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The Firm

Studio Saha is an architectural and interiors firm based in Oakland, California. We create sophisticated, personalized spaces which provide a sanctuary for inhabitants and visitors alike. Careful design and attention to sustainable design choices are key components of our work.

Mercedes Corbell is the Principal and lead architect of Studio Saha. She is the heart and soul of a company that has been designing sophisticated and welcoming homes for over twenty years.

The Arabic word Saha means “plaza” or “internal courtyard”, and it can be a refuge from the city or simply an inviting resting place within a building. For Studio Saha, it represents the enduring design principles of beauty, calm, and protection. Formerly Mercedes Corbell Design + Architecture, our new name reflects our engagement with cultural and personal identity in our design work (Does my home reflect who I am, my history, my hopes and dreams?), functionality (Can I move easily between spaces?), and environmental sustainability (How does my home reflect a commitment to the earth?).


The San Francisco Bay area has been an inspiring home base, with its many examples of excellence in architecture and landscape design, its multicultural population, proliferation of academic institutions, and a history of innovation in business and social movements, not to mention its beautiful and varied landscapes. With satellite offices in Los Angeles and Tucson we are able to serve our residential and hospitality clients more directly.

Our Approach

Our work celebrates the opportunities inherent in a given site, building, room, or space: its orientation in terms of outlook and daylight, the relationship between the interior and the exterior- a classic Californian opportunity given our typically temperate weather, and the use of color- whether vibrant and bright or neutral and subtle. We carefully craft our floor plans to allow for not only a pleasing flow but also the inclusion of the activities and belongings that might come with a given project type or family. We collaborate with a team of gifted consultants during the design process including lighting designers and landscape designers, and after the move-in stage, with interior designers for final staging.


Since 2003, Studio Saha has been part of the movement toward buildings and spaces that are healthy for their occupants as well as the planet. Build It Green’s Green Point Guidelines have provided a framework for our green building work, as they are structured to mirror the construction process, while also providing tangible targets in the five categories of Energy Efficiency, Water Conservation, Indoor Air Quality, Resource Conservation, and Community.

California has been one of the American leaders in sustainable design, with support from both the state government and the marketplace in San Francisco, Los Angeles, and other cities. The USGBC sponsored LEED system is a major platform designed to assist owners and building professionals, and in California we also have Build it Green’s Green Point system.

Currently Studio Saha is engaged in several “electrification” projects with clients “going electric”; i.e. moving off natural gas entirely and placing all services on electricity with solar, or plans for future solar. This is an important step on the path to greatly reducing carbon footprint, while also providing major benefits to the building owners and future users.

Project Types

Studio Saha portfolio includes:

  • Residential Additions and Renovations
  • Kitchens
  • Bathrooms
  • ADU-Accessory Dwelling Units and Backyard Cottages
  • New homes
  • Multi- family building renovations
  • Rental unit redesign and reposition
  • Commercial spaces: retail and hospitality


  • Full service architectural design
  • Pre-Project Design Consultations
  • As Built drawings of existing buildings

Learn more about our services

How We Work

The Principal, architect Mercedes Corbell, works as design lead and client contact on each project, with a small staff of designers assisting on each project.

Learn more about our process

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