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Situated on the rugged coastal terrace of San Diego County’s North County area, Encinitas has a lot to offer in terms of climate, culture, and architecture. The beach city’s residential architectural landscape tells the story of its long, rich history of 100 years of transformation. The balance between the old and the new is celebrated in Encinitas: modern, contemporary, Mediterranean, and Spanish-inspired architectures grace the city’s high-end residential communities.
Below are the best residential architects in Encinitas. The firms included here are either based in the area or have completed multiple residential projects since their inception. The article looked at the quality of each firm’s projects, as well as the awards, press features, and industry affiliations that they acquired through their years of practice. The list also considered the background of the firm’s principal architects, their contribution to the industry, and the testimonials and feedback that they earned from their clients and project partners.
AlphaStudio Design Group
6152 Innovation Way, Carlsbad, CA 92009
Known for its highly collaborative approach to residential architecture, AlphaStudio Design Group highlights a design practice that allows architects, contractors, and project owners to work closely together, especially during the most crucial phases of the planning and construction process. Additionally, the firm’s practice not only prioritizes the pragmatic needs of the project but also explores beyond the structural and looks at the artistic possibilities of curating unforgettable living spaces.
Two principal architects, Paul Gallegos and Josh Eckle, lead the firm’s everyday operations. Gallegos and Eckle have more than 40 years of combined experience in architecture and design. Their partnership as design professionals and innovators started before they opened the firm’s doors in 2007. This bond provided a solid foundation that continues to propel the company forward. Today, their firm is one of the region’s leaders in residential, academic, and commercial design. These works are well-recognized through industry accolades, including the Chrysalis Award, commendations from the AIA, and features by San Diego Magazine and San Diego Home & Garden.
Many of their residential designs can be found across high-end communities in Encinitas, Escondido, Carlsbad, Del Mar, Hidden Meadows, La Costa, and other California cities. One of the firm’s luxury residential design projects is located in Rancho Santa Fe. The stunning home was inspired by Mediterranean architecture and embodies the nobility of European villas. Just like its other astonishing works, the project also caught the attention of San Diego Home & Garden and featured the residence in its January 2016 issue.
Caroline Dooley Architects
2979 State St. Suite C, Carlsbad, CA 92008
Caroline Dooley Architects’s portfolio celebrates the timeless elegance of the old-world architecture and the sleek and minimalist qualities of modern architecture. These design influences can be traced back to its principal architect, Caroline Dooley, and her background in classical and modern architecture. Dooley has led many of the firm’s residential works, dominated by modern, contemporary, and traditional designs that are upgraded to provide the comfort and convenience of modern technologies. These projects, including its remodels and redesign, have been featured by leading industry magazines, including San Diego Home & Garden. In the past, the firm was recognized for its excellence in historic rehabilitation work.
From its Carlsbad headquarters, the company expands its service to cover Ranch Santa Fe, La Costa, Oceanside, San Marcos, Vista, San Diego, Solana Beach, and other nearby cities. The firm has also completed several residential designs in Encinitas. One of its most recent works is a haven that combines the charming exteriors of traditional homes with modern, industrial influences.
Wood is the dominant element that commands both the form and palette of the interiors and exteriors. Warm, earth tones for its flooring, exposed wood beams, and high ceilings are contrasted with the clean and complementing shades of the white and light palette. Black frames, lines, and details cut through these muted hues to establish its semi-rustic, modern-industrial character. Its massive windows and full glass doors let in an abundance of natural light, opening up an already expansive space and providing an overall atmosphere of freedom and comfort.
Carlos Architects Inc.
3327 Adams St., Carlsbad, CA 92008
Since its inception in 2016, Carlos Architects Inc. has focused on a transformative design practice that enhances the lives of people, places, and communities. True to this philosophy, the firm has completed single, multi-family, commercial, and retail architectural projects throughout California. Many of these works are designed to interact with their users, answer to the needs of their modern lifestyles, and provide a positive, enduring, and sustainable space for present and future generations.
Andrew Carlos, the firm’s principal architect, is a member of the AIA and is a LEED Green Associate of the USGBC. These affiliations highlight the firm’s caliber as a designer that can deliver stunning architectures and at the same time, produce sustainable and environmentally-conscious spaces. Under Carlos’s leadership, the firm follows a thoughtful approach to design and development that includes four vital areas before breaking ground. First comes programming, where designers and clients work together to conceptualize the project. Then the team turns to the schematic design to refine and curate the design concept according to the site. Then the client and the architect clarify the budget and the construction objectives of the project. Next comes the design development where the design is finalized and the documents are delivered.
One of the firm’s notable works is this Farmhouse-style family home remodel in San Diego. Its use of natural materials and the exploration of light and space provides a relaxing place for its homeowners and creates a space where its family can grow. The home’s open layout and expansive interiors ensure that it remains adaptive and relevant over time. As a residential architect that serves the Encinitas residential market, it has completed several projects for residential design and remodels, many of which were homes inspired by the coastal, mid-century, modern, and contemporary architectures.
426 Andrew Ave., Encinitas, CA 92024
Led by its principal architect and founder Samuel Chereskin, AIA, Chereskin Architecture was founded over three decades ago as a full-service commercial and residential architectural firm. Its status as a leading figure in California’s design industry can be attributed to its highly collaborative and client-centered design practice. For the firm, placing the client’s interests first should be at the top of every project’s priority, especially when it comes to providing ultimate solutions to the challenge of curating and delivering an architecture that awes and astounds.
The result is a multi-awarded portfolio with projects that have been featured and recognized by renowned publications, including the San Diego Magazine and San Diego Home & Garden. Many of these homes are celebrated for their stunning representation of a wide spectrum of architectural movements, including designs inspired by the old-world charms of historic-craftsman architecture, the sophistication of French architecture, the symmetry and asymmetries of modern and contemporary designs, as well as the humble and nostalgic simplicity of the shingle architecture.
One of the firm’s most unforgettable projects can be found in Rancho Santa Fe. The residence was designed to embrace the clean lines and tight eaves that characterize contemporary architecture—characteristics that can also be found throughout the home’s interiors. At the same time, the home references traditional forms and materials. This luxury residential work was completed in 2017 and it exhibits the company’s ability to transform spaces that bring out the best of what old and new architectures can offer through balance, functionality, and style.
682 Second St., Encinitas, CA 92024
For over 30 years, DZN Partners has been producing some of the most iconic homes across Southern California. Many of these works have been commended for the craftsmanship of traditional and Spanish architecture, as well as the functional and solid forms of modern and contemporary designs. The firm takes on residential design commissions but also delivers functionally and aesthetically relevant remodels and additions.
Bart M. Smith, the firm’s principal architect, is a member of the AIA and has a LEED AP BD+C accreditation. Smith’s practice started in 1991 and he has established his reputation as an active figure in the industry. Aside from being the past president of the AIA Palomar Chapter and Encinitas Preservation Association, Smith led some of the most renowned industry and business institutions in the region. His solid background as an industry leader and his achievements as an architect produced a comprehensive design practice that continues to serve the region’s high-end residential market.
Included in the firm’s luxury residential portfolio is a $1.5 million home in Encinitas. Completed in 2019, the firm’s residential design project was designed with the clean lines and symmetry of modern architecture. One of the most unique features of the residence is its butterfly wing-style roofing, formed by two reverse-pitched metal roofs. The roof deck can be accessed through a spiral staircase. Included in the project are an attached garage and an accessory dwelling unit that seamlessly integrates with the home’s overall architectural context.
531 Encinitas Blvd. Ste. 203 Encinitas, CA 92024
Commended for its efficiency and detail-oriented design practice, Florence Architects delivers a pragmatic and client-focused approach to architecture. Under the leadership of Jason Florence, a licensed architect and member of the AIA, the firm offers full architectural services and takes on commissions for interior design and landscape design projects. Aside from its strong presence in the residential design and remodeling scene, the company also has a portfolio of light commercial designs.
From the company’s Encinitas studio, it offers its services throughout San Diego, Rancho Santa Fe, Solana Beach, Cardiff by the Sea, Carlsbad, and Del Mar Heights San Diego, to name just a few. The firm has the training and workforce to offer furniture design-build services to offer a custom touch to every residential architectural work.
The company was founded over 20 years ago. As a local design firm, it has helped shape the city’s residential landscape. Many of its works for Encinitas are inspired by modern and contemporary designs, and all exhibit the firm’s in-depth understanding of the practical and functional needs of today’s lifestyles while still embracing the calmness and holistic elements of natural materials. The Neptune Residence, for instance, features the warmth and stability of wood and stone elements. It also highlights the timeless style and enduring functionality of the lines and patterns of modern architecture.
726 9th Ave. Suite #1, San Diego, CA 92101
Multi-awarded and environmentally-sensitive architectures dominate H2 Architects’s residential design and renovation portfolio. The firm has been recognized by the AIA and featured in industry publications including the San Diego Decor Magazine and San Diego Home & Garden Magazine. The firm’s projects have also won multiple Gold Nugget Awards in the past, recognitions that are given during one of the biggest home building trade shows in the country, the Pacific Coast Builders Conference (PCBC).
One of the firm’s works that caught the attention of the annual PCBC is the Robins Residence, located in Del Mar. For this project, the firm led the 4,500-square-foot home’s renovation efforts. The three-story modern residence presents an imposing sculpture-appearance softened through its white-plastered walls and curved solar shading for its exteriors. Its interior elements provide a warm balance of materials, especially for its choice of wood for its flooring and cabinetry. Skylights and clerestory windows bring in an abundance of natural light. These structural characteristics are parts of the home’s eco-friendly, energy-conscious design.
Homes with the same sustainable and energy-efficient standards have been a big part of the firm’s design practice. As an advocate of sustainable and green design, the company is an active member of the USGBC and has designated LEED-accredited project teams not just for its California market but also for its clients across Washington, Texas, Nevada, Colorado, and Arizona, among others. The firm’s success can be attributed to its principal architect, J. David Hawkins, and his extensive background not just in architecture but also in planning, design, and construction. Aside from being a member of the AIA, Hawkins is also a LEED AP BD+C affiliate.
IDEAL Design Systems Inc.
1802 Hygeia Ave., Encinitas, CA 92024
IDEAL Design Systems first launched its services as a corporation in 2007. As a member of the California Architects Board, the firm provides a full-service architectural practice that serves the residential market and takes on high-value and complex commercial and architectural interiors work as well. Its portfolio contains single-family, multi-family, commercial, and historic site renovation projects. This impressive service scope is informed by the company’s experience and in-depth knowledge of the design process for mid-range and high-value architectural projects.
As a residential architect, innovation and creativity remain two of the firm’s most noticeable strengths, as highlighted by the testimonials given by its past clients and project partners. These reviews highlight how the company integrates the elements of the old with the new by curating a design that brings out the best of modern materials and traditional architecture. Most importantly, these project owners commended the firm’s hands-on approach to design. President and principal architect, Deborah Shewaga, is often praised for her active role in the design and construction process.
The firm provides services throughout San Diego County. One of its most interesting projects in Encinitas is a coastal cottage home. The design for this residence combines the natural materials and custom fixtures of cottage-style interiors while also taking advantage of the expansive, minimalist, and well-lit, open-space layout of modern home design.
Jeff Parshalle Architect
1150 Garden View Rd., Encinitas, CA 92023
Jeff Parshalle Architect is known for its comprehensive design practice that caters to a wide spectrum of clients from the residential, religious, retail, corporate office, institutional, and hospitality industries. The firm’s portfolio showcases architectures that respond to the specific context of their site, the surrounding ecology, and most importantly, answer the needs of the inhabitants who will interact with these spaces every day. The firm is capable of providing passive and energy-efficient solutions to produce sustainable projects that follow the industry’s most stringent green design standards.
Principal architect and founder Jeff Parshalle is licensed to serve project owners in Colorado, Washington, and California. In the early years of his practice, Parshalle worked with some of the most established design firms in the region. This solid foundation allowed him to establish his presence in the country’s design industry. Aside from being a former member of the board for AIA, he was also a past board member of the San Diego Architectural Foundation.
A majority of the firm’s portfolio are projects commissioned by repeat clients. This is a testament to the firm’s consistent quality services and design relevance, conceptualized using the latest design technologies and construction innovations. Many of its projects for the single-family sector have been commended for their functionality, innovation, and timelessness.
2270 Camino Vida Roble #R, Carlsbad CA 92011
Juneau Architects is a full-service architecture firm and is one of the leading high-end architects in the region. The firm operates from its Carlsbad office to deliver residential services to project owners throughout San Diego County. Many of these works can be found throughout high-end neighborhoods across Del Mar, Encinitas, La Jolla, and Rancho Santa Fe.
Andrew Juneau, principal architect, member of AIA and AIA San Diego, leads a service-focused approach to design and construction. This delivery ensures that every step of the process is based on the goals and aspirations of the client. These projects are designed to follow the industry’s most stringent standards of quality and performance. To accomplish these goals, the firm relies on the latest design and building technologies, including 3D Rendering programs that are constantly examined throughout the process to ensure efficiency and predict challenges. The firm has an in-depth understanding of the varying HOA and county requirements for a smooth and transparent permitting process.
One of the firm’s residential design projects is the Cielo Residence, a two-story custom Italian Villa that features a classic beige stucco exterior that resembles Tuscan and Mediterranean architecture. The project, which costs over $2 million, highlights luxury interior finishes and fixtures that reference luxury European estates. Other unique elements—dark wood flooring in the open-concept kitchen, a farmhouse sink, beige backsplashes, and recessed-panel cabinetry—add character to the home’s living spaces. Projects of similar value and sophistication can be seen throughout the firm’s extensive project gallery.
sk7 design studios, inc.
3065 Rosecrans Pl. San Diego, CA 92110
With over 14 years of experience in extensive remodels, additions, and custom home architecture, sk7 design studios, inc. is an architectural practice recognized for its creativity, innovation, and design mastery. The firm’s comprehensive design approach can be attributed to the strong background of its founder and principal architect, Samuel J. Koob. Aside from earning both his bachelor’s degree and master’s degree in architecture, Koob grew up in a family of architects, builders, and artists.
Today, Koob is an AIA-affiliated architect and the wisdom of generations that guides his practice of curating spaces that enhance the lives of their users. His in-depth understanding of architecture and design has allowed the firm to offer a wide spectrum of architectural services that features Mediterranean, Contemporary, and Modern influences. Many of these works can be found across some of the most beautiful residential communities in La Jolla, Del Mar, Solana Beach, Encinitas, Carlsbad and other cities in San Diego County.
One of the firm’s most iconic projects is Begonia, a Carlsbad 1960’s residence that was in need of a modern upgrade. The home was designed to accommodate a young family. The project involved a full house remodel and addition work to add another level to the original one-story house. The redesign transformed the home into a two-story modern farmhouse sanctuary that includes a stunning master suite, three additional bedrooms, two baths, and a recreation room. The firm was able to preserve the home’s vintage and rustic charm while still being able to incorporate modern aesthetics.
Warren Scott + Architecture
763 2nd St., Suite #200, Encinitas, CA 92024
Warren Scott + Architecture believes that the architect’s ultimate goal should be to conceptualize designs based on the project owner’s “spatial and spiritual” requirements. At the same time, the firm believes these spaces can be environmentally-sensitive, sustainable, enduring, and socially responsible. Warren Scott—a member of the AIA and a LEED-certified architect—relies on the latest trends and technologies to further enhance the design and construction experience, especially for homeowners who share the same vision of functionality, sustainability, and custom architecture. The company also takes on commercial architecture commissions for the region’s developers and business owners.
As a full-service company that has been serving the region’s residential sector since 1983, the firm has extensive experience not just in design but also in project management. In Encinitas, for example, the firm helped old and new homeowners build homes designed to fit modern lifestyles and at the same time, create spaces that embody their aesthetic preferences.
One of the firm’s most interesting projects is the design for this Craftsman-Farmhouse-inspired home. The Gasperoni Residence, located in Encinitas, features the nostalgia and refined craftsmanship of these styles: low-pitched roofing, exposed wooden structural elements, clad wood windows, and craftsman porch columns.