About West Berkeley Design Loop
The Design Loop offers everything you need for your design and building project: unique products and services not found elsewhere, expert advice, and a convenient location.
West Berkeley has the highest concentration of independent design and building professionals and home improvement merchants in the Bay Area. You can design and construct a home or building from the ground up with the resources we offer, and furnish it too. From concept to completion, foundations to finishes, lumber to lighting, you’ll find it all here.
The Design Loop is a group of local merchants, designers, consultants, and builders, teamed up to improve your experience.
Each of us is an expert in our field, eager to advise you on your latest project. We work together in the spirit of
"co-opetition” - helping you to find the best solution for your vision. If one member doesn’t have what you need, they will direct you to the best resource in our extensive and growing network.
A design project can be daunting, but we aim to make it fun and accessible. Visit The Design Loop and make your project as unique and interesting as you are!
Get in The Loop!
West Berkeley History
West Berkeley lies west of San Pablo Avenue, abutting San Francisco Bay and extending from Emeryville to Albany. It includes the area that was once the unincorporated town of Ocean View, Aquatic Park, and the Berkeley Marina with surrounding parklands.
West Berkeley’s first inhabitants were indigenous people who settled along Strawberry Creek around 3700 BC. They built one of the largest, and possibly the first shell-mound around San Francisco Bay. Archaeologists estimate that native people lived on or near this shell-mound for 4500 years until they abandoned it around 800 AD. Where the people went is still a mystery.
Ocean View was the name of a stagecoach stop along the Contra Costa Road (today's San Pablo Avenue) in the early 1850s. The name derived from the area's view of the Pacific Ocean through the Golden Gate across the San Francisco Bay. Ocean View was included in the incorporation of Berkeley in 1878 and thereafter was known as West Berkeley. Ocean View was primarily an industrial, working class community.
Zoning laws have concentrated the city's industry and auto-related businesses in West Berkeley. Beginning in the late 1970s, retail development along 4th Street led to a gradual restoration of the surrounding residential neighborhoods. Clusters of home improvement and construction-related businesses sprung up along West Berkeley's major thoroughfares. The West Berkeley Design Loop grew from collaborative efforts between these merchants.
Today West Berkeley continues to be a unique urban environment with an eclectic mix of residential, industrial, bio-tech, office and retail uses. Home to artists’ Open Studios, scores of independent retail shops, and over 70 restaurants, there is something for everyone in West Berkeley!
Our Executive Team
Lawrence Grown founded the West Berkeley Design Loop and was a charter member of Buy Local Berkeley. He founded Metro Lighting in 1993 along with his wife and business partner Christa Rybczynski. Lawrence has been an Executive Board member for Nia House Learning Center, the Berkeley High School PTSA, and the Berkeley High Academic Choice Advisory Council, (ACAC). He earned his Bachelor of Architecture from the University of Cincinnati, and is a graduate of both the East Bay Leadership program and the Inner City Advisors Entrepreneurship Institute.
Chief Financial Officer
Nina is the head of finance, operations, and human resources at Ecohome Improvement, taking care of the many wheels that support a business. Prior to starting Ecohome Improvement, Nina had a career as a Research Scientist. She studied Pharmacy in Berlin, Germany, obtained her PhD in Biochemistry and Molecular Biology and spent the next decade researching infectious diseases and how to combat them.
She has been living in the Bay Area since 1996 and enjoys living with and co-creating the vibrant Berkeley community.
Lynn is a graphic designer and marketing professional who has been working in the industry for 25 years.
She has been living and working in Berkeley for 30 years and received her degree from the California College of the Arts.
Rachelle Padgett is the owner of Synthesis Interiors & Color, a full-service interior design and color consulting firm with a focus on eco-friendly principles practices and materials. She brings to WBDL a background in event planning and non-profit project management, along with a love of connection in all its forms.
Arkin Tilt Architects
Anni Tilt is a principal of Arkin Tilt Architects, an ecologically-focused design firm in Berkeley, CA. Established in 1997, ATA’s work has been recognized nationally and internationally for excellence in the intersection of sustainability and design.
Across a wide range of project types, ATA focuses on modern, low-carbon natural building, particularly straw bale and earth, as well as the integration of salvaged materials. A fourth-generation Californian, Anni holds a M.Arch from UC Berkeley and a Civil Engineering degree from Princeton University. She lives in Albany with her husband and partner, David Arkin, and their energetic pup Frida. Anni is excited about being ‘looped in’ and helping create a strong, connected West Berkeley design community.
Jennifer Newman is the Administrative and HR Director for Studio KDA, an architecture and interior design firm in Berkeley. Prior to her time at Studio KDA, she was heavily involved in the arts in Bellingham, Washington, including serving as an Arts Commissioner for the City and held numerous volunteer positions at local non-profits. Being community minded has always been important to Jennifer, so she is excited to have the opportunity to help build connection in the West Berkeley design community.