Firm

BOTO Design Architects is a boutique, full-service architecture, acoustic, and interior design firm with studios in Los Angeles and Colorado. It was founded in 1983, by Principal Architect Bret Thoeny in Venice, California.

For over 35 years, BOTO Design has specialized in ground-up commercial buildings, warehouse renovations, creative workspaces, post-production studios, and tenant improvements.

As a comprehensive design practice, BOTO Design orchestrates the process from concept through construction, culminating in a strikingly diverse body of work. Our commitment to creating enduring client relationships is evident in the remarkable number of repeat clients and referrals received. We pride ourselves on providing exceptional service and being highly accessible on all levels, throughout all phases of a project. We are with the client from before a lease is signed through move-in, and beyond.

As designers, we value timeless, elegant solutions. It's important that our work contributes positively to its environment by respecting context, scale, and function. Our process is practical and efficient, often thriving on the challenge of defining budget-oriented strategies. Simply put, we do not over-design. We continually strive to listen to our clients to ensure that the end result satisfies their needs and represents their brand appropriately. 

Although we are small in size, we are big in stature. We excel at  delivering large-scale projects with focused client attention and have a proven track record with an extensive client list.

Head shot of Bret Thoeny, Principal Architect

Bret Thoeny, Principal AIA

With nearly 35 years of experience, Bret Thoeny brings an in depth knowledge of design & construction to the leadership of BOTO Design. His insight into current market trends in real estate & architecture make a unique combination that leads to creatively executed projects and an understanding of thoughtful, value added design. Bret began his career specializing in the design of technical sound recording studios. Most notably, were the studios at Paisley Park for Prince. Using his experience gained from there, he naturally expanded into film & TV production facilities, as well as office spaces to support them. With a keen eye on development and a recognition of changing office trends on the Westside, Bret was at the forefront of the warehouse conversion & adaptive re-use movement - which is now gaining momentum in other areas of the city and beyond. Since then, he has diversified the firm to include a wide range of project types, including retail stores, restaurants, office tenant improvement, landlord/owner representation and high end single family residences. With his technical insight on production & recording facilities, he is frequently called on to consult on other projects. Bret is involved with all phases of design and construction on all projects. Bret is married with two children and lives in Santa Monica. He is a registered architect in the states of California & Colorado.

Jennifer Lau, Senior Project Manager

Jennifer Lau brings 25 years of project management & interior design experience across a diverse range of project types to BOTO Design. She started her career in the greater Washington, D.C., area with corporate TI’s and government contract work. After completing advanced graduate studies in Seattle, Jennifer worked on several renowned public projects such as the Seattle Public Temporary Central Library (recipient of the 2003 AIA/LA Library Buildings Award), the Seattle Seahawks Stadium (CenturyLink Field), and the Seattle Light Rail (Sound Transit) system expansion. Upon relocating to Los Angeles, Jennifer focused on high-end single family residential, multi-family residential, and mixed-use projects. In 2006, Jennifer joined BOTO, and over the past 16 years, she has successfully executed a wide array of projects ranging from residential, creative TI, commercial interiors, and adaptive reuse. Her combination of skills allows her to focus on management and client relations. Jennifer is involved in all phases of design and development from feasibility studies, programming, concept, design development, permitting, construction documents, interiors, furniture procurement, and construction administration.

Headshot of Charles Ellinwood, project architect

Charles Ellinwood, Project Architect

Charles Ellinwood is a California-licensed Architect with over 20 years of professional experience.  Originally from the East Coast, his architectural training began in Northern Virginia, with a focus on Institutional, Educational, and Residential projects.  Moving to Los Angeles in 2001 afforded him the opportunity to work on several adaptive re-use projects, including the Pacific Electric Lofts, the Pegasus Lofts, and the Eastern Columbia Lofts. In 2010, Charles joined BOTO, where his technical, visualization, and graphic skills, along with a proactive approach guide projects from Conceptual Design through Planning and Permitting into the Construction Phase.  As the lead for BOTO’s in-house 3D visualization team, he helps to develop conceptual design renderings, and marketing materials on all projects.  Anchored by his passion for detailing and methods of construction, Charles often lends technical detailing expertise to help resolve complex construction issues efficiently.

Headshot of Allison Page, Project Archtiect

Allison Page, Project Architect

Allison brings 17 years of experience to BOTO Design. After graduating college, she stayed in the Bay Area assisting with institutional and technical facilities for major telecommunications and biopharmaceutical companies such as Verizon and Bayer. A Southern California native, she returned to her roots after being recruited by a Newport Beach boutique firm specializing in high-end, waterfront homes, where she gained experience producing construction documents and learning the many aspects of construction administration. Interested in diversifying her portfolio, Allison joined BOTO as a designer in 2011. She also obtained her California architect’s license later that year. With her acute attention to detail, Allison has become an integral part of BOTO’s project team over the past 8 years. She is involved in all phases of design & development, from concept to delivery.

Dila Heiden, Interior Designer

Dila has been involved in interior design and architecture for most of her life. Watching her architect parents design and build variety of structures and start their own firm meant that Dila grew to see the practice of architecture as a community-based profession. After graduating from Marmara University in Istanbul/Turkey in 1999, she moved to Los Angeles. She joined the BOTO Design Architects team in 2019 as an interior designer after gaining experience on high-end residential, aircrafts and 5-star, luxury hotels in Santa Monica under the wings of Michael Smith. With an eye for quality, a superior sense of style, and a budget-centered approach to business, Dila Heiden has proven herself as an innovative designer. She offers a balance of creativity, collaboration and forward thinking with a structured, organized and detailed mentality; enabling her to deliver focused development, follow through and total completion to each aspect of the design.

Alicia Jones, Designer

Alicia joined the BOTO team in 2021 with four years of experience. She was born in Orange County and is a fifth-generation native Californian. While completing her degree at UCLA, Alicia worked on several interior architecture projects as both a designer and project coordinator. After earning her Bachelor’s degree in 2017, Alicia began working for a small non-profit firm that focused on elevating underserved communities through urban design and architecture. In 2021, she received her Master’s from the Yale School of Architecture.

Resources:

Architect’s Guide to New Commercial Building Development Architect’s Guide to Building Renovation & Tenant Improvements

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