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The Best Residential Architects in Oceanside, California

13 Min Read

Noted for its picturesque, palm-dotted Harbor Beach and its quaint shops, Oceanside is a gem of a coastal city located just off California’s South Coast. The third-largest city in San Diego County has been steadily growing through suburban development. Homes are relatively affordable, and vacation homes are a common sight. In terms of design, the architecture resembles other cities in California. Spanish revivals are popular in addition to several other traditional and classic designs.

This list compiles 15 of the best residential architects responsible for some of the most beautiful homes in Oceanside. These firms were chosen after we considered a number of firms in the area: we looked at factors like work history, professional affiliations, press features, and the overall merit of company portfolios. On the other hand, if you want to learn more about the cost of building a custom home in Oceanside, check out our cost guide article.

Anne The Architect

5304 Ontario St., Oceanside, CA 92056

For the past three decades, Anne The Architect has been offering a full range of new home construction and commercial services. The firm’s residential projects are noted for excellent kitchens, baths, guest houses, and small specialty projects. The firm is led by its namesake, Anne Parizeau, an experienced architect under whose leadership the firm has been able to complete over a hundred residential projects. Her experience has also enabled the firm to be able to take on projects regardless of size, architectural facelifts, and large-scale remodels. Prior to the establishment of the firm, Parizeau provided designs for EuroDisney.

The firm extends its services throughout the entirety of San Diego County and its surrounding areas. It offers free on-site visits and is often praised for its excellent, flexible rates.

BGI Architecture

2292 Faraday Ave. #100, Carlsbad, CA 92008

Headquartered in Southern California, BGI Architecture has been in the industry since 1986 and has completed over 450 homes since its inception. It has worked on a diverse variety of sprawling luxury estates, large-scale home remodels, multi-family condominiums, and apartments. At the firm’s helm is John S. Beery, who has worked on expanding the firm’s portfolio and expertise to encompass commercial design. The firm also provides tenant improvements throughout Southern California and is licensed in Arizona and Hawaii. The firm maintains affiliations with prestigious, vital organizations like the American Institute of Architects (AIA) and the Building Industry (BIA) of San Diego. The firm has been distinguished with several awards and has had its work featured in a number of publications, including San Diego Home & Garden and Coastal Magazine.

We were impressed with this project: the 5,164 square feet home is situated on a hill overlooking downtown Solana Beach. It features a contemporary style coupled with several mid-century modern accents. It was built with the latest modern building technology and features several sustainable elements: automated shades and light systems, a three-story glass elevator, and an off-the-grid solar panel power system.

Carlos Architects

Carlsbad, CA 92008

Led by third-generation architectural designer, Andrew Carlos, Carlos Architects has committed itself to state-of-the-art designs and green building practices. The firm specializes in residential, multi-unit, commercial and retail architecture. It also extends its services throughout Southern California and its neighboring regions and makes use of a holistic approach. The firm’s attitude is influenced by Carlos’s own experience, which spans two decades and includes a rich understanding of Californian culture and its environments. He personally oversees each project that the firm takes on, and he is also licensed in Colorado. As previously mentioned, the firm makes use of a streamlined approach, taking care of a project from programming to schematic design to design development. The firm’s team also handles construction documents and coordinates with consulting building systems and civil engineers for an accurate bidding process. They are also a part of the American Institute of Architects (AIA).

We were particularly drawn to one of the firm’s modern works. The firm made use of straight lines and coupled them with industrial elements. The firm also opted for a neutral color palette, minor stucco finishes, and several unique fixtures.

Caroline Dooley Architects

2784 James Drive Carlsbad, CA 92008

This Caroline Dooley project was crafted and designed in the style of renowned architect Frank Lloyd Wright. Owner John Elsner grew up in a home designed by the esteemed architect and wanted his new home to be reminiscent of that distinct style. The firm was able to come up with this mid-century home, which features a central garden and an open floorplan which brings in generous amounts of natural light. The home’s design emphasizes its owners’ centralized family life; the home’s space brings you through an elevated work area, past a planter box, to the living room. The living room’s glass walls provide a view of the lot’s wonderful yard and pond.

The firm behind this home, Caroline Dooley Architects, is an award-winning firm that specializes in custom, single-family residences. It is best known for its contemporary residences and its expertise in old-world details.

Christian Rice Architects

1127 Loma Ave., Coronado, CA 92118

Founded in 2004, Christian Rice Architects offers a range of award-winning architectural services. Its portfolio depicts a selection of both public and private projects in addition to an extensive array of designs. Personally led by Christian Rice himself, the firm’s team makes use of a cohesive approach that emphasizes the importance of designing homes that are sensitive to a project’s surrounding environment and a client’s budget. It commits itself to excellent project management and collaborates with homeowners throughout the entirety of a project. Before his establishment of the firm, Christian Rice first gained experience through working in some of the country’s most respected design studios. These include Will Bruder Architects in Phoenix, Mack Scogin Merrill Elam Architects in Atlanta, and Michael Rotondi/Roto Architects in Los Angeles. He is also well-traveled, which explains the firm’s expertise in a number of exotic designs.

We were especially taken with a project in the firm’s portfolio dubbed “300.” This home—designed for a busy working family—features a tropical-modern style, with influences from architecture in Bali, Hawaii, and Mexico. With the use of an open floor plan, this home’s interior and exterior spaces blend seamlessly. Several wood elements may be observed as well as multiple tropical details.

Don Edson Architect

1276 Saxony Rd., Encinitas, CA 92024

First established in La Jolla back in 1973, Don Edson Architect has since worked on over hundreds of one-of-a-kind custom builds. It provides a full list of architectural services and specializes in custom residential work in addition to popular regional themes for traditional-style homes. The firm is able to take on projects regardless of size and has worked on homes with lot sizes varying from 2,000 to 30,000 square feet. The firm is also responsible for a select number of unique projects, some of which include ecclesiastical work, equestrian oriented projects, and major remodels of classic fine homes across the country. The firm is the recipient of a variety of industry awards and has had the privilege of having its work featured in publications like San Diego Magazine, San Diego Home & Garden Magazine, and The Wall Street Journal.

The featured project depicts some of the firm’s Spanish colonial work. For this home, Don Edson made use of several arches, stucco exteriors, and classic terracotta roofs. It also showcased its excellent masonry and made use of a neutral color palette.

DZN Partners

682 Second St., Encinitas, CA 92024

With over three decades of collective design experience, DZN Partners is led by Bart M. Smith, a licensed architect with an active background in the community. He served as president of the Downtown Encinitas Mainstreet Association and has been a board member for them since 1994. Together with his team, they work on not only residential projects, but also provide commercial and mixed-use work. Their combined expertise has resulted in the firm’s signature craftsmanship often distinguished by their woodwork, custom finishes, and an intuitive feel for Tuscan and Spanish revival themed homes.

Completed in 2015, the featured project is a remodel and addition to a pre-existing one-story Spanish revival home. The finished residence features a basement complete with a workout room, several living spaces, guest rooms, and a custom two-story garage. Its second-floor master suite comes with a sitting room with views of the nearby ocean.

Florence Architects

187 Calle Magdalena #213, Encinitas, CA 92024

Florence Architects is a multi-disciplinary design firm that provides its clients with a full range of architectural services. It assists not only with design but also in handling permits and construction. Additionally, it also works on interiors and landscaping, ensuring the high level of personalization that comes with its projects. It also uses the latest CNC technology which has generated excellent indoor and outdoor furniture, often completed with several handcrafted touches. The firm specializes in a variety of designs and aside from its new home construction projects, is also known for its remodels and home additions. The firm also takes on commercial projects and has worked on several mixed-use, multi-family dwellings, tenant improvements, breweries, and restaurants.

The featured project spans over 5,600 square feet and provides stunning views of Del Mar. For this home, the firm made use of classic Spanish colonial elements, as you’ll see in the project’s terracotta roofs and stucco exteriors. The firm also made use of several modern touches, opting for large glass windows and entryways.

Lampert Dias Architects

P.O. Box 4565, San Clemente, CA 92674

Based out of San Clemente, Lampert Dias Architects services the entirety of Southern California and works on both commercial and residential work. Its portfolio consists of a variety of single-family residences, historic remodels and renovations, multi-family and affordable housing work, and several other retail and senior projects. Its designs are distinct and noted for their excellent sustainable elements and holistic processes. In line with this, the firm’s homes are also energy-efficient. Focusing more on its designs, Lampert Dias showcases expertise for country cottages, Spanish revivals, farmhouses, and several other traditional home styles.

Located in San Clemente, the chosen project is a new custom home that spans over 5,000 square feet and features a Spanish colonial revival theme. Its five bedrooms come with en suite bathrooms and wonderful views of the nearby ocean. The home also has two more half bathrooms and a wine tasting room capable of storing 600 bottles of wine.

Mad Design and Drafting Services

14168 Poway Rd Suite #104, Poway, CA 92064

From design conception all the way to construction and project completion, Mad Design and Drafting Services draws on over five decades of collective experience. It makes use of a boutique approach and offers an extensive list of new custom home design services, fire damage repair and building, home addition, green building, and land use planning work. The firm also offers 3D models and virtual walkthroughs and assists homeowners with permit processing. It assigns experienced project managers to each of its homes, ensuring that its designs are executed accurately. The firm’s team also takes extra measures to ensure that its clients’ lifestyles and needs are reflected in its designs. It makes use of a highly proactive approach, always employing the latest industry technology.

The firm has been in business since 2007 and if you take the time to look through the firm’s portfolio you’ll notice a wide spectrum of designs. The depicted project displays one of the firm’s contemporary work. For this project, the firm made use of an open floor plan further enhanced by the home’s floor-to-ceiling windows and entryways. The firm’s team also opted for a neutral color palette and hints of stucco exteriors.

Martin Architecture

2333 State St. Suite #100, Carlsbad, CA 92008

Martin Architecture has been operating out of Carlsbad since 2004. It is headed by Tim Martin, an architect with nearly three decades of experience working around the San Diego area. He is also licensed in Indiana and commits himself to the highest standards when it comes to his designs, which is reflected in the firm’s work. That said, under his leadership the firm has become known not only for its new home designs, but also its large-scale renovations, home additions, and historic restorations. Returning to its designs, the firm’s portfolio is divided into three categories: contemporary, historic, and traditional. The firm’s homes are often distinguished by its team’s excellent craftsmanship, textured exteriors, and unique roofs. It also displays expertise for woodwork and custom millwork.

For the displayed beachfront home above, the firm was tasked with complete reconstruction under severe regulatory constraints. A large chunk of its main level was readjusted in height to make it more accessible. The roof and several windows were also rebuilt to create more focused views and to adjust sun control. The home now features a Great Room with a dining nook and kitchen, a master suite on its first floor, and a lower level game room.

Michael F. Gallagher Architects

1919 Apple St., Oceanside, CA 92054

Although primarily headquartered in Breckenridge, Colorado, Michael F. Gallagher Architects has projects across the Rocky Mountains and into California. It offers architectural design and planning services and has worked on a variety of award-winning homes. Its projects are also noted for its sustainable elements and assists with site selection, administration, and overseeing a project. The firm’s principal, Michael F. Gallagher, is registered both in Colorado and California and personally designs and manages each project that the firm takes on. He also sees to it that both a client’s personal style and specific budget are taken into consideration during the design process. He is an experienced LEED builder, rendering the firm’s projects highly energy-efficient..

Take a look at the angled support beams, the unique roofline, and the blend of traditional stucco and galvanized steel exteriors on this modern home. The home features three floors, an elevator, a staircase made of floating wood and steel, and a combined living, dining, and kitchen space.

Ryder and Associates Architecture

North San Diego County

Located in North San Diego County, Ryder and Associates Architecture specializes in custom homes, commercial tenant improvements, care facilities, home additions, and large-scale remodels. The firm has worked on projects varying in value ranging from simple one-room assignments to multi-million dollar mansions. The firm has also grown and evolved to become an expert in a number of architectural themes. Its portfolio depicts several traditional and modern homes, often characterized by the firm’s fine woodwork, details, and millwork. The firm offers nearly three decades of design experience and maintains affiliations with prestigious organizations like the US Green Building Council. It is also a LEED certified company.

Depicted above is some of the firm’s best work. For this Craftsman home, the firm made use of a neutral color palette, paneled walls, and windows with English cottage inspired shutters.

SK7 Architecture

3065 Rosecrans Pl., San Diego, CA 92110

Established in 2010, SK7 Architecture is a full service firm that specializes in residential custom home projects. It is led by Sam Koobs, an experienced architect who has led the firm to expertise in custom homes, large-scale remodels, and home additions for all types of residential projects. The firm’s portfolio displays a number of traditional themed homes ranging from farmhouses to classic Spanish revivals. The firm’s work is best characterized by its fine woodwork and custom finishes. It also often employs neutral color palettes and showcases skill for stucco exteriors and masonry.

Our editorial team loved this home located in Carlsbad. It is a contemporary eclectic farmhouse which spans over 4,111 square feet. Inside, it has four bedrooms and four and a half bathrooms; outside, a small cozy front porch is nestled in the project’s front yard.

TRE Architecture

300 Carlsbad Village Dr. Suite 108A-336, Carlsbad, CA 92008

TRE Architecture works closely with each of its clients from inception all the way to construction and completion. Its name was derived from the Italian translation of the number three: a reference to Roman architect Vitruvius. The firm commits itself to the highest of design standards and ensures that each of its projects are crafted with its environments and communities in mind. The firm able to take on projects regardless of scale and difficulty. Headquartered in Carlsbad, the firm has been in business since 2014 and is the product of its principals’ collective award-winning experiences.

The featured project was completed in Oceanside. For this home, the firm was tasked with its entire transformation. First designed in the 1950s, this former one-story home now has a second level and features French eclectic architecture. You will love the views of the nearby Pacific Ocean provided in its large rooms, as well as its expansive outdoor living space.



  • Shahe Demirdjian

    Shahe is an Editor at Home Builder Digest with around four years of experience as a writer and editor in the construction space. Shahe has always had a huge interest in commercial/residential construction and real estate. On top of his experience at Home Builder Digest, he has two years of experience as a Construction Partner Specialist at BuildZoom and six years of experience as a licensed real estate agent. In his work, he takes advantage of his expertise to take complex technical jargon from those realms and transform them into accessible, engaging content, blending his business administration expertise with a degree from Arizona State University with his experiential insights. Expertise: Architecture, Home Design and Build, Home Remodeling Key Highlights: Arizona Real Estate - Licensed Salesperson Education: Arizona State University - Bachelors in Business Administration