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Meet Elizabeth Carmichael of ECOhouse Architecture in Rose Canyon

Today we’d like to introduce you to Elizabeth Carmichael.

So, before we jump into specific questions about the business, why don’t you give us some details about you and your story.
ECOHouse ( is an architecture firm whose concern for a building’s impact on the environment and the people occupying it is at the forefront of their design practice, providing a resource for people to learn about and experience building green.

I made my way to the west coast 20 years ago after college. My first job in architecture was in Pasadena working on big retail, offices and Hollywood studio projects. I was lucky enough to then work under Don Wexler in Palm Springs and be part of the team to create the Tropicana Homes. This mentorship developed my love of mid-century modern architecture, steel homes and minimalist design, which carries through to the core of our current creative practice. Those homes were created with passive cooling in the design to beat the desert heat, we use that same methods in our modern efficient homes. ECOhouse focuses on sustainable custom homes and urban ECOlofts, apartments and condominiums, utilizing in-fill opportunities in lieu of suburban sprawl. ECOhouse’s mission is to be a source for ecologically responsible architecture and development, as well as educating, promoting and preparing the public for sustainable buildings.

We conduct an ECOl.a.b.(tm) ( on a regular basis as a hands-on approach to educating the community on implementing sustainable practices. We also recently launched a certificate course for the building community that starts in January. We are extremely passionate about including sustainable systems and materials in creating beautiful homes and spaces and sharing our passion with the community.

Great, so let’s dig a little deeper into the story – has it been an easy path overall and if not, what were the challenges you’ve had to overcome?
The biggest misconception is that to build a green house or building costs more. The reality is that sure, it can cost more if you are installing solar panels and water cisterns; however, there is an immediate return on your investment in the form of reduced electric and water bills. To exchange toxic building materials for non-toxic, low VOC, recycled content materials will more than likely not increase the costs or they are negligible. The immediate benefit is to live and work in a healthier building. This had been historically the general attitude among home owners and builders; but now there seems to be a ground swell of people who demand healthier, energy efficient, sustainable structures to live in.

Alright – so let’s talk business. Tell us about ECOhouse Architecture – what should we know?
ECOhouse prides itself in our sustainable projects, urban in-fill development and coastal development. Our team is passionate, meticulous and creatively employs new materials and technology to inject sustainability into our architecture. We specialize and have extensive experience in Coastal Development Permits and approval through California Coastal Commission. The coastal region of San Diego has unique properties and unique permits; both can be tricky, taking experience and careful attention to detail to weave through the maze of bureaucracy. We know what it takes to make it successfully to the finish line.

Is there a characteristic or quality that you feel is essential to success?
We have a connection to our clients, the people who occupy our buildings, our community and the planet. It brings meaning and care to every decision we make. We love our public outreach through ECOl.a.b.’s(tm) and our December calendar includes a Xeriscape Holiday ECOl.a.b.(tm) on December 2nd where you can repurpose an item you bring to the l.a.b. or use one of our donated items to repurpose into a drought tolerant holiday decoration. We are collaborating with Suzie Wiest, the Regional Marketing Rep / New Products Chair at Village Nurseries, who will enlighten us on landscaping for water conservation and drought-tolerant plants. We are also participating in Thompson Building Supply’s Tree of Dream on December 7th which benefits Rady’s Children’s Hospital. Our team designs and decorates a tree, and it really brings us together as a family and lights the holiday spirit in the office. We carry this love into our projects and deliver them with endearment and attentiveness.

Contact Info:

Image Credit:
Renata Amazonas
Amazonas Photography

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