San Diego is home to many famous residents and some of the richest people in the world. To build their homes and the homes of other lucky San Diegans, some of the most prestigious architectural firms and the most gifted residential architects have set their roots down in San Diego. Their plans include homes with cutting-edge designs, environmentally responsible building practices, and space that creatively incorporate indoor-outdoor living afforded by San Diego’s beautiful scenery and warm weather. This list includes homes built with breathtaking views of the ocean, and homes that are historic sites redesigned to retain their natural charm and add new layers to San Diego’s rich history.
This list includes both licensed architects and residential designers who can both design stunning homes but differ in other services offered. Architects are trained in design, engineering, and project management and have passed a licensing exam. Residential designers typically don’t manage projects and plans will need to be approved by a structural engineer. Whether you choose to hire an architect or a residential designer will depend on your project needs and complexity.
Mark A. Silva
4901 Morena Boulevard, Suite 505, San Diego, CA 92117
Award-winning architect Mark A. Silva has 28 years of experience in residential architecture and creates beautiful places as a reflection of his client’s dreams. He ensures that every project is a perfect fusion of these dreams, the personality of the site, and the natural authenticity of architecture. His designs break apart the idea of space and redefine the concept of home. An almost entirely glass room with views of the hills reimagines the bedroom, and in a city where life is lived outdoors as much as it is lived indoors, he creates perfect environments to enjoy this concept to its fullest — and therefore life to its fullest. Mark Silva was featured in an HGTV episode about San Diego’s residential architecture while his work has been featured on San Diego Home Garden multiple times.
505architecture’s stunning design of a geometrically inspired residence is marked by intense bold movements. The striking modernist residence on San Diego’s Mission Bay retained its 20-year-old original umbrella columns and is filled with beautiful wood like a mahogany stairway and a walnut wall housing an aquarium. The whole home opens up to the views of the ocean and is light and airy. This project was featured on Luxe Magazine. A similarly cutting-edge design was implemented for a residence called “Can Deus.” Every inch of the house showcases the beauty of the outdoors — the ocean beyond and the hills up close. Enter through the large, wooden front door, and the idea of entering into a room falls apart, as we enter into the ocean visible through the tall glass walls on the other side. A minimalist staircase leads up to the second floor. The abundant use of glass, wood, and steel throughout the space feels organic. In a bedroom, there is a natural stone wall that continues out to the outdoor seating area — making for a perfect dialogue between the outdoors and indoors and all of the rooms within. The house in sum takes every advantage of the beauty of its surroundings and brings them into the experience of being present.
Architect Mark D. Lyon, Inc.
Mark D. Lyon
NRCC Congressional Order of Merit,
AIA Leadership Award,
City of San Diego Planning Department,
Community Service Award,
City of San Diego Mayoral Special Commendation
410 Bird Rock Avenue, La Jolla, CA 92037
About Architect Mark D. Lyon, Inc.
Architect Mark D. Lyon has over 30 years of experience assisting clients in making their dream homes become a reality. He has designed more than 500 beautiful homes throughout Southern California, and he has earned a reputation for unique imaginative designs, being able to adhere to the client’s individual goals, budget, and schedule. Lyon has served La Jolla and San Diego as part of their city planning departments and associations. The firm’s residential work ranges from new construction and custom homes to historic renovations, with a specialty in coastal design. It also does a number of commercial work for buildings in the city.
One of the firm’s many projects is called “Avenida Cresta,” located in one of the most prestigious areas of La Jolla, with the early-1900s Spanish Colonial architecture that was masterfully remodeled in 2009. The home is a breathtaking beauty on the beach with five bedrooms, each of which has its own bath, as well as an additional three powder rooms. Other amazing features include east- and west-wing architecture that allows sunrise and sunset views from the main living areas and decks. There is a basement with a car lift and parking for more than five cars. A 1950s bomb shelter was masterfully converted into an impressive wine cellar. The rooms are accented by high ceilings, and the living room is warmed by a beautiful fireplace and custom built-ins. There is an amazing live coral reef aquarium shared by the living room and adjacent office, and an elevator serves the house from the basement to the top floor. Another of Mark’s designs was a challenging project, as it sat on a small lot, but the firm was able to maximize every inch of the space by incorporating a subterranean garage. To accomplish this, they had to stabilize the neighboring residence and begin with extremely robust foundations to support the three-story structure. Designed around a central William Ohs custom kitchen, the new home has breathtaking views of the ocean, includes modern conveniences, and has a rooftop terrace with fantastic ocean views.
Christian Rice Architects
AIA President’s Award
1127 Loma Avenue, Coronado, CA 92118
About Christian Rice Architects
Christian Rice Architects is an AIA award-winning architectural practice based in Coronado, California, where they strive to design and create architecture that responds mindfully to the site, and respects the surrounding environment and the needs of each client they represent. The firm is committed to seamless project management, which they believe is achieved through open collaboration with each member of the design and construction team. They are dedicated to creating timeless architecture that is not only functional but also engaging and unique. The firm has received numerous awards, including the 2016 President’s Award from The American Institute of Architects San Diego chapter, and has been featured in many local and national publications.
Featured on Luxe, the Aire Libre residence in Coronado makes the most of the light California weather with its focus on indoor-outdoor living. Extensive pocketing glass doors provide a direct connection to the outdoor areas. Contemporary design is married with traditional Spanish architecture with its open spaces, windows, and light. The home also features an outdoor great room with walls covered in reclaimed barn wood and has all the amenities you can find in a common indoor great room. For a Georgia Street residence in San Diego, the owner wanted to take the roof off the existing structure and create a two-story contemporary home full of energy and color, and add new elements for better indoor-outdoor living. To accomplish these goals, the Christian Rice team incorporated several new features, including the addition of a glass garage door that opens vertically into the entry area. The new steel roof projects out to create a front porch and covered outdoor dining area, and there is a new balcony along the rear façade. Together these elements make the San Diego residence a better fit for its sunny locale, where outdoor living is as common as indoor life.
7778 Ludington Place, La Jolla, CA 92037
The DuCharme Architecture design process, led by Laura DuCharme Conboy, AIA, LEED AP, involves the creation of inspiring and engaging custom single family residences. Established in 1992, its client and project-specific approach has produced award-winning homes in both the traditional and contemporary styles.
The firm and its work has earned prestigious awards and has been recognized in numerous publications including Elle Décor, San Diego Home & Garden Lifestyles, Tuscan Style, Fine Homebuilding and Better Homes and Gardens. Additionally, DuCharme Conboy has lectured for the La Jolla Historical Society and is a founding member of the Built Environment Education Program (BEEP) of San Diego. `
DuCharme Architecture teamed with designer Kristin Lomauro-Boom in the masterful makeover of a Tudor home in La Jolla. Despite earlier reservations, the team successfully brought the home into the modern era from its 100-year freeze. Modern interpretation of solid-brick masonry, indoor brick, and a slate roof are all inspired from the old house’s form but used in a contemporary layout. A more modern European look was chosen for its interior — white walls with white trim and dark walls with dark trim. The beautiful execution of the project earned an AIA San Diego Merit Award in 2018. Combining the aesthetics of Japanese and modern architecture, DuCharme Architecture created a custom farmhouse near the destination shore of La Jolla. White rectangular planes and forms articulated and divided to reduce the massing, float atop a heavy base of wood and stone.
T. Dustin Hauck
4888 Ronson Court, Suite F, San Diego, CA 92111
About Hauck Architecture
Hauck Architecture is a LEED-accredited and Green Building Professional-certified architectural firm based in San Diego and founded in 1996. The team is led by T. Dustin Hauck, Principal, who received his bachelor’s degree from the Hammons School of Architecture at Drury University and studied at the Edinburgh College of Art in Scotland. Led by Hauck, the firm is committed to identifying green and sustainable designs that decrease the environmental impact of their work while increasing the efficiency of their designs. With each project, the firm strives to listen carefully to their client’s goals and dreams and engage them by making suggestions that go beyond just meeting the client’s needs. Aside from residential projects, the firm also specializes in craft breweries, bars, and restaurants.
Hauck Architecture designed an expansive home that opens up to gorgeous beach views on Solana Beach. The residence boasts over 2,200 square feet of indoor living space and over 1,400 square feet of outdoor living area. The home includes an open entertaining area with wide ocean views, three bedrooms, and three full bathrooms. With this design, the team is leading the way in green designs by exceeding State of California Title 24 energy efficiency requirements by over 50 percent. This project became the first home in the Solana Beach area of San Diego and the third ever in San Diego County to receive New Home Green Point Rated certification through Build It Green. The home also includes Low VOC (Volatile Organic Compounds) finishes and low-emitting insulation for improved indoor air quality. The neighborhood of Solana Beach welcomed another Hauck design with the complete remodel and addition of a new second floor, which includes a master suite, two kids’ rooms, and a study area. The additions make a small footprint, using environmentally responsible materials including eco-friendly insulation. The mindful use of natural daylight almost completely eliminates the need for artificial lighting in the home during the day.
House Design Architects
Mark T. House
2150 W. Washington Street, Suite 301, San Diego, CA 92110
About House Design Architects
House Design Architects (formerly known as House and Dodge Design) founded by Mark T. House is a San Diego-based architectural practice with over 25 years of experience in residential home design. Their portfolio consists of residential projects in both modern and traditional styles. Over the years they have developed a seven-step process to their work, from the very first step of introductions to the client moving into their dream home. Throughout this process, the firm provides seamless management and open collaboration with the teams involved to achieve their goal of delivering quality service with excellent design. House Design Architects believes architecture is not only functional, but also timeless, engaging, and unique. The firm’s work has graced the pages of Luxe and the San Diego Premier.
Their design of the Anderson Ridge house in the Del Mar area of San Diego is a breathtaking display of traditional elegance, including high columns, natural stones, decorative iron railings both indoor and outdoor, romantic archways, and a spiraling wooden stairwell. While old-world romance seems to be the focal point, this is paired with modern day functionality, with amenities like a stand-alone soaking tub in the master bath and an exquisite metal chandelier with pearl beading suspended over it. The firm also gives the same amount of detail to a La Jolla pool house. The house features an expansive great room with wood beams adding warmth and timelessness to the design. There are large french doors that open on both sides of the room leading into the outdoor seating areas. A beautiful stone fireplace is a focal point, accented by built-in cabinetry on either side. Two massive chandeliers grace the room with extra light, giving the space a worldly, sophisticated feel.
Ione Stiegler, FAIA
NAHB Best in American Living Home of the Year Award,
Golden Nugget Award,
San Diego Home & Garden Home of the Year Award
Address: 5645 La Jolla Blvd, La Jolla, CA 92037
About IS Architecture
IS Architecture is an award-winning firm dedicated to the preservation and renewal of our built environment. Led by Ione R. Stiegler, Fellow of the American Institute of Architects (FAIA) and Principal Architect, the firm specializes in custom residential architecture and the historic restoration and adaptive reuse of existing structures. The firm’s philosophy states that the purpose of architecture is to create buildings that are well-built, functionally efficient, aesthetically pleasing, and appropriate to both the clients’ requests and a project’s location. Scale and proportion are critical — both in the relation of the rooms to each other and the house to the property outside. Among the firm’s many awards is the 2015 National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) Best in American Living Home Of The Year Award, San Diego Home & Garden Home Of The Year Awards, and recognition from La Jolla Today as it’s Reader’s Choice for Best Architect.
The firm’s work for a Prairie home restoration in Mission Hills garnered a Home of the Year Award from San Diego Home & Garden. A 1916 creation of Master Architect Joel L. Brown, IS Architecture took extreme care in preserving the home’s historic integrity while creating a light-filled, livable interior within the existing footprint. The firm retained the home’s exterior and updated the interior for modern living. Traditional craftsman style details like boxed beams, a new fireplace,
3000 Upas St. #101, San Diego, CA 92104
About Jonathan Segal
As an architect and developer, Jonathan Segal, FAIA lives a high life by taking on multiple roles in his urban development and suburban home projects. He is a licensed architect, a developer, a builder, an interior designer, a landscape designer, and a property manager. He is admired by fellow architects for his design prowess and his business acumen and his firm is considered of San Diego’s most successful and pioneering residential architectural/development companies. He and his team are responsible for the design and development of over 300 medium to high-density urban residential, mixed-use, and live/work units totaling over 300,000 square feet of construction as well as single-family homes across San Diego. His practice has received numerous accolades including 40 local, state, and national AIA awards for residential and Urban Design.
Jonathan Segal designed the award-winning Cresta, a 5,300-square-foot house in La Jolla. Despite the narrow building lot, Segal was able to create an urban home within a suburban setting — a private and straightforward rectilinear house with a generous outdoor living area. The three-story cast-in-place concrete structure was conceived as an orthogonal volume with rooms and functional spaces sliced and shaped within and around it. Floor-to-ceiling glass and large open expanses blur the lines of indoor/outdoor living and maximize ocean views and daylight. A reflecting and swimming pool offers thermal cooling and creates the illusion of floating. This home won a National American Architecture Award from The Chicago Athenaeum in 2018. Another beautiful home Segal designed is the Lemperle. Created as a family home for a close friend, the oceanfront residence promotes an outdoor connection through the use of expansive glass and deck
Kim Grant Design, Inc.
Historical Resources Board Preservation Awards,
San Diego Home and Garden Magazine the Remodel of the Year Award
2400 Kettner Boulevard, Studio 207, San Diego, CA 92101
About Kim Grant Design, Inc.
Kim Grand Design, Inc. is an award-winning architectural firm that has specialized in historic properties and coastal area homes since 2002. The firm has become part of San Diego’s important evolution by creating architecture that restores and revitalizes its unique history. Kim’s background in traditional architectural styles drives the firm as it develops designs that showcase the style and era their clients are passionate about while integrating modern conveniences into each design. The results are always unique spaces that are reflections of their clients’ needs and desires. The firm has been awarded various Historic Preservation Awards and the Remodel of the Year Award by San Diego Home and Garden Magazine in 2015.
The firm’s renovation of a prominent historic home in San Diego is a perfect example of its skill in staying true to a home’s historic essence while updating it for contemporary living. Known as the Teats Cottage, the Prairie-style house was built in 1905 for Katherine Teats, the domestic partner of prominent San Diego socialite Alice Lee. The 7th Avenue Historic District residence was restored by adding windows to second-floor open sleeping quarters. They added 10 feet of space to create a spacious family room but preserved a brick chimney in its original form to add the timelessness to the room. The project was chosen as a Home of the Year by San Diego Home & Garden Magazine. The firm also restored a Spanish Eclectic home in Missions Hills dedicated as a historic landmark by the city of San Diego. It gave new life to the 96-year-old home restoring the exterior, motorizing its beautiful original iron gates, and adding a master study, master bath, new pool, spa, and outdoor barbecue area as well as a fireplace. The result is a gorgeous residence that stays true to its roots down to the very last corbel. The firm earned a Historic Preservation Award for Architectural Rehabilitation from the San Diego Historical Resources Board.
LUCE et Studio
A. Dunton Alumni Award of Distinction
5070 Santa Fe Street # A, San Diego, CA 92109
About LUCE et Studio
At LUCE et Studio, architecture is a conversation — exceptional design happens through inquisitive exchange between client and architect, and conversation holds the power to transform and surpass expectations. Canadian-born architect Jennifer Luce founded the firm in 1990 and leads the architectural design team. She received her Bachelor of Architecture with Distinction from Carleton University, which recognized her with the 2007 A. Dunton Alumni Award of Distinction. Jennifer earned a master’s degree in design studies from Harvard University’s Graduate School of Design, and she serves on the Alumni Advisory Council for both universities. She was elected to the AIA College of Fellows in 2016 for her commitment to design excellence.
Consisting of 2,500 square feet the Felkner-Lehman Loft remodel resulted in an industrial design that feels utilitarian and minimalist, with exposed wood and steel beams; a barely-there stairwell; tall, exposed, red brick walls; and exposed piping and air conditioning vents. The space is artistic, beautiful, and edgy, with the upscale air of a true artist’s loft. The firm takes a different turn with the next residential design. While everything seemed to be exposed in the previous one, nothing is exposed here. We have clean, white lines joined by soft grey lines and the occasional contrasting clean backline, like in the design of the minimalist black fireplace. This residence is located in La Jolla, California. It is a 2,300-square-foot edgy design with geometric wall divisions, a minimalist clean kitchen, and floor-to-ceiling windows that invite natural light.
Mark Lee Christopher
San Diego Home & Garden Magazine Home Of The Year Awards,
AIA Honor Award,
City of San Diego Historic Resources Board Award of Excellence
7730 Herschel Avenue Suite O, La Jolla, CA 92037
About Sanctuary Architects
Mark Lee Christopher has been a licensed architect for over 30 years, and his firm has been awarded nine Home Of The Year Awards, an AIA Honor Award, and the City of San Diego Historic Resources Board Award of Excellence, among others. Since its founding in 1987, his LEED-certified firm has been creating extraordinary buildings of high design quality and diverse styles with a value placed on the integrity and lasting quality of good design. They are committed to creating environments that are both beautiful and a joy to experience, and they are experts in the use of 3D computer technologies throughout the design process to help their clients visualize and experience the end product even before project completion.
The firm’s design of the beautiful “Windansea Home” was awarded the Home Of The Year Award by San Diego Home and Garden Magazine. It is a three-story residence in the La Jolla area that blends modern and traditional elements, uses rich wood finishes, has a central iron-railed stairwell that visually connects the home, and has windows that open to beautiful ocean views. There is a playroom/wine room, a great room with vaulted ceilings, and a wood beam accent spanning across the area that adds an element of warmth to space. The home incorporates many outdoor seating areas to enjoy the beautiful scenery, and it features a dream pool and magnificent views of the coastal scenery beyond. Beautiful builtins, warm and welcoming beams, and bright light through the plentitude of windows grace this beautiful transformation residence called “Young.” Space is a brilliant amalgamation of the Craftsman-style architecture highlighted with unintrusive modern elements intended for today’s busy lifestyle. The beautiful beams are carried throughout the home from the living area to the bedrooms, wherein large french doors open to a green outdoor seating area that beckons a more relaxed, quiet, and reflective state of mind.
Amato Teta, Principal Architect
Allan Teta, Principal Designer
300 Carlsbad Village Drive, Suite 108A-336, Carlsbad, CA 92008
About TRE architecture
Celebrating 50 years of business excellence, TRE architecture is an award-winning architecture practice located in Carlsbad and serving San Diego County and the surrounding Southern California areas. Taken from the Italian translation of three, the company’s core mission is to provide sustainable, livable, and beautiful architecture. TRE’s history began in 1967 when Amato Teta founded the practice after completing his studies at Carnegie Mellon University. Years later, Allan Teta now follows in his father’s footsteps, after receiving his Bachelor of Architecture at the University of Southern California. TRE is where they say architecture is their passion and a happy customer is their goal. They have been featured in the San Diego Union-Tribune.
TRE Architecture’s featured home in the San Diego Tribune is an island-themed abode. The first floor features a dining room with a wine room, large beautiful kitchen with a standout teal backsplash, a media room, a great room with a slider that opens to the large outdoor seating area, a lanai, and a guesthouse. On the second floor is the home office and master suite with a beautiful outdoor deck. “The Ritual House”, another of TRE Architecture’s designs, was featured on Fox News 5 as the crane lifted a part of the house and set it in place. The home was designed by TRE Architecture, but first built off-site and then set in place by a crane that weighed 275 tons. The million-dollar beach house in Carlsbad features a steel glass panel observation deck, an elevator, 4,600 square feet of living space, five bedrooms, and a media game room in the basement.