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The Best Residential Architects and Designers in Irvine, California

11 Min Read

Irvine is recognized as one of the best places to live in America. Thanks to its business-friendly atmosphere, the town has abundant amenities and intriguing entertainment options to enjoy on a daily basis. Some are well-known, as they are picturesque settings perfect for Hollywood movie backdrops. Alongside these beautiful attractions, this city also has its share of beautiful homes designed by some of the most talented architects in the country. These ambitious professionals are constantly striving to create homes that are both aesthetically pleasing and functional.

These architectural firms have been in the industry for many years, gathering experience to combine with their unique takes on aesthetic. These architects have come up with designs that are recognized locally and internationally. And their projects have been featured in publications like Luxe, Professional Builder, Architectural Styles, Elegant Homes, and C Magazine. Adding to the beautiful homes these architects create, these craftspeople are also affiliated with industry organizations like the American Institute of Architects (AIA), the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB), and the National Council of Architectural Registration Boards (NCARB).

If you are thinking about building a custom home, we recommend checking each builder’s license with the local licensing board, speaking to past clients, and using our bidding system to get competitive quotes from at least 3 contractors. Getting multiple bids is the best way to ensure you get a fair price and that bids include the complete scope of work.

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. On the other hand, if you want to learn more about the cost of building a custom home in Irvine, check out our cost guide article.

AMK Studio

2152 Dupont Dr. Ste #240, Irvine, CA

AMK Studio was founded by Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED AP) partners Arlene M.G. Edjourian and Kathryn Flores who have kept the firm on its feet for ten years. With their 40 years of collective industry experience, AMK Studio is able to design and manage spectacular residential and mixed-use projects across California, the West Coast, and abroad. One great example of these projects is the Bali modern home in Newport Back Bay. The two-story home has a wide and open floor plan highlighting a breathable space that is perfect for pool parties

Over the years, the firm has gained copious experience designing master-planned communities, multifamily projects, tract homes, custom homes, residential remodels, and additions. Adding to its experience, AMK Studio is affiliated with AIA, the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC), and the AIA Los Angeles.

David R. Olson Architects

470 Wald, Irvine, CA 92618

A full-service architecture firm established in 1991, David R. Olson Architects specializes in designing custom high-end residential homes, retail centers, commercial structures, and restaurants. Though all of the firm’s projects are outstanding, one of its most notable projects in the residential market is a Spanish revival residence in Indian Wells. The home carries its earthy palette with the subtle glamour of classic Spanish mansions. Over the years, homes like these have gained the firm countless features in publications, including Palms Spring Life and Orange County Home Magazine. Its most recent features the 2018 issues of Luxe Interior + Designs and Architectural Styles.

Currently, the firm has founder David R. Olson at the helm. A certified NCARB member of the AIA, Olson possesses architecture licenses in a number of states. He graduated from Cal Poly Pomona with a bachelor’s degree in architecture and gained significant experience from his studies at the University of Athens in Greece.

DKY Architects

15375 Barranca Pkwy. Suite A-216, Irvine, CA 92618

Though DKY Architects was founded only in 2004, it is a firm with more than 40 years of experience in architecture, planning, and interior design. DKY Architects was created after its founder, David Streshinsky, gathered inspiration from his travels and projects around the world. Streshinsky brings more than 37 years of experience designing public and private sector projects including public works, commercial, retail, hospitality, food service, office, and housing/residential facilities. The experience gathered from such projects helps him create beautiful homes, and he enhances each project by incorporating energy-saving features.

One of these notable projects is the Jocson residence. A modern home that mimics a high-end resort, the home has an open floor plan that promotes outdoor living and takes advantage of the views to the hills and Catalina island. To highlight this seamless harmonization with the outdoors, the home also has sliding window systems that pocket into the walls.

EBTA Architects

17871 Mitchell N Suite #150, Irvine, CA 92614

EBTA Architects specializes in crafting high-end custom residential and commercial projects for both local and international clients. Since its establishment in 1993, the firm has designed New England, contemporary, Provence, Northern Italian, Tuscan, and Colonial homes throughout California, Hawaii, Los Cabos, the UAE, and Shangai. One of these gorgeous residences is a 5,000-square-foot New England style home called Shorecliffs. A quaint, two-story home made dominantly of wood and stone, this residence has minimal exterior designs but beautiful interior timberwork, which highlights the stone arches in the dining area.

Because of projects like these, EBTA Architects has been featured in publications like Elegant Homes, Newport Beach, Tuscan Style, and C Magazine. Most recently, it was featured in Luxe for a French contemporary home in Irvine. Alongside these features, the firm has also brought home a plethora of awards, including the MAME, Gold Nugget, and Luxe Red awards.

Fleetwood Joiner Avalon Architectural

18006 Sky Park Cir. Suite #100, Irvine, CA 92614

Fleetwood Joiner Avalon Architectural is an architecture firm with an international reputation. Carrying client-focused custom home designs that range from the largest home on the California coast to 3,000-square-foot architectural jewels to a 5,000-acre ranch compound, Fleetwood Joiner Avalan Architectural is well-known throughout California for its generous portfolio of beautiful homes. These eye-catching residences are not only found in California: the internationally known firm has crafted homes in Hawaii, Florida, Saudi Arabia, even Southeast Asia and South America.

As a high profile firm, it has been featured in several publications, including Coast, California Homes, Space, Veranda, Orange Coast, and Luxe—which featured one of its most notable Irvine residences: a two-story contemporary home with breathtaking views of Southern California. Inspired by the flat-roof architecture of Greece, this home has a simple and linear street façade with Vero polished plaster to highlight its monolithic form. Aside from having a Greecian form, the residence was designed to look like a sleek, open-air pavilion with an interior space that gives the appearance of no walls.

Fleetwood Joiner Avalon Architectural was founded in 1980 by Fleetwood B. Joiner. Possessing over 45 years of architectural experience, Joiner has designed residential projects and commercial structures alike.

Kevin L. Crook Architect

1360 Reynolds Ave. Suite #110, Irvine, CA 92614

Kevin L. Cook Architect is an architecture firm that has designed structures for a number of clients. These include both homeowners and business owners. Over the course of its business, it was recognized with several awards including Gold Nugget Awards, National Awards, Laurel Awards, and Prism Awards. In addition to being honored with these awards, the firm has been featured in magazines like The Business Journal, Professional Builder, Builder, and Builder and Developer. That success can be credited to the firm’s talented and hardworking team as well as to the firm’s founder and president, Kevin Crook.

Before founding Kevin L. Crook Architect, Crook worked for two leading residential architecture firms and served as an in-house architect for two major public new home builders. Thanks to Crook’s experience and guidance, the firm has designed countless modern, contemporary, Craftsman, and Spanish style homes. One great example of its residential work is the Rosemist. A two-story, Spanish Mediterranean style home in Irvine, the Rosemist has a cozy, earthy palette that blends well with the green foliage surrounding it.

KTGY Architecture + Planning

17911 Von Karman Ave. Suite #200, Irvine, CA 92614

KTGY Architecture + Planning is an international full-service architecture design and planning practice dedicated to home and the mix of uses that create community that has been around for 28 years. This is a short span of time considering that the firm has already won 665 awards and designed 900 homes under the Los Angeles small lot ordinance. One of these beautiful homes is a part of the Capri Collection at Irvine and was featured in The Orange County Register, Professional Builder, and Builder and Developer with its counterparts. A contemporary Mediterranean home, it has several notable features like the two-story formal entry. That door is accented by two elegant curved staircases with direct access to a courtyard that is a perfect gathering space during parties. The home has an expansive great room with a fireplace and numerous windows that open up to neighborhood views.

KTGY Architecture + Planning’s team of architects is highly skilled in various markets, well-equipped to guide clients through their projects. One of its most experienced leaders is Chairman of the Board Jill D. Williams. She has more than 30 years of experience involving innovative residential and mixed-use architecture and is affiliated with the Home Builders Association of the Bay Area, the North State Building Industry Association (NSBIA), AIA, and the Gold Nugget Advisory committee. David Obitz, Principal and leader in KTGY’s Irvine For-Sale studio brings over 30 years of experience to his role. With such experienced leaders, the firm ranked #34 on the 2019 list of Top 300 Architecture firms.

Mark Gross and Associates

8881 Research Dr., Irvine, CA 92618

In 2000, California gained a new architectural firm that specializes in designing residential and commercial buildings and land planning. Mark Gross and Associates was only recently established but, since inception, it has been designing beautiful homes like the Atherton Estate. A home that combines traditional elements with modern features, this 1-acre property includes a 6,348-square-foot main residence and a 755-square-foot second dwelling unit. Along with its portfolio of single-family custom homes, Mark Gross and Associates has experience completing mixed-use and multifamily projects.

Photographed by Blu Skye Media

This success is not only thanks to the team’s collective efforts and skills but also because of company president, Mark Gross. For over 30 years, Gross has been doing residential design and urban planning—the foundation of this firm’s existence. Alongside his bachelor’s degree in architecture, Gross is a member of the Building Industry Association (BIA), the 50+ Housing Council, and AIA.

Robert Hidey Architects

3337 Michelson Dr. Suite #170, Irvine, CA 92612

To date, Robert Hidey Architects has over 400 industry-related awards and an extensive list of publications that have featured the firm’s work. Established in 1991, the firm has built a portfolio filled with diverse international and national projects. One great example of these projects is the Eberhard residence. It has a classic cream and earth tone that is usually seen in traditional Spanish Mediterranean homes, and it exudes the air of a home that is perfect for relaxing summer vacations.

Robert Hidey’s projects carry architectural styles that are influenced by traditionalist elements combined with an artistic mix of creativity, history, and technology. The inventive and functional designs that charm homeowners can be credited to the firm’s team of licensed architects and designers as well as its AIA, CSI, CGBP, and LEED professionals.

Among these professionals is company president Robert Hidey, who established the firm after 20 years of working in the industry. Thanks to its principal, Robert Hidey Architects has extensive experience related to low, medium, and high-density residential development projects that vary from single-family homes to cluster, multifamily, mid-rise, and high-rise residential projects.

Shubin Donaldson

32 Executive Park Suite #115, Irvine, CA 92614

Shubin Donaldson has been in the architectural industry for 29 years. Over the years, its reputation has grown and now it has offices in Los Angeles, Orange County, and Santa Barbara. In these areas, you can see the firms take on contemporary architecture for residential and commercial projects. The firm has designed countless high-end, luxury homes but one of Shubin Donaldson’s most notable works is the three-story Tione Residence. Devised as a series of simple stone volumes carved from a hillside quarry, the Tione residence follows the soft curvature of the hillside with a design that maximizes the stunning views offered by the Getty Museum, Santa Monica, and the Pacific ocean.

The firm has been recognized with countless awards over the years. Recently, it won the 2018 AIA Santa Barbara Honorable Mention for the Skyline residence. Alongside such awards, it has been featured in various publications including Luxe, Live + Work, Decor, and Lifestyle. The firm’s ability to design such high-profile homes can be credited to the team’s years of experience and its robust collaboration on experimental projects. The firm’s success is also the result of the experience gathered by its three principals: Russell Shubin, Robin Donaldson, and Mark Hershman. Shubin is an AIA and LEED AP who is passionate about transformative design. Donaldson, meanwhile, founded the firm alongside Shubin. Even before this, Donaldson already had 30 years of experience in architecture, design, construction, project development, and management. And Hershman is the firm’s designated expert on commercial interiors and mixed-use commercial buildings.

How can I find a contractor or home builder near me?

Read our latest articles on the best residential contractors and home builders in and near Irvine. If you don’t see your city or project type below, just let us know – we are happy to create a tailored recommendation list just for you.

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This list takes a range of ranking criteria into consideration, including but not limited to: work history, customer satisfaction, awards and recognition, geographic area of work, cost, building permits, and clientele. We spent over 40 hours researching local contractors before calculating the final ranking for this post. If there is additional information about your business that could affect these rankings, please fill out this form and we will take it into consideration.

Get Bids For Your Build

If you are thinking about building a custom home, we recommend checking each builder’s license with the local licensing board, speaking to past clients, and using our bidding system to get competitive quotes from at least 3 contractors. Getting multiple bids is the best way to ensure you get a fair price and that bids include the complete scope of work.