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The Best Residential Architects in Santa Monica, California

9 Min Read

Nestled along the sun-kissed shores of Southern California, Santa Monica offers an enticing blend of coastal charm and urban vibrancy, making it an ideal destination for those seeking a wonderful place to call home and a sound investment opportunity. With its stunning beaches, lively cultural scene, and strong sense of community, Santa Monica continues to be a magnet for those who appreciate the finer things in life. 

In Santa Monica, California, you’ll discover a thriving real estate market with a range of residential properties, each offering a unique experience of this coastal paradise. Whether you’re considering a beachfront villa, a modern urban condo, or a historic bungalow, Santa Monica has a home to suit every lifestyle. Here are Santa Monica, California’s eight best residential architects to help you build your dream home. 

Montalba Architects 

2525 Michigan Ave, Bldg. T4, Santa Monica, CA 90404 

Montalba Architects, Inc. is a distinguished architectural firm with a global footprint, renowned for its thoughtful and visionary approach to design. What sets it apart is its unwavering commitment to humanistic architecture, a practice that considers not just the functional needs of clients and the unique characteristics of each site, but also the cultural and economic context. The result is solutions that seamlessly blend with the surroundings yet are conceptually forward-thinking, offering both aesthetic appeal and practical functionality. 

The firm’s portfolio showcases various projects, from commercial office interiors to residential homes and retail stores to master planning endeavors. However, at the heart of every project lies a focus on creating spaces that not only cater to practical needs but also foster a sense of community and artistic progression. This commitment has earned the firm numerous accolades, including the 2022 American Institute of Architects (AIA) Los Angeles Residential Architecture Merit for its work on the Vertical Courtyard House. This recognition underscores the fact that Montalba Architects, Inc. is synonymous with innovative and contextually rich design, consistently pushing the boundaries of architectural creativity. 

Ehrlich Yanai Rhee Chaney Architects 

10865 Washington Blvd, Culver City, CA 90232 

Ehrlich Yanai Rhee Chaney Architects, formerly Ehrlich Architects, stands as a beacon of architectural innovation in California. With offices in Los Angeles and San Francisco, the firm has earned global recognition for its unique approach that seamlessly merges modern technologies with a deep respect for culture and the environment. Whether an award-winning residential design or a complex, large-scale project, its work reflects a commitment to creating spaces that harmonize with nature and culture. Its exceptional work is exemplified in projects like the UC San Diego Theatre District Living and Learning Neighborhood. 

In recognition of its excellence, Ehrlich Yanai Rhee Chaney Architects has amassed a remarkable list of accolades, including eight prestigious National American Institute of Architects (AIA) awards and the coveted AIA National Firm Award in 2015. These awards underscore the firm’s ongoing status as a force in shaping the architectural world, blending modernism with cultural sensitivity and environmental consciousness.

AAHA Studio 

9856 Vidor Dr, Los Angeles, CA 90035 

AAHA Studio, a distinctive family-operated architecture and interior design firm, stands out for its dedicated, hands-on approach to crafting clients’ architectural and design dreams. It offers a concierge-style service, which means working collaboratively with clients, understanding their visions, and delivering exceptional results. Its track record of excellence is underscored by its recognition as the “Best of La Cantina” for its remarkable work on the Kansas Ave Residence. Its affiliation with the American Institute of Architects (AIA) further speaks to its commitment to professional excellence and ethics. 

At AAHA Studio, the leadership team consists of seasoned architects Harper Halprin and Aaron Leshtz, who are both AIA certified. Their experiences span iconic cities like New York and Los Angeles, as well as encompass a wide array of projects, from high-end residences to flagship retail concepts. Their team’s passion shines through in every project, making the firm a trusted name in architecture and interior design.

Lehrer Architects 

2140 Hyperion Ave, Silverlake, Los Angeles, CA 90027 

Founded in 1985 by Michael B. Lehrer in the heart of Los Angeles’ Los Feliz district, Lehrer Architects has evolved into a well-established architectural firm with deep roots in the community. What sets it apart is the extensive experience and expertise of its professional team, which excels in projects ranging from urban design to residential, commercial, institutional, and landscape endeavors. Regardless of the project type, Lehrer Architects’ unique touch is evident in its commitment to community and cultural collaboration, and to enhancing the local landscape and enriching the lives of those it serves.

The firm’s dedication to excellence is underscored by its noteworthy recognitions, such as the 2021 Residential Architecture Award from the American Institute of Architects (AIA) Los Angeles. The firm also garnered exceptional acclaim for one of its standout projects, the Chandler Tiny Homes Village. Beyond its accolades, however, the firm’s legacy of architectural innovation and its commitment to the community make it a prominent figure in Los Angeles’ architectural landscape. 


3101 W Exposition Place, Los Angeles, CA 90018 

RIOS, established in 1985 as a multi-disciplinary design firm, is a hub of creativity headquartered in Los Angeles. It prides itself on the remarkable synergy within its team, where professionals boast a diverse array of talents, including architecture, landscape architecture, urban planning, graphic design, interior design, exhibit design, and product design. Clearly, the company is a hub of innovation, where collaboration and cooperation is the driving force of its approach.

The firm doesn’t confine itself to a single location; rather, it has an influential presence in various cities, from San Francisco to Puebla, Mexico. Meanwhile, its portfolio comprises a rich tapestry of projects spanning municipal, corporate, retail, hospitality, institutional, and residential sectors. Each undertaking reflects not just the skill, but the passion that the team brings to the table. The firm’s commitment to excellence is further reflected in its affiliations with respected organizations like the American Institute of Architects (AIA) and the International Interior Design Association (IIDA). 

KAA Design 

12921 W Washington Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90066 

Nestled in the heart of Los Angeles, KAA Design is a prominent residential design firm led by visionary Founding Partner Grant C. Kirkpatrick and Partner Duan H.M. Tran. The firm is notable for the synergy of its over 35 experienced designers, each contributing their multidisciplinary expertise to create forward-thinking residential spaces. That is, at KAA Design, the magic happens through a deeply collaborative and personal design process. This approach reflects its commitment to seamlessly blending architecture and landscape architecture, a fusion that ensures the client’s vision and lifestyle harmonize with the unique site characteristics. 

The firm’s accolades, including the 2017 American Institute of Architects (AIA) South Bay Design Award for its work on “34th & The Strand,” highlight its commitment to excellence. As a proud member of the AIA, KAA Design continues to elevate the human spirit through warm contemporary residential design, channeling the energy of California’s optimism and progressive ideals, which have been at the heart of its work for over 35 years.

Griffin Enright Architects 

12468 W Washington Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90066 

Griffin Enright Architects, a Los Angeles-based firm founded in 2000 by Margaret Griffin and John Enright, embodies a passion for innovation and an eagerness to explore the intricate interplay between culture and the built environment. This dynamic practice transcends conventional boundaries, from substantial commercial and residential commissions to the creative realms of furniture design and gallery installations, both locally and globally. Regardless of the project type, the firm is renowned for its ability to harmoniously connect architectural design with the surrounding urban fabric and landscape. It opens doors to fresh and unanticipated experiences by weaving together urban context, architecture, and landscape, bringing a new perspective to each project. 

The firm’s impressive accolades include the 2023 American Institute of Architects (AIA) Los Angeles Residential Architecture Award for its work on the Sunset Avenue Residence. This award reflects the fact that Griffin Enright Architects stands at the forefront of architectural innovation, consistently pushing boundaries and transforming how individuals perceive their surroundings. 

ANX / Aaron Neubert Architects 

2814 Rowena Ave, Los Angeles, CA 90039

ANX / Aaron Neubert Architects is a design practice that masterfully weaves together form, landscape, light, and materiality to craft spaces that resonate with a poetic quality. With a deep commitment to enhancing the human experience and promoting environmental stewardship, it stands as a beacon of architectural excellence. The firm’s dedication to its craft has not gone unnoticed, earning it the prestigious Interiors Award of Excellence in the 2022 Los Angeles Business Council Architectural Awards. It received this recognition for its outstanding work on “The Bunker.” 

ANX maintains affiliations with the American Institute of Architects (AIA), showcasing its dedication to professional standards and ethics in architecture. Its work has also been featured in respected publications like Archinect and designboom, underlining its impact on the architectural world. With a foundation built on artistic sensibilities, sustainable practices, and meticulous attention to detail, ANX continues to push the boundaries of architectural design, leaving a trail of beautifully crafted homes that celebrate both form and function.