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The 12 Best Residential Architects in Monterey, California

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Last updated on May 30th, 2024 at 01:58 pm

Building homes is a massive endeavor considering the extensive nature of the job, the financial and logistical considerations, and the complexities of available home styles. Hiring an architect will ensure that the residential project follows not just the latest home style but also the necessary protocols, specifications, and documentation necessary to produce the best quality of work that fits the lifestyle of each homeowner.

This list features the best residential architects in Monterey, California. To come up with this list, our editorial team gathered a short list of firms and assessed each based on their work history, capabilities, and overall quality of work.

Dyar Architecture

The Carmel Plaza Ste. #301, Ocean Ave. at Mission St., Carmel-by-the-Sea, CA 93921

American Institute of Architects (AIA) Excellence in Design Awards and Citation Award awardee Dyar Architecture is a full-service firm known for its progressive designs and advanced techniques in architecture. Founder and namesake Erik Dyar has studied in the halls of University of Oregon and University of Liverpool. He is also a long-time chair of the City of Carmel-by-the-Sea’s Historic Resource Board, and the 2020 Vice President of AIA Monterey Bay. Dyar also worked alongside legendary architect John Thodos, FAIA who was an advocate of Modernism and fiercely independent design.

The Contemporary home dubbed as The House of Light stands as one of Dyar’s finest works. The home was designed in collaboration with Thodos and follows a strong imprint from the beloved architect. This home is a love letter to Modernism with its clean design elements, bold lines, and clever play of lighting.  


7 Arts Building, SW Corner Ocean Ave.,  Lincoln St.,  Carmel-by-the-Sea, CA 93921

Progessive in design and practice, Archworks is a full-service architectural design firm known for providing customized services for the unique visions of each client. Ron Brown and Heidi Anderson-Spicer take charge of the company leadership and their veteran guidance is central to the way the firm operates. Brown studied at the University of Michigan and New York University and Anderson-Spicer studied at the Rhode Island School of Design. The diverse background of the company leadership allowed complex problem solving and cutting-edge design methods. This Pacific Grove Spanish Revival shows this firm’s attention to detail and stylistic taste. The home combines the traditional Mediterranean home style with modern design elements that channel California luxury. 

James D. McCord

503 Wave St., Monterey, CA 93940

Fluent in historical restoration and adaptive reuse, James D. McCord and his team operate all over Monterey and surrounding areas with time-tested practices and timeless operational sensibilities. Namesake architect and principal James D. McCord is an award-winning designer lauded by the City of Monterey and the City of Carmel in his design pursuits through awards in 1989 and 2009. The firm is also awarded with the Denotes Local Heritage Design Award Recipient for its pursuits.

McCord’s skills and strong sense of design resulted in top-quality residential projects including this Eclectic home in the photo. The home is defined by its overlapping characteristics that pertain to comfort, history, and style. This project testifies to the firm’s context sensitivity and ability to execute complex projects. 

Paul Byrne, Architect LEED AP

26135 South Carmel Hills Dr., Carmel, CA 93923

Paul Byrne is an esteemed architect and design professional trained in the halls of Cornell University and Harvard Graduate School of Design. He is an award-winning architect that also taught in design institutions such as Boston Architectural Center, Toyohashi University, Cornell, and Harvard. The firm has a stellar reputation and strong background in architectural design. In the photo, the striking entrance and defined lines of the house are a strong case for the firm’s workmanship and knowledge of complex structures. Paul Byrne expertly combined wooden and stone properties to form a residential house that blends into its natural surroundings. Inside, the house has a distinct loft feature, ceiling to floor windows that make smart use of the natural light, and a clean-cut kitchen.

HGHB Architects

9699 Blue Larkspur Ln. Ste. #201, Monterey, CA 93940

Pursuing the craft since 1960, HGHB Architects is a second generation architectural firm equipped with award-winning experiences and an integration of modern technology on their day-to-day operations. The firm is committed to providing service-oriented services that is carried by a team of expert architects led by Ken Scates. Under his leadership, the firm established the reputation it now holds today. HGHB is known for well-planned and well-executed residential projects that follow timeless styles done in the latest in design technology. The HGHB portfolio features well-crafted projects in residential, educational, and institutional market segments. The firm has a knack for integrating each space together with its environmental context.

Lee • Jagoe Architecture, Inc.

211 W. Franklin St., Monterey, CA 93940

Lee Jagoe Architecture is an architectural firm known for high-quality designs done with cost-effective methods and the full set of architectural services. The firm won awards including the Pacific Coast Builder’s Conference Gold Nugget, testifying on behalf of the firm’s thoroughness and clear-cut services.  Mark Lee and Dave Jagoe take charge of company leadership. The two were trained in the halls of UC Berkeley School of Architecture and North Dakota State University. 

The firm’s expertise in design execution is seen in its rich portfolio. The Contemporary home featured is a sleek estate defined by the visual marriage of curved shapes and fine lines. Clay tones run all over the exterior of the home, blending in perfectly with the natural backdrop of the site. 

Justin Pauly Architects

550 Hartnell St. Ste. H, Monterey, CA 93940

For Justin Pauly Architects, architecture is an act of listening. The firm operates with client relationships in the center, preceding a customized experience where the design of the residential project fits the lifestyle, stylistic preferences, and other considerations of the client. Justin Pauly is an architect trained at the UC Berkeley’s College of Environmental Design. He managed several important projects for the firm, including the award winning Angelo Reserve Environmental Science Center.

With awards such as the 2013 Fine Homebuilding’s Best New Home Award and the 2013 Excellence in Design Honor Awards, the firm solidified its reputation as a respected name in the local architectural scene. Projects such as the Carmelo exhibit the high standards to which the firm adheres to. This mid-century modern home, where third generation owners live, showcases equal considerations for functionality and aesthetics. The home’s layout maximizes utilitarian considerations through the use of stonework, woodwork, and glass.

Eric Miller Architects

211 Hoffman Ave., Monterey, CA 93940

Offering forward-thinking design solutions and creative techniques, Eric Miller Architects is an award-winning architectural firm in business since 1987. Miller has emphasized quality and creativity in all its pursuits, from traditional homes styles to modern ones. Namesake architect and principal Eric Miller leads a team of talented designers and skilled construction professionals in carrying out complex architectural projects all over Monterey and surrounding areas. The photo depicts a Modern home that fits perfectly with the unique California backdrop. The home’s neutral and Earth tones blend with the colors and features of the site as well as the cultural context that prevails in the area. The petite structure of the home adds to the chic atmosphere it exhumes, banking on the great use of stonework and glass composition. This home feels like a modern luxury that fits modern California living. 

Studio Carver Architects

3640 The Barnyard Ste. #C32, Carmel, CA 93923

With sustainable architecture at the heart of company operations, Studio Carver Architects is a full-service architectural firm known for integrating architectural and interior design in its body of work. Principal Robert Carver is a key figure in the local ecologically-focused architectural industry. The firm won the 2013 AIA Excellence in Design Awards, Honor Award and has turned heads in the pages of design publications such as California Home + Design, The New York Times, and Sunset Magazine.

Over the years, the firm has completed major projects in various home styles. The Santa Ynez Barn is one of Carver’s finest works. This rehabilitated Nineteenth-century barn is sheathed in a translucent structural composite that allows unique illumination suggesting a lantern from the outside and shoji from the interior.

NMR Architects + Engineers

769 Pacific St., Monterey, CA 93940

In business for over 50 years, NMR Architects + Engineers has been a leader in the local construction industry, leveraging a strong operational capacity for architectural design and engineering. The firm combines time-honored methods and the latest technology to produce high-quality buildouts.  Dan Rossetto assumes the role of President in the company, banking on his lengthy experience in the industry. The NMR team approaches every project with the customer in mind. This client-centered outlook results in complex styles delivered in a customer-focused manner. The Mediterranean home featured exemplifies this design philosophy as the residential design revolves around the homeowners’ lifestyle and style preferences. This 8,000-square-foot estate has an intelligent layout that capitalizes on the immensity of the site without overdoing the layout. 

Thomas Bateman Hood Architecture

SW 4th & Lincoln, Carmel, CA 93921

Thomas Bateman Hood is a decorated architect who studied architecture at Iowa State University and Master’s of Architecture at University of Illinois at Chicago. He holds multiple executive positions in local design organizations such as being the Chairman of the City of Carmel Historic Resources Board and as Board President at Carmel Heritage Society.

The firm’s portfolio is a display of Hood’s design strengths and unique perspectives. The modern residential project in the photo is the firm’s take on the modern farmhouse. Prominent use of symmetry and balance maximize the practicality and aesthetic appeal of the space. A unique facade defined by a transparent structure gives the home a modern look.

Wald, Ruhnke & Dost Architects

2340 Garden Rd. Ste. #100, Monterey, CA 93940

For about six decades, Wald, Ruhnke & Dost Architects has sustained a name as Monterey County’s largest and most active architectural firm pushing socially meaningful projects. The firm’s top brass include Henry Ruhnke and Christopher Barlow. The two have held executive positions in various construction and design firms as well as local organizations.

The Plumes Farm, a 3,200 square foot Farmhouse estate, exemplifies the firm’s heralded ability to produce stellar projects that fit the context of the environment and follow the high expectations of the homeowners. The home combines traditional Farmhouse elements such as the generous use of light tones with modern day design elements, particularly the modification of uneven sloping grounds, horizontal layout, and polished detailings.