Extraordinary Homes California, 2008
Published:Panache Partners, LLC
Photographer:Larny J. Mack
A lifelong passion for history has influenced and inspired Ione R. Stiegler, AIA to pursue the profession of architecture. Her firm, IS Architecture, is an award-winning La Jolla firm known throughout Southern California for their specialization in the design of new custom homes and residential additions, as well as their restoration and adaptive reuse of historic structures. Principal Architect Stiegler and her talented team of project managers, draftsmen, and an on-staff historian have designed homes in a variety of architectural periods and genres.
Established in 1989, IS Architecture has received many national recognitions for their strict attention to detail, thoughtful choice and use of materials, and consistent ability to create architecture that is aesthetically and functionally timeless. IS Architecture’s success is reflected by projects which have been featured in 40 national and local publications, including San Diego Home/Garden Lifestyles, numerous Better Homes & Gardens magazines,and a variety of preservation publications. Their architectural work has earned them numerous awards, including San Diego Home/Garden Lifestyles’ Home of the Year, Kitchen of the Year, and Bath of the Year; a San Diego AIA award; three California Preservation Awards; a City of San Diego Historic Preservation award; and a California AIA President’s Citation for Ione’s volunteer services in post-Katrina New Orleans.
Ione, together with her talented staff, is responsible for some of Southern California’s most beautiful residences. “Our architectural staff is instrumental in translating design into detailed construction documents,” Ione acknowledged. They take pride in considering countless practical matters, such as making bedrooms soundproof from primary living areas and considering how elements in a room interrelate. This attention to detail is appreciated by their clients. The majority of their new work is brought in by word of mouth referrals from past and current clients.
IS Architecture’s design philosophy is that the purpose of architecture is to create buildings that are well-built, functionally efficient, aesthetically pleasing, and appropriate to both clients’ requests and a project’s location. When working on older, single-family residences, the firm preserves and restores the original building while making sensible adaptations to meet the modern living requirements of the current owners. “Scale and proportion are critical – both in the relation of the rooms to each other and the house to the property outside. Additionally, taking advantage of our mild climate, creating easy access to courtyards and outdoor spaces, is essential.”
While the firm is known for its additions to historic and older homes, it is exactly this expertise that has appealed to other clients seeking to build new custom residences. One such gratifying experience was during an initial client interview; the prospective clients mentioned their amazement at how perfectly she had integrated “the addition” into the home they had seen. It was so seamless, they told her, that they could not tell where the existing structure ended and her addition began. What they had not realized was that IS Architecture had built the entire home from the ground up; it was so historically accurate that it appeared to be an original 1920s colonial revival home.
The firm’s designs reference the past while considering the multifaceted lifestyles of their clients. Discussions in the office often focus on imagining how the client’s family will use the spaces created. One client had moved into their new custom residence, specifically designed for them and their four children. The client had been considering a job offer in another city. Part of their family’s assessment in weighing the job offer had revolved around their home. They both agreed, if they did move, they would hire IS Architecture again to recreate the same house in the new city. After living two years in the house they realized how perfectly the house fit their family’s lifestyle.
While frequent recognition is indeed an honor, Stiegler cites the praise that IS Architecture has received from numerous clients as her and her team’s greatest professional compliment. They derive satisfaction from knowing that a custom home or renovation project has perfectly personified the client and their individual needs. To Ione and her team at IS Architecture, there is no better award or recognition. Stiegler and her design team frequently remind clients, “We are creating your dream home, not ours.”