Atmosphere Design Build is founded on an impassioned desire to design authentic structures that are built in a conscientious and ecological manner. That has translated into our specific focus on designing and constructing high performance buildings. High performance homes are healthy, comfortable, and they significantly reduce long term energy use. We believe that great design and super energy efficient, high performing buildings, are inherently complementary. And our goal is to manifest this belief in buildings that are beautifully crafted, functional, efficient and inspiring to live in.

As a design and build firm we take a holistic approach to the process of creating structures and we work in a collaborative manner with all the stake holders throughout the design and construction phase.  The design/build model provides continuity, eliminates gaps in communication and responsibility- we are accountable from start to finish. This method of designing and building provides the client with a comprehensive and integrated service. It is also a model that begins with a belief in relationships and collaboration. Our relationship with the client takes primacy throughout the entire process and we acknowledge how weighty it is to be entrusted with shepherding a dream into reality.

In our business we recognize that we are stewards of our clients’ built environment as well as their financial resources – this always remains an essential tenant even as we pursue being stewards of the greater environment.

How you build and who builds it for you does matter. We have been at the forefront of the high performance building movement for a decade and back our philosophies with expertise and experience. Atmosphere Design Build has consultancy or accreditation with the Passive House Institute US (PHIUS), LEED, and Build-It-Green.



Mela Breen: Founder + Principal Designer

Mela is headmistress of all things design at Atmosphere Design Build. She is dedicated to design excellence, which includes a collaborative design process and engaging relationship with the client, as well as a deep commitment to creating beautiful buildings that function well.  She believes energy efficiency is integral to the beauty of a building and that efficiency can be achieved without sacrificing aesthetic quality. She thinks Wabi-Sabi has something going on – and that the straight lines of modern architecture are enhanced by the touch of human hands. She has worn a tool belt on numerous construction projects and that experience informs her design decisions. Mela is the mother of two young boys and has learned a lot about durable surfaces from them! She studied literature at Reed College, and then went on to pursue Architecture at the University of Colorado. She is well versed in Passive House and is a LEED AP.


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David Good: Founder + Builder, Certified Passive House Consultant

Dave is an inventor by heart – always looking for ways best to build. He is a well-rounded and seasoned craftsman with experience in all phases of construction including a broad knowledge of mechanical systems, materials, and building science. He is deeply committed to creating high performance buildings and he maintains a rigorous level craftsmanship on his projects to achieve these goals. He is a problem solver, who seeks out emerging technologies alongside ancient ones. When he isn’t managing building projects or caring for his sons, you can find him late at night making handmade skis in his shop. Dave holds a Bachelors of Science in Geological Engineering, minor in Environmental Science, from the Colorado School of Mines. He is one of only a handful of builders, in California, that is a Certified Passive House Consultant. He is also a Build It Green, Certified Green Building Professional.



Jeffrey Adams: Architect

Jeff grew up in the Sonoran Desert of southern Arizona where he acquired a deeply rooted appreciation for the interplay of light, color, texture, and space. His first summer job was at an architecture firm in Tucson, Line and Space, where he started out painting window trim on the office and eventually learned how to draw study sketches and build topographic site models. Jeff received a broad education in engineering, architecture and the humanities, first at Princeton University (B.S.E.) and then at UCLA (M. Arch.). While working for Johnston Marklee & Associates in Los Angeles, he was the project manager for an award-winning residence. Since moving to Nevada County in 2005, Jeff has immersed himself in "place," becoming profoundly connected to the Yuba River watershed and surrounding community. Jeff is a father to a young child and an emerging adult, and husband to a midwife. In his spare time, he cooks a mean meal, grows a garden, dedicates time to his community, and hikes in the woods. Jeff joined Atmosphere Design Build in 2015 and is a project architect with a deep commitment to sustainability. He is licensed to practice architecture in the state of California.


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Forrest Kerr: Construction Foreman

Forrest is a native son of Nevada County and grew up in a family of crafts folk. From an early age he apprenticed under his father, a craftsman and artist. As a young adult Forrest worked for a remodeling contractor, became interested in the natural building movement - building cob and straw bale homes, and has studied the craft of Japanese and English timber framing. He attained his contractor’s license in 2005. In his pursuit of knowledge of sustainable building practices, Forrest has become well versed in high performance home construction. Forrest provides thoughtful and dedicated leadership on the jobsite and guides craftsmanship from the foundation, to the air barrier, to the final trim board. Forrest is husband to his longtime love and father to a teenage daughter. When he isn’t working you might find him flying down a trail on his mountain bike, exploring wild places with his family, or working on his own home.



Our Construction Crew:

We have a dedicated, caring, knowledgeable crew of carpenters that understand the importance of air barriers, thermal bridging, and high-performance detailing from foundation to completion.

Andy Slind: Lead Carpenter. Andy works hard and plays hard. Don’t ask him about politics unless you have your wits about you!

Jason Tankersly: Carpenter. Jason has guided in the Andes, ridden motor bikes across the country, and brings the spirit of adventure to the jobsite. He is about to embark on the greatest adventure – of becoming a father.

Ruben Polansky: Carpenter. Ruben is a kind-hearted craftsman. On lunch breaks he does amazing yoga moves – check out his Instagram @rubenji_de_los_andes and you’ll see what limber looks like.

Mark Meyers: Lead Carpenter, Licensed Contractor. Mark is a sweet and thoughtful carpenter with years of experience in all phases of construction.