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M. Grisafe Architects In Long Beach Finds Success By Approaching The Client Relationship In A Unique Fashion

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M. Grisafe Architects is a full service commercial and residential architecture firm in Long Beach, California. Their approach to partnering with clients and remaining deeply involved in the community helps to set them apart. We caught up with Mark Grisafe, Owner of M. Grisafe Architects, and below are his comments:


Q: Mark, how does M. Grisafe Architects differ from other Long Beach architects?

A: I think the main way in which we are different from most architects in the area (and anywhere, really), is that we truly enjoy collaborating with our clients. I see so many architects who just want to design what they want to design, sometimes at the expense of what their client wants or needs in their home or place of business. Other times, they will dismiss their clients’ suggestions as “impossible” because of local codes or structural issues. When our clients come to us with a suggestion, we do our best to accommodate the request, or at least work with them to come up with a creative solution that satisfies the desire behind the request.

We understand that while, yes, we are the experts when it comes to architectural design, our clients are the experts when it comes to their unique needs and wants, so we make sure we really listen to what they are saying and don’t dismiss their input. We believe that by heavily involving them in the architectural design process, and by treating them like members of our team, our clients will be more satisfied with the end result.

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Q: Tell us more about your motto, “Advise, Advocate, Collaborate.”

A: We use the motto “Advise, Advocate, Collaborate” because we think it accurately describes the approach we take when working with our clients. The “advise” portion involves giving our expert opinion about the best ways to give our clients the end result they want, based on our experience and our knowledge of the applicable building codes and zoning laws. It also includes communicating with our clients throughout the process, from initial conceptualization through construction administration.

By advocating for our clients, we are dedicating ourselves to seeing our clients’ vision achieved through a process that is as smooth as possible. This can mean serving as a liaison between our clients and their general contractor, or between our clients and their city planning and building departments. It also means we give our clients information about known risks or things that could present them with costly challenges down the road.

When we say we “collaborate” with our clients, it means we partner with them to strive to achieve a design that checks all of the boxes on their wish list. We want our clients to be as involved in their project as they want to be at every stage of the process. We really listen to what they are saying and do what we can to bring their vision into reality.

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Q: Who is your ideal client and why?

A: Our ideal client is one who wants to be involved in the design process. We love working with people who are creative and have put a lot of thought into what they want in their home or place of business. We don’t mind if they challenge us, because we think it creates a better finished product.

Recently, I’ve worked with a few different developers to design spec homes. I really enjoyed the projects where I was able to work closely with the developer and there was a lot of back and forth. I also enjoyed the ones where I had a good understanding of the types of tenants the client was looking to cater to with the design. The projects I didn’t enjoy quite as much were ones in which the client seemed to care only about getting the job done and permitted at the lowest price possible.

Q: What professional achievement are you most proud of?

A: I am most proud when a client says to us something like, “The space you designed for us is everything we could have imagined, and more!” It is always my goal to give my clients the space they need, but I also like to design a space that will inspire, whether its their home or the place they work.

I am also extremely proud of the excellent working relationship our company has developed with the City of Long Beach. If you’ve ever been involved in a building or remodeling project on any level, you know how long, drawn-out, and frustrating the approval process can be. Our many years of working with the City of Long Beach has yielded a certain amount of mutual respect that has allowed us the privilege of being involved in streamlining the approval process in the city’s Development Services department. Earlier this year, we were selected to be the first architecture firm in Long Beach to use the city’s new online plan check system, which should make a difference in the way that plans are approved, and the timeframe in which they are approved.

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Q: What does the future hold for M. Grisafe Architects?

A: We are always looking at ways to improve what we are doing at our Long Beach architecture firm. Recently, we brought an interior designer onto our team in order to offer our clients more complete service. Now, not only can we design the space that our clients are looking for, but we can also provide them with the finishing touches that really set a space apart.

In the foreseeable future, we plan to continue to offer our clients the boutique experience they have come to expect from our firm and engage with the Long Beach community in ways that show our commitment to the betterment of the community as a whole.

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