A concept to completion building studio

Our work.


Quality materials. Respect for the process. A modern aesthetic that embraces open space and natural light.

Workbench got our start in multi-family residential and mid-density mixed-use spaces. Along the way, we’ve gained a mastery of the entire building process and developed expertise in accessory dwelling units (ADUs), single family homes, and community-based commercial spaces.

We’re proud to offer a full suite of architectural design, community and land development, and construction services to the Santa Cruz region.

View our work:

Commercial and Community Projects ➝

Multi-Family Residential ➝

Single Family Residential ➝

Accessory Dwelling Units ➝


Commercial and Community


Workbench is proud to call Santa Cruz home and be members of a community that embraces the unexpected, has a deep respect for our environment, and works toward social good together.

With a vibrant small-city feel and an entrepreneurial spirit, Santa Cruz is home to an ever-growing roster of independent restaurants, entertainment venues, community spaces, and artisan retailers. Each new commercial build or tenant improvement (TI) project helps our clients create new jobs, new businesses, and new community gathering spaces for our city.


Jack O’Neill Lounge

Construction and Construction Management

Perched above Cowell Beach with a view over Santa Cruz’s legendary waves sits the Jack O’Neill Lounge. The Workbench construction team worked with the client a year in advance to plan out the project to meet budget and strict timeline restraints. Workbench built out the venue’s vintage-inspired interior and detailed finishes to the highest quality standard, skillfully managing the project timeline to finish in a mere six weeks.

Far West Fungi Santa Cruz Retail Storefront

Architecture, Interiors, and Construction

Now open in downtown Santa Cruz: a new retail space for one of Central California’s most beloved local food providers, Far West Fungi. Inspired by European markets, this artisan purveyor’s first-stand alone storefront offers fresh mushrooms, grab and go food, small-batch goods, and kombucha on tap.


Multi-Family Residential


Multi-family housing is core to our work at Workbench.

We are firm believers in the benefits of thoughtfully-conceived infill housing developments and higher-density homes: increased housing availability; more walkable and energetic neighborhoods; new, quality construction; and a ready-built community awaiting.


The Dwellings at Soquel Townhomes

Project Development, Architecture, and Construction

Introducing our first ground-up project: owned, developed, designed, and soon-to-be-built by Workbench.

Located along the hills of the Soquel corridor, this pocket community of thirteen new townhomes and two newly-renovated existing homes is near parks, wineries, and just a quick bike ride from charming downtown shops and restaurants. Featuring our signature modern aesthetic and a carefully-refined materials palette, the dwellings at Soquel offers high-end architectural design, quality construction, and a ready-built community at both affordable and market-rate prices.

Supporting housing access for the Santa Cruz community, 25% of the units are classified as affordable.

Coastal Haven

Project Management, Architecture, and Construction

Located on 6.7 acres within the City of Santa Cruz, this new micro-neighborhood and working farm will provide affordable housing for developmentally disabled members of the community. In addition to nine new ground-up single family homes, Workbench is embarking on a full renovation of an existing home and constructing a new ADU on the property.

Alta Laguna Multi-Family Housing Development

Project Director and Construction Superintendent (Build Group, Inc)

As Project Director and Construction Superintendent for this 330-unit housing development in San Francisco, Workbench founders Jamileh Cannon and Tim Gordin managed the overall project timeline and the complex day-to-day on-site detail of this six-building urban construction project. Situated on a steep, difficult-to-access hillside site in the Lower Haight neighborhood, the project features extensive below-grade parking, multiple residential common spaces and roof decks, a free-standing gym, community arts center, and community garden. The project included the renovation of a historic building on site.

Alma del Pueblo Condos

Project Manager (Build Group, Inc)

Workbench founder Jamileh Cannon was the project manager for this 38-unit ground-up project, located just behind Santa Barbara’s historic Arlington Theater. Fitting in with the neighborhood context and scale, each of the five buildings is detailed differently and features one of three unique interiors packages, common amenity spaces, rooftop gardens, and below-grade parking. As project manager, Jamileh ran extensive coordination efforts with the Owner, Subcontractors, utilities companies, government authorities, and municipal entities to bring the project to fruition.


Single-Family Residential


Working together with clients on single family homes offers our architects the opportunity to design a space that feels personal, thoughtful, and well-detailed. With our design and construction teams working under the same roof, we guide the process from concept to completion, bringing dream homes to life.


Aptos Hillside Cabin

Architecture and Construction

Originally built in the 1950s, an 800 SF single family home sits nestled in to a quiet hillside in Aptos. Workbench has designed a 750 SF, two-bedroom addition to the main house, along with a standalone ADU, creating a modern cabin in the redwoods that emphasizes the original structure’s vaulted ceilings and rich wood tones. Located on a steeply sloped site, the design takes clever advantage of the parcel’s buildable area and treetop views. Fully upgraded interior finishes, new exterior cladding and the addition of modern, energy-efficient windows finish off the design with style and comfort.

Side-by-Side Single Family Modern


Currently under design with our in-house architecture team: two new single family homes, within walking distance of Santa Cruz’s world-renowned waves. Each home makes efficient use of a compact site, providing comfortable and light living spaces with modern design details.


Accessory Dwelling Units


Workbench is the local expert on building ADUs in Santa Cruz. An Accessory Dwelling Unit (ADU), also known as an "in-law unit” or “granny unit”, is a small living space on your property that serves as a second home. In order to qualify, the structure simply needs a sleeping area, a bathroom, and a kitchen. In Santa Cruz, ADUs can range from 150 - 1,200 square feet depending on homeowner needs, parcel size, and zoning.

Why we love ADUs: they are a simple step forward in combating our housing crisis. They add housing density to our community (without the complication of sub-dividing parcels), allow for inter-generational family living, provide aging-in-place options for our senior citizens, are well-sized for our college student population, and offer homeowners a long-term investment with the potential for a regular rental income stream.


Garden Terrace ADU Conversion

Tucked into under 325 square feet, this central Santa Cruz garage conversion strategically houses all the living amenities of a much larger space. The full kitchen, separate living area, and modern bathroom will be used by the client's family, allowing multiple generations to live together on the same property. With a location on a busy street, noise, privacy, and light were top design concerns. Designed and built by Workbench, the finished ADU is physically separated from the main dwelling by a shared storage and laundry area. Internal soundwalls create a space of quiet respite, and carefully placed windows provide privacy from the street while taking advantage of hillside garden views.

Santa Cruz Garage ADU Conversion

Feasibility Study and Design

An under-utilized garage in Santa Cruz finds new life as a cheerful (and efficient) studio ADU. Workbench worked with the client to determine project feasibility, square footage potential, and architectural design.

Light and Lofted Santa Cruz ADU

Feasibility Study, Design, and Construction

This newly-built Santa Cruz ADU features distinct spaces for cooking, sleeping, and living- offering the full function of a traditionally-sized home within a smaller, more efficient scale. A vaulted ceiling, wide skylight, and well-placed windows were designed to maximize light, space, and privacy in the space.

Have a dream project in mind?

Let’s get to work, together ➝