San Clemente is the southernmost city of Orange County, best known for its incredible oceanside scenery, rolling hills, and breathtaking mountain views. It is regarded as one of the best places to live in California and offers prospective homeowners pleasant climates and highly popular beautiful  Spanish colonial-style architecture.

Known as the “Spanish Village by the Sea,” most residents here in San Clemente live in their own homes and enjoy leisurely activities in several of its quaint and inviting restaurants, coffee shops, and parks. This list contains ten of the area’s best architects behind some of San Clemente’s most beautiful homes. They were chosen based on merit, experience, and their portfolios.

Brandon Architects

151 Kalmus Dr. Suite G-1, Costa Mesa, CA 92626 

Brandon Architects assists its clients throughout the entire process, from inception through to completion. It begins its approach by thoroughly researching a project’s specific demands and potential problems. It makes use of the best and latest industry technology to visualize a home before it is constructed. This thorough process is achieved through Building Information Modeling (BIM), which helps the team to prepare accurate 3D models, building a house virtually before breaking ground. The firm has worked on over 180 homes since its inception. These homes include not only single-family residences but also multi-family, commercial, and hospitality building projects. 

Spanning over 6,497 square feet, the project above showcases the firm’s excellent craftsmanship. It is located in the heart of San Clemente and features a Cape Cod inspired design that fits in well with the locale’s coastal themes. 

Anders Lasater Architects

384 Forest Ave. #12, Laguna Beach, CA 92651

With numerous press features in magazines such as Design OC, Luxe Interiors + Design, and Professional Builder, Anders Lasater Architects is a multi-award winning firm regarded as one of the area’s premier residential architecture companies. Its designs embrace not only the latest and most timeless themes but also various functional and innovative techniques. It has collaborated with clients throughout California and abroad, from Hawaii to Chicago to Greece to Bermuda. The firm’s impressive buildings and transformative living spaces are also tailored and designed to fit a client’s lifestyle and needs. Additionally, it has secured a solid reputation for itself for its excellent command of a project’s space and light, as well as its use of only the finest materials. Anders Lasater Architects has been committing itself to quality craftsmanship since 2005 and is led by its founder and namesake Anders Lasater. He holds a Master of Architecture degree from UCLA and a Bachelor of Architecture degree from Cal Poly Pomona. He is licensed in California, Texas, Nevada, and Hawaii. His background includes over a decade of experience as a managing associate before establishing the firm. He has demonstrated expertise when it comes to residential projects as well as restaurant, retail, and hotel projects.

Completed in 2013, the project above was designed for a neurosurgeon, an attorney, and their family. It sits on a narrow corner lot with magnificent views of the nearby area and the horizon. For this project, the firm’s team opted for a contemporary design, using an open floor plan coupled with minimalist touches and clean finishes. 

 FoxLin Architects

392 Camino de Estrella, San Clemente, CA 92672

FoxLin Architects is the brainchild of Juintow Lin and Michael Fox. The two came together in 2005 to start the firm and initially took on only a few select residential projects each year to ensure the quality of their work. As time passed, they led their team to become one of the area’s most recognizable firms, with distinctions from organizations such as the American Institute of Architects (AIA). The firm is also known for incorporating sustainable elements into their homes. The firm uses a method that integrates technology and architecture and ensures its clients’ needs and visions are realized.

Their best work is seen in the featured project. Labeled in its portfolio as the “Triton Residence,” this home sits on a beautiful bluff with panoramic distant ocean views in Carlsbad. The team opted for an open floor plan in which every room has views of the ocean. The home is light and airy and anchors itself towards outdoor living with its large living, dining, and bedrooms. 

Horst Architects

247A Forest Ave., Laguna Beach, CA 92651

Established in 1990, Horst Architects is based in Laguna Beach and is known for its highly multi-disciplinary approach. It is led by Horst Noppenberger, who holds a degree in architecture from California State Polytechnic University, Pomona. His leadership has helped evolve the firm into the dynamic company it is today. Horst Architects infuses various sustainability techniques into its projects and is very much culturally and environmentally aware. It comes up with innovative design solutions and caters to each of its clients’ needs, ideas, and any challenges that may come up throughout the project’s duration. The firm achieves this through its rich experience that guides every phase of the process. The firm is primarily known for its modern and contemporary spaces, which has resulted in elegant rooms noted for its interplay of light, material, and form. The firm’s excellent work has been featured in various publications such as World Architecture, Ville Giardini, Vogue, and Luxe and Interiors. Some of its most recent features include the Art and Architecture Home Tour, co-sponsored by the Orange County Museum of Art and the AIA.

The project above sits atop the vertical face of a rocky, coastal promontory in Laguna Beach, which maximizes the area’s views and natural surroundings. The team has seamlessly integrated interior and exterior spaces. The home includes a detached guest house organized around a series of connected courtyards.

Lampert Dias Architects

PO 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 various 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. The firm’s homes are also energy-efficient. When it comes to design, Lampert Dias builds both traditional and contemporary home styles including country cottages, Spanish revivals, farmhouses, and several others.

Lampert Dias’ craftsmanship is best seen in the chosen project. It spans 3,400 square feet and features a Spanish colonial theme with hints and influences of Andalusian architecture from Southern Spain. It was completed in 2015 and has decks on three sides for sweeping ocean views of one of San Clemente’s best surfing beaches. 

Kristine Sprague Architect 

3331 Calle La Veta, San Clemente, CA 92672

Headquartered in San Clemente, Kristine Sprague Architect specializes in residential design and offers its clients nearly two decades of experience. It provides clients services in every phase and aspect of residential design and commits to the highest standards. The firm’s team uses a highly hands-on approach that emphasizes the importance of constant and effective communication throughout the entire process. The firm offers free on-site initial consultations, working closely with homeowners to put their ideas on paper and through the use of 3D computer modeling technology. Once the design is finalized, it creates a custom and complete package of construction drawings, permit processing, and bidding documents. The team has worked on design review boards, city permitting, and general contractor referrals.

Kristine Sprague Architect practices throughout Orange County. Some of its best projects can be found in Aliso Viejo, Anaheim, Capistrano Beach, Corona Del Mar, Costa Mesa, Dana Point, Irvine, El Toro, Foothill Ranch, Irvine, and Ladera Ranch, to name a few. Spanning 700 square feet, the project above— dubbed in its portfolio as the Marblehead Summit Home—was a home addition and renovation project. For this home, the firm was challenged to enlarge and replace the space’s kitchen and reconfigure the breakfast area and family room. One of its walls was replaced entirely with glass to showcase the nearby views of the ocean. Simultaneously, a great room encompasses the large kitchen, informal eating area, and family TV room that opens to a covered patio.

Studio 6 Architects

2753 Camino Capistrano Suite A100, San Clemente, CA 92672

Studio 6 Architects is the product of the collaboration between experienced professionals Rob Williams and Brian Muehlbauer. Williams brings over three decades of industry architectural experience to the company, including residential, civic, and sustainable design. He functions as the firm’s Lead Designer. Since beginning his career, he has taken on multiple projects from high-end custom homes and libraries to Active Adult communities, including clubhouses. Muehlbauer, on the other hand, has over two decades of experience in the design and construction of high-end residential projects. He has worked on numerous projects both on a local and international level. Additionally, Muehlbauer is known for his ability to maximize the use of a project’s site to its best potential, from luxurious oceanside homes to steep desert grade villas.  

Under their leadership, the firm has secured a solid reputation for itself. It has also had the privilege of gracing the pages of various publications, which include Coast Magazine. Its work is best embodied by the project above. Drawing inspiration from classic craftsman elements, this home was designed to feature stucco finishes coupled with wooden pieces. A neutral color palette may also be observed, as well as several custom finishes. 

Elements Architecture

6B Liberty #100, Aliso Viejo, CA 92656

Unlike most firms on this list, Elements Architecture specializes in residential architecture and commercial and religious work. Its portfolio depicts a beautiful gallery of custom homes and renovations, in addition to several churches and unique retail spaces. It primarily draws inspiration from its years in the industry and its team’s rich and individual experiences. Formerly DesignARC, the firm is overseen by Scott Holland, noted for his outstanding work ethic and professionalism. The firm has acquired a particular expertise for the latest and most innovative modern and contemporary designs.

That talent for innovation manifests itself in its Harbor View project depicted below. Perched high on a hill in the beach town of San Clemente, this home spans 3,400 square feet and provides scenic views of beautiful Dana Point harbor. It granted the firm’s team the unique and fantastic opportunity of designing each room in the home to come with a view while maintaining privacy for the owners. Inside, it has a custom skylight that runs the structure’s length, allowing natural light into its spaces. 

Michael Luna & Associates

971 Calle Negocio Suite 200B, San Clemente, CA 92673

Michael Luna and Associates offers potential clients comprehensive planning, architecture, and commercial interior design services. Its process emphasizes the importance of communication and offers its clients good deals and high-quality services at competitive prices. It has been in business since 1988 and takes pride in its ability to negotiate effectively, maintain positive community relations, and provide design alternatives for projects. In particular, its architecture services include 3D design imaging, site analysis, building design, construction documentation, construction contract administration, and bidding and negotiation work. 

The firm’s founder and namesake, Michael Luna, held positions with nationally and internationally acclaimed architecture and interior design firms before establishing the company. He has nearly four decades of industry experience in the design and management of architectural and interior projects, including hotels, restaurants, office buildings, revitalization projects, and theaters.

R. Douglas Mansfield Architect

108 W El Portal, San Clemente, CA 92672

Operating out of its office in San Clemente, R. Douglas Mansfield Architect has been servicing the area since 1997. Since its establishment, the firm has continually developed an impressive and very loyal client list that includes entrepreneurs, industry leaders, and executives. It has provided a multitude of excellent design solutions for its clientele and utilizes a highly hands-on and personalized approach for each of its work. The firm is known for its meticulousness, its attention to detail. The firm’s work can be found in some of California’s most exclusive and prestigious neighborhoods, such as Newport Beach, Rancho Santa Fe, La Jolla, and Laguna Beach, among many other notable locations. These opportunities have enabled it to work with some of the most challenging and complex projects. 

Showcased above is one of the firm’s best Spanish Villas. This project challenged the firm to capture the area’s gorgeous coastal and harbor views. The result was this beautiful Mediterranean home, which primarily borrowed elements from California’s highly popular Spanish revivals. Inside, it has a master bedroom, secondary bedrooms, a library, a teen room, and a family room, among its many beautiful amenities.