ben & Manzanita Design Build created a splendid house for us. Every aspect is beyond our hopes and expectations. Ben’s design captures so much of what we asked for, both in function and feeling. And it adds so much we couldn't even have thought to ask for, in the way of grace and style and symmetry and presentation, indoor and outdoor."

Project: Harwood. ADU
Ready to have a conversation?

We're all ears

We can’t wait to hear about your vision, answer any preliminary questions, and share more about our process. Contact us to take the first step toward your dream space.

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© Copyright 2021
Fully licensed & insured
CA Contractors License #1034108
Manzanita Design Build is a DBA for CA S-Corporation Temescal Design Inc
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