serrao design | Architecture

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  • Divine Details, AIACV Design Awards (Martin/Lounsbach Residence)
  • Pace Setters Award, Signatures of Loudoun County Design Awards (RagingWire VA1)
  • Kitchen of the Year Award, Watermark Awards (Potrero Hill House)
  • Special Focus Award; Detailing, Watermark Awards (Potrero Hill House)
  •  Grand Award, Residential Architect Design Awards (Schindler Residence)
  • Grand Award, Residential Architect Design Awards (Potrero Hill House)
  • Grand Award, Remodeling Design Awards (Potrero Hill House)
  • Special Focus Award; Detailing, Watermark Awards (Yang/Chiang Residence)
  • AIACC Emerging Talent in California, Monterey Design Conference
  • Merit Award, Sunset Magazine Western Home Awards (Art Foundation & Photo Studio)
  • Merit Award, Custom Home Magazine Design Awards (San Anselmo Residence)
  • Merit Award, AIACC Design Awards (Art Foundation & Photo Studio)
  • Home of the Year Awards, Metropolitan Home Magazine (San Anselmo Residence)
  • Industrial Fabrics Assoc., International Achievement Design Awards (SF Honda Remodel)
  • Merit Award, AIASF/Examiner Magazine Interior Architecture Awards (Art Foundation & Photo Studio)
  • Grand Award, Concrete Masonry Association Design Awards (Art Foundation & Photo Studio)
  • Citation Award, Architectural Woodwork Institute Design Awards (Art Foundation & Photo Studio)
  • Honor Award, CCAC All College Awards


  • Spring 2017           Dwell online (feature: A year of thoughtful study)
  • Summer 2016       Sacramento Home Inaugural Issue (featured home: Sacramento House)
  • Winter 2014             Loudoun Business Journal:; Data Center Alley (feature)
  • June 5, 2013           Leesburg Today Signatures of Loudoun County Design Awards (RagingWire VA1)
  • Spring 2013             Loudoun Business Journal: RagingWire (cover story: interview)
  • Aug 5, 2012           Washington Post (RagingWire VA1)
  • July 31, 2012            Leesburg Today (RagingWire VA1)
  • April 20, 2008        Sacramento Bee (Burnett Way Residence)
  • March 29, 2008     Wall Street Journal (interview)
  • Vol 23, No 8, ‘07     Trends Magazine, San Francisco Kitchen Trends (Yang/Chiang Residence)
  • Feb 2007                Sunset Magazine (Potrero Hill House)
  • Vol 22, No 13, ‘07    Trends Magazine, New Zealand Kitchen (Yang/Chiang Residence)
  • Vol 22, No 2, ’07    Trends Magazine, USA Remodeling Trends (Gregg/Belanger Residence)
  • Sept 2006              AIA Small Firms/Great Projects Book (Potrero Hill House) 
  • April 2006              Custom Home Magazine (Potrero Hill House) 
  • Vol 21, No 8, ‘05     Trends Magazine, USA Kitchen Trends (Potrero Hill House) 
  • Sept 2005               Remodeling Magazine (Potrero Hill House) 
  • May 2005               Residential Architect Magazine (Schindler Residence) 
  • May 2005               Residential Architect Magazine (Potrero Hill House) 
  • Jan 2005                Dwell Magazine (interview)
  • April 2004              Custom Home Magazine (Yang/Chiang Residence)
  • 2003                        The Designer’s Workspace: Ultimate Office Design, Architectural Press (sd/a offices)
  • Nov 2002                San Francisco Magazine (Weiss Residence)
  • May 12, 2002          San Francisco Chronicle Magazine (Weiss Residence)
  • Jan/Feb 2002         Fine Living Channel (television), Breathing Room series (Art Foundation & Photo Studio)
  • 2002                       100 of the World’s Best Houses, Images Publishing  (San Anselmo Residence)
  • Nov/Dec 2001        World Architecture Magazine (Weiss Residence) 
  • Oct 2001                  7x7 San Francisco Magazine (Weiss Residence) 
  • March/April 2001    Fabric Architecture Magazine (San Francisco Honda)
  • Jan 25, 2001            San Francisco Chronicle (Friends of Photography Gallery)
  • 2000                        AIA Small Firms/Great Projects Booklet (Berkeley & Oakland Hills Residences)
  • April 2000               Remodeling Magazine (San Anselmo Residence) 
  • March 2000            Custom Home Magazine (San Anselmo Residence) 
  • Feb 2000                Interiors Magazine (San Anselmo Residence)
  • Jan/Feb 2000         Metropolitan Home (San Anselmo Residence)
  • Winter ‘99/’00         Wood Design and Building (Art Foundation & Photo Studio) 
  • Oct 1999                  Home & Garden Network (television) – Western Home Award (Art Foundation & Photo Studio)
  • Oct 1999                  Sunset Magazine (Art Foundation & Photo Studio) 
  • Summer 1999          Design Solutions Magazine (Art Foundation & Photo Studio) 
  • April 16 1999            San Francisco Business Times (Emerging Talent awards)
  • April 1999                 San Francisco Magazine (San Anselmo Residence)
  • Feb 14, 1999             San Francisco Examiner Magazine (Art Foundation & Photo Studio) 
  • Jan 1999                  Architectural Record (Art Foundation & Photo Studio) 
  • Jan 20, 1999            San Francisco Examiner (Art Foundation & Photo Studio)
  • 1998                         CMU Profiles in Architecture, Awards Issue (Art Foundation & Photo Studio)
  • 1998                         AIA Small Firms/Great Projects Booklet (SF Camerawork, Art Foundation & Photo Studio)
  • Aug 24, 1997           New York Times Magazine (Sonoma Guest House)
  • May 3, 1996             San Francisco Chronicle (SF Camerawork)

serrao design | Architecture 

Welcome!  Jay and Melissa have been working together to design modern homes and projects since 1994.  Projects in the South Bay, California Coast, Central Valley and all over Northern California.  serrao design | Architecture began in San Francisco and is now located in Sacramento.  

The aesthetic of the work varies with the influence of client, site and budget and is distinguished by well developed and practical organization, refined space making and disciplined detailing incorporating (often common) materials with inherent color, texture and natural material qualities.  Beauty, Practicality, Affordability and Sustainability are fundamental aspects of the firm's work.

Melissa Szpik Serrao, AIA      NV # 7465                                                                                   Jay Serrao, AIA                         CA # 27804

Melissa Szpik Serrao, AIA      NV # 7465                                                                                   Jay Serrao, AIA                         CA # 27804

Contact us

we’d love to hear from you

415.824.2234  |  916.456.9600

info @ serraodesign [dot] com

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Melissa and Jay attended California College of Arts + Crafts and graduated in 1995/96.  CCAC has since dropped the final "C" but craft was an important lesson learned while getting our BARCH and craft is still critical to our work today.  

The BARCH degree is a professional 5 year Architecture degree and at CCAC it is a very studio and design intensive degree.  1 year spent studying the fine arts and 8 double credit design studios were required to round out the BARCH. While working closely with real life, in the field Architects we were able to hone our design skills in a realistic and functional way.  This formed the basis of how we work today.  

Every design challenge is met with the rigor and focus to create something beautiful while at the same time a well developed understanding of how a building goes together as well as an understanding of how far boundaries can be pushed allows us to create unique while functional designs. 


Raised near Toronto, Canada, Melissa moved West in 1990.  Attended Architecture school, met and later worked along side Jay in San Francisco and eventually founded an Architecture studio with Jay and built some amazing projects. In Sacramento she helped to hand build the house the family lives in today.  Her favorite part was in the trenches tying off the rebar for the concrete work, running the hydronic system for the infloor radiant and setting the SIPs walls in place.  She begrudgingly painted the home the 18 colors that they selected.

Licensed in Nevada and NCARB certified, Melissa works closely with Firm Management, Project management and design work.  Her particular skills involve efficiency, organization, juggling 20 things at one time and numbers. 



Raised in Sacramento, Jay moved to San Francisco in 1992. After working his way up through the ranks in Architecture offices in Sacramento for 8 years, Jay took a "break" to go back to school for his BArch. While attending CCAC, Jay also worked in several Architecture studios in SF.  After starting an Architecture studio with Melissa they moved to Sacramento in 2008 to be closer to family and hand build a family home.  His favorite part of construction was the heavy machinery and the framing and a natural green thumb the landscape work while he created a tropical oasis-a perfect home as holiday experience. 

Licensed in California, Jay designs every project and is on site as Master Architect.  His particular skill is keeping every detail of every project in his head at all times, thoughtful problem solving and an innate ability to look 20 steps ahead while recalling 20 steps back.