My Latest Architect Obsession: Neumann Mendro Andrulaitis Architects, LLP

Normally I write or edit copy provided to me on this blog, but Dave Mendro, partner at NMA sent me what I think is a perfect description of what they design. 

Creating Your Sense of Place

Andy, Mary, and I have enjoyed a wonderful relationship working together and creating architecture here in Santa Barbara for over 25 years.

Why are we in Santa Barbara?

That’s easy, for the same reason most of us make Santa Barbara our home - the ocean, the mountains, the sunlight and warm weather. I just can’t imagine a better place to live and work. Our beautiful natural environment and climate are so conducive to great living and great design.

One of our main goals, and a common thread in all our work, from homes for families to commercial buildings for businesses, is to create a strong connection with the environment and to create places for indoor-outdoor living. We see our designs as a backdrop to the to the natural environment and the way our clients want to live, work, and play. I think we are all living our version of the California dream here in SB. We want to help with that.

We don’t take a cookie cutter approach to design. We prefer to start the design process without a particular style of architecture in mind. We enjoy the challenge of reinventing the wheel, approaching each project individually, and coming up with a perfect solution. That’s what keeps us motivated and energized. We work very closely with our clients to understand their needs and desires, and to study the features of their building site. Then we evolve the design from the inside out. Our goal is to create a place that is perfectly suited to our client’s needs and to their site context. That’s why our work is very broad based ranging from contemporary to traditional, and transitional designs in-between. We’re always looking forward to working with our next client, designing our next best project, and creating their own, unique sense of place.

More information at 

Photos by Ciro Coelho. Used with permission

My Latest Architect Obsession: DesignArc

Founded by my friend, Mark Kirkhart and partners, DesignARC is an innovative design firm based in Santa Barbara and Los Angeles comprised of progressive, like-minded thinkers who share a genuine desire to research, learn, and apply newfound knowledge to the project at hand. Specializing in custom residential, commercial, hospitality and institutional design, the company culture stresses collaboration among colleagues, in the search for creative architectural solutions for its clients.

DesignARC has designed and seen through construction a decidedly diverse portfolio of architectural projects during the past forty years, and has received over thirty design awards for Excellence in Architecture.  The honored work includes many restaurant and hospitality projects in New York, San Francisco, Los Angeles and Santa Barbara, as well as numerous multi-family residential projects in Los Angeles, San Diego, and Palm Springs, California.

DesignARC’s highly collaborative approach to projects is the core of this commitment: a central belief is that the most successful projects celebrate the goals and ambitions of the client, rather than the signature of the architect.  Essential to this approach is DesignARC’s ability to establish a close working partnership with every client; developing goals, program parameters, building solutions and management strategies, within a framework which assigns the highest priority to communication and the collaborative process.






My Latest Architect Obsession: Appleton Partners LLP- Architects

Appleton Partners LLP – Architects was established by my friend Marc Appleton in 1976, and has offices in Santa Monica and Santa Barbara, California. Specializing in the planning and design of custom residential, institutional and commercial projects for both private and public clients, their projects include additions, restorations and the adaptive reuse of existing buildings as well new construction.

Their work frequently draws upon the time-honored traditions of vernacular architecture, subtly reinterpreting them to evoke a presence of the past. Although every project is unique to its situation, this approach helps distinguish each project as part of a historical continuum, in the process allowing it to belong more convincingly on its site and its context, whether urban or rural.

Marc Appleton has the rare honor of being among only 10 architects in the U.S. who have been selected for Architectural Digest’s AD100 every year since its inception in 1991.

For more information, visit