Welcome to KAA Design.

Led by our Founding Partner, Grant Kirkpatrick and Partner, Duan Tran. We are a design studio dedicated to advancing the California lifestyle through contemporary architecture since 1988.

Elevating Design Through Leadership

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Our Team

Values over rules

Integrity

We insist on authenticity in our work, and honesty & accountability in all we do.

Collaboration

We believe that many voices bring richness to our endeavor.

Advocacy

We consider it our duty to foster awareness of the value of design.

Beauty

We maintain that beauty is essential to human happiness.

Fun

Work hard, play hard.

Our creative vision, combined with the individual talents and experience of our long-term leaders, brings a unique design perspective to our clients – one that seeks to elevate the daily rituals of their lives from the mundane to the sublime.

Join Us

Nurture your craft and be inspired. Help us design the California dream.

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Contact Us

310.821.1400
info@kaadesigngroup.com

KAA Design
4201 Redwood Avenue
Los Angeles, CA 90066

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Grant Kirkpatrick

Founding Partner

Grant Kirkpatrick

Founding Partner

A third generation Californian, Grant Kirkpatrick draws his energy and inspiration from his home state’s progressive ideals and optimistic embrace of the new. He has been the visionary force behind KAA Design Group, the firm he founded 29 years ago. Grant and his team continue to enjoy elevating the human spirit through the benefits and authenticity of warm contemporary residential design.

Raised in Palos Verdes, Grant earned his Bachelor of Architecture degree at USC and became a licensed architect at 24. His entrepreneurial spirit and passion for design led him to found KAA Design just a few years later in 1988. Since then, the award-winning firm has completed projects for the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, Christie’s auction house, Hugo Boss stores across the nation, master plans and renovations for the Jonathan Club, the Santa Monica Beach Club, the Manhattan Country Club, and other award winning commercial and hospitality projects. The firm now focuses exclusively on custom homes, including residences for Tom Hanks and Rita Wilson, Kirk Kerkorian, Matt Damon, Julia Louis-Dreyfus, The Pritzker Family, and numerous other coastal retreats, city-view estates, and vacation properties for a broad range of passionate clients.

Community service and academics are a core part of Grant’s practice. He serves as the Board Chair for non-profit ArtworxLA and on the Board of Councilors for the USC School of Architecture. Grant teaches at the annual XED Executive Education Program at USC and frequently lectures on topics surrounding Southern California residential architecture. His community involvement has included numerous industry appointments including  two-terms as a planning commissioner for the City of Manhattan Beach, membership on the Bel-Air Architecture Review Board, and juror for the Santa Barbara AIA Design Awards.

Over the past 29 years, KAA Design has won numerous AIA awards, the “Good Design is Good Business” award from Architectural Record, the 2009 PDC Stars of Design award for Architecture, Azure Magazine’s Best Product award, as well as several Los Angeles Design Council, LA Business Journal and City of Beverly Hills Architecture awards. The firm’s work has been extensively published in over 30 design magazines and books including Architectural Digest, House Beautiful, New York Times, LA Times,  Coastal Living, Sunset Magazine, and The Robb Report.

Outside day-to-day operations of KAA Design, Grant has developed a comprehensive line of outdoor furniture for Design Within Reach and a line of prefab homes. He enjoys spending his time off tending to his vineyard in Central California. Grant and his family are longtime residents of Manhattan Beach.

Contributed Articles

2016 KAA Art Exhibit & Sale chevron-right

Ken Breisch, former Director of USC's Graduate Program in Historic Preservation, speaks on the history and philosophy of the preservation movement as it has evolved during the past century and its relevance to Southern California's treasures.

Duan Tran

Partner

Duan Tran

Partner

A native Ohioan, Duan began his architectural education with an undergraduate degree from the University of Miami Ohio, prior to graduate degrees in both Architecture and Historic Preservation from the University of Southern California. During this time, Duan also began his professional career working for several distinguished firms in both Ohio and Washington DC prior to joining KAA Design in 2000.

Made Partner in 2017, Duan extends his leadership in both management and design. His focus on several firm wide initiatives related to its organizational growth, business development, and long term strategic planning, continue to influence the firm’s ability to leverage its 30 year history with the nimbleness required to not only evolve, but maintain its position on the frontlines of an everchanging marketplace and clientele. At the same time, Duan maintains a strong presence in leading the design on several high profile projects for many notable clients. With an artistic sensibility rooted in modern composition and form, Duan enjoys the opportunity to explore the intersections of his sensibilities in collaboration with an engaged and passionate client through the firm’s design process, often culminating in a beautifully tailored and distinctive home. Many of which have been recognized by the AIA, as well as having been featured in several international, national, and regional shelter publications, including Architectural Digest and Luxe.

Duan is a longtime member of the American Institute of Architects (AIA) and a licensed Architect in the states of Nevada and Hawaii. He is certified by the National Council of Architectural Registration Boards (NCARB), as well as being a member of the University of Southern California’s Architectural Guild and LA Conservancy. Duan is also a member of the prestigious Leaders of Design Council, as well as a serving member on both the Exhibition Committee and Board of Directors for the A+D Museum in Los Angeles. Outside of the office, he enjoys family life with his wife and keeping up with their three daughters in Culver City.

Steve Straughan

Senior Associate

Steve Straughan

Senior Associate

Originally from South Florida, Steve received his Master of Architecture degree from Tulane University in 1984, and worked with Perez Associates in New Orleans before relocating to Los Angeles, where he would join KAA Design Group in 1988.  

Steve approaches architectural design with passion, patience and inter-disciplinary rigor. As the firm’s Design Coordinator, his design expertise and familiarity with KAA’s 25-year history of custom residential projects make him uniquely suited for direct involvement in all of the firm’s work, overseeing design and construction documentation on a diverse portfolio of projects.

Steve believes that the successful realization of quality architecture depends on both clear communication of the design concept, and a comprehensive understanding of the construction process.  Steve works collaboratively with the project teams to ensure that the project’s original design vision is realized in every nuance.  In this role, Steve endeavors to leverage current technology while ensuring the highest standards of quality control on all projects.

Steve’s passion for design in every aspect of human endeavor, from the fine arts to the culinary arts, and his keen appreciation for gracious living influence all that he touches.

Lisa Copeland

Senior Associate

Lisa Copeland

Senior Associate

Lisa Copeland was made in Korea, imported to the United States and raised as a Nebraskan.  She received her Bachelor’s degree from Northwestern University and a Master’s in Business Administration from Kellogg School of Management.

Lisa joined the firm with over 15 years of experience as a Chief Financial Officer providing strategy, leadership and financial risk management. Prior to joining the firm, Lisa worked in the banking, construction and real estate industries. She served as a former bank examiner for the Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago, and a Business Integration Consultant for Accenture (formerly Andersen Consulting). She has traveled extensively throughout her career and spent a year working abroad in Zurich, Switzerland.

Lisa oversees the firm’s operational and financial reporting and processes, provides long and short term financial planning and budgeting, develops the firm’s financial strategies, and provides risk management for all of the KAA Design Group’s entities. Her passion for finance and accounting has led her to participate and assist in forming a CFO Roundtable group which is comprised of other local design firms within the Los Angeles area with the united goal to create Best Practices within our industry.

Meghan Beckmann

Senior Associate

Meghan Beckmann

Senior Associate

Meghan grew up in Chapel Hill, North Carolina, surrounded and inspired by vernacular, modernist, and historic university architecture all set within beautiful scenery. Constantly seeking to observe and create, she’s pursued a number of interests across the design spectrum – art, product design, furniture, woodworking, ui/web and graphic design, architecture – as well as archaeology and science.

She received Bachelor degrees in both Industrial Design and Art & Design from the NCSU College of Design in 2002. Finally embracing that her childhood tendencies to sketch, build balsa models, and draw floor plans were signs of a unifying passion across design disciplines, she returned to NCSU and received a Master of Architecture in 2007. She is a licensed Architect in the State of North Carolina, a member of the AIA, and certified by NCARB.

Meghan moved to California and joined KAA Design in 2011, where she has contributed to the design and construction of a number of custom residential projects. In addition to her role on projects, she oversees the BIM and design workflow initiatives within the firm and promotes mentorship and collaboration. She was a Speaker at the 2016 AIA National Convention in Philadelphia, with a presentation on integrating BIM into the design process. Meghan brings a big picture perspective as well as attention to detail to every project, and constantly strives for design excellence.

Michael McGowan

Associate

Michael McGowan

Associate

Michael was educated at Salisbury State University in Salisbury, Maryland, where he received his Bachelor’s degree in Geography and Regional Planning. His enthusiasm for landscape architecture was cultivated while serving as curator of plants records at the campus arboretum. This burgeoning interest in landscape design led him to seek a Masters in Landscape Architecture, which he received from California State Polytechnic University in Pomona. As a professor at the University of Southern California, Michael’s passion for Southern California landscapes and blurring the boundary between architecture and landscape was galvanized.

McGowan joined KAA in 2011, overseeing the design and implementation of a broad range of custom residential, commercial and institutional landscapes. In addition to his design work on numerous estate residential landscapes, some of Michael’s notable projects include: The Eastern Columbia Building, TreePeople Center for Community Forestry, Santa Monica Village and One Santa Fe.

Michael often attends student jury critiques, and is a member of the California State Polytechnic University, Department of Landscape Architecture Professional Advisory Board. He is also an avid screen printer, inspired by the attention to detail of Japanese woodblock printing, and the exploration of new printing techniques extant in today’s street art.

Todd Paolillo

Associate

Todd Paolillo

Associate

Since relocating to Southern California and joining the firm in 2001, Todd has served as Job Captain and Project Manager on a broad range of KAA projects. Originally from Connecticut, Todd has enjoyed the unique design opportunities offered by Southern California living, and has collaborated on numerous noteworthy beachfront homes and estate properties.

Though certain of a life-long career in architecture, Todd has pursued a diverse design education earning a Bachelor of Architecture and a Bachelor of Fine Arts at the Rhode Island School of Design.  Before graduating in 1999, Todd further expanded his studies as a member of RISD’s year-long European Honors Program based in Rome. Todd also worked in Boston on a range of historic and traditional residences further enhancing KAA’s cross-disciplinary approach to design.

Matt Paola

Associate

Matt Paola

Associate

Born and raised in South Africa, Matthew moved to the United States to pursue his passion for architecture. He received his bachelor’s degree and Master of Architecture at Tulane University in 2005. Matthew then spent two years working in London for Pascall & Watson gaining experience in a wide range of projects as well as traveling extensively throughout Europe.

 

In 2007 Matt relocated to California to join KAA Design.  Matthew joined KAA to foster his enthusiasm for high-end custom residential architecture. During his tenure, he has worked on numerous projects from small beach lots in Manhattan Beach and Hermosa Beach, to large estates in Malibu and Bel Air – both traditional and contemporary styles. As a project manager Matthew works directly with the clients and the design team to bring a collaborative vision to each and every project.  His thoughtful design abilities, strong attention to detail and his understanding for the best construction practices ensures exceptional and enduring projects for his clients. Matthew is a licensed architect in the State of California and is also LEED certified.

 

Matthew’s personal interests include photography, sketching and enjoying the outdoors with his wife and two daughters. He maintains a close cultural connection to his South African and Lebanese roots.