My father was an inventor of devices to help disabled people overcome physical limitations, so from my earliest years I was exposed to cleverness and purpose in design. I discovered architecture as a 12-year-old, when my mother inherited her late uncle’s drafting tools. I loved playing with the T-squares, triangles, compass, and slide rule; by the time I was 13, I knew I was going to be an architect. I got a Bachelors of Architecture from the University of Arizona, Tucson, with an emphasis on environmental sensitivities, structural integrity, and design theory. I was fortunate that even in the early 1970s, U of A was ahead of its time in energy awareness, emphasizing the importance of working with airflow, shade, landscaping, and the environment to design energy-efficient buildings. It became fundamental to my design philosophy.
My high school sweetheart Bonnie and I married, finished college, and after a few years launched our own architecture firm in 1974 in Newport Beach (Bonnie majored in business, finance and art), and have never looked back. Over the decades, we’ve cultivated an intimate staff of outstanding professionals — most of our staff have worked together for 10 to 20 years, which makes communications smooth and our office a cheerful, cohesive place I look forward to coming to everyday.
Bonnie and I have two sons and six grand-boys, all of whom are my favorite entertainment! Architecture is my second love – second only to Bonnie and my family. I've been collecting wine for decades and have amassed joy in my cellar that I like sharing with friends. Our travel itineraries generally include studying architecture and finding unique wines in obscure places. Exercise is an integral part of my life – I have had the thrill of running the Boston Marathon twice. I keep fit for rigorous adventures in the mountains where Bonnie and I enjoy the serenity of fly-fishing or the excitement of river rafting. I do most of my design work either in my studio at home or in my studio in our mountain home, perched among the trees. Nature is a great source of inspiration.
I studied a variety of design disciplines, earning a Bachelor’s Degree in Art from Long Beach State University, before I decided to become an architect. I had a variety of part-time jobs over the years while I was attending college, including one memorable one with Brion Jeannette Architecture (BJA). I interned with BJA and worked in a couple of other architectural firms before returning to BJA full-time in 1990. At that point I was confident of my career path and began to focus on working toward my architectural license which I secured in 2006.
The wonderful thing about architecture is that it is everywhere! Whether exploring wine country, a local downtown, Europe or other parts of the U.S., there is always something to learn about and be inspired by in buildings, new and old. My husband and I travel to places throughout the world simply to experience the nuances of their architecture.
Protecting the environment has always been a passion of mine. In architecture, especially with BJA, I have found the perfect expression of it. There is immense satisfaction in designing sustainable homes by being conscious of everything from specifying earth-friendly materials to working with elements of nature and the setting to minimize the home’s energy needs. I am committed to the principles of Green Building and helping to raise consciousness within the profession and the general public.
My husband, Todd, and I enjoy a mutual love for large dogs and have made our home in the historic part of Santa Ana, which has beautiful streets where we can walk them. We support special needs programs for dogs and various rescue organizations, one of which provided us with the latest addition to our family. Discovering great chefs and new restaurants is a favorite pastime made more challenging by trying to find ones that satisfy both my vegetarian diet and the carnivore in my husband! I am addicted to creativity – and creating environments to live in most of all.
Bonnie Jeannette brought her extensive experience in finance, management and the Arts to the firm which began over 30 years ago. Bonnie makes the initial contact with each prospective client to understand the nature of each project and how best to facilitate initial introductions with Principal architects. Bonnie oversees marketing, general management and administration, human resources, accounting, financial and contractual affairs.