Featured Architects

The Best Residential Architects and Designers in San Diego

Overview

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.

 

Top Architects

 

505architecture

Architects:
Mark A. Silva

Address:
4901 Morena Boulevard, Suite 505, San Diego, CA 92117

About 505architecture

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.

Featured Projects

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

Architects:
Mark D. Lyon

Awards:
NRCC Congressional Order of Merit,
AIA Leadership Award,
City of San Diego Planning Department,
Community Service Award,
City of San Diego Mayoral Special Commendation

Address:
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.

Featured Projects

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

Architects:
Christian Rice

Awards:
AIA President’s Award

Address:
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 Projects

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.


DuCharme Architecture

Address:
7778 Ludington Place, La Jolla, CA 92037

About DuCharme Architecture

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. `

Featured Projects

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.


Hauck Architecture

Architects:
T. Dustin Hauck

Address:
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.

Featured Projects

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

Architects:
Mark T. House

Address:
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 for 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 its 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 San Diego Premier.

Featured Projects

House Design Architects created an award-winning beach house situated on a gentle slope near La Jolla. Highlights of the modern contemporary masterpiece include a walled forecourt, an open-plan living room that looks out to the ocean, and a 50-foot poured concrete wall that divides the whole house. Simple, bold lines, textural materials, and custom furniture create a warm, inviting, and casual interior design. The stunning 8,500-square-foot coastal home earned Best Residential Project at The International Design and Architecture Awards in London and a feature on California Homes. 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 anchors the room, accented by built-in cabinetry on either side. Two massive chandeliers grace the room with extra light, giving the space a worldly, sophisticated feel.


IS Architecture

Architects:
Ione Stiegler, FAIA

Awards:
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.

Featured Projects

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,


Jonathan Segal

Address:
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.

Featured Projects

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.

Architects:
Kim Grant

Awards:
Historical Resources Board Preservation Awards,
San Diego Home and Garden Magazine the Remodel of the Year Award

Address:
2400 Kettner Boulevard, Studio 207, San Diego, CA 92101

About Kim Grant Design, Inc.

Kim Grant 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.

Featured Projects

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

Architects:
Jennifer Luce

Awards:
A. Dunton Alumni Award of Distinction

Address:
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.

Featured Projects

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.


Sanctuary Architects

Architects:
Mark Lee Christopher

Awards:
San Diego Home & Garden Magazine Home Of The Year Awards,
AIA Honor Award,
City of San Diego Historic Resources Board Award of Excellence

Address:
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.

Featured Projects

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.


TRE architecture

Architects:
Amato Teta, Principal Architect

Designers:
Allan Teta, Principal Designer

Address:
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.

Featured Projects

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.

The Best Commercial Architects in San Diego

Overview

Flip-flops, sandy beaches, and sunshine are some of the things that come to mind when we think of San Diego, but San Diego also represents the new millennium in many ways. It embraces technology, it cares about the environment, and it is alluring to retirees and young entrepreneurs alike. Sunny San Diego has the draw of a quiet, relaxed community, with the perks of the Southern California weather and natural beauty. From the stunning coastline and the scenic communities to business and scientific innovation, it is no wonder that some of the world’s largest commercial architectural firms have brought their innovative designs to “America’s Finest City.” Although not all of these firms are based in San Diego, each of them has worked extensively in the city and left a powerful and lasting impact on San Diego’s commercial architectural landscape that will continue to benefit both locals and visitors for generations to come.

 

Top Architects

 

Antoine Predock Architect PC

Architects:
Antoine Predock

Awards:
Rome Prize,
AIA Gold Medal,
Cooper-Hewitt National Design Museum Lifetime Achievement Award

Address:
http://www.predock.com/

About Antoine Predock Architect PC

Antoine Predock, FAIA is an American architect based in Albuquerque, New Mexico, and the principal of Antoine Predock Architect PC. The studio was established in 1967 with architecture and poetry in mind. According to Predock, “Architecture is a poetic encounter with place and client… and deep, and present and future time.” He applies this poetic philosophy to his architectural designs, making for a brilliant blend of structure and form that incorporates the natural world and all that is meaningful around it. The New Mexico-based firm’s philosophy is a perfect match for the beauty of San Diego’s natural locale, which lends itself well to the element of indoor/outdoor designs. A longstanding architect in the field, Antoine was presented with the Rome Prize in 1985. In 1989, he won a New Mexico Governor’s Award for Excellence in the Arts. In 2006, he was awarded the AIA Gold Medal, and in 2007 he received a Lifetime Achievement Award from the Cooper-Hewitt National Design Museum.

Featured Projects

One of Predock’s designs, Petco Park has been home to the San Diego Padres since 2004 and has become one of San Diego’s major landmarks located just a few blocks from the thriving Gaslamp Quarter. Construction broke ground on May 3, 2000, and opened to the public on April 8, 2004, costing a total of $450M with a 40,209 capacity. Seamlessly blending nature, culture, breathtaking views of the bay, the ballpark has been described as a “garden” with open architecture, allowing visitors to experience the game in the midst of the natural world. Even the intentionally chosen colors evoke the sky, sand, and sea. In 2006, the San Diego Union-Tribune honored the ballpark with an Orchid award for its magnificent design. Predock is also credited with the unique design of the Mandell Weiss Forum – La Jolla Playhouse. The theatre consists of a 270-foot-long, 13-foot-high mirrored foreground wall that reflects images of theater-goers passing through a eucalyptus grove as they approach the structure. The mirror is a poetic divide between the reality of every day and the magic of the theatre on the other side.

To learn more about Antoine Predock Architect PC, you can visit their website here or you can contact them via email at [email protected]


Architects Mosher Drew

Architects:
Bill Magnuson
Ben Meza
Ed Holakiewicz

Awards:
AIA Excellence Award,
AIA Merit Award

Address:
1775 Hancock Street #150, San Diego, CA 92110

About Architects Mosher Drew

Mosher Drew is the longest standing architectural firm in San Diego. It was established in 1946 by Robert Mosher, who was later joined by Roy Drew in 1948. With more than 60 years of experience in the field, the firm has built an impressive list of clients and has offered its services to a great body of architectural design works. All their projects begin with the idea of sustainability in mind, and they apply principles of energy conscious, environmentally sensitive designs. The firm is credited for some of San Diego’s iconic architecture that has stood the test of time such as the Coronado Bridge and the Aztec Center at San Diego State University. They have received, among many awards, the Award of Excellence and the Award of Merit from the San Diego Chapter of the American Institute of Architects.

Featured Projects

Mosher Drew is responsible for San Diego’s iconic NBC building, the 29th tallest building in the city, and located in the Horton Plaza district of downtown San Diego. Its modern architectural design was completed in 1975 and includes 22 floors of office space, standing at a height of 339 feet. The building was home to NBC studios station KNSD until 2016. The La Jolla Library located in the city of San Diego is another of the firm’s creations. The design invites the outdoors in to complement the seaside community. The $4.3M structure, consisting of 25k square feet of space, uses organic materials strategically to reflect the history and context of the area. An oversized glass and steel ceiling in the main seating area invites an abundance of natural light, creating a bright and relaxing space.


Carrier Johnson + Culture

Address:
185 W F St., Suite 500, San Diego, CA 92101

About Carrier Johnson + Culture

Carrier Johnson + Culture is an international architecture, interiors, and strategic branding practice that has shaped the San Diego skyline and the region’s building footprint. It has provided design solutions for residential, hospitality, retail, mixed-use, corporate, education, healthcare/science, and technology markets. Established in 1987, the firm employs more than 100 staff professionals in its headquarters in San Diego, in addition to satellite studios in Orange County, Los Angeles, and Shanghai. The award-winning local firm was started by Gordon Carrier and Michael Johnson. The dynamic duo has ties to some San Diego’s most recognizable projects including the downtown courthouse and Park 12, the high-rise apartment complex overlooking Petco Park.

Featured Projects

Carrier Johnson + Culture designed the Science Center (Sator Hall and Latter Hall) of Point Loma Nazarene University in San Diego. Known for its rigorous science programs, the design team translated the school’s dialogue between scientific progress and biblical teachings into an award-winning structure. Labs and classrooms are wrapped in insulating-glass and smooth-concrete while a feathered curve of perforated metal panels fills the southern side. Conceived for shade, this “environmental-screen” is laser-cut with symbols of religious and scientific allusion. The project earned a Best of Design Award for Building of the Year from The Architect’s Newspaper and an Honorable Mention in Architectural Design / Educational Buildings from the Architecture Masterprize. It also won a Citation Award from the AIA San Diego.


Gensler

Architects:
Art Gensler
J. Kevin Heinly
Scott Peterson

Awards:
ENR #1 Green Building Design Firm in Commercial Offices,
Building Design + Construction Giants #1 Office Sector Architecture Firm

Address:
225 Broadway #100, San Diego, CA 92101

About Gensler

Gensler is a world leader in the field of architecture and design. It operates out of 46 cities in 16 countries. Among their 3,500 clients are 40 Fortune 500 companies, the top 10 technology companies in the US, and nine commercial banks. In 2015, for the fifth year in a row, Gensler generated $1.18B in revenue, the most for any architecture firm based in the United States. The firm was founded in 1965 by Art and Drue Gensler and their associate, James Follett. Initially focusing on corporate interiors, they have since expanded to include a vast array of architecture and design forms, including airports, entertainment complexes, commercial office buildings, and retail centers. Gensler believes in leveraging the power of design to create a better world for all. They say, “For us, the design is the means. The starting points are goals, strategies, and expectations, but it transcends them to create a new and better reality. Design is transformative.”

Featured Projects

Gensler is responsible for the design behind the $229.4M expansion of Terminal 2 of the San Diego International Airport. The firm completed 55,000-square-feet of new construction and 70,000 square feet of renovated space for the Federal Inspection Services (FIS) Facility and a three-story, 3,000-space parking plaza. The LEED Gold-certified FIS Facility was designed “inside-out” to stay true to the indoor-outdoor feel of the San Diego lifestyle. Natural light and views of San Diego’s impressive skylines greet passengers as they step off the plane while the facility itself is fitted with the latest advances and biometric screening from the U.S. Customs and Border Protection. The Terminal 2 Parking Plaza also boasts state-of-the-art sustainable features, significantly reducing energy consumption but still sophisticated parking technology through sensors and lightwells. The project won a National Merit Award for Aviation from the Design-Build Institute of America in 2019.


JAHN

Architects:
Helmut Jahn

Awards:
AIA Ten Most Influential Living American Architects,
AIA Institute Honour Award,
Richard H. Driehaus Foundation Award for Architecture

Address:
35 East Wacker Drive, Suite 300, Chicago, IL 60601

About JAHN

Architect Helmut Jahn pushed the limit to the very last available inch when he designed One America Plaza, the tallest building in San Diego. The German-born architect arrived in Chicago in 1966, where he studied under Ludwig Mies van der Rohe at the Illinois Institute of Technology (IIT). His career began at CF Murphy Associates, where he worked on several large-scale commercial and governmental projects, including the FBI Headquarters in Washington, DC. Jahn established himself in 1985 with the State of Illinois Center in Chicago, which dubbed him “Flash Gordon.” In 1981 CF Murphy Associates was renamed Murphy/Jahn. Murphy/Jahn became simply JAHN in 2012 and remains a highly prolific and powerful architectural practice. The firm’s work primarily focused on corporate and high-profile educational projects that span the globe, and the firm has received numerous awards.

Featured Projects

One of JAHN’s masterpieces, San Diego’s One America Plaza is its tallest skyscraper, standing at 500 feet, which meets the US Federal Aviation Administration’s maximum allowed height for a building in downtown San Diego. The top of the 34-story, 623k-square-foot obelisk-shaped tower resembles the end of a Phillips head screwdriver and has become a powerful and prominent fixture in the breathtaking waterfront district of downtown San Diego. Although not based in San Diego, JAHN has made a permanent mark on the city with the tallest tower — never to be surpassed — in the beautiful San Diego skies. Among the firm’s other major works is the Sony Center on the Potsdamer Platz in Berlin, Germany; One Liberty Place in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, previously the tallest building in Philadelphia; and the T3 – Beijing International Airport in Beijing, China.


JCJ Architecture

Architects:
Peter N. Stevens

Awards:
AIA Design Awards

Address:
750 B Street, Suite 2800, San Diego, CA 92101

About JCJ Architecture

Established in 1936, JCJ Architecture is a diverse planning, architecture, and interior design firm that offers innovative and engaged design services to clients across the globe. Led by Peter N. Stevens, LEED AP, the firm works primarily in the commercial and institutional sectors and excels at bringing value to every project they undertake. Previously maintained as a privately held firm, JCJ took the pivotal step in 2012 to transition to an ESOP (employee stock ownership plan). The move proved instrumental in strengthening a culture of collaboration among its employees and fostered an elevated creativity. In addition to their offices in San Diego, the firm currently has offices in Atlanta, Boston, Hartford, New York City, Phoenix, and Los Angeles.

Featured Projects

In 2000 JCJ Architecture completed the $6.8M construction of the 38k-square-foot Balboa Park Activity Center in San Diego. Balboa Park is the largest urban park in North America and includes a 1,200-acre cultural complex that houses 17 museums, eight major gardens, theaters, and the world-famous San Diego Zoo. JMJ ensured that the Activity Center’s design would hold true to the park’s existing architecture — a classical Beaux Arts symmetry style — while introducing new and exciting concepts of motion and athletics to make the center an integral part of the park experience. Later in 2008, JCJ was commissioned to renovate “The Finest Hotel in America’s Finest City,” Hilton San Diego Bayfront, a 30-story hotel tower with 1,190 guest rooms. The hotel provides access to Petco Park, the Gaslamp Quarter, and the San Diego Convention Center. Improvements included panoramic views to the bay, a new exterior bar and service center, meticulous landscaping, a bay-front promenade, an updated pool and hot tub area, a new fitness center, and a children’s splash zone. The $4.3M project encompassed 53k square feet of renovation and added a fresh, luxurious element to the Hilton experience.


LPA Design Studios

Address:
1600 National Avenue, San Diego, CA 92113

About LPA Design Studios

One of the top architecture firms in the region, according to ENR California, LPA, Inc. pulled in over $42M of design revenue in 2018. Its team of more than 350 architects, engineers, and interior designers has earned over 100 design awards. Leason Pomeroy established LPA, Inc. in Orange County in 1965. The firm took its first AIA design award in 1971 for 44 Plaza Square. The Irvine office opened in 1989, one year before current CEO Robert Kupper assumed his post. Originally focused entirely on architectural design, the firm added engineering in 2007. The firm’s designs for the Michelle Obama Branch Library earned a 2017 AIACC Award of Honor while its design for the Environmental Nature Center and Preschool in Newport Beach earned a 2019 national AIA COTE Top Ten award.

Featured Projects

LPA collaborated with Pei Cobb Freed & Partners in the architectural work on One La Jolla Center, completing one of the largest superblocks in the University Community Plan Area of San Diego. The building’s articulation of base, middle,  and top created a symmetrically balanced proportion that is further defined by the large offsets that frame the building. The vertical community is wrapped in linen-finished stainless steel and floor-to-ceiling Viracon glass. Sustainability is also at its core — it is Certified LEED® Gold by U.S. Green Building Council & ENERGY STAR® by U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. Striking architecture and highly sought-after amenities make 701B an attractive, progressive space that appeals to tenants in tech, finance, and commerce. LPA worked on its architecture, engineering, interior design, and landscape design. Stretching across a city block in Downtown San Diego, the 24 story office building is marked with a striking, sculptural shade trellis, inspired by the manta ray moving through the ocean. A dramatic 65-foot, high-glazing glass wall and calming water feature—the largest vertical water feature in the area—serves as the backdrop for the sculpture. It was named Office Project of the Year by the San Diego Business Journal in 2019 and a  national IES Illumination Award of Merit in the Energy and Environment category.


M.W. Steele Group

Architects:
Mark W. Steele

Awards:
APA Planning Firm Award,
NAHB Gold Award,
Gold Nugget Grand Award

Address:
1805 Newton Avenue, San Diego, CA 92113

About M.W. Steele Group

M.W. Steele Group has been fostering artistic dialogue about contextual architecture since it was founded in 1983. The award-winning team, led by Mark W. Steele, president and founder, understands that the structures they design are part of something greater than themselves and that careful planning and architecture can work to define and reinforce a concept of community. M.W. Steele Group says, “We provide a humanistic approach to design; viewing our work as a form of ethnography.” The firm has been recognized locally and nationally, with a long list of awards, including the 2017 Planning Firm Award (APA) and the 2016 NAHB Gold Award.

Featured Projects

Keeping in line with the boom of mixed-use architecture that mindfully serves communities, M.W. Steele Group is responsible for The Mills at Cortez Hill, an upscale mixed-use development located at the edge of downtown San Diego. A dedicated historic site, the Mills House, located just two blocks from the famous Balboa Park, was originally designed by architects Hebbard and Gill. The M.W. Steele Group designed the addition of a new and improved mixed-use building to include 133 residential apartments and 3,200 square feet of commercial lease space that perfectly serves the community. The firm also brought new commercial and residential space to the historic Mission Hills neighborhood, with the Gold Nugget Grand Award-winning project, “1Mission.” The structure includes 5,300 square feet of multi-functional street-level retail space, 61 beautiful condominiums with partial red brick façades, two levels of subterranean parking, and a public walkway that winds through the project.


Miller Hull

Architects:
David Miller
Robert Hull (+)

Awards:
AIA Architecture Firm Award,
AIA COTE Top Ten Green Project,
AIA Citation Award,
San Diego Architecture Foundation Orchid & Onions Award,
American Concrete Institute Marine Structure Award

Address:
2150 West Washington Street, Suite #113, San Diego, CA 92110

About Miller Hull

David Miller and Robert Hull met as undergraduate students, went on to the Peace Corps together, and then founded Miller Hull in 1977. Their longstanding respect for each other translates into their designs of beautiful and mindful places. In 2003, Miller Hull received the Architecture Firm Award from the American Institute of Architects — the highest industry commendation for architecture firms. Over the years, the firm has earned over 300 local, national, and industry design awards spanning varying project types. The firms is the most consistent winner of AIA Committee on the Environment (COTE) ‘Top Ten Green Project’ awards honoring beautiful, sustainability-designed buildings.

Featured Projects

The Miller Hull team’s design of The Wharf at Point Loma at America’s Cup Harbor won the AIA San Diego 2012 Citation Award, San Diego Architecture Foundation’s 2009 Orchid & Onions Award, and the American Concrete Institute’s 2009 Marine Structure Award. It offers a beautiful waterfront experience with a mindful design that highlights the natural world and offers a functional space for the surrounding working culture. The central promenade is a combined use space with a green park and a vibrant plaza with a fire pit. The structures connect to the water with walkways, offering ample space for visitors to find shade and enjoy the breathtaking views. Miller Hull also completed the 60k-square-foot Mesa Commons for the San Diego Community College District. The minimalist structure serves as a student hub and campus gateway, which includes two cafeterias, a bookstore, a convenience store, a café, culinary arts management labs, lounge spaces, and conference rooms.


Portman Architects

Architects:
John Portman

Awards:
Country from World Luxury Hotel Awards Best New Luxury Hotel,
HA+D Award for Design Excellence

Address:
303 Peachtree Center Avenue, NE Suite 575, Atlanta, GA 30303

About Portman Architects

Portman Architects is a leading global architecture and design firm. Recognized throughout the world for his innovative design, John Portman is an architect; he’s also a successful businessman. At Portman, the philosophy is to design engaging and memorable spaces that serve the people who use them and benefit the community. Their guiding principles are to respect context, environment, culture, and community. They realize their work provides a sensory experience for their patrons, and the goal is always to deliver lasting value. They are winners of countless awards including the Best New Luxury Hotel in the Country from World Luxury Hotel Awards, and the HA+D Award for Design Excellence. The Atlanta-based firm continues to leave a lasting mark on San Diego’s beautiful skyline with arguably some of the city’s most important and large-scale commercial designs.

Featured Projects

The firm is responsible for Hilton San Diego – Bayfront, a 1,200-room convention headquarters hotel located strategically to allow guests to take in views of the San Diego Bay. The design includes significant use of glass on the exterior to reflect the surrounding skyline. The building also includes 106,050 square feet of meeting space, including a grand ballroom and a smaller ballroom; 22 meeting rooms; a business center; retail; a health club, lounge, and café; and the Vela restaurant and Spa Aquazul. An upcoming project, Bric Phase Two, consists of a 400-room, full-service InterContinental hotel, 33,000 square feet of retail space, and 686 parking spaces. This grand design is planned as a continuation of the Lane Field projects and the larger North Embarcadero Visionary Plan. The structure will include parking, various retail spaces, and a grand hotel lobby. The second level will house the hotel conference center, with dual ballrooms and associated smaller meeting rooms. The third level will feature the hotel lobby bar and restaurant and the convergence of the shuttle elevators and room tower elevators. For the top of the tower, the plan includes a public sky bar that will overlook the bay, grounding the project in the sky.



Skidmore, Owings, and Merrill

Architects:
Paul Dana
Michael Mann

Awards:
AIA COTE Honor Award,
AIA Excellence Award,
AIA Merit Award,
Los Angeles Business Council Grand Prize

Address:
333 South Grand Avenue, Suite 3600, Los Angeles, CA 90071

About Skidmore, Owings & Merrill

Skidmore, Owings & Merrill is an American architectural, urban planning, and engineering firm that leads the way in what we’ve come to recognize as the “glass box” skyscraper. They are responsible for several of the tallest buildings in the world, including the second tallest in San Diego: the beautiful Symphony Towers located in the historic Financial District. The firm was formed in Chicago in 1936 by Louis Skidmore and Nathaniel Owings. They were joined by John O. Merrill in 1939 and are now found all over the globe, creating some of the world’s most impressive and iconic structures. Thousands of projects later, it has become one of the largest architectural firms in the world, receiving accolades in 50 countries for high-end structural giants. Although not based in San Diego, the firm continues to have a major impact on San Diego’s architectural world through its innovative designs.

Featured Projects

Skidmore, Owings & Merrill designed the Manchester Grand Hyatt Hotel overlooking the beautiful waters off the San Diego coast on Marina’s waterfront. The impressive structure is composed of two interconnected towers, the 40-story Harbor Tower built in 1992 and the 33-story Seaport Tower added in 2003. A four-story structure with a rooftop pool connects the two towers. The 40th and the top floor is famously known as the “Top of the Hyatt,” housing an upscale bar with panoramic views of San Diego, Coronado Island, and stretching as far as the eye can see into Mexico. The firm is also responsible for another jewel in the San Diego skyline – The Symphony Towers – a 1.2M-square-foot two-tower hotel and office complex situated in the historic Financial District. The towers make up the second tallest building in San Diego standing at 499 feet, only one foot shy of the maximum allowed height.

Best Custom Home Builders & Design-Build Firms in San Diego

Overview

San Diego has become one of the nation’s most desirable places to live. It offers year-round sunshine, a relaxed but economically and socially progressive atmosphere, great scenery, beautiful neighborhoods, and an abundance of professional opportunities. It follows that the city should have some of the world’s best design-build firms working to meet the high demand of luxury home building. From the city of San Diego to La Jolla, Del Mar, and Rancho Santa Fe, this list includes designer/builders who have worked on some of San Diego’s most beautiful and expensive homes in both the coastal and inland communities. Included are design-build firms and custom home builders that have won numerous awards from some of the most prestigious associations in the practice.

 

Top Home Builders & Design-Build Firms

 

Charco Design and Build

Principals:
Armando Flores

Address:
2136 Kettner Boulevard, San Diego, CA 92101

About Charco Design & Build, Inc.

Charco Design & Build is an award-winning design-build firm founded by Armando Flores, after his 20 years of experience in the design and construction industry. Following his studies in architectural drafting and interior design, the San Diego native began his career at a prestigious Los Angeles design firm. He then moved back to San Diego to start his own company. He quickly became recognized for his talents, and his work has since been featured in numerous magazines and a television show. One of his kitchens is featured weekly on the local cooking show Sam the Cooking Guy. Flores’s philosophy is to capture and create the home of his client’s dreams, “despite the challenges of space, architecture, and budget.” Among his awards and accolades, he was featured in Luxe and San Diego’s Home and Garden Magazine. The Modern Luxury December 2016 issue named Armando Flores one of the influential insiders of San Diego, and he was an HGTV Faces of Design 2016 finalist.

Featured Projects

Accentuated by a live, succulent wall and generous use of glass, Charco Design and Build’s work on a multilevel La Jolla home was featured in the February 2017 issue of Ranch & Coast Magazine. The palatial, six-bedroom residence includes a beautiful state of the art design, floor-to-ceiling sliding glass doors that open to the stunning outdoor space, a freestanding soaking tub in the shower, a gorgeous fireplace, an LED enhanced fire pit, sauna, full outdoor kitchen, a cascading infinity pool and a spa surrounded by a vast, green manicured lawn.


Chaun Miller Design and Construction

Principals:
Chaun Miller

Address:
13716 Ruette Le Parc, Unit C, Del Mar, CA 92014

About Chaun Miller Design and Construction

Chaun Miller is a third-generation general contractor who stands behind the quality of his work. He takes charge of his namesake construction firm in offering full-service design-build services. The firm takes projects from concept to completion and prides itself on the seamless system that makes the designing and building process as enjoyable as possible for their clients. The firm is dedicated not only to excellence in its work, but also to its impact on the environment. With an emphasis on sustainability, and environmentally friendly construction methods and materials, they have joined the important movement of incorporating green building principles and practices into their design work for the past decade — an effort that has made their work more valuable over time.

Featured Projects

Among the firm’s portfolio of homes is a Mid-century modern minimalist design with a large kitchen island that is a focal point in the open floor plan. The home features wood cabinetry and walls in the kitchen and along the stairwell, which add warmth to the space. A beautiful winding stairwell with a simple black rail spiral up to the second floor, and the many clean lines and natural tones offer elegance with ease.


Daley Custom Homes

Principals:
Jeff Daley

Address:
2683 Via de La Valle, Del Mar, California, CA 92014

About Daley Custom Homes

Under the leadership of Jeff Daley, a fifth-generation San Diegan raised in the construction industry, Daley Custom Homes offers a full-service luxury home building development and construction services to the San Diego area since 1928. He personally oversees each of their projects to ensure that his clients’ needs are met every step of the way. With the utmost attention to detail, Jeff Daley’s firm has successfully completed projects for happy clients of custom homes and large scale renovations, as well as celebrity estates. They place great value on exceptional craftsmanship with the highest level of design and customization in each home they build.

Featured Projects

Majestic views, a bright and airy living area with oversized windows, and sliding glass doors that fold away creating an indoor-outdoor living area are just two of the many exciting features of a Daley Custom Homes La Jolla creation. The home includes a neutral and crisp color palette, a beautiful master bedroom with a fireplace, and french doors that open into the courtyard. It also has a pool that has cascading water fountains.


Eco Minded Solutions

Principals:
Josh Rosenthal
Barry Thau
and David Milton

Address:
9466 Black Mountain Road #210, San Diego, CA 92126

About Eco Minded Solutions

Eco Minded Solutions, led by the creative genius of Josh Rosenthal, Barry Thau, and David Milton, is an award-winning design-build firm known for environmental sustainability, innovation, and creative vision, balanced with practicality in their designs. They strive to create spaces that are not only aesthetically pleasing to the eye and functional, but also environmentally safe. The firm is keenly aware and conscious of the impact their work will make on future generations, and they have been praised for the high quality of their design and build services that are changing the profession’s landscape. 

They have been featured in media outlets ranging from broadcast news KUSI to print publications such as San Diego Home & Garden Magazine, Del Mar Magazine, and Coastal Living Lifestyle Magazine.

Featured Projects

Eco Minded Solutions is responsible for the design and construction of a stunning home in La Jolla with an abundance of comfort and luxury. The home features impressive views of its beautiful locale and showcases the usable space with a vast open floor plan, a neutral color palette, a unique transitional design, and a spacious view deck that adds the wow factor to this beautiful home.


Flagg Custom Homes

Principals:
John O’Brien
Mark Blore

Awards:
Best of Houzz-Design 6 years straight,
Pacific Coast Builders Conference Gold Merit Award

Address:
1014 Ninth Street, Coronado, CA 92118

About Flagg Coastal Homes

Flagg Coastal Homes is one of the leading custom home builders in the new California-coastal style found in San Diego and the surrounding areas. John O’Brien founded the firm in response to the high demand for upscale, nautically themed homes in the beautiful resort town of Coronado in San Diego county. 

With more than 40 beautiful homes designed and built, the firm is known for its unwavering commitment to outstanding quality and meticulous attention to detail during the design process. They have successfully designed and built award-winning homes, including a spectacular Bayview home overlooking the San Diego Bay.

Featured Projects

One of their creations, at 927 First Street, is a beautiful five-bedroom, four-and-a-half bathroom home with panoramic views of the San Diego Bay. The spectacular design with picturesque perfection is adjacent to the Coronado Ferry Landing, as well as Boney’s Bayside Market. The home includes a guest house and was offered for sale for over $6M. A second design, “The Coastal Living Showhouse” in San Diego, was Flagg’s signature project for 2014. Built on the beautiful Coronado Island at Sunset Park, the house had over 5,000 visitors when it was open during a 10-week summer tour that raised over $100K for its nonprofit beneficiary, the Navy SEAL Foundation. The exquisite home takes every detail into account and includes french doors, crown molding, vaulted ceilings on the second floor, and large windows that blast the light in from the outside. A beautiful wraparound deck is perfect for enjoying the summer breeze and breathtaking views that are among the finest San Diego living has to offer. 


GDC Construction Inc.

Principals:
Pancho Dewhurst

Awards:
La Jolla Village News Best Contractor

Address:
1031 Silverado St., La Jolla, CA 92037

About GDC Construction, Inc.

GDC Construction has been building homes in San Diego for four generations. Led by Pancho Dewhurst, the firm provides full-service design and build firm handling the building process from pre-construction, design, and construction to post-construction. GDC operates with the four foundations of openness and transparency, financial clarity, working with the best, and offering a creative edge. 

The firm’s arsenal of awards and accolades include being the Best Contractor by La Jolla Village News two years in a row. It has also been featured in San Diego Home and Garden Magazine. 

Featured Projects

GDC Construction took on the challenge of building a modern luxury home to replace an aging, ranch-style structure in great need of revitalization. To rebuild the home, the firm began with demolishing 90 percent of the existing property. It maximized every inch of the land by adding a pool and a tennis court and incorporating original, custom woodworking to retain the feel of the old accented by the beauty of the new. The home includes stunning design features like rich wood floors, a gourmet outdoor kitchen, state-of-the-art technology, and much more. 


Jackson Design and Remodeling

Principals:
Todd Jackson

Awards:
ASID Awards,
Master Design Awards,
Better Business Bureau Torch Award For Marketplace Ethics

Address:
4797 Mercury Street, San Diego, CA 92111

About Jackson Design & Remodeling

Jackson Design & Remodeling has been designing and building their clients’ dream homes in the San Diego area for almost 30 years. Led by Todd Jackson, the firm’s President and CEO, operates with keen attention to detail and the ability to make even the wildest of their client’s dreams come true. These values helped the firm garnered numerous awards including 20 awards from ASID, over a dozen Master Design Awards, and multiple other awards. 

The firm also offers the Jackson Design & Remodeling showroom for their clients to visit for endless amounts of inspiration and a behind-the-scenes look at how they perform their magic. 

Featured Projects

The Jackson Design & Remodeling team was faced with the exciting challenge of creating an ultra-modern loft to fulfill their client’s love of city living coupled with a fun urban design. The answer was a chic, award-winning, two-story stunner with a flawless open floor plan, high ceilings, and countless windows flooding the home with natural light. The modern, minimalist design paired with high-end fixtures and perfect attention to detail strike just the right balance between understated sophistication and unexpected pizzazz. 


K-CO Construction Inc.

Principals:
Dave K Konstantin

Address:
3670 Clairemont Drive, San Diego, CA 92117

About K-CO Construction Inc.

K-CO Construction is an award-winning, family-owned general contractor specializing in design-build services for custom homes and residential remodeling projects. The firm has built homeowner’s dreams in the greater San Diego community since 1995, but the team understands that in construction, sometimes things do not go as planned. They resolve problems by ensuring constant and open communication between all parties involved in the process. With this practice in mind, K-Co Construction has completed thousands of complicated projects successfully. 

Ethical business practices being a top priority, the firm is proud to be chosen by the Better Business Bureau as a finalist for the Torch Award for excellence in marketplace ethics.

Featured Projects

K-Co Construction was presented with a logistical challenge when it came across a family that wanted to demolish a cottage one-and-a-half blocks from the ocean and build their dream home of a two-story villa with a guest apartment atop a detached garage. Despite the challenges, K-Co successfully followed Coastal Commission requirements of leaving 50 percent of the existing walls in place and built the entire second floor and guest quarters exactly as their client had imagined.


McCullough Design Development

Principals:
Lori McCullough

Address:
10531 4S Commons Drive, Suite 700, San Diego, CA 92127

About McCullough Design Development

Founded by lead designer, Monty McCullough, who holds over three decades of experience in the architectural field, McCullough Design Development has established itself as one of San Diego’s finest luxury custom estate builders.

Priding itself on authenticity in design and uniquely unifying drafting services, planning and engineering departments, cost schedules, budgeting, and construction management under one roof has allowed the firm to successfully build over 200 homes in the greater San Diego area. McCullough’s highly-skilled team dedicates the utmost attention and care to each project providing ease and understanding to the client through every step of the design-build process.

For the firm, each project receives the utmost level of care and attention, given the client’s specific requests and requirements, their home site and layout, location, and budget. With the firm’s professionalism and love of design and construction, they have successfully designed and built over 150 custom homes in the greater San Diego area. 

Featured Projects

The Modern Farmhouse featured in the photo is one of the firm’s most recent accomplishments in custom estates. The 4,675 square foot homestead showcases the incomparable quality of craftsmanship and attention to detail that McCullough implements into every home. The great room, which consists of the living room, dining area, and kitchen, is a signature feature for the firm. This open layout design seamlessly blends into an expansive outdoor veranda, perfectly translating the Southern California dream of indoor-outdoor recreation into a reality. Located in Del Mar Mesa is a brand new single-level estate called West Rim, which demonstrates the fusion of traditional and contemporary elements evoking a sense of community and togetherness while maintaining its modern, transitional feel.

 


Murray Lampert Design, Build, Remodel

Address:
2878 Camino Del Rio South, Suite 160 San Diego, CA 92108

About Murray Lampert Design, Build, Remodel

Established in 1975, Murray Lampert is a design-build and remodeling company serving the San Diego community. The firm has been providing top quality service for four generations, and it shows in the firm’s work. President and CEO Gregg Cantor began working in the industry in 1977 and built a longstanding reputation in the local community for integrity. Gregg’s daughter Rachel Cantor joined the firm in 2014, after obtaining her degree in architecture from Miami of Ohio.

Featured Projects

Murray Lampert has a strong portfolio of remodeled and custom homes in varying styles. The Coronado whole remodel in the photo is a testament to the firm’s great eye for function and design. The firm filled the home with custom details in the hard surfaces, cabinetry, stonework, and masonry that reflect the owner’s profession as a retired Navy Captain.

The company is very proud of its creative architect Micah Winkelstein, Senior interior Designer Rachel Bancroft and the design team.


Nicholls Design Build

Address:
1022 C Ave., Coronado, CA 92118

About Nicolls Design Build

Coronado-based Nicolls Design Build is a much-adored local business offering commercial and residential works all over the area. The firm’s reputation was centered around its premium-quality service and cost-effective construction solutions. Kraig Nicolls, company president, puts a great emphasis on workmanship and customer satisfaction. He has led the team in completing multiple projects from modest residential projects to commercial establishments and restaurants. The firm is capable of remodeling and ground-up construction alike.

Featured Projects

The firm’s dedication to craftsmanship is evident in its portfolio. The project displayed in the photo is a humble California Spanish Colonial-style home. The home is straightforward yet elegant, as achieved with a neutral palette and classic detailing. 


Smith Brothers

Principals:
Jeff Smith

Address:
444 S Cedros Avenue, Solana Beach, CA 92075

About Smith Brothers

Since 1978, Smith Brothers has provided award-winning design, architecture, and construction throughout San Diego County. The firm specializes in building custom homes, from inception to completion. Under the leadership of Jeff Smith, over the years they have developed a leading business for the purpose of intermingling exceptional design and construction for the benefit of their customers. Their ultimate goal is to make every project come to life through a collaborative and transparent process that respects all involved. This philosophy allows their loyal clients to make informed and beautiful decisions that will enrich their homes and their lives for many years to come.

Featured Projects

Inspired by a modern allure with a touch of traditional warmth, the Smith Brother’s design of a two-story residence feels like a minimalist’s haven. The home opens with large glass doors into an interior flooded with sunlight, and natural tones that bring the outdoors in. Just outside the large windows on the ground floor is a stunning outdoor living area, complete with a fireplace, a pool, and a large outdoor seating area that’s sure to wow and entertain.

Smith Brothers also paid homage to the designs of Frank Lloyd Wright with their zen-inspired Craftsman Contemporary. It is a true gem in the Del Mar area of San Diego. The features are carefully chosen to beckon to an earlier time while offering many modern luxuries. The entry features a Zen garden feel, complete with a bridge leading to the large front doors. The interior is rich with wood details, and there is a multi-level pool in the entertainer’s backyard.

The Best Restaurant Architects in San Diego

Overview

When you have the perfect weather and gorgeous scenery, it calls for the next essential link — delicious food in a dynamic dining experience. With the best tacos, seafood, burgers, chicken wings, kid-friendly restaurants, craft breweries, and much much more, San Diego offers its residents and visitors some of the most mouthwatering food in the world and, as can be expected, is home to some of the best restaurants and restaurant architects in the business. This list includes restaurant architects and designers who have created interiors that ignite not only our appetites but our imaginations. They have created platforms where the ordinary act of refueling the machine can transform into a magnificent and memorable dining experience.

 

Top Architects

 

Awbrey Cook Rogers McGill Architects + Interiors

Architects:
Tom Awbrey
Clifford Cook
Dennis Rogers
Scot McGill

Address:
1045 14th Street, Suite 100, San Diego, CA 92101

About Awbrey Cook Rogers McGill Architects + Interiors

Founded in 2002, Awbrey Cook Rogers McGill Architects + Interiors is a San Diego-based architectural and interior design firm that recognizes a great restaurant is not just about the food but the overall dining experience. The firm is recognized for its ability to make the thoughtful transformation of spaces into elegant and unique properties that will offer value to their clients as patrons make lasting memories in the spaces they create. Their mission is to strive for design excellence and provide exceptional client service. Taking their clients from the beginning stages of design to the completed project, ACRM Architects + Interiors provides the best quality of service at every stage of the design process.

Featured Projects

One of ACRM Architects + Interiors’ designs is for D-Bar restaurant, a concept created by Food Network’s celebrity chef Keegan Gerhard. The dessert-oriented dining space includes high ceilings, exposed masonry walls and woodwork, and large glass doors that open up the space to enjoy indoor-outdoor dining and take in the San Diego sunshine. Located in the Hillcrest community of San Diego, the 4,500-square-foot space also features a sidewalk café, oversized skylights, polished concrete floors, and field-constructed cable and wood trusses that give the space an industrial and modern feel. ACRM also designed the 12-story Pendry Hotel including its restaurant centerpiece, Lionfish Modern Coastal Cuisine. With two levels, the height of the ceiling opens up space. The wood, copper, and brass elements come together to make it feel warm and welcoming.


BASILE Studio

Architects:
Paul Basile

Awards:
SDAF Orchids Award,
AIA Awards

Address:
840 11th Avenue, San Diego, CA 92101

About BASILE Studio

Paul Basile has been designing beautiful restaurant spaces for the past two decades and draws his inspiration from big markets like New York, San Francisco, and Los Angeles. His is one of the most recognized and prolific names in Southern California design. In San Diego, he is responsible for some of the city’s finest restaurants, with the most unique designs that are true works of art. He is frequently referred to as the “brick and mortar guru” of San Diego. BASILE Studio has been featured in many publications, including the San Diego Union-Tribune, Architectural Digest, and Curbed. The studio has also received wide-ranging critical acclaim and multiple awards for interior design, transformative design, adaptive reuse, sustainability and divine details, from organizations such as the American Institute of Architects and San Diego Architectural Foundation.

Featured Projects

After designing the multi-awarded high-end steakhouse, Born and Raised, Paul Basile enthusiastically tackled the next project of hospitality group CH Projects. Morning Glory is a new stunner in Little Italy that serves brunch against a backdrop of exquisite details. An electric pink starburst structure welcomes customers into the front room and opens them up into a more sophisticated version of a diner. Wrapped in gleaming shingles of polished copper, the second-level space has a set of 24 articulated windows that moves and undulates throughout the day and a floor of custom pink and black terrazzo. The main dining room features a luxurious open kitchen in 80s pink and green and a backlit, hand-etched mirrored ceiling. Eater San Diego gave the restaurant the Design of the Year Award in 2019. The firm is also the team behind the 2018 Design of the Year Award winner — Raised by Wolves. This boutique bottle shop and hidden cocktail bar in the Westfield UTC shopping mall in San Diego take patrons to Paris and London in the early 1900s with its opulence and elegance. Stained-glass, brass wolf heads, vintage street lanterns, and hand-painted French country murals fill the space. A library cocktail lounge sits under a massive stained-glass gazebo structure with LED lighting mimicking sunrise to sunset. The centerpiece is the 22-foot round African Gold marble bar surrounded by claw and ball bar stools imported from London.


Hawkins + Hawkins Architects Inc.

Architects:
J David Hawkins
Steven Hawkins

Awards:
Golden Nugget Awards,
SDAF Orchids Award

Address:
726 9th Avenue, Suite 1, San Diego, CA 92101

About H2 Hawkins + Hawkins Architects, Inc.

H2 Hawkins + Hawkins Architects, Inc. is a successful client-focused San Diego architectural firm rooted in integrity, collaboration, and high quality design. It was founded by brothers David and Steven Hawkins, with over 30 years of experience between them. Led by LEED accredited project teams, the firm’s work focuses on transforming buildings into healthy, prosperous environments through the use of sustainable techniques, technology, and materials. H2 has received numerous design awards, including the 2014 San Diego Orchid and the 2014 Builder’s Choice/Custom Home Magazine Grand Award, nine Gold Nugget awards of Merit, and two Grand Gold Nugget Awards for outstanding design from the Pacific Coast Builders Conference. It has been featured in Sun Coast Architects & Builders Magazine, Best of American Remodeling Magazine, The Moscow Architectural Journal, the San Diego Union Tribune, the Los Angeles Times, and the San Diego Daily Transcript.

Featured Projects

The unique Caffe Pan Bon in the Little Italy district of San Diego is one of H2 Hawkins + Hawkins’ chic and modern restaurant designs. It is a 10.4k-square-foot space that features a dramatic main dining room, a two-story space with a 4,000-square-foot modern mezzanine, and a beautiful balcony lounge area. H2’s main goal with this space was to integrate the aesthetic and design concepts of Cierreesse Arredamenti from Italy into the restaurant’s overall feel, which they did while also creating a one-of-a-kind dining experience. Another of H2’s restaurant designs is the equally exquisite Olive & Rose in San Diego, with an edgy but welcoming interior. Space features a large wood beam accent spanning the length of the restaurant, offering both function and form. It is warmed by red brick walls. Tall ceilings are decorated with exposed piping, and large windows allow beautiful natural light to accentuate the restaurant’s earthy but industrial atmosphere.


Hauck Architecture

Architects:
T. Dustin Hauck

Address:
4888 Ronson Court, Suite F, San Diego, CA 92111

About Hauck Architecture

Hauck Architecture is a San Diego based, full-service architecture and interior design firm specializing in custom residential, hospitality, and craft beer projects. The firm is led by T. Dustin Hauck, who has over 20 years of architectural practice experience and takes pride in delivering an exceptional design to exceed his clients’ expectations. As principal of the firm, he takes responsibility and serves as the driving force behind anything the firm undertakes. And under his leadership, since 1996, the firm has been changing the restaurant design industry by offering their clients their Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) accredited and Green Building Professional-certified services. The firm is committed to pinpointing each and every green or sustainable design solution available to them that will increase efficiency and decrease their environmental impact. 

Featured Projects

One of the firm’s designs is the Sublime Alehouse, which features wood accents, exposed piping, and a pristine, white bar that wraps around the central serving station and contrasts with the otherwise rustic beauty of the space. The alehouse also features three large garage doors that open to expand the space and add an element of edgy, industrial beauty to the restaurant. The firm is also responsible for the design of the Elbowroom in San Diego — a restaurant and bar featuring warm brick wall and quintessential pub decor, with the unexpected touch of large crystal chandeliers that adorn the space with light and delicate grace. The mood lighting and a fire pit in the outdoor area have successfully helped the Elbowroom become a popular hangout in San Diego’s Kearny Mesa.


Lahaina Architects

Architects:
Philip Cudaback

Awards:
SDAF Orchids Award

Address:
3268 Governor Drive #141, San Diego, CA 92122

About Lahaina Architects

Lahaina Architects is a San Diego-based architectural firm established in 2007 by architect Philip Cudaback. The firm operates with the philosophy of providing creative designs in a relaxed but professional atmosphere. They are a group of passionate architects with over 30 years of combined experience, who strive to create beautiful designs while taking cost-efficient and forward-thinking measures that exceed their clients’ expectations. They have worked with a long list of clients that include local restaurant operators, local and national retailers, real estate investors, property owners, large corporations, developers, and public agencies. The team at Lahaina Architects has worked on a vast variety of projects and is licensed to practice in California, Colorado, and Nebraska.

Featured Projects

One of Lahaina Architects’ designs was for the transformation of The Hotel Del Coronado’s Babcock and Story Bar and surrounding rooms, a 10,000 square foot head to toe renovation of this space revitalizes the existing interior and overall functionality while celebrating the history of the building surrounding it. The striking transformation and beautiful design perfectly blend interior and exterior programs through large bifold door systems. Great care was taken in the mindful selection of finishes to celebrate the historic elements of the bar with a modern flair and pops of color.

In another great example of Lahaina’s endeavors to take full advantage of San Diego’s enviable weather, we find Bay Hill Tavern on a Clairemont Drive hill. Sea breezes pass through easily from the open roll-up windows and doors at the front and rear of the building and tucked away from the busy street noise we’ll find the corner patio, with tall trees shading patrons in the late afternoon as they enjoy the views of the De Anza Cove below. Innovative beer cooler lines run under the dining room floor, from the keg cooler addition to the bar taps, ensuring craft beers remain chilled for every pour and happy patrons all around.

Lahaina Architects also did the architectural work for one of San Diego’s most Instagrammable spots — Holy Matcha. The 1,200-square-foot cafe is the first concept of its kind in San Diego—it’s solely dedicated to the chic superfood. The soft pink signature color starts in the façade and continues into the bright interior. Tropical greens are tastefully complimented by brass fixtures, quartz countertops, a velvet banquette, Parisian-style bistro seating, and a custom neon sign.


Larson Design Services

Architects:
Denise Larson

Address:
3940 Hortensia Street, San Diego, CA 92110

About Larson Design Services

Denise Larson leads Larson Design Services with a strong love for architecture and dedication to making the old new again. She established her own firm in 2014 after earning a Master’s Degree in Architecture, a Bachelor’s Degree in Business Marketing, and an Associate’s Degree in Architecture. This young firm has already worked on a large number of projects ranging from restaurants and bars to historic homes in areas including Hillcrest, Mission Hills, Old Town, Del Mar, and Ocean Beach, among others. The firm provides a complete range of services, including feasibility studies, programming and space planning, and architectural design services, among many others.

Featured Projects

One of Lahaina Architects’ designs was for the transformation of The Hotel Del Coronado’s Babcock and Story Bar and surrounding rooms, a 10,000 square foot head to toe renovation of this space revitalizes the existing interior and overall functionality, while celebrating the history of the building surrounding it. The striking transformation and beautiful design perfectly blends interior and exterior programs through large bifold door systems. Great care was taken in the mindful selection of finishes to celebrate the historic elements of the bar with a modern flare and pops of color.

In another great example of Lahaina’s endeavors to take full advantage of San Diego’s enviable weather we find Bay Hill Tavern on a Clairemont Drive hill. Sea breezes pass through easily from the open roll up windows and doors at the front and rear of the building and tucked away from the busy street noise we’ll find the corner patio, with tall trees shading patrons in the late afternoon as they enjoy the views of the De Anza Cove below. Innovative beer cooler lines run under the dining room floor, from the keg cooler addition to the bar taps, ensuring craft beers remain chilled for every pour and happy patrons all around.

Lahaina Architects also did the architectural work for one of San Diego’s most Instagrammable spots — Holy Matcha. The 1,200-square-foot cafe is the first concept of its kind in San Diego—it’s solely dedicated to the chic superfood. The soft pink signature color starts in the façade and continues into the bright interior. Tropical greens are tastefully complemented by brass fixtures, quartz countertops, a velvet banquette, Parisian-style bistro seating, and a custom neon sign.


OBR Architecture

Architects:
Garric Oliver
Christopher Bittner
Anney Rosenthal-Hall

Address:
3817 Ray Street, San Diego, CA 92104

About OBR Architecture

Established in 2008, OBR Architecture was born from the desire to create lasting and meaningful relationships with their clients, projects, and the environment. As a small firm, they are dedicated to not only meeting but exceeding their client’s expectations. With the partners’ wide array of experience, the firm has the ability to take on a variety of project sizes and types and can adjust quickly to changes in programs, budgets, or designs. Over the years, they have developed an exceptional collaborative and artistic approach to every project, and their goal is to inspire their clients in achieving the clients’ dream designs.

Featured Projects

Of their impressive list of restaurant designs, Saiko Sushi and its oversized round chandelier stand out. The design incorporates traditional Japanese themes — red, brown, and black colors — into a modern concrete and wooden world. There is a linear visual draw and a minimalist appeal that both fascinates and entertains the viewer. But at its core, it is a fun, modern sushi bar that focuses on drawing attention back to the sushi chefs, in order to bring the focus back to what’s most important here — the food! The firm also worked on the design for Bottlecraft Little Italy in a new mixed-use development in the Little Italy area of San Diego. There is a ColdBox and tasting mezzanine at the center of the space. A floor-to-ceiling palette wall allows glimpses of patrons heading to and from the mezzanine, and a baltic, birch bar-top wraps around the ColdBox, while sectional roll-up doors add the perfect accents to the front facade.


OCIO designgroup

Address:
1717 5th Ave., San Diego, CA 92101

About OCIO designgroup

OCIO designgroup is a San Diego-based design firm located in the heart of Bankers Hill. Ocio’s approach to hospitality projects is to understand their Client’s target market and the type of environment they seek. Ocio then translates those insights into actual venues from concept through design to create an enhanced dining experience through the visual aesthetic and spatial flow. OCIO designgroup has worked on multiple projects for local hospitality enterprises like RMD Group, Crab Hut Group, and Giuseppe Group, to national and global names like the Hakkasan Group and Clique Hospitality. Projects include Volcano Rabbit, F6, 5th & J, Crab Hut MiraMesa, Candor, Caroline’s by the Sea, and Herringbone Waikiki. Coming in 2021, look for Ocio-designed Kingfisher in Golden Hill and the Rancho Santa Fe Golf Club restaurant and bar.

Featured Projects

OCIO designgroup has worked on multiple projects for a notable hospitality group, RMD Group. One of their projects is Volcano Rabbit in the Gaslamp District. The restaurant and lounge boast downtown’s largest tequila selection and chic Mexican cuisine within a gorgeous cosmopolitan space. Space is a revamp from a previous restaurant and pays homage to the traditional Mexican hacienda with an added touch of elegance and whimsical flair. In La Jolla, chef and caterer Giuseppe Ciuffa returned to the location of his first restaurant and remodeled it with OCIO designgroup to open Candor, an “honest and straightforward culinary approach” inspired by his upbringing on his family’s farm in Italy. The restaurant features bistro seating both inside the building and in an enclosed patio, as well as a separate wine bar. The space is warm and contemporary with its wood-look floor tile and crisp white walls. High ceilings and exposed beams above perfectly contrast with Classic Carrara marble countertops and bright teal stools at the bar.


Orness Design Group

Architects:
George Orness
Ken Relethford

Awards:
Greenbuild Editor’s Choice Honors

Address:
5955 Mira Mesa Boulevard, Suite H, San Diego, CA 92121

About Orness Design Group

The formation of Orness Design Group in 2005 by George Orness and Ken Relethford as a foodservice consulting and equipment company was born out of the founder’s desire to personally provide exceptional consulting and design services to their clients. With over 75 years of combined experience and talented staff that adds their brilliant and collaborative work to each project, Orness Design Group has become a premier design and contracting company in the San Diego area. For their efforts in keeping their work green, U.S. Builders Review recognized Orness Design Group as a Greenbuild Editor’s Choice 2016 Honoree.

Featured Projects

Among their many restaurant designs is the Cucina Enoteca, a two-story, 8,500-square-foot wine shop and Italian restaurant located in Del Mar’s Flower Hill Promenade. The restaurant has an exposed central kitchen surrounded by bar seating. Arguably the most distinctive feature is the use of lighting — horn chandeliers hang in the expansive space and bring in the wild and wonderful natural world. Also as a nod to the location’s proximity to the polo fields and the nearby thoroughbred club, an “ode to the equestrian” is installed with over 400 toy horses strung in a unique installation along the staircase leading to the second floor. With its modern interior and eclectic design, this Del Mar restaurant has become a hot spot for Italian food lovers in the San Diego area. The firm is also responsible for the kitchen design of Stone Brewing Company, with its warm brown brick and steel interior. There is a sense of timelessness and elegance in this design, and the soft lighting adds comfort and ease to space.


StudioAnderson

Architects:
Aaron Anderson

Awards:
K+BB Design Awards Merit Award,
AIA San Diego Citation and Young Architect of the Year Award,
AZ Chapter Design Excellence Award

Address:
1431 University Ave, San Diego, CA 92103

About StudioAnderson

StudioAnderson’s goal as a firm is to use architecture as a tool to design and create extraordinary spaces that are reflections of their client’s dreams and aspirations. Led by their principal, Aaron Anderson, a San Diego-based architect, StudioAnderson is dedicated to paying keen attention to the details of a project. Its use of materials — like intricately cut steel, contrasting woods, and stylized glass — are always innovative and a pleasant surprise to their clients. The firm’s thoughtful designs have been awarded the K+BB Design Awards Merit Award, the American Institute of Architects San Diego Citation and Young Architect of the Year Award, and the AZ Chapter Design Excellence Award.

Featured Projects

StudioAnderson’s restaurant projects include the Salt & Cleaver restaurant, which is a brilliant architectural design that incorporates wood, steel, brick, glass, and light into an amalgamation that’s visually exciting and modern. What resembles a suspended cage over the central bar feels industrial, the garage doors open the space with the indoor-outdoor appeal, and the use of warm brown brick juxtaposed against sleek wood and steel feels edgy but also surprisingly inviting and fresh. 

The concept for a colorful and playful space for the Un Mundo Mexican Grill is also one of the studio’s designs. One of its main features is a geometrically inspired ceiling with soft blue and white designs, and a wall featuring a beautiful logo that takes center stage. The minimalist but artistically inspired design is a blend of color and contrasts. A large window opens, allowing bar seating to enjoy the fresh outdoor air, making for a memorable dining experience. 


Tecture Inc.

Address:
2001 Main St. Suite A, San Diego, CA 92113

About Tecture Inc.

Founded by NewSchool of Architecture and Design alums David Michael, Kyle Preish, and Slade Fincher in 2012, Tecture is a young and progressive team of designers, artists, and builders. Even for a young firm, it has proven itself a force in the restaurant design industry, has garnered praise and awards from San Diego Magazine, Eater, Modern Luxury, and the San Diego Architectural Foundation (SDAF). It is the team behind seaside favorite George’s At The Cove and rooftop wonder Kettner Exchange. It has also worked on a variety of projects around San Diego, from contemporary residences to modern offices to forward-thinking installations and fabrications.

Featured Projects

Tecture assumed the dual roles of builder and architect for Nolita Hall in Little Italy. From an old warehouse turned retail/office space, the company gave the space its third life as a community beer hall managed by Black Swan Hospitality. Exposed original redwood framing and concrete walls give an industrial feel while natural light floods the space through huge quad-fold doors and a skylight that cascades into a counter-weighted window. Communal tables and booth seating reinforce the sense of community among guests as well as its fireplace lounge and recreational and game-viewing zone. The restaurant is included in the 2019 Michelin Guide. For its design, it earned a 2018 Orchid for Interior Design from the SDAF and Design of the Year (People’s Poll) from Eater San Diego. The company also built and designed the new home for Blue Water Seafood Market & Grill. Run by longtime fishermen and brothers Judd and Matt Braun with local hospitality group Social Syndicate, the 2,500-square-foot restaurant in Ocean Beach features large booths, communal tables, and an ocean-view patio.

The Best Office Architects in San Diego

Overview

With constantly evolving workplace trends, rising costs, technological advancement, and the sheer number of hours the average American spends at the office, San Diego’s top companies face myriad challenges when it comes to the design and planning of their workspace. This list includes talented architects who are experts at providing spaces that are mindful of their client’s multifaceted needs. In their designs, they have taken every detail into account to create ideal modern workspaces by incorporating the power of natural light, relaxation rooms, communal work areas. In sunny San Diego, the firms also bring the outdoors in and in some cases take the indoors out to suit the relaxed, but extremely driven SoCal workforce.

 

Top Architects

 

BNIM

Architects:
Kevin Nordmeyer

Awards:
AIA COTE Top Ten Green Project Awards,
AIA Iowa Medal of Honor

Address:
797 J Street, San Diego, CA 92101

About BNIM

Founded in 1970, interdisciplinary design firm BNIM has worked on transformational projects across the country. Its extraordinary work includes sustainable design and community redevelopment; urban planning and design; educational facilities; campus master planning; civic, state and federal government work; residential; and corporate office spaces. Its national presence is solidified by its constant and consistent delivery of design perfection, coupled with sustainability and responsibility to time and place. BNIM’s design is human purposed, focusing on the health, well-being, equity, and resiliency of the communities they serve through design. At BNIM they say, “We deliver beautiful, integrated, living environments that inspire change and enhance the human condition.” They have received countless awards including 11 AIA/COTE Top Ten Green Project Awards and the 2011 National Architecture Firm Award. BNIM was included among ARCHITECT 50’s top firm rankings as No.1 in sustainability, No. 2 in design, and No. 2 overall by Architect Magazine in 2019.

Featured Projects

BNIM was enlisted to design two blocks of the Makers Quarter development in downtown San Diego. Block C, the linchpin of the comprehensive masterplan, is composed of a 29-story tower that provides 700,000 SF of creative office space atop 48,800 SF of ground-level retail space, including the historically significant Coliseum. For Block D, the firm designed a 6-story collaborative office hub in the heart of the development. Targeting LEED Platinum + Net Zero, highly flexible office suites creates natural ventilation through the use of motorized windows and garage doors on each level. A high-performance façade employs two active shading systems that enhance daylight and provide flexibility to operate preferences within individual tenant spaces. Block D earned a Green Good Design Award from the Chicago Athenaeum, a Merit Award from the San Diego Green Building Council, and a Citation Award from the AIA San Diego.


CarrierJohnson + Culture

Architects:
Gordon Carrier
Michael Johnson

Awards:
Golden Nugget Awards,
Multi-Housing News Gold Excellence Award

Address:
1301 Third Avenue, San Diego, CA 92101

About CarrierJohnson + Culture

The award-winning design studio CarrierJohnson + Culture (CJ+C) has been distinguished as one of the most influential architectural firms in San Diego, with a wide variety of projects completed throughout the city. CJ+C is where they say they are exploring culture and crafting experience. The firm approaches architecture by striking a perfect balance between building and environmental context, exposing the vital connections between the social, physical, historical, and aesthetics. They believe in authenticity; they practice inspiring design through their work. The firm’s goal with each design is to translate visions into reality. CJ+C was awarded two Golden Nugget Awards in 2016 and a Gold in Best New Development for Student Housing at the 2014 Multi-Housing News Excellence Awards.

Featured Projects

CarrierJohnson + Culture (CJ+C) worked on the design of the NBC 7 studio offices in San Diego. They were involved with the programming, space planning, and architectural renovation of the two-story, 52k-square-foot space. The LEED Silver-certified building’s design includes a modern exterior and interior that is a perfect reflection of San Diego’s current workspace architectural design. The space is complete with communal work areas that allow employees easy communication and collaboration, a modern open kitchen and dining area, and ample sunlight pouring in from endless large windows throughout the building. Another LEED Certified project from CJ+C is the North America Corporate Headquarters of Sony Electronics. The 450,000-square-foot facility is the response to Sony’s desire for a collaborative, adaptable, and inspiring environment to help attract and retain great talent. The final structure features 40,000-square-foot floor plates and an impressive top floor featuring multiple eateries and great views. The 11-story high rise office tower also includes a fitness center, conference center, and a six-level garage structure with 1,500 parking spaces.


Delawie

Architects:
Andrew Rodrigues
Paul Schroeder
Frank Ternasky
Mike Asaro
Greg McClure

Awards:
San Diego Architectural Foundation Orchid Award 2020
ENR “Best of the Best” 2020

Address:
1515 Morena Boulevard, San Diego, CA 92110

About Delawie

Architectural firm Delawie operates on a mission to build partnerships with their clients and the community through experience, creativity, and integrity. Since 1961, it has made a lasting impact on Southern California’s architecture and built environments. The firm’s five Principals, M. Andrew Rodrigues, Paul Schroeder, Frank Ternasky, Michael Asaro, and Greg McClure, mentor over 50 design professionals. They are responsible for designs that complement skylines, enhance learning environments, transform and better communities, create mindful corporate identities, and advance the functionality of civic and government facilities. They are recipients of a long list of awards including San Diego Architectural Foundation’s 2020 Orchid Award for Architecture and ENR National’s Best Project Award for 2020.

Featured Projects

The design for J Street Hospitality’s new office in San Diego’s East Village has extremely high visibility due to its popular neighbor, Petco Park. From the materials to the amenities, the design perfectly caters to the savvy and young professionals working for the lifestyle-focused hotel developer. The entrance is a nod to the speakeasy as it is located behind a large, enhanced wall that acts as a hidden entry door. 30-foot ceilings welcome guests and employees along with exposed mechanical equipment, glass-fronted offices, and a shared communal space. The new mezzanine is suspended above both the open office area and the deli, which looks out onto 7th Avenue and Petco Park through the building’s large, historic windows.

Another of Delawie’s impressive large-scale projects consolidated two adjacent facilities housing multiple Oracle business units into one of the existing buildings. The renovated space has a vibrant and contemporary aesthetic and includes open and private office areas, conferencing centers, and laboratory spaces.


Gensler

Architects:
Art Gensler
J. Kevin Heinly
Scott Peterson

Awards:
ENR #1 Green Building Design Firm in Commercial Offices,
Building Design + Construction Giants #1 Office Sector Architecture Firm

Address:
225 Broadway #100, San Diego, CA 92101

About Gensler

Gensler is a world leader in the field of architecture and design. It operates out of 46 cities in 16 countries. Among their 3,500 clients are 40 Fortune 500 companies, the top 10 technology companies in the US, and nine commercial banks. In 2015, for the fifth year in a row, Gensler generated $1.18B in revenue, the most for any architecture firm based in the United States. The firm was founded in 1965 by Art and Drue Gensler and their associate, James Follett. Initially focusing on corporate interiors, they have since expanded to include a vast array of architecture and design firms, such as airports, entertainment complexes, commercial office buildings, and retail centers, just to name a few. Gensler believes in leveraging the power of design to create a better world for all. They say, “For us, the design is the means. The starting points are goals, strategies, and expectations, but it transcends them to create a new and better reality. Design is transformative.”

Featured Projects

Goodwin Procter’s new San Diego office was designed by Gensler to use rich, dark materials accented by polished white marble, custom millwork, and gorgeous accessories. An unexpected and whimsical turn came when they incorporated a floor-to-ceiling photo image of a well-stocked law library on one of the walls. It serves as a true testament to today’s technological advances which have made the idea of a law library almost completely obsolete. Gensler was also enlisted to create a top-of-market, high-end office space in San Diego’s Del Mar Heights, called Township 14. The goal was to replace an obsolete property with a clean, contemporary design of workspaces that would appeal to professional and financial services firms striving to create a strong local presence and foster global operations. Township 14 is a 125k-square-foot, two-building project, located in a prestigious office submarket with freeway exposure that allows its tenants to use location coupled with a great design to achieve their goals.


I Hawkins + Hawkins Architects, Inc.

Architects:
J David Hawkins
Steven Hawkins

Awards:
Golden Nugget Awards,
SDAF Orchids Award

Address:
726 9th Avenue, Suite 1, San Diego, CA 92101

About H2 Hawkins + Hawkins Architects, Inc.

H2 I Hawkins + Hawkins Architects, Inc. is a San Diego-based firm with a strong sense of integrity, an emphasis on client collaboration, and the highest quality design. Founded by brothers David and Steven Hawkins, H2 brings over three decades of experience to its projects, where it builds creative solutions, maintains understanding and respect of the local environment, and strives to create environmentally responsible and sustainable designs. They are recipients of the San Diego Architectural Foundation’s Orchid Award, Professional Builder Magazine’s Best of American Remodels Merit Award, and many Pacific Coast Builders Conference Gold Nugget Awards, among others. They have been featured in publications such as The San Diego Union-Tribune, The Los Angeles Times, The San Diego Business Journal, and AIA San Diego.

Featured Projects

North Island Credit Union Corporate Headquarters is one of H2’s largest office projects. It is a 128k-square-foot, six-story building with LEED Silver certification. The building’s design uses stone, light glass, and the aluminum curtain wall. It embraces the “Island” theme and includes multiple balconies, a large community center, a health club, a café/lunchroom, a large training facility for employees, a corporate boardroom, and a quiet relaxation room featuring a Zen garden. The Rio Courtyard, an 85k-square-foot, four-story corporate office complex located adjacent to the San Diego River Walk in the Mission Valley area, is another H2 project. It provides Class A professional office space of up to 16k square feet per floor and was created with the ability to accommodate multiple tenants. It expresses the contrast between the “Padre Gold” stone massing and the solar green glazed curtain wall. An elegant two-story lobby enriched with wood panels and stone reflects the beauty of its natural locale and serves as a perfect transition space for the building.


HGW Architects

Architects:
Randy Hanna

Awards:
SDAF Orchids Award,
AIA Merit Award,
SDG&E Energy Efficiency Award

Address:
1955 Bacon Street, San Diego, CA 92107

About HGW Architects

Led by its founding principals Randy Hanna, Jim Gabriel, and Matthew Wells, HGW Architects is an architecture, site, and interior design studio with a focus on problem-solving while making beautiful and sustainable places. The firm describes their work as giving form to life’s activities with an emphasis on the value of the human experience. Their designs result in environmentally responsible and unique places that encourage collaboration, ignite idea development, and promote healthy living and a strong sense of a unified community. The firm views architecture as a unique opportunity to better the world and make a positive change with each project they undertake. They are the recipients of numerous awards, including the Orchid Awards, the AIA Merit Awards, and an Energy Efficiency Award.

Featured Projects

A former auto repair shop turned into beautiful, mindful, and sustainable office spaces, with the firm’s brilliant design of the Bacon Street Offices in Ocean Beach. The plan repurposed over 90 percent of the existing structure, including service bays revamped with large ground floor windows and new streetside landscaping to add functionality and space. The overall result is a model for environmentally responsible design, and it has received LEED Gold certification. The firm was awarded the 2011 San Diego Architectural Foundation’s Orchid Award, the 2009 AIA San Diego Merit Award, and the 2009 SDG&E Energy Efficiency Award for the first commercial net-zero energy building in the San Diego area. Another sustainable office project of HGW Architects is the corporate headquarters for MedImpact Healthcare Systems. The San Diego-based pharmacy benefit management company commissioned the firm to design its LEED Gold Certified Class A office building. The six-story building features articulated façades that provide dramatic views of the building from the adjacent freeway. Natural stone, low iron glass, and integrated metals add to the building’s rich character and create a relaxed business environment.


HKS Architects

Address:
3655 Nobel Dr., Suite #550, San Diego, CA 92122

About HKS Architects

Founded in 1939, HKS Architects has built a legacy as a leading architecture and design firm across the US. Started by Harwood K. Smith in Dallas, the firm steadily grew from a local practice to one with a national and global reach of unrivaled industry-leading architectural delivery. Current CEO Dan Noble, FAIA, FACHA, LEED AP, leads the company to consistent success in aviation, civic, cultural, education, health, commercial, hospitality, mixed-use, sports, and entertainment projects. The firm ranks third on Building Design+Construction’s List of the Top 150 Architecture Firms in the country. Its list of impressive awards includes numerous AIA Awards, IIDA National and Global Awards, and ENR Awards.

Featured Projects

In the affluent community of North San Diego, HKS delivered architecture and interior design services for the new medical office building for Sharp Rees-Stealy. The structure nearly doubles the size of Sharp’s existing space yet minimizing negative environmental impacts through a responsible design approach. At the entry, a three-story glass wall and skylights open the space to beautiful views and generous daylight. Each branch of the building features exam and procedure rooms, provider offices, and a conferencing center. It also features larger exam rooms and the ability to add more physicians and services over time.


LPA Inc

Architects:
Wendy Rogers

Awards:
AIA COTE Award,
AIA Honor Awards,
AIA Merit Awards

Address:
1600 National Avenue, San Diego, CA 92113

About LPA Inc

As one of the largest integrated design firms in California, LPA has been a leader in the architecture and design industry for most of the last century. Under the leadership of CEO Wendy Rogers, they have been providing architecture, planning, landscape architecture, interior design, engineering, and graphic/signage services from the early stages of program development to the very end of each project. They are passionate about — and believe strongly in — connections that exist between design excellence and sustainability. Their unique, collaborative atmosphere creates an energized office space, which encourages employees to live balanced, sustainable lives both in the office and at home. They have received more than 700 major design awards — a true testament to their firm grasp of excellence in design.

Featured Projects

LPA was commissioned to transform a dated and under-performing property into a modern, active landmark — 1 Columbia Place. The 27-story highrise in downtown San Diego is notable for its distinctive glass façade, stair-step design, and the American flag flying high above it. The dramatic, seven-story atrium lobby, common and private terraces open up to spectacular views of San Diego Bay, Coronado Island, Balboa Park, and all of downtown San Diego. There are beautiful terraces, a delicatessen, a gym, a spa, and much more. Another of their beautiful office spaces was for MindTouch, a San Diego software company that wanted a new space with personality, creativity, and branding. LPA’s design incorporated exposed open ceiling areas, direct and indirect lighting, private offices with sliding doors, informal gathering spaces, and a break/game room that encourages social interaction and serves as an after-hour workspace.


Safdie Rabins Architects

Architects:
Ricardo Rabines
Taal Safdie

Awards:
SDAF Orchids Award,
AIA San Diego Design & Vision Merit Award

Address:
925 Fort Stockton Drive, San Diego, CA 92103

About Safdie Rabines Architects

Safdie Rabines Architects is a full-service architecture, interiors, and urban design firm established in 1993 by the award-winning, husband-and-wife team Ricardo Rabines and Taal Safdie. The team’s work can be found throughout the globe as they strive to present unique, humanistic, and socially and environmentally responsible design ideas. The firm is acutely sensitive not only to the specific needs of their clients but also to the deep effect they have on the experience and health of the people who enjoy the spaces they create. They are determined to ensure their work minimizes — or, in the best scenario, completely eliminates — any negative ecological impact on the environment. Among numerous other awards, the firm has received Orchid Awards from the San Diego Architectural Foundation and the San Diego Design & Vision Merit Award from the American Institute of Architects (AIA).

Featured Projects

The firm is behind the sleek design of the Jacobs School Board Room — a space that previously served as a laboratory. The design team completely reworked the space, modernizing and brightening it by installing large windows in existing exterior walls to allow guests views of the eucalyptus grove outside. They designed a custom white conference table that accommodates 26, and a large, curved, slate ceiling suspended over the table, which cleverly conceals audiovisual equipment. The use of neutral colors and green fabric on chairs creates warmth and draws in the campus landscape. Safdie Rabines Architects is also responsible for UC San Diego’s Structural and Materials Engineering Building. The 183k-square foot, Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) Gold-certified structure completed in 2012 is home to several departments, including the office spaces of Structural Engineering and NanoEngineering. The building also houses the Department of Visual Arts, with 12 visual arts studios, a gallery and black box presentation space, and a state-of-the-art paint booth.


Sillman Wright Architects

Architects:
Larry Sillman
Brett Tullis

Awards:
SDAF Orchids Award,
AIA COTE Award,
Gold Nugget Award

Address:
7515 Metropolitan Drive, Suite 400, San Diego, CA 92108

About Sillman Wright Architects

Sillman Wright Architects is a San Diego-based architectural firm that above all values collaboration with its clients to ensure that all goals are met throughout the design process. Founded in 1976, the firm has designed a vast variety of spaces and believes that quick communication is the key to solving problems that arise. They incorporate sustainable thinking throughout the design process and have designed more than 25 LEED Certified and sustainable projects. Its partnership with the U.S. Green Building Council and the San Diego Regional Sustainability Partnership ensure their buildings are healthy environments for people to live, work, and learn. Under the leadership of its principals Larry Sillman, AIA; Mark Baker, AIA, LEED AP; and Brett Tullis, AIA, LEED AP BD+C, the firm has received many awards, including the San Diego Architectural Foundation Orchid Award, the AIA COTE San Diego Award, and the Gold Nugget Award of Merit, among many others.

Featured Projects

The team at Sillman Wright Architects is responsible for the designs of several business parks. Among them is The Mission Valley Heights Business Park, a collection of 23 one- and two-story office buildings that provide over 600k square feet of tenant space. The complex is a high image corporate office building with modern and comfortable workspaces, a large kitchen with an outdoor patio area for employees to enjoy the natural world, and a common conference room available for use by each tenant. Sillman Wright Architects also created the Carlsbad Medical Center in nearby Carlsbad, California. The two-story structure is home to The Scripps Healthcare Facility. Built in 2008, the center provided the first medical offices for Scripps Health. The 40,655-square-foot space has both medical offices and exam rooms. The tilt-up concrete evokes the perfect SoCal sentiment, and the stone accents bring a feeling of sophistication and out-of-the-box design.


Taylor Designs

Address:
2825 Dewey Road, Suite #200, San Diego, CA 92106

About Taylor Design

Linda Taylor, AIA, ACHA started Taylor Design in 1979 as Taylor & Associates, Inc. — a California architectural firm that specialized in hospitals and other medical facilities. Over the years, it has widened its reach and services and now develops design solutions for healthcare, education, science & technology, and senior living market sectors. This strategy-based design firm contributes positive experiences in the creation of everything from modest facility models, new construction, and infrastructure improvements, to large-scale hospital replacements and master planning. It ranks among the Top Design Firms for 2019 on the lists of ENR California, Building Design + Construction, and Architectural Record. Its work has also earned awards and accolades from the US Green Building Council, Los Angeles Business Council, Design Build Institute of America, and the AIA. Taylor Design serves the whole of California from its offices in Irvine, Los Angeles, Sacramento, San Diego, and San Francisco. 

Featured Projects

Taylor Design’s San Diego office has produced more than 800 projects to date. Among this stellar portfolio are workplace projects that marry great form and function. Its work on the UC San Diego BioMedical Science Building Suite involved a tenant improvement of a vintage 1960 space. Its overall design goal was to include a small nod to the mid-century and modernist design of the original building. Clean-cut lines, natural textures, and neutral colors permeate the open layout of the building. The 4,600-square-foot project included new ceiling construction and lighting, renovation of restrooms, addition of a gender-neutral restroom, and a re-wok of the  School of Medicine Dean / Vice Chancellor’s office. Another medical-workplace project from Taylor Design is the Scripps Clinic – John R. Anderson V Medical Pavilion. Its design seamlessly integrates office and administration space among the vital facilities for diagnostic and medical procedures. The firm also designed two pedestrian bridges that provide immediate access between the pavilion and the adjacent Prebys Cardiovascular Institute.


Ware Malcomb

Address:
3911 Sorrento Valley Blvd, Suite 120, San Diego, CA 92121

About Ware Malcomb

Named as one of ENR’s Top 500 Design Firms 2020 and one of Interior Design’s Top 100 Giants, Ware Malcomb is an acclaimed architecture practice operating 22 offices across the country, Canada, Mexico, and Panama. The award-winning international design firm offers planning, architecture, interior design, branding, and civil engineering services to commercial real estate and corporate clients. The firm was started in 1972 by Bill Ware and Bill Malcomb. Today, Ware Malcomb is led by CEO Ken Wink, President Jay Todisco, Executive Vice President Matt Brady, and EVP/CFO Tobin Sloane, along with a team of talented design and business leaders.

Featured Projects

A perfect example of the firm’s design prowess in corporate architecture and interior design is its own San Diego office. The new workplace of the firm accommodates the tremendous growth of the firm while incorporating the latest in interior design trends and sustainable features. It features a work environment that fosters collaboration while also allowing for privacy and heads-down work when required. It includes two different types of workstations – a benching station and a desking station solution, some with adjustable desk heights – to provide a variety of work options and cater to every individual’s work preference. The project earned the San Diego Business Journal’s Commercial Real Estate Award in 2020. For the new steel building addition for tech company Qualcomm, Ware Malcomb found the delicate balance between forward-thinking collaborative spaces and traditional focus workspaces. The rectilinear plan was designed for efficiency, with each floor incorporating collaborative co-working. Its amenities include a conference center, a cafe, a gym, a workroom, collaboration pods, enclaves, and game rooms. The project also achieved LEED Gold Certification for its efficiency and sustainability.

The Best Interior Designers in San Diego

Overview

A great interior design can transform a space from ordinary to extraordinary. A well-designed interior has the power to create feeling, to transform emotions, to enlighten, to entertain, and to excite. Interior design is an enveloping artform that can turn blank walls into a space so beautiful you never want to leave. San Diego has the kind of rich landscape that can inspire this level of design, and these San Diego interior designers are among the best and most inspired in their field. Their award-winning transformations have reimagined the dullest rooms into the most exciting creations that are a perfect match for San Diego’s rich history and exciting future.

Top Designers

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Bungalow 56

Designer:
Jessica Nicolls
Karyn Frazier

Address:
1022 C Avenue, Coronado, CA 92118

About Bungalow 56

Bungalow 56 is an award-winning Coronado and San Diego interior design firm with a strong sense of the importance of color, texture, and use of light, as well as the impact of a thoughtful design. Their work has been successful in adding just the right touches to breathe new life into outdated rooms. The firm is led by Jessica Nicolls, who has been part of the design industry for over 12 years. Nicolls began her career in an architecture firm, and then studied at the Art Institute of San Diego to pursue her degree in interior design. Four years ago, she took the important step of creating her interior design firm and has been bringing breathtaking designs to her clients ever since.

Featured Projects

Bungalow 56 worked on a Coronado Country Club-style exquisite transformation of a residence, with details chosen so carefully they each fit perfectly within the design. The use of color includes the perfect shade of green pillows against an otherwise monochromatic white bedroom, with a hint of dark blue. Pink and gold floor-to-ceiling floral curtains accent an otherwise neutral nursery. These seemingly minor additions together create just the right amount and intensity of color to give this residence a new and vibrant life. The grace and beauty of a space is fully realized with another Bungalow 56 design. This time a beach bungalow is full of perfect little treasures: a gold stool; a beaded chandelier in a beautiful, bright bedroom; a lovely bathroom with an exotic fish wallpaper; a small bedroom with delicious mint green walls; and two tiny stools at the foot of the bed. The designs are so balanced and beautiful they are almost poetic, and a fun treat for the eyes.

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Hope Pinc Design

Designer:
Hope Pinc

Address:
206 Park Blvd, San Diego, CA 92101

About Hope Pinc Design

Hope Pinc Design is a studio founded by Hope Pinc, who has been a part of the San Diego design community for over 15 years. She began her career in 2002 at The Design Institute of San Diego, one of the renowned CIDA (Council of Interior Design Accreditation) schools in the country. Her design philosophy is to provide clients with practical, contemporary solutions that celebrate and reflect their style and taste. Pinc’s goal is not only to transform her client’s spaces, but to transform them in the way the client views as beautiful.

Featured Projects

A bohemian kitchen remodel showcases Pinc’s design savvy in a simple and elegant way. A center island dominates the space, lined with three golden barstools with high backs. A wooden dining table is surrounded by contrasting black chairs and a beautifully detailed warm rug. The design takes a turn for the whimsical with a black-and-white patterned backsplash that’s positioned low along the counters, then climbs all the way to the ceiling behind the silver range hood. It is a minimalist, meticulous design that creates interest and warmth with the perfect amount of color and texture. Another of Pinc’s designs is the Rike Residence, complete with Mid-century modern touches paired with glamorous throws, the use of live plants, books against interesting bookends, abstract art, and a geometric metal pendant light over the dining table that adds the hint of an industrial touch. Together, the elements are earthy and playful in a space that feels comfortable, intelligent, and easy to live in.

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Esteban Interiors

Designer:
Esteban Lopez

Awards:
La Jolla Light Best of La Jolla Interior Design

Address:
7605 Girard Avenue, La Jolla, CA 92037

About Esteban Interiors

Esteban Interiors is an award-winning design team that believes good design is timeless while also transforming over time. Named after the founder, Esteban Lopez, a New York native who is known as a “style maker,” they pride themselves on creating interiors that perfectly meet their client’s needs and exceed their expectations within their budget and timeline. With every project they undertake, they strive to deliver a product of the very highest quality. The firm has been featured in numerous magazines, including Modern Luxury Interiors, Best of La Jolla Magazine, and San Diego Home/Garden. They were also voted “Best of La Jolla” in the 2016 Readers Poll for Interior Design in the La Jolla Light Newspaper.

Featured Projects

Among the firm’s most beautiful designs is a timeless apartment in the El Cortez complex in San Diego. The space is an amalgamation of beautiful design and color that excites the senses and pleases the eye. The rich tones of gold and coral play off of each other in what makes for a warm and luxurious interior. The firm has cleverly incorporated the client’s choice of eclectic art into the design to perfectly complete the space with a unique and personal touch. Another of the firm’s designs is dubbed “Casa de Manana,” in La Jolla, California. The interior here includes bold color choices, an oversized intricate mirror, metallic light fixtures, and a textured geometric red sofa that wows the eye. The space is a conversation with color and shape that is exciting and unique.

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Savvy Interiors

Designer:
Susan Wintersteen

Address:
7875 Highlands Village Place, San Diego, CA, 92129

About Savvy Interiors

Savvy Interiors is an interior design firm based in San Diego, where they say, “There’s no shame in an outdated home, in fact, we think it’s cause for celebration.” And they celebrate by transforming these outdated spaces into beautiful new designs. Led by the creative genius of Susan Wintersteen, Principal Designer and Owner, they work with each client to make their dreams a reality and their homes a place where they want to spend most of their time. Their design choices are bold, daring, and offer a great degree of attention to detail.

“At Savvy Interiors, our team is one of the only firms in San Diego that holds a General Contractors license which allows us to simplify the remodeling process for our clients, being both the designer and the one to implement the design. With our team of designers, we want to make the process as streamlined as possible” – Susan Wintersteen

Featured Projects

Savvy Interiors designs vibrant, rich, textured, and classy interiors. Their design of a “Gatsby Bathroom” wows, with walls covered in a beautiful black and white Art Deco wallpaper. The vanity is sleek and black with gold Art Deco-inspired handles, and the mirror above the vanity has a textured, gold trim. Together, the details make for a glamorous and rich design that perfectly represents the thrill of the 1920s. In another of the firm’s San Diego designs, the kitchen takes center stage with its perfect light fixture, with several exposed light bulbs in a geometric gold metal design that transforms the room into a delight. The color combination is light, creamy, and inviting. There are light grey countertops, bright white cabinetry, and soft cream walls. There is a valance over a window in a perfectly contrasted dark blue, geometric pattern. The high-hung valance raises the eye up, makes the room tall, and adds an element of luxury that’s a perfect match for the chandelier.

6
Alpha Design Group

Designer:
Regina Kurtz

Awards:
San Diego Home & Garden Lifestyle Kitchen of the Year Award,
ASID Residential Design Awards,
HGTV Designer Challenge

Address:
1286 University Avenue #1000, San Diego, CA 92103

About Alpha Design Group

Alpha Design Group, led by Regina Kurtz, has been providing extraordinary yet comfortable design to their clients for over 30 years. Kurtz studied at Fashion Institute of Technology and worked in New York City’s fashion industry prior to moving to San Diego and starting her career. Her background and expertise have enabled her to assess a client’s needs and deliver a design and environment that exceeds their imagination. Among many others, the firm has won San Diego Home & Garden Lifestyle Magazine’s Kitchen of the Year Award in 2013; first place in the ASID Residential Design Awards for the years 2000, 2002, 2003, and 2009; and HGTV’s “Designer’s Challenge,” #811 ‘Painter’s Studio,’ Winning Design in 2004.

Featured Projects

When they came across a condo that had lackluster interiors, Alpha Design was eager to convert the space into a beautiful showpiece. With their new design, the living room boasts a chic and classic elegance that is intentionally minimal and inviting. White armchairs face each other against the backdrop of warm wood paneling surrounding a white fireplace. Tall, silky curtains drape from the ceiling, beckoning a time of beauty and grace. The carefully chosen art pieces in the living room offer a touch of originality and a whole lot of intrigue to the immaculate design. The team also updated a kitchen in great need of an overhaul. The transformation includes warm cherry wood cabinetry and a luxurious and unexpected rug that adds warmth and texture to the room. Also, a spacious center island and french doors leading to the outside make this kitchen not just a cook’s dream, but a cook’s retreat.

5
Howard Interior Design

Designer:
Mike Howard

Awards:
Freshome Best Interior Design Award,
National Kitchen & Bath Association Star Award

Address:
P.O. Box 33683, San Diego, CA 92163

About Howard Interior Design

Howard Interior Design is a San Diego design firm led by Mike Howard, who earned top honors in local and regional design competitions for being an expert with regard to creativity, problem-solving, and attention to every design detail. With each client, Howard’s goal is to build on their vision to create a home that is stylish, comfortable, and unique. The firm received the Freshome Best Interior Design award in San Diego in 2016, and the 2016 National Kitchen & Bath Association Star Award for Best Small Bath. The award-winning, small-bath project was featured in the November issue of San Diego Home & Garden Magazine, and they have featured again in the magazine, this time in the Profile in Design section.

Featured Projects

Howard Interior Design was tasked with updating and reconfiguring a 1950s San Diego ranch-style home, to add a spacious master bath. The result was a more efficient layout, moving the space three feet into the adjacent office space. They expand the master suite and created a custom bed niche. Arguably the most eye-catching element in the room is the colorful headboard made from recycled boat lumber. The beautifully reimagined master bathroom was also moved partially into an adjacent large closet to create a dramatic, glass-enclosed, walk-in shower.

In another of the firm’s designs, the need for a new kitchen island translated into an exciting full-home makeover, complete with a new stone fireplace facade accented with black wood trim, and refinished hardwood floors in a deep, rich grey. In the kitchen, the island is topped with a beautiful white countertop, contrasting deep grey cabinetry, and gorgeous glass subway tile for the backsplash adds just the visual pop the room needs.

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Blythe Interiors

Designer:
Jennifer Verruto

Awards:
San Diego Freshomes Best Interior Designs Award

Address:
3103 Falcon Street, San Diego, CA 92103

About Blythe Interiors

No matter the project size, Blythe Interiors consistently delivers designs that complement their client’s personal style and helps turn their space into something they will love and enjoy for years to come. The firm is led by its president, Jennifer Verruto, who believes that good design should be available to everyone. The firm is known for beautiful, functional, and affordable interior designs. They received the San Diego Freshomes Best Interior Designs Award in 2016. The San Diego Real Estate Hunter called Blythe Interiors one of San Diego’s best 25 interior design companies in 2017.

“I got started as a Designer because I realized there was a need in the field for budget-conscious families who just wanted to make their spaces feel more like home, with their own individual style, and I wanted to make this available to your everyday family.  They would try to pull their spaces together by going to HomeGoods or Target, but they’d walk out with a bag of chips and a headache!  I started out by doing small makeovers, and due to word of mouth and amazing reviews, I realized this was an unfulfilled area of design that I could really help with on a larger scale, which is why I created a team.  My greatest joy is the feeling of fulfillment when the client walks into their new space and they say “you just GET me!  How did you do that?”  Our clients are our inspiration, and taking the time to listen to their dreams and turn them into a reality is what we do best.” – Jennifer Verruto

Featured Projects

Blythe Interiors helped transform an unimpressive and dated living room into a classic, luxurious space with a dramatic center ottoman that offers both comfort and class. The glamorous floor-to-ceiling drapery accentuates the tall ceilings, and the light grey beams create a modern and edgy feel. There is also an aged wood, beaded chandelier that ties the room together and adds a level of high end sophistication and timelessness to the design. In another of their eye-catching transformations, Blythe Interiors redesigned a dated living room to add color and warmth with a modern design. At the room’s center is a teal tufted ottoman surrounded by geometric patterned accent chairs. The same pattern repeats in the tall curtains that outline two french doors leading to the outdoor seating area. Pops of deep red and blue give the room a fun and vibrant atmosphere.

More recently, Blythe Interiors redesigned this gorgeous La Jolla home with a fresh, contemporary look that felt light, breezy and coastal, without being too literal.  They incorporated fresh patterns, texture, and reclaimed wood to create the coastal vibe.  Clean lines and industrial elements added a modern feeling, and the sconces over the artwork in the kitchen showcase local beach scenes.

3
M. Swabb Decor + Style

Designer:
Maegan Swabb

Address:
3333 Midway Drive #104, San Diego, CA 92110

About M. Swabb Decor + Style

M. Swabb Decor + Style is a boutique, high-end design firm founded by Maegan Swabb, lead designer and owner, that specializes in creating spaces that aim to deliver the “wow” factor to their clients’ homes. With each design, they strive to employ cutting-edge creativity, high-end style, and what they admit is an obsessive attention to detail. The firm offers services from space planning and 3D rendering to material acquisition and installation, with the ultimate goal of a very happy client in mind. They have been featured in various magazines, including Coastal San Diego Homes, Modern Luxury, Luxe Interior Design, and California Home & Design.

Featured Projects

M. Swabb Decor + Style is behind the design of the “La Jolla Treehouse,” a beautiful space that’s a testament to how well they can play with shape, color, and contrast. There are beautiful pops of color on pillows and throws, an abstract painting on a bedroom wall, a chandelier that reflects light over the dining nook, a perfectly positioned gold lamp in the living room, and the use of a large green plant to bring life into the space. The result is an amalgamation of different shapes, textures, and patterns that together become a bright and bold visual delight. Another of the team’s creations is the design of an edgy kitchen in downtown San Diego. The shimmering backsplash reflects light with patterns that entertain the eye, and clean minimalist cabinets complement the oversized light fixture suspended over the bar. The space is beautiful but functional all at once. The materials used spark a perfect balance between form and glamour in a design that is both modern and edgy, as well as timeless.

2
CM Natural Designs

Designer:
Corine Maggio

Address:
203 Flamingo Rd #186 Mill Valley, CA 94941

About CM Natural Designs

CM Natural Designs finds joy and purpose in creating personalized and meaningful designs that provide their clients with a sense of self and well-being. Led by Corine Maggio, principal and design director, the team has created arguably some of the trade’s most unique spaces. Although they are based in Southern California, the design crew loves to travel, and they’ve been creating beautiful designs nationally and internationally. Their work can be found not only across the United States, but also in Mexico, Australia, and Turkey. CM Natural Designs has been featured on HGTV and in many magazines, newspapers, and web publications.

“For us, the most exciting part of designing is finding out what is unique about our clients and creating a space that reflects that. We want them to walk in and feel a connection to the space that brings them more ease in the practical and functional parts of their lifestyle but also the emotional connection they have to their home. Once a home has a sense of completeness, it really allows the people using it to thrive. Being able to provide these tangible and intangible gifts to our clients is beyond rewarding and the reason we love our work.” – Corine Maggio

Featured Projects

One of the firm’s creations is a home purchased by a young couple who was looking for a design influenced by French style. The outcome is a beautiful home that includes a formal dining room complete with dark cabinetry with gold fixtures, deep grey velvet drapes that outline the large windows, and tufted luxurious dining chairs along the oversized rectangular table with golden legs. The black, gold, and white accents are carried throughout the rest of the home, giving the space a rich, Old World sophistication and class. Another of their designs is an urban bathroom remodel that looks almost cinematic. Here, too, the designers introduce gold accents that give the space a luxurious feel. Round, gold light fixtures dangle from the ceiling, and two large mirrors with perfectly thin gold frames are contrasted with black faucets and black handles on white cabinets. The design is rich but minimalist, and it is tied together by a small, round, black clock perched on the vanity — a touch that is both whimsical and practical all at once.

1
Studio Surface

Designer:
Michelle Salz-Smith

Address:
1011 Camino Del Mar, Suite 268, Del Mar, CA 92014

About Studio Surface

Michelle Salz-Smith, owner and principal interior designer at Studio Surface, is an award-winning interior designer specializing in residential and commercial design. Founded in 2009, the firm is known to transform spaces throughout the West Coast and internationally. Their philosophy is that every surface is a platform upon which dialogue and ideas are originated, explored, and realized. With projects ranging from residential home remodels to high-end resort brands, Salz-Smith and her team create beautifully balanced interiors with an unexpected edge. They have been featured in magazines such as Modern Luxury Interiors, Modern Luxury Riviera, and the online magazine Design Milk.

Featured Projects

A design with an edge. This living area created by Studio Surface is one that draws you into its deep and soulful interior. There are two large sofas in a rich blue velvet fabric that are reminiscent of Old World glamour. Between them sits a gold fish scale-patterned coffee table full of whimsy. The coupling of the gold and the blue is regal and grand. Beneath these beautiful colors are what feel like endless white floors, with a Mid-century modern white chair perched in the far corner. There is a fireplace that starts at the bottom as white stone but transforms into a black structure leading up to the ceiling, drawing the eye up as far as it will go. In another design we find the feel of the ocean. The colors of sand, sky, and sea are brought in. There’s a large area rug with splatters of different shades of blue and beige that evoke the surf and sand. There is a massive, light wood coffee table above it, a large piece of beautiful driftwood on top, and a juxtaposed black pot of succulents to the right. The sofa surrounding the table is luxuriously immaculate white linen, and two armchairs balanced on the side are dark blue like the deep ocean. Then, higher up, the light fixture that ties the room together is shaped like a bursting star. The space is more than just a room — the pieces are more than just furniture. It feels like brilliant risk-taking that has translated into undeniably transformative art that accentuates the experience of being present.