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Best Landscape Design Firm
Grounded

 

Best Designer
Lauren Geremia 

READERS' CHOICE
Best Transitional Designer
Ann Lowengart 

Best Contemporary Designer
Ryan White  

Best of Design: Best in Biz

From San Francisco to San Diego and everywhere in between, California is teeming with undeniable design talent. Here, we pay homage to the Golden State’s brightest stars. 

Best Landscape Design Firm 
Grounded
“I like to get the view from every room,” says San Diego landscape architect Richard Risner of beginning work on new commissions. Risner, who worked for public agencies like the California Coastal Commission before launching his practice, Grounded, in 2007, oversees myriad residential and commercial projects. “Ninety percent of my clients want a modern aesthetic, very little embellishment.” For one home in Hillcrest, Risner took a “holistic approach to defining usable space” for a couple that entertains. “They wanted a resort in their own backyard,” he says of the modern design with a hint of Japanese influence. “What I offer is simplicity. I don’t sugarcoat the elements. If it’s concrete, it’s concrete.” With a magnitude of projects lining up, Risner, president of the San Diego Chapter of the American Society of Landscape Architects, is looking forward to working on a new build in Del Mar and a midcentury Point Loma home by architect Lloyd Ruocco. 897 S. Coast Highway 101, #105, Encinitas, 760.518.7106

Best Designer
Lauren Geremia
“We work within a modern aesthetic, integrating bold, versatile and timeless designs, and strive to create... spaces for our clients that last and grow in beauty,” says Lauren Geremia. It’s precisely that approach that has garnered her high-profile clients like Dropbox and Instagram, and won her placement on lists like Forbes’ “30 Under 30” and Architectural Digest’s “Ones to Watch.” Geremia recently completed her first hotel, AutoCamp, Airstream “camps” in Guerneville; San Francisco bar The Treasury; and a ground-up residence in Calistoga. “Our clients seek malleable designs with tailored touches,” she says. And her thriving startup delivers. 6480 Vallejo St., Emeryville, 510.922.8904

READERS' CHOICE 
Best Transitional Designer

Ann Lowengart
“It’s the perfect balance of something that feels very hip and cool with a nod to all the best things of the past,” says Ann Lowengart, describing the transitional style she has seemingly mastered. In a living room with traditional architecture, she introduced fresh silhouettes and modern lighting. In a white kitchen, a bold hexagon pattern and windows outlined in yellow surprise and delight. The bedroom she devised for last year’s San Francisco Decorator Showcase made jaws drop with its deft mix of textures and patterns. These days, Lowengart is keeping busy with a ground-up build in coastal Northern California; a refresh of a 1953 William Wurster-designed abode in San Francisco; and a family home for a tech titan that incorporates state-of-the-art elements. 223 San Anselmo Ave., Ste. 7, San Anselmo, 415.578.1222

Best Architecture Firm 
Montalba Architects
From iconic fashion boutiques and buzzing restaurants to haute hotels and posh private residences, powerhouse David Montalba has proven himself a design force to be reckoned with since his industry entrance in 2004. Founding principal of Santa Monica’s esteemed Montalba Architects, the Italian-bred transplant leads California’s contemporary design scene thanks to his modern aesthetic and impressive roster of clients. In 2016 alone, Montalba was tapped to helm the architecture and design of Elizabeth & James’ first brick-and-mortar at The Grove; Raquel Allegra’s West 3rd Street flagship; and Soho House’s Malibu outpost, Little Beach House. Up next, Montalba will debut Nobu Ryokan Malibu (a collaboration with Studio PCH and TAL Studio), followed by Nobu Palo Alto and Erewhon Santa Monica, among others. When it comes to SoCal aesthetics, it’s Montalba’s world and we’re lucky to be living in it. 2525 Michigan Ave., Bldg. T4, Santa Monica, 310.828.1100

Best Contemporary Designer
Ryan White
“Contemporary design is about how people want to live today,” says model-turned-interior designer Ryan White of the trend toward what he calls “more cultivated” interiors. “My clients want a space that suits their lifestyle, a space that feels well rounded, not a space that’s stark or bland,” he adds. “You can have old bones but a fresh and inviting interior.” The designer, who founded Ryan White Designs in 2012, garners many of his clients by word of mouth. “We’re lucky! Most of my clients have seen my work in person, and they come to me to do their house. It’s like when I have a dinner party and people want me to pack it all up and deliver it to them!” Justly so, RWD is a full-service firm, right down to the bedding and the dishes. And while the Colorado-native sums up his aesthetic as “timeless,” his projects, be it a Cape Cod or a Spanish Revival, are unified by the designer’s rich but understated approach. This year, while working on several celebrity homes, White is turning his hand to real estate. This spring will see two fully designed Ryan White homes hit the market for the ultimate turnkey experience. 6613 Whitley Terrace, L.A., 303.819.5950

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