Luxury Home Exterior Trends in California: Blending Style with Sustainability

California’s luxury real estate market is renowned for its stunning homes, each boasting a unique blend of architectural styles and breathtaking exteriors. From modern masterpieces to timeless estates, the Golden State offers a plethora of inspiration for those looking to elevate their home’s exterior design. In this article, we’ll explore some of the top luxury home exterior trends in California, focusing on style, sustainability, and curb appeal.

1. Modern Minimalism

One of the most prominent trends in luxury home exteriors is the embrace of modern minimalism. Clean lines, sleek finishes, and expansive windows characterize this style, creating a sense of openness and sophistication. In California, many luxury homes feature minimalist exteriors that blend seamlessly with the natural landscape, often incorporating elements like stone, wood, and glass to create a harmonious aesthetic.

2. Sustainable Design

With a growing emphasis on sustainability, many luxury homeowners in California are opting for eco-friendly exterior designs. This includes the use of sustainable materials, such as reclaimed wood, recycled glass, and low-impact landscaping. Solar panels, energy-efficient lighting, and water-saving irrigation systems are also popular choices, helping homeowners reduce their environmental footprint while maintaining a luxurious look.

3. Indoor-Outdoor Living

California’s mild climate makes it the perfect setting for indoor-outdoor living, and many luxury homes take full advantage of this feature. Expansive sliding glass doors, outdoor kitchens, and dining areas, as well as lush gardens and swimming pools, blur the lines between indoor and outdoor spaces, creating a seamless flow that enhances the overall living experience.

4. Timeless Elegance

While modern designs are on the rise, many luxury homeowners in California still prefer a more traditional, timeless aesthetic. Classic architectural elements, such as columns, arches, and ornate detailing, add a sense of grandeur and sophistication to a home’s exterior, evoking a sense of history and elegance that never goes out of style.

5. Smart Technology Integration

Incorporating smart technology into luxury home exteriors is another growing trend in California. From automated irrigation systems and lighting controls to security cameras and smart locks, homeowners are increasingly turning to technology to enhance both the aesthetic and functionality of their homes, providing convenience, security, and peace of mind.


Whether you prefer the sleek simplicity of modern design or the timeless elegance of traditional architecture, California’s luxury home exteriors offer a wealth of inspiration for homeowners looking to elevate their outdoor spaces. By incorporating sustainable materials, embracing indoor-outdoor living, and integrating smart technology, you can create a luxurious exterior that not only enhances the beauty of your home but also reflects your commitment to style and sustainability.

Lev Designs and MDA Group Partnership

Lev Designs has acquired Murray Duncan Architects (MDA Group) in a celebration of human-centered architecture. 

The partnership will bolster Lev Designs’ residential expertise with MDA Group’s commercial and multi-family footprint—laying the foundation for visually-stunning, community-forward architecture. 


Breaking Architectural Boundaries

Longstanding Expertise

With nearly 50 years of combined experience, the two firms blend legacy and innovation. Every Lev Designs home is meant to be a work of art—and MDA Group offers clear alignment with elegant and ecoconscious multi-family, residential, and commercial buildings.

High Design

Both firms take a cutting-edge approach to architectural design. Post-merger, clients have every opportunity to experience—and influence—the uniqueness of their property. From the earliest sketches, we invite you to weigh in on your project’s soul.

Operational Synergies

Resource sharing doesn’t end with human talent. Lev Designs and MDA Group use the same design software and project collaboration platforms to get each job done right. Now, as a team of 30 people, we will continue to serve our clients efficiently, effectively, and with integrity.

Design at Any Scale

Why compromise between innovation and comfort when you can have both? No matter the scale of your property, we believe every square inch should blend design, functionality, and ambiance. 

Over the course of each project, Lev Designs and MDA Group promise to work synergistically and drive lasting results. Clients continually trust us to uplevel their architectural project quality and speed.

Meet the New MDA Group Leadership Team

Vadim Zanko

Vadim Zanko 

Vadim Zanko founded Lev Designs in 2017 and serves as MDA Group Visionary. He values client and team member relationships in the same way he prioritizes business development and company growth. 

Natalie Hillenbrand 

Natalie Hillenbrand serves as Chief Operating Officer (COO) of MDA Group and Lev Designs. She has a natural gift for organization, an eye for detail, and a knack for knocking items off her to-do list. 

Max Povar 

Max Povar is Principal Design Visionary at Lev Designs and MDA Group. Inspired by each client’s vision, his goal is to design and build properties that showcase a unique yet consistent style.  

About Lev Designs 

Lev Designs takes a people-first approach, designing luxury custom homes that reflect the client’s needs and personality. The firm is professional yet flexible across architectural styles—leveraging technologies like project management software and BIM to make a lasting impact.

About Murray Duncan Architects 

For 40 years, Murray Duncan Architects was a leader in the commercial and multi-family architectural design space. The firm pushed boundaries by making every project unique—offering an empowering outlook for the new MDA Group leadership team.

Contact Us

For new projects or collaboration requests, please contact  Vadim Zanko, Lev Designs founder and MDA Group Visionary,

[email protected]
[email protected]

Sacramento Residential Architects: Shaping the Future of Living Spaces

In the heart of California, where the river meets the valleys and the sun casts a golden hue across sprawling landscapes, lies Sacramento, a city not just known for its historical significance and bustling economy but also for its vibrant residential architecture. As the city flourishes, the role of residential architects becomes increasingly pivotal in shaping living spaces that reflect a blend of modern demands, environmental consciousness, and aesthetic appeal. This article dives deep into the world of Sacramento residential architects, unraveling how they’re crafting the future of living spaces one project at a time.

Sacramento, the capital city of California, stands as a testament to architectural evolution, blending historic charm with contemporary design. In this city, residential architects are not just designers; they are visionaries who play a crucial role in transforming the urban fabric. They navigate the challenges of preserving Sacramento’s historic essence while infusing modernity, sustainability, and functionality into homes that cater to the evolving needs of its residents.

The significance of residential architecture in Sacramento cannot be overstated. It’s an art form that goes beyond the creation of living spaces; it’s about fostering communities, enhancing lifestyles, and preserving the environment. As Sacramento continues to grow, residential architects are at the forefront, ensuring that this growth is balanced with the city’s unique character and the well-being of its inhabitants.

The Role of Residential Architects in Sacramento

Understanding Sacramento’s Unique Needs

Sacramento’s climate, geography, and cultural heritage present a unique set of considerations for residential architects. The city’s hot summers and mild winters demand designs that are not only aesthetically pleasing but also energy efficient and comfortable year-round. Additionally, Sacramento’s position at the confluence of the Sacramento and American rivers adds another layer of complexity, requiring architects to consider flood risks and environmental impact in their designs.

Balancing Tradition with Modernity

One of the biggest challenges facing residential architects in Sacramento is the need to balance historical preservation with the desire for modern amenities and sustainable living. Many neighborhoods are characterized by Victorian and Craftsman-style homes, and architects must navigate stringent regulations to update these properties while respecting their original charm. This delicate balancing act requires a deep understanding of historic architecture, innovative design techniques, and a collaborative approach with city planners and preservationists.

Embracing Sustainability and Innovation

In response to global environmental concerns and local demands for green living, Sacramento residential architects are increasingly focusing on sustainable design. This includes the use of eco-friendly materials, solar energy, water-efficient landscaping, and designs that maximize natural light and ventilation. These practices not only contribute to the well-being of the planet but also offer homeowners long-term savings and a healthier living environment.

Next Steps in Innovation

As technology advances, so too does the scope of residential architecture. Sacramento architects are incorporating smart home technology, modular construction methods, and other innovations to create homes that are not only beautiful but also resilient, adaptable, and capable of meeting future needs.

Finding the Right Residential Architect in Sacramento

The journey to creating your dream home in Sacramento begins with finding the right residential architect. This professional will not only design your space but also guide you through the complex process of bringing your vision to life while navigating local regulations and construction challenges. Here’s how to ensure you choose the right architect for your project.

Understanding Your Needs

Before starting your search, have a clear understanding of what you want to achieve. Are you looking to build a new home from the ground up, or are you planning to renovate or expand an existing structure? Your project’s scope will influence the type of architect you need, as some specialize in new constructions, while others have a knack for transformative renovations.

Research and Recommendations

Start your search by exploring the work of local architects. Many architects in Sacramento showcase their portfolios online, allowing you to assess their style, expertise, and versatility. Recommendations from friends, family, or local building professionals can also provide valuable leads. Consider architects who are familiar with Sacramento’s climate and cultural nuances, ensuring they can design a home that’s both beautiful and functional in the local context.

Evaluating Portfolios and Past Work

When reviewing an architect’s portfolio, look for projects similar in scale and style to what you envision. Pay attention to their problem-solving skills, creativity, and ability to integrate homes within Sacramento’s diverse environments. A good architect balances aesthetic appeal with practicality, ensuring spaces are livable and meet the homeowner’s needs.

The Importance of Communication

Choose an architect you feel comfortable communicating with. This relationship will be crucial as you work together to bring your dream home to life. An architect should be able to listen to your ideas and translate them into practical designs. They should also be transparent about budgets, timelines, and any potential challenges your project may face.

The Design Process: What to Expect

Embarking on a residential design project in Sacramento is an exciting journey. Understanding the design process will help set realistic expectations and ensure a smooth collaboration between you and your architect. Here’s a typical roadmap for a residential design project.

Initial Consultation

The design process begins with an initial consultation, where you discuss your vision, needs, and budget with your architect. This meeting is an opportunity to ensure your architect understands your goals and to clarify the scope of the project.

Concept Development

Based on the initial consultation, your architect will develop a concept. This involves creating preliminary sketches and models to explore different design possibilities. Feedback during this phase is crucial as it helps refine the vision to meet your expectations.

Detailed Design

Once the concept is approved, the architect develops detailed drawings and specifications. These documents will guide the construction team and are necessary for obtaining building permits. The detailed design phase also involves selecting materials, finishes, and fixtures.

Construction Documentation

With the detailed design approved, the architect prepares construction documents. These include precise drawings and specifications that the contractor will use to build your home. The documents must adhere to local building codes and regulations.

Construction Oversight

Many architects offer construction oversight services, acting as your advocate to ensure the project is built according to the plans and specifications. They can help resolve any issues that arise during construction, ensuring the finished home meets your expectations.

Conclusion: The Visionary Future of Sacramento’s Residential Architecture

As we have journeyed through the transformative world of residential architecture in Sacramento, from the pivotal role of architects in shaping our living spaces to the innovative design processes that bring our dreams to life, one thing remains clear: the future of Sacramento’s residential architecture is not just about buildings; it’s about building communities, fostering sustainable living, and enhancing the quality of life for all residents.

Sacramento’s residential architects stand at the forefront of this exciting future, armed with creativity, technological advancements, and a deep commitment to environmental stewardship. They are not just designing homes but are crafting the next chapter in Sacramento’s history, one that embraces change while honoring its rich heritage.

Embracing Sustainability and Innovation

The trend towards sustainability and green living is more than a fad; it’s a fundamental shift in how we conceptualize living spaces. Sacramento’s architects are leading this change, integrating solar panels, energy-efficient designs, and sustainable materials into their projects. As we look ahead, the integration of green technology and biophilic design principles will continue to grow, ensuring that our homes are not only beautiful and functional but also kind to the planet.

The Role of Technology in Shaping Future Designs

Technology will play a pivotal role in the future of residential architecture in Sacramento. From virtual reality allowing clients to “walk through” their future homes before a single brick is laid, to AI-driven designs that optimize space and energy use, the possibilities are endless. This technological revolution will make architecture more accessible, customizable, and adaptable to our changing needs.

Building for the Community

The future of residential architecture in Sacramento is also about building for the community. This means creating spaces that promote connectivity, accessibility, and inclusivity. Architects are reimagining how homes can foster a sense of community, whether through shared spaces, community gardens, or designs that encourage neighborly interactions. As Sacramento continues to grow, these community-focused designs will play a crucial role in ensuring that the city remains a vibrant, connected place to live.

As residents of Sacramento, we have a role to play in shaping our architectural future. By supporting innovative architecture, advocating for sustainable practices, and embracing community-focused designs, we can ensure that Sacramento remains a city that is not only beautiful but also resilient, sustainable, and inclusive.

The journey of Sacramento’s residential architecture is an ongoing story, one of innovation, resilience, and community. It’s a story that we all write together, with every home designed, every tree planted, and every community built. As we look to the future, let’s embrace the possibilities with open hearts and imaginative minds, for in the blueprint of our homes lies the blueprint of our collective future.

Max Povar

Max Povar – Principal Design Visionary

Max Levdesigns

Max Povar

Principal Design Visionary at Lev Designs

10+ years in Architecture & Design

7 years at Lev Designs

Architecture and design have always been an important part of my life. My father is an architect, and I grew up immersed in his drawings, models, and plans. When I was in preschool, I remember visiting him at work and looking at the tools his team would use. (This was a long time ago, back when everything was still drawn and designed by hand.) I remember huge rolls of both Whatman paper and tracing paper—those tangible, physical resources architects relied on before everything went digital. The work genuinely excited me, so I tried to imitate it. From then on, I spent much of my time drawing, designing paper houses, and building models. It didn’t take long before I decided to start a career in architecture myself.

Lev Designs Max Povar

As a student, I liked to read about historically significant architects. At one point I focused on Santiago Calatrava’s futuristic buildings, though I understood these structures were difficult to operate and maintain. I also studied a lot of Frank Lloyd Wright. Everyone knows his Fallingwater project, but I enjoyed taking a closer look at his lesser-known, more complex works. 

This laid the foundation for my career. I first met Vadim in 2017, and we completed several projects together. The two of us meshed well, and just months after we met, we decided to found our company. It’s hard to believe we started out in a tiny office with just two designers on the team. Today Lev Designs has more than 20 employees, and our portfolio includes dozens of projects.

Over several years of working together, Vadim and I understand each other pretty well. I oversee all things design, while he focuses on business development and growing the company. It’s a symbiotic partnership.

Max Povar

I don’t have a favorite architectural style, although I do appreciate consistency in style. I should note that there are many factors that go into different styles of architecture—historical, economic, and social—and that I find simple historical stylization a little pointless. Still, I recognize that certain elements from the past can actually strengthen contemporary projects.

Today I understand the practicality behind the architecture profession. It’s creative too, but that’s not all there is. Some people romanticize it—and there is something romantic about drawing plans—but I believe the real work involves materializing designs into constructed spaces. You see, there’s no way to guarantee the project you’re working on will actually be built. Yet seeing the physical result of your work is some of the best motivation. This is one of the reasons why I so appreciate a project I completed in my first year of study: a residence that I designed and saw through to construction. It meant a lot to me, being able to gain such practical experience as a student. To this day, I believe there’s something meaningful about seeing a home standing exactly as you designed it.  

Max Povar Architect

Architects are known for their design skills. In our profession, we also need to listen—to communicate clearly and empathize with clients, stakeholders, and everyone else. It’s important that we understand your requirements and implement them based on your own professional principles and design specifications. The goal is to find a sense of mutual understanding. Often, I think these signs of respect say more about a firm’s professionalism than any architectural award ever could.

Nothing inspires me like travel. Early on, I wanted to see great architectural masterpieces like St. Peter’s Basilica in the Vatican. Today I prefer to experience the lesser-known corners of the world. For instance, villages in Turkey and Greece offer real authenticity. Oh, and new places are also a powerful source of new ideas.

Discover Your Dream Home: 7 Reasons to Choose New Construction Homes in California

Introduction: The Allure of New Construction Homes in California

California, a state renowned for its stunning landscapes, vibrant cities, and diverse cultures, also stands out for its booming real estate market, particularly in new construction homes. These properties offer potential homeowners the chance to own a piece of the Golden State’s future, combining innovative design, sustainability, and the latest in home technology. This article dives into the appeal and benefits of choosing a new construction home in California, guiding you through the process and what to expect.

The Current Landscape of New Construction Homes in California

Trends in New Construction

The landscape of new construction homes in California is ever-evolving, with builders focusing on sustainability, smart technology, and community living. These homes are designed to meet the needs of modern homeowners, offering spaces that are both functional and aesthetically pleasing.

Popular Locations for New Homes

From the tech-rich Silicon Valley to the serene landscapes of Southern California, new construction homes are popping up in various regions, catering to different lifestyles and preferences. Each area offers unique benefits, whether it’s proximity to major job centers, natural beauty, or vibrant cultural scenes.

Pricing Dynamics

The pricing of new construction homes in California varies widely by location, size, and amenities. While these homes might come at a premium, the long-term value, energy efficiency, and lower maintenance costs can make them a worthwhile investment.

Benefits of Buying New Construction Homes

Customization Options

One of the most compelling reasons to choose new construction is the ability to customize your home. From floor plans to finishes, buyers have a say in creating their dream space that reflects their style and needs.

Energy Efficiency and Sustainability

New homes in California are at the forefront of energy efficiency and sustainability. Equipped with the latest technology, such as solar panels and energy-efficient appliances, these homes are designed to reduce your carbon footprint and save on utility bills.

Modern Amenities and Technology

New construction homes often come with modern amenities and the latest in home technology, including smart home systems, advanced security features, and community facilities like pools and fitness centers, enhancing the quality of life for residents.

How to Find the Best New Construction Homes in California

Research Strategies

Starting your search for a new construction home requires a strategic approach. Utilize online resources, visit model homes, and explore various communities to get a feel for what’s available.

Working with Real Estate Agents

A real estate agent experienced in new construction can be invaluable, offering insights into the building process, negotiating with builders, and helping you find the home that best meets your criteria.

Online Resources and Listings

Numerous online platforms specialize in listing new construction homes, providing detailed information, photos, and even virtual tours, making it easier for buyers to explore their options from anywhere.

Financing New Construction Homes

Navigating the financing of a new construction home can differ from purchasing an existing property. Understanding your mortgage options, the importance of a good credit score, and the availability of government incentives can help you secure the best possible deal.

The Building Process Explained

Selecting a Builder

Choosing the right builder is crucial. Look for builders with a strong reputation, quality craftsmanship, and a commitment to customer satisfaction to ensure your home meets your expectations.

Design and Planning

The design phase is where your vision comes to life. Work closely with architects and designers to plan your home, selecting layouts, materials, and finishes that align with your preferences.

Construction Phases

Understanding the construction phases, from foundation laying to final inspections, helps set realistic expectations and ensures you are involved in the process, making informed decisions along the way.

Legal Considerations and Inspections

Navigating the legal landscape, including permits, building codes, and warranties, is vital for new homeowners. Ensuring proper inspections are conducted throughout the construction process can safeguard against future issues.

Advantages of Living in California

Living in California offers unparalleled benefits, from the mild climate and outdoor recreation opportunities to the economic dynamism of its cities and the quality of its educational and healthcare institutions.

Challenges and Considerations

While new construction homes offer many advantages, potential buyers should also consider challenges such as the state’s high cost of living, land availability, and navigating local regulations and building codes.

Future of New Construction Homes in California

The future of new construction homes in California looks promising, with trends pointing towards more sustainable, technology-driven homes that cater to the evolving needs of homeowners, promising a new era of housing in the state.

Tips for Prospective Buyers

Prospective buyers should weigh the benefits of new versus existing homes, understand the importance of negotiation, and consider the long-term value and potential resale of their property.

Case Studies

Exploring case studies of successful new construction projects and buyer experiences can provide valuable insights and lessons for those considering a new home in California.

New Construction Homes in California

Highlighting the unique features and benefits of California’s new construction homes showcases what sets these properties apart, from their design and sustainability to the lifestyle they offer.

Sustainability and Green Building

California’s new homes are leading the way in sustainability, featuring eco-friendly materials, renewable energy solutions, and water conservation measures that contribute to a greener future.

Community and Lifestyle

The focus on community and lifestyle in new developments creates vibrant living spaces where residents can enjoy shared amenities, fostering a sense of belonging and well-being.

Technology in New Homes

The integration of technology in new homes, from smart appliances to home automation systems, is transforming the living experience, offering convenience, security, and efficiency.


  1. What makes new construction homes in California a good investment?
  2. Can I customize my new construction home in California?
  3. What are the energy efficiency standards for new homes in California?
  4. How long does the building process take for a new construction home?
  5. What financing options are available for new construction homes?
  6. Are there any government incentives for buying a new construction home in California?


New construction homes in California offer a unique blend of customization, modern amenities, and sustainability, making them an attractive option for anyone looking to make their dream home a reality in the Golden State. With careful planning, research, and the right team, you can navigate the process successfully and enjoy the many benefits these homes have to offer.