Southeast of Los Angeles, at the border of Orange County, lies the Gateway Cities of California: a cluster of 27 different cities that operate as the “gateway” between Los Angeles County and Orange County. The region is best known for its international trade facilitated by the Ports of Long Beach and Los Angeles, the busiest container ports in the U.S. 

Due to its proximity to the Pacific Ocean, the region enjoys a year-round climate of ocean breezes and moderate temperatures. The Gateway Cities are the perfect combination of urban excitement and rural pastoralism. Housing opportunities range from luxurious beachfront properties to single-family homes, apartments, condominiums, as well as affordable housing close to the workplace. These homes have been made possible by the best residential architects in the Gateway Cities. 

The top architects on this list have been ranked according to company profile, experience, services offered, customer satisfaction, awards received, and media features and coverage. With these firms’ unique designs and services and their high levels of quality, clients are sure that their discerning tastes and preferences will be satisfied, whichever firm on the list they choose to work with.

Brion Jeannette Architecture

470 Old Newport Boulevard, Newport Beach, CA 92663

Brion Jeannette Architecture is a firm that, though primarily focused on the Southern California coast, is recognized internationally for its architectural originality and leadership. Since its establishment, the company has been considered a pioneer and it’s a much-sought expert in energy-efficient aesthetics.

The company is headed by Brion Jeannette, a member and director of the American Institute of Architects (AIA), who earned his degree in architecture—with an emphasis on environmental sensitivities, structural integrity, and design theory—from the University of Arizona, Tucson. Under Brion’s leadership, the firm has constructed homes on environmentally sensitive or awkward sites, including the rugged coastal bluffs of Orange County. The firm’s work has been featured in the pages of California Homes, Orange Coast magazine, Newport Beach, Design OC, Home and Style, and Western Art and Architecture. Today, Brion Jeannette Architecture maintains the reputation for excellence that it began to cultivate four and a half decades ago.

Geoff Sumich Design

31511 Camino Capistrano, Suite A, San Juan Capistrano, CA 92675

Geoff Sumich Design was founded over three decades ago on the strength of principal Geoff Sumich’s approach to “romantic modernism.” Using this philosophy, Geoff references and incorporates elements of the past while celebrating the simplicity and minimalism of modern design through the use of materials such as stone, wood, and steel. These are allowed to age in a natural and maintenance-free manner and then placed in the context of simple and clean modern space.

Geoff is personally involved with every aspect of the home and encourages the involvement of clients in the entire process. As a result, Geoff is able to address the thousands of big and small questions that arise, ensuring the execution of the design and the success of the project. Because of the impeccable results of Geoff’s approach and process, the firm’s work has been featured in the pages of Architectural Digest, Prospertere, The Orange County Register, Ocean Home magazine, Riviera magazine, The Los Angeles Times, and Bluedoor Magazine.

Grisafe Architecture

3750 Schaufele Ave., Suite 150, Long Beach, CA 90808

Grisafe Architecture is a full service commercial and residential architecture firm based in the Long Beach area. The firm has been offering its architectural services to the area since 2008. 
The firm’s principal, Mark Grisafe, has an extensive background in architecture, having been in the architectural and related industries since 1989. The firm typically builds homes in both Traditional and Modern architectural styles. The firm’s process of designing and constructing places the client at the core of the project. Because it places such close attention to the client’s vision, Grisafe Architecture receives a lot of repeat business, as well as business from past clients’ referrals. The firm has been featured in Long Beach Magazine and the website For more information about Grisafe Architecture, you can view their website here.

Gulian Design Inc.

5855 E Naples Plaza Suite 212, Long Beach, CA 90803

Gulian Design Inc. is an award-winning architectural firm specializing in luxury custom homes and commercial designs. They have been in the business for over 30 years. The firm’s president, Edward Gulian has led the company in the areas of San Francisco, Los Angeles, Palos Verdes, Long Beach, all the way to Newport Beach, and beyond.

In addition to high end custom residential designs, Gulian Design, Inc. provides design services to commercial buildings, mixed-use and retail, tenant improvements, restaurants, interior and kitchen designs.  They can provide construction management, as well as structural, mechanical, electrical, and plumbing engineering. Typically, the firm’s design goal is to suit the style and needs of each client. They have an extensive portfolio in contemporary, Mid-Century Modern, Modern Farmhouse, Mediterranean, Bahama/Island Style, Cape Cod, and Spanish architectural styles. With its diverse offerings, Gulian Design Inc. is a one-stop-shop for beautiful design and comprehensive service.

Hannouche Architects

20250 SW Acacia Street, Suite 145, Newport Beach, CA 92660

Hannouche Architects, Inc., is a Newport Beach, California-based planning and architecture firm with more than three decades of experience in the building and design industry. Headed by Samir Hannouche, NCARB, the award-winning professional building firm offers residential services to the areas of Huntington Beach, Palm Springs, Los Angeles, Chino Hills, Glendora, and Anaheim.

Commissioned by and licensed to Woodbridge Pacific Homes.

Nationally recognized as a leader in creative solutions, Hannouche Architects employs a mix of imaginative concepts combined with practical expertise. The firm’s design portfolio includes projects ranging from distinctive custom residences to high density attached housing. Hannouche Architects has been the recipient of many architectural design awards, including the “MAME” (Major Achievements in Merchandising Excellence) and the prestigious “Gold Nugget” Grand Award. The firm’s work is also frequently featured in notable industry magazines such as Professional Builder, Multi-Housing News, Builder, Luxury Homes, Design/Build Business, Builder Digest, Residential Architect, and California Builder.

Interstices Architecture

1322 Coronado Avenue, Suite C, Long Beach, CA 90804

Interstices Architecture is an award-winning architectural firm with almost three decades of experience in the building and design industry. At the helm of the firm is Jonathan Glasgow, an active member of prestigious building organizations such as the American Institute of Architects (AIA).

Jonathan has served as President and Director of Advocacy for the Long Beach/South Bay Chapter of the American Institute of Architects, Director of Advocacy and Preservationist of the Year for Long Beach Heritage, and Chair of the Long Beach Downtown Visioning Task Force. Under his skilled leadership, the firm has extensive experience in various design works, from office, restaurant, retail, to adaptive reuse as well as commercial and residential work and historical preservation.

The quality of the firm’s work and its reputation for offering comprehensive services have earned Interstices Architecture several AIA Long Beach/ South Bay Honor, Merit, and Citation Awards, making the firm a force to be reckoned with in the architecture and design scene. 

Jeannette Architects

296 Redondo Avenue, Long Beach CA 90803

Jeff Jeannette, the founder of Jeannette Architects, started his career as a framer for homes. Due to his early start in the industry, his construction knowledge makes him creative and well-rounded in both design and product detailing. Jeff received his architectural degree from the University of Arizona, and today his firm specializes in custom residential architecture design for new homes and remodels.

In addition to all Jeff’s construction know-how, he has the certifications to back his knowledge and skills up. Jeff is a Certified Green Building Professional (CGBP), and a member of the United States Green Building Council (USGBC), the American Institute of Architects (AIA), and the National Council of Architectural Registration Board (NCARB). Under Jeff’s leadership and his focus on green building, Jeannette Architects strives for basic design considerations like passive and active solar design, cutting edge heating/cooling & electrical technologies, specification of durable recycled materials, recyclable materials, healthy materials, and designing with the intent to maximize light and ventilation into every possible space.

Kelly Sutherlin McLeod Architecture

3827 Long Beach Blvd., Long Beach, CA 90807

Kelly Sutherlin McLeod Architecture is an award-winning Long Beach-based architecture firm headed by a Fellow of the American Institute of Architects (FAIA), Kelly Sutherlin McLeod. Founded in 1988, KSM Architecture continues to cultivate a reputation for excellence in building and design.

At KSM Architecture, the design process happens through the combination of an intrinsic architectural design aesthetic for the preservation and restoration of historically significant buildings with design innovation for residential, light commercial, civic, urban planning, and interior projects for public and private clientele. This process has resulted in the firm garnering numerous awards, some of which include two 2016 American Architectural Awards for historic preservation from The Chicago Athenaeum International Museum of Architecture and Design and The European Centre for Architecture Art Design and Urban Studies. All this speaks to the firm’s dedication to impeccable design and amazing results.

Kollin Altomare Architects

4265 E. Conant Street, Ste 101, Long Beach, CA 90808

Kollin Altomare Architects was established more than 20 years ago on a foundation of quality residential design, and a commitment to deliver aesthetically pleasing solutions that surpass client expectations. The firm was founded by Michael Kollin, who has been involved in the completion of over 400 hospitality, residential, and leisure projects in more than 25 states and four countries. Kollin Altomare’s team of talented professionals contributes a wealth of architectural planning, design, and renovation experience, with an expertise in project management.

Although Kollin Altomare is best known for its specialty in hospitality design and renovation work, the firm has made its mark in high-end residential, retail, and mixed-use developments. Kollin Altomare’s work has been featured on the pages of Residential Design & Build Magazine, Hawaiian Style Magazine, Dream Home Magazine, Long Beach Magazine, Custom Home Magazine, and Coast Magazine. Michael’s affiliations and memberships include: the American Institute of Architects (AIA), the National Council of Architectural Registration Boards (NCARB), and International Society of Hospitality Consultants (ISHC).  Several staff members are LEED Certified in Building Design and Construction by the US Green Building Council (USGBC).

Mark Wheeler Residential Design

325 Roycroft Avenue, Long Beach, CA 90814

Mark Wheeler Residential Design is a full-service design firm that has been serving the Greater Los Angeles area for almost two decades. Although the firm is based in Long Beach, it also provides projects to Huntington Beach, Newport Beach, and the surrounding coastal communities.

The firm’s founder, Mark Wheeler, is a prolific architect, who has designed more than 200 custom homes, renovations, and remodels. His work can be seen throughout California, from San Diego to the Bay area. You’ll even find his work in Utah, Texas, and North Carolina. What sets Mark Wheeler Residential Design apart is that its designs put emphasis on comfy, casual, efficient living in architecturally significant surroundings. This kind of design approach has resulted in the firm’s receipt of several awards over the years, as well as a feature in Long Beach Architecture. Today, the firm continues to cultivate both a passion for meaningful design and a reputation for excellent outcomes.

Otis Architecture 

909 Electric Avenue, Suite 207, Seal Beach, CA 90740

Otis Architecture has been serving the areas of Huntington Beach, Seal Beach, and Redondo Beach for over 20 years. In all this time, the firm, under the leadership of its founder Karen Otis, has been refining design principles and their approach to the building process.

Karen’s approach involves attempting to redefine the most mundane spaces or objects, drawing viewers’ eyes and senses back to these objects, whether by giving them a new form or material. Karen’s goal is to create spaces that engage the viewer or visitor—to enhance and deepen their experience—an experience she considers as important as the visual result. With this unique philosophy and delicate approach to design, Otis Architecture has been winning the hearts of many and gaining the attention of publications such as Orange Coast Magazine and Orange County Home.

Pretty Smart Interiors|Architecture|Furniture

4117 E 4th St., Long Beach, CA 90814

Pretty Smart is a full-service, multi-disciplinary firm with over 10 years of experience serving Long Beach and its surrounding areas. The firm’s founder, Daniella Carter, has over 15 years of experience designing projects. Ms. Carter holds the unique philosophy that design should be an enjoyable process of inquiry, discovery, and growth, which develops out of a close collaboration between client and consultants that results in spaces that inspire and connect people, both to each other and to the planet.

Pretty Smart’s work is influenced by design history and is mixed with lessons learned from mid-century masters that resonate with the firm’s sense of clean lines and functionality while maintaining a feeling of warmth and connection. As a true multi-disciplinary design firm,  the Pretty Smart team is composed of interior designers who speak architecture, architects who speak construction, and hardscape and landscape designers who speak graphic design. Pretty Smart is an HGTV Pro Network Designer and has been featured in Stunning Poolside Patios and HGTV’s House Hunters Renovation.

Sennikoff Architects

5500 East 2nd Street, Suite 1A, Naples Island, Long Beach, CA 90803

Sennikoff Architects is an architectural practice specializing in the design of custom homes, residential remodels, ADUs, residential care facilities for the elderly, and residential developments. Founded in 2010 by Steven Sennikoff, the firm is proud to serve the areas of Newport Beach, Costa Mesa, Encino, Henderson, and Long Beach.

Steven began his career working for an architectural firm while studying at Long Beach community college. After years of experience in different companies, Steven developed unique designs and innovative building types. These innovations earned various awards through the years, including Attached and Detached Communities, and Custom Homes of the Year in several award programs. Under Steven’s leadership, Sennikoff Architects provides appropriate, yet innovative design solutions, implementing best practice procedures specifically tailored for each project and performing beyond its clients’ expectations.

Shepherd Architects

9462 Waterfront Drive, Huntington Beach, CA 92646

Established in 1992, Shepherd Architects is a full-service independent architectural practice specializing in kitchen/bathroom remodels, exquisite custom homes, commercial tenant improvements, restaurants, and ground-up commercial buildings. Founded by Steven Shepherd, the firm has completed projects with a broad range of types, complexities, sizes, and costs.

By striking an appropriate balance between boundless creativity, energy, imagination, and the disciplined application of the architectural tradition, Steven and the firm have been successfully assisting a wide array of clients for nearly three decades. The firm considers its work to be inspired and meticulous, and although it does not have a specific style specialty, it uses historical sources and precedent as a guide.

Ultra-Unit Architecture

1327 Loma Avenue, Long Beach, CA 90804

Ultra-Unit Architecture is a cutting-edge, boutique architectural and design firm that offers full building and construction services to Long Beach, Costa Mesa, Rossmoor, Hermosa Beach, and Seal Beach. The firm is headed by Cameron Crockett, a member of the American Institute of Architects (AIA), and a LEED-accredited professional.

Under the leadership of Mr. Crockett, Ultra-Unit frequently constructs what it designs, primarily because it has found that it’s the only way to ensure the quality that it demands. In order to ensure that each project it takes on is prioritized, Ultra-Unit accepts a limited number of projects. That limited client list means it has time to listen to its clients, use advanced digital construction technology, and ensure architectural integrity. Not only can the firm accurately assess construction-related costs and implications, it consistently designs clients an extraordinary showpiece building.