jameshillarchitect | How We 2

How We 2

Our Office Pilosophy Sustainability Client Involvement Balanced Approach

Our Office

James Hill Architect provides architecture and interior services to the Bay Area and West Coast from its San Francisco location. Our work includes custom homes, additions and renovations, frequently providing modern living spaces within a historical building or sensitive urban or natural setting. The range of experience includes multi-unit and single-family residences, restaurants and cafes.

Our clients respond to our common sense approach to complex issues, which allows them to engage effectively in the design process as a joyful exploration of the opportunties inherent in the project. Through an appreciation of comfort, context, and the client’s personality, the design solution grows naturally as the thoughtful expression of the individuality of our client and the specific character of the environment.

Our established relations with suppliers and contractors provide the client realistic construction budgeting coordinated with the phased development of the design. The skill of our builders and their familiarity with our work creates a teamwork approach that recognizes the strength of their abilities as craftsmen and tradesmen for contributions and efficiencies.

Our competence has proven consistently persuasive with planners, inspectors, neighbors and various appeals forums. The quality of our work has been recognized by numerous review boards and publications.

Through our conscientious performance, we work to establish referrals and continued relationships, resulting in repeat clients and contractors for the majority of our projects.


American thought has always found the spirit at home in the commonplace. At home, the door knob is animated by the hand, the window transfigured by the sun. So as not to be disturbed by the prospect of confronting the transcendental every time we open a door or sense the warmth of the sun, the direct and practical allow for an unconscious appreciation of life’s simple pleasures in harmony with our daily life. Connections to sunlight, views and the outdoors open up a space. Recognition of local geography, weather, history, and materials roots us. Underlying our work is the ambition to create environments for good living that connect us with our place in a community, both global and local, built and natural, future and past. Respecting these connections recognizes the value of our place and the importance of our actions here.


With our approach sustainabilty becomes basic to design, as obvious as the path of the sun and the natural flow of air. Recent focus has turned to sustainable material production and more sound energy practices of which the simplest–reduced material use and reduced power consumption–prove the most effective. Our design predilection for natural, locally sourced products used thoughtfully reflects the beauty inherent in the goals of sustainabilty and results in living spaces rooted in their environment. We promote urbanism and adaptive re-use as a means to create communities sustainable, socially committed, and historically grounded.
Located at the geographical center of San Francisco, our office relies on bicycle, carshare and public transportation. We are certified as a San Francisco Green Business.

Located at the geographical center of San Francisco, our office relies on bicycle, carshare and public transportation. We are certified as a San Francisco Green Business.


We view investment in the quality of our service and the happiness of our clients as our best marketing tool, resulting in numerous repeat clients and referrals. The variety and quality of our work demonstrates our ability to listen to the clients’ needs and dreams and re-interpet them as a reflection of the character of both client and local environment.
Our services are structured to provide the clients with control over their project from concept to completion. Development of the design is phased with client reviews and approvals. The process moves logically from the general broad strokes established by client and architect, budget and context to the fine details that reinforce their expression. The clients’ involvement, enjoyment and excitement give life to the project.


Construction need not be expensive, but it must be realistic. Realistic budgets are established during the original architect/client meeting and revisited with the phased progress of the design. While we never compromise on design quality, we do make clear when unrealistic expectations or a low bid will affect built quality, leading to unhappy clients and wasted effort. Because of this balanced approach our projects get built. We support teaming with a pre-selected and conscientious contractor who can provide budget estimates during concept design that lead smoothly to a bid negotiated fairly. The result is a healthy supportive relationship with client, contractor and architect working as a team. Absolutely, the best projects and happiest clients have come from this arrangement.