Based in Los Angeles, KAA Design Group is an award-winning high-end residential design firm. With a diverse team of multidisciplinary designers built over 35 years, the firm offers unique expertise to those seeking thoughtful, site-responsive design solutions, nationally and internationally. To further complement its contemporary portfolio, the firm also hosts an internal boutique studio entitled Evens Architects, driven by classical traditions.

 

KAA Design Group’s work results from a highly collaborative design process with each discerning client. With an integrated architecture and landscape architecture expertise, the firm brings a design philosophy founded on marrying each client’s program and lifestyle with the unique characteristics offered by the site.

 

Over the past three decades, KAA Design Group has won numerous AIA awards in various design categories. The firm’s work has also been published in several print and media outlets, including Architectural Digest, Interiors, Luxe, and Ocean Home. Additionally, several monographs have been published on the firm’s design philosophy and work, most recently ‘Residing with Nature.’

 

With significant residential commissions both domestic and worldwide, KAA Design Group continues to extend its Southern California roots to further advance the best aspects of the California lifestyle through architecture and landscape design.

Elevating Design Through Leadership

Tap to view bios

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.

Welcome to our neighborhood

See Career Opportunities

Contact Us

310.821.1400
info@kaadesigngroup.com

KAA Design
12921 W. Washington Blvd
Los Angeles, CA 90066

Get Directions

Grant Kirkpatrick

Founding Partner

Grant Kirkpatrick

Founding Partner

A third generation Californian, Grant Kirkpatrick, FAIA, draws his energy and inspiration from his home state’s optimism and progressive ideals. Since its founding over 30 years ago, Grant has been the visionary force behind KAA Design Group and he and his team strive everyday to elevate the human spirit through the benefits and authenticity of warm contemporary residential design.

Raised in Palos Verdes, Grant earned his Bachelor of Architecture degree from the University of Southern California and became a licensed architect at age 24. His entrepreneurial spirit and passion for design led him to found KAA Design just a few years later in 1988. Since then, the 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, Santa Monica Beach Club, and Manhattan Country Club, and other award-winning commercial and hospitality projects. The firm now focuses exclusively on custom homes, having notably worked with high-profile clients like Tom Hanks and Rita Wilson, Kirk Kerkorian, Matt Damon, Julia Louis-Dreyfus, and The Pritzker Family, among others. Coastal retreats, city-view estates, and distinctive vacation properties for a broad range of passionate clients round out the firm’s impressive portfolio.

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. In 2021, Grant was awarded the USC Architectural Guild Distinguished Alumni Award along with 4 other extraordinary individuals. His community involvement has included numerous industry appointments such as 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 three decades, 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, The New York Times, The Los Angeles 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.

Follow me on Instagram: @grantkirkpatrick
Read the latest on @William Robert Wines

Contributed Articles

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

As Partner of the firm, Duan’s vision and leadership extend to both management and design.  His focus on firm wide initiatives related to its organizational growth, business development, and long term strategic planning, guide the firm’s ability to leverage its over 35 year history in retaining a leading position along the frontlines of an exclusive niche design industry.

Duan also maintains a leading presence on all aspects of design for many of the firm’s most notable projects and discerning clients. With an artistic sensibility rooted in modern composition and form, he enjoys exploring the intersections of his ideals in collaboration with an engaged and passionate clientele through the process of designing their home.  Many of his homes have been recognized by the AIA, as well as having been featured in several regional, national, and international publications including Architectural Digest, Interiors, Luxe, and the Robb Report.

A native Ohioan, Duan received his undergraduate degree from Miami University (OH), and graduate degrees in both Architecture as well as Historic Preservation from the University of Southern California.  Prior to joining KAA Design, Duan’s professional career included several distinguished residential and hospitality firms in both Ohio and Washington DC.

Duan is a licensed Architect and member of the American Institute of Architects (AIA), as well as an Executive Cabinet member of the prestigious Leaders of Design.  He has also served as an Executive Member within the Board of Directors for the Architecture and Design (A+D) Museum in Los Angeles, as well as the Advisory Board for Miami (OH)’s College of Creative Arts.  Beyond his Board involvement, Duan enjoys the opportunity to serve on academic and design juries alike, as well as being a panelist for both design and related industry media events.

Outside of the office, Duan and his wife enjoy finding time to travel, all awhile keeping up with their three active daughters in Culver City.

Erik Evens

Partner

Erik Evens

Partner

Erik Evens is a lifelong resident of California, born and raised in Los Angeles, and educated at the California Polytechnic State University in San Luis Obispo, where he earned his degree in architecture. His profound appreciation of traditional architecture was nurtured during extensive travels throughout the United States and Europe. In the early years of his career, he worked for several design firms with varying specialties, but it was his tenure in the Los Angeles office of Marc Appleton that sealed his passion for historical styles attuned to the classical principles of harmony, proportion, order, and, above all, beauty.

Evens joined KAA Design in 1998 and became a partner in the firm in 2005, overseeing a broad range of custom residential, commercial and institutional projects. In 2013, he established Evens Architects, an independent design studio operating under the aegis of KAA and focused exclusively on traditional residential design. His work has been published in a wide array of publications, including Architectural Digest, House Beautiful and Western Interiors.

A teacher and mentor, Evens lectures widely on a variety of design-related topics. He is a Fellow of the Institute of Classical Architecture & Art (ICAA), and sits on its national curriculum committee.  He is a founding member and former president of the Southern California Chapter of the ICAA. He is also an avid sailor, drawing inspiration from the lines, craftsmanship and romantic allure of classic sailboats.

Please visit the Evens Architects Website by clicking HERE.

CONTRIBUTING ARTICLES
ICAA Courses and Lectures by Erik Evens
View some of the favorite ICAA lectures and courses lead by Erik Evens.

An Interview With Million Dollar Decorating
Erik Evens was recently interviewed by James Swan on his popular podcast Million Dollar Decorating. Listen to or download the interview transcript here.

The Mediterranean in Southern California
Architecture inspired by great traditions of the Mediterranean region has a long, rich history in California. The fruits of this long lineage flavor the character of our cities and dot the surrounding hillsides. At KAA Design, we have often found the Mediterranean architectures to be a perfect fit for our clients wishing to build here.

The Linguistic Metaphor
The only way we can experience the reality of meaning in our built environment is through the structure of style.  Choose your languages with care, and use them thoughtfully.

Lisa Copeland

Senior Associate | CFO

Lisa Copeland

Senior Associate | CFO

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 | Director of Design Technology

Meghan Beckmann

Senior Associate | Director of Design Technology

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

Senior Associate | Project Landscape Architect

Michael McGowan

Senior Associate | Project Landscape Architect

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

Senior Associate | Project Architect

Todd Paolillo

Senior Associate | Project Architect

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.

Esther Alva

Associate | Project Architect

Esther Alva

Associate | Project Architect

Esther is a Southern California native who hasn’t strayed far from home. Born and raised in the Culver City area, she knew she wanted to be an architect by the time she was six, when her parents built the family home.  Esther has always believed in Architecture’s profound effect on the human experience through the sense of space, and designing a family home is the most intimate practice of design.  Living in Southern California and raised by a general contractor also gave her exposure to a variety of architectural typologies as well as hands on experience with the pragmatic challenges of the build.

Esther is a licensed architect in California and a member of the AIA, having received a Bachelor’s of Architecture from Woodbury University with a minor in Psychology. Interests outside of Architecture include singing, woodworking, hiking, camping and exploring the National Parks. She is currently on a mission to explore all 63 of the National Parks with her husband. She also is a proud mother and lover of animals.

Sara Pijuan

Associate | Project Architect

Sara Pijuan

Associate | Project Architect

Sara spent most of her childhood growing up in the Chicagoland area.  She completed her Bachelor of Science in Architectural Studies at the University of Illinois in Urbana-Champaign, in 2005.  While attending U of I, Sara had the opportunity to spend an academic year in Versailles, France, where she was able to study and experience European architecture, lifestyle, and travel.  Sara Pijuan ventured to the West Coast to complete her Master of Architecture at University of Southern California in 2007.  She was drawn to the outdoor lifestyle that affords a wide range of architectural styles and opportunities.

Sara Pijuan joined Evens Architects in 2007, where she is a Senior Project Manager.  She is a licensed architect in the state of California and certified by the National Council of Architectural Registration Boards (NCARB).  While she has designed and managed a variety of projects, from modern to traditional, Sara Pijuan has expanded her knowledge in classical architecture during her contributions on projects at Evens Architects.  In 2017, Sara broadened her understanding of Classical architecture by completing the ICAA’s Regional Intensive at Greystone Mansion, Beverly Hills.

As a USC Alumna, Sara has mentored future architects at events with the USC Architectural Guild, USC Firm Fairs, and USC student intern programs here at Evens Architects.

Please visit the Evens Architects Website by clicking HERE.

David Vazquez

Associate | Senior Project Manager

David Vazquez

Associate | Senior Project Manager

David Vazquez is a native Angeleno born and raised in Rosemead, California. Since grade school in 1992, Dave has had a longstanding interest in architecture. While on a family trip to Mexico City visiting relatives, he learned about his uncle’s thriving architecture practice. This inspiring experience motivated him to pursue a career in architecture.

Attending the undergraduate architecture program at the University of Southern California, Dave received his Bachelor of Architecture degree in 2003. During his final year at USC, Dave served as a summer intern with the KAA Design Group galvanizing his passion for architecture. Since then Dave has been a full-time part of the KAA team for over 22 years.

Although USC’s architecture program is typically geared more towards Modernist design principles, Dave has had a fascination with classical and traditional architectural precedents. For him, the integration of proportion and ornamentation brings a stronger sense of unity to the final design absent in most contemporary projects today. Over the last five years as a senior project manager, Dave has managed numerous traditionally inspired projects in the Evens Architects portfolio.

Through ongoing extracurricular educational courses, Dave is also pursuing his ICAA Certificate, and recently completed the ICAA Southern California Regional Intensive at the Greystone Mansion.

Please visit the Evens Architects Website by clicking HERE.