Mark Elster


“It is all the layers of little things and the numerous details that distinguish the best designs and often present the bigger challenges…”

AOME Office

There is no doubt that the most important home in the world is yours. Elster relishes the challenge of designing to that high ideal and the very personal journey that client and architect embark on together. On the way, Elster carefully probes the client’s requirements, wants, and needs and those aspects that separate their current and their preferred lifestyle. It is through that journey and the incorporation of these elements that he makes the home become truly yours. With his practiced approach, designing your own custom home should be one of the most positive experiences of your life.

Elster finds that it is relatively easy to satisfy the typical short list of big ideas every client presents — it is all the layers of little things and the numerous details that distinguish the best designs and often present the bigger challenges — solving both simultaneously is what leads to the homes his clients cherish.

Ultimately, Elster simply enjoys applying his artful eye and inquisitive mind to the creative process and the discoveries that come with each unique project and client. Producing pleasant surprises, uncovering opportunities, solving problems, reassuring and guiding his clients through the potentially intimidating process of designing and building a custom home, while inspiring all the myriad people who will collaborate with him to do better than they’ve done before — all of these aspects and more continue to stir his passion for residential design.

When work is done and it’s time to go home, Elster enjoys spending time with family and friends, actively volunteering in the community, and doing things for others. He has numerous hobbies and interests (including photography, book making, woodworking, painting and sketching, model ship building, railroad modeling, mineralogy, gardening, mountain climbing, biking, history, movie making, magic performance and teaching, and very occasionally, sitting around and doing nothing!). He takes time each day to celebrate the moments that happen while pursuing all of the above with family, friends and peers alike.

Elster occasionally engages in interesting personal projects related to architecture. Click here to see a timber framed roof he built for his brother and for an on-going kinetic architecture project involving a secret compartment within a fireplace mantle in their home.


AOME Archtiects
1986-1988 — part time, cofounder
1988-1992 — full time
1992-present — principal

Bachelor of Environmental Design
University of Washington 1979-83

Master of Architecture Degree
University of Washington 1983-1988

Certificate of Historic Preservation
University of Washington 1988

Licensed architect
Washington 1992-Present

NCARB Certification 2013-Present (facilitates reciprocal licensing in all 50 states and Canada)