What do you get when you take two high school sweethearts and add a penchant for nature and a passion for modern design? Grounded. Richard and Juli Risner launched their landscape architecture studio and furnishings boutique nine years ago in Encinitas, and have been placing their unique stamp on local outdoor spaces ever since. “I love pushing the boundaries of modern design and finding ways to go beyond what people are used to seeing,” says Richard, a landscape architect who creates designs that are “organized, structured and minimal,” as well as functional and eco-conscious, thanks to strategies he picked up working for California State Parks. And where his designs leave off, the classic modern furnishings from their shop pick up. “It’s very rewarding to help our clients find the right solutions for their home,” says Juli, who manages the 4,000-square-foot space. “Sometimes this means designing their property; other times it means helping them find the perfect sofa. Since we have a landscape architecture practice and a store, we can do both.”
LX: Work approach:
JR: Some people believe in form, others in function. I think both are necessary.
RR: My design often starts from within the structure and works its way outward to capture the best possible solution. I like to think of it as an integrated approach.
LX: When designing a landscape...
RR: Don’t be afraid of repetition. When you put in masses of the same plant, it creates structure and drama.
LX: Trend you’re excited by:
JR: Outdoor furniture that moves, swings or rocks! I think we’re all drawn to that type of lazy relaxation, only now pieces are being designed in a super sophisticated way. Knoll has the Richard Schultz single and double rockers, and Kettal has the Maia Egg swing.
LX: What’s inspiring you now?
RR: The way local architects like Lloyd Russell, Lindsay Brown, and James Gates and James Brown work with raw and salvaged materials.
LX: Favorite hotel:
RR: We enjoy the Parker Palm Springs. I especially like wearing my Brixton clothes while there. It makes me feel era appropriate.