Twenty years ago, Mark Grisafe took a leap. He decided to go out on his own and start an architecture firm in Long Beach. He had spent several years working for other firms, honing his craft and gaining experience working on both residential and commercial projects, but in 2002, he started taking on his own clients. The new company was named M. Grisafe Architect. In the beginning, Grisafe was doing residential design work, but when the housing market crashed in 2009 and residential work essentially dried up, he started pursuing commercial design work—mainly tenant improvement projects.
Grisafe grew his Long Beach architecture firm slowly. For the first several years, he worked out of his home. Then, he built a dedicated office in his backyard. A few years later, he hired his first employee, and then another. Eventually, he knew he needed more space to accommodate his growing staff, as well as his clients who wanted to come in for meetings, so he found a small office space in Long Beach. That space served the firm well for several years, until the company grew again—and moved into an even larger space in Long Beach.
During this period of growth, Grisafe also decided that the company’s name no longer suited the growing firm and officially changed their name to Grisafe Architecture. According to Grisafe, “In the years leading up to the name change, the company had begun to take on a life and identity of its own. I was no longer involved in every decision or responsible for all of the design work coming out of our office. While I was, and still am, intimately connected to the company as its head architect, it had become much bigger than just me, and I wanted a name that reflected that.”
Over the years, Grisafe Architecture has taken on some noteworthy projects. They have done tenant improvement work for clients in a variety of industries from manufacturing, to medical, to hospitality. In addition, they’ve completed residential design for homes in a variety of styles, including several historic homes, such as the Henry Clock House, which is on Long Beach’s list of Historic Landmarks. They take on new custom home builds, as well as home additions and whole home remodels.
The firm is also heavily involved in the Long Beach community. They have done pro bono work for several local nonprofit organizations, including the Alpert Jewish Community Center and Saint Cornelius Church in Long Beach. Grisafe also serves on Long Beach’s Cultural Heritage Commission, and Grisafe Architecture was one of two firms that was asked to help test the City’s new online plan check system before it was officially rolled out to the public.
With every project they take on, Grisafe Architecture encourages their clients to be heavily involved in the design process. They welcome input at every stage—knowing that their clients are the ones who will be living or working in the finished space. Grisafe says, “A client that is willing to offer suggestions and input is exactly the type of client we love to work with. We want our clients to feel like they are members of our team. We value their unique input and enjoy collaborating with them to create a design that is everything they need and want for their home or business.”
To learn more about Grisafe Architecture and the commercial and residential design work they do throughout the City of Long Beach, visit the firm’s website: https://grisafearchitecture.com/