About West berkeley Design Loop
West Berkeley Design Loop

Everything you need for your home improvement project- unique products and expert advice in a convenient location.
West Berkeley has the highest concentration of independent home improvement merchants in the Bay Area. You can build a home from the ground up with the resources we offer, and furnish it too! From lumber to roofing, plumbing and lighting, flooring and furniture, you'll find it all here. 
The Design Loop is a group of local merchants, teamed up to give you an unparalelled home improvement shopping experience. Each of us is an expert in our field, eager to advise you on your latest project. We are located along a convenient path of travel, accessible from I-80 via the Ashby Avenue, University Avenue, or Gilman Street exits. We work together in the spirit of "co-opetition"- helping you to find the best solution for your project. If one of us doesn't have what you're looking for, most likely another member on The Loop does.
Remodeling can be daunting, but we aim to make it fun. Come visit The West Berkeley Design Loop and make your project as unique and interesting as you are! Get In The Loop!
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Our Team
West Berkeley Design Loop's Executive Team

Lawrence Grown 
Executive Director

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.

Mark Pearsall  

Mark is the Vice President of Sales and Marketing for the Truitt & White Lumber Company. His leadership has been instrumental in the sales growth at Truitt & White along with the customer development programs, credit management, and manufacturing relationships that have been put into place over the last 15 years. Mark has been a featured speaker at various national Marvin dealer meetings focusing his message on how to build and support remodeling and new construction markets. With more than 35 years in the retail lumber and building material industry, Mark has affiliations with the San Francisco/Bay Area NARI Chapter, East Bay Splinter group, and the Lumber Association of California and Nevada. 


Christa Rybczynski  
Media and Events Chair

Like most small business owners, Christa wears many hats at Metro Lighting- designer, bookkeeper, graphic designer, and more. Throughout the last 18 years, she has volunteered countless hours planning and executing school fundraising and community outreach events.  Christa has served as an Executive Board member for Nia House Learning Center and is a long standing member of the board at Walden Center & School, where she spearheaded the formation the Walden Parents Association. Christa earned her Bachelor of Architecture from the University of Cincinnati.
Lynn Bradshaw 
Communications Director

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.

George Kiskaddon
Builders Booksource

Taja di Leonardi
EcoHome Improvement

Nina Boeddeker
EcoHome Improvement

Bettina Skehan
Ashby Lumber


West Berkeley Design Loop

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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!

Design Loop Affiliates

Hundreds of local home improvement/building professionals are located in, or affiliated with West Berkeley. They are eager to help you realize your home/building plans. Please see our Design Loop Affiliates pages to find out more, and get in touch with one of them today!