Skip to main content


Our project was not for the meek! We touched every inch of our 1917 Reginald Johnson home -- 6000+ sq feet in San Marino. Our goal was to renovate the classic Italian Revival home and keep it period correct but with the most compelling, subtle and high-end conveniences. Our initial review included the usual checkpoints on quality, timeliness, staying on budget, significant experience with homes from the same era, etc. Jim and his team received flying colors from his references, and ultimately from us on all of these. However the biggest pluses of working with Jim were not apparent at the start and went way beyond our initial criteria. Our work with him became iterative mid-project as we opened walls and made discoveries impacting large areas. We moved walls, added square footage and significantly upgraded the exterior living areas on the side and back of the house. Throughout the entire process Jim remained incredibly insightful and adaptive, with clever cost-saving alternatives to achieve the same design principles. Jim and his team gave us context and provided thoughtful considerations on how different designs would impact usability, appearance and marketability. Just as important they proposed infrastructure choices that would allow flexible development in the future. We came to learn that Jim's experience led to an easy rapport with the other important partners in the project - the GC, the designer, the city's design review board and inspectors. The project benefited greatly from his disposition and clipped along faster than it might have otherwise. These are the things you just don't know you need from an architect until you are there! The bottom line is that we felt extremely lucky to have such a creative, smart and progressive architectural team on our side during the long project. If an other project comes around, I will absolutely return to Jim!Read More

Almost at the end of a substantial remodel to our home in Pasadena, we’re admiring the work that James Coane did for us. We recently moved from Bel Air to Pasadena, having found a house that we loved, but one which would likely need a “kitchen remodel.” The house was 80 years old and had been remodeled at least a dozen times by previous owners. Being new to the neighborhood, and after noting his work in Houzz and on his website, we began soliciting architectural names from people in the area. James Coane was highly recommended. The primary thing that stood out for us on his website was the variety of styles he could work with. In all of the samples, there was no discontinuity, which was seriously impressive. When we met with him, we mentioned this. “We like this house a lot,” we said. “Although we want some modifications, we don’t want to change the character of the house, especially so that anything looks like an obvious stylistic change when it’s finished.” He had no problem with this. After that point, as he began to talk with us to see what we wanted and began to come up with ideas and plans, we began to feel we would have no problem with him. Over several months of drawings and talking, we found him always receptive to changes and easy to work with. There was no drama, other than the ideas in the plans. With him, we were in a creative partnership. As we began construction, we occasionally needed some adjustment for this or that, and again found only a very helpful and creative partner. Needless to say, our “kitchen remodel” eventually encompassed almost every room in the house to some extent – not because of him, but because of us. As we saw what he was doing and could do, we decided to stretch out a bit. After all, we really liked the house and wanted to be completely content in it. Stretching out turned out to be a really good idea. As the work began to take shape, we found that his design associate Zaire Garcia was an enormous help, a person who was also receptive, very creative, talented and easy to work with. Now, as we’re nearly finished with the work, we looked around at what has been done and are really thrilled with the results. The house, substantially updated, is still the house we initially loved; and of course the issues which led to the remodel have been solved. Working with James and Zaire has been creative, easy and often fun. We’re happy to start showing this place off. We’re even happier to live here. We will recommend James and Zaire as often as we can. Starting here.Read More

It is with great pleasure that I write this long overdue review of James V. Coane and Associates . We met with Jim ten years ago to start work on our small Mid-Century home in Pasadena. My husband and I did not know what to expect, as this was the first time either of us worked with an architect to create our dream home. Jim is smart, creative, and very detail-oriented with respect to all phases of the building process. I forgot to mention that Jim's sense of humor and kindness are also greatly appreciated :) Our home is a view home, which overlooks the Pasadena Rosebowl and San Gabriel mountains, so we wanted to be sure the view remained center-stage in our designs. Jim listened to all of our concerns, and was open to any new idea that we came up with. It is ten years since our complete remodel. We continue to love our home , as it brings us both great joy and comfort. Ten years ago, budget constraints would not allow for interior design services. I recently got in contact with Jim (Feb. 2020) to discuss interior options for the house and met with his colleague, Zaire Garcia. From paint choices, to furniture and fabrics, Zaire has a creative eye for details!! Working with Zaire has been an education for me, as I have learned about high quality furniture with a focus on construction. Zaire recently took us to the design district in order to choose pieces, and I honestly felt like a kid in a candy store!!!! I didn't know this kind of high quality furniture existed, as I was very used to buying in Pottery Barn and Crate and Barrel (I am not trying to be disparaging towards either of these companies, but there truly is a difference when sitting on high quality furniture. ) On another note, Zaire is PATIENT, kind, and she truly helps you make the right decisions for your home furnishing with respect to budget, and architectural style of the house. Do not hesitate to contact James V. Coane and associates. You will not be disappointed. Danielle and Cliff Houser We will be updating photos of our interiors shortly after completionRead More

Jim is Excellent. We found Jim when were looking for just the right architect to help up build our dream home. He sat with us, listened to us and guide us into creating a home that will be in our family for generations. Every detail was important to us so it was important to Jim. We feel truly fortunate that he was available and found the the perfect contractor to get the job done. It would not have happened without Jim's attention to every aspect of the process. From plans to permits to opening the door to our dream Jim's creative mind showed us the way. I have owned my own business for over 30 years and still marvel at what Jim was able to create. I highly recommend Jim. KevinRead More

If you’re looking for an architect with experience, look no further. As a general contractor, it is critical that we receive a set of plans that are buildable with details. James and his team do a great job in giving us a clean set of plans which makes the entire process much easier. He’s also available for any questions that we have and is quick to respond. Since his team also includes interior designs, the plans are fully integrated and turnaround times for client design requests are quick. We enjoy working with James Coane and would be happy to build on his projects again in the future.Read More

Working with James was an absolute pleasure. He quickly understood our desire to revive the 1930s architecture of our home while allowing the addition and renovated areas to seamlessly flow with the original restored rooms. James enjoyed navigating the challenges of our neighborhood's ordinances and worked well with city offices and agencies. It was also a pleasure to collaborate with Francesca Mead (interior designer in the same firm). She is able to understand and execute our vision with fixtures, furniture and materials that perfectly fit our lifestyle and budget. She has a great eye and knowledge for what will make each room special. Both James and Francesca provided great attention to detail and communication from start to finish. They also supported and enabled our contractor to execute all the interior, exterior and landscape plans perfectly.Read More

I have used James Coane’s firm twice and am about to embark on a third project with him. Our first house was a 5500 sq ft house in La Canada It was initially designed by previous owners as a Monterey style and we had James quickly convert to a bold glass and steel contemporary. Being so thrilled with those results, we had James rework a home design for a post and beam creek house in PA. A bland A frame house became a multi roofed contemporary country compound. And in 2019, James is designing a two story Rec House behind a three unit house on a slope in Silverlake to maximize the living quarters for the residents. We are very excited to see the results and to have James back in our lives again.Read More

It’s with pleasure to recommend James Coane and Associates. First and foremost, James listened to our needs and ideas and then developed concepts and plans around our thoughts that were imaginative, thoughtful, creative and practical. Secondly, we felt we receive a lot of value for his work as he was fair and reasonable in delivering top quality. James guided us through a complete remodel of our Lake Home and we have now engaged in additional projects. He is a pleasure to work with and recommended without reservation.Read More

My wife and I worked with Jim over a four year period to design and build our dream home. From the outset, Jim was creative and responsive to our requests. Jim had great ideas and suggestions while recognizing that this would be our home and had to meet our vision. He is smart and creative but sets his ego aside. He is a good listener and it only took two concept drawings to capture the look we were after. It was a difficult process to get City approvals, particularly since we lived out of state during construction. Jim was diligent and persistent in getting the necesary approvals and when we hit sticking points, we appreciated his experience - and sense of humor - to see us through. At the end of the four year process, we love our new home and we consider Jim to be a good friend. Perhaps that's the highest form of praise.Read More

Have worked with Coane and Associates on 4 large projects. Jim's creativity and respect for function is quite exceptional. Each project exceeded my expectations.Read More

I first met James Coane about 6 years ago when he was designing a new Transitional Style house in San Marino for my nephew. My nephew and his wife were very happy with James’ work and how their project was proceeding, so I called James to come look at my house, which is also in San Marino. James is a very patient man. Over the course of about two years, we had him first design an extensive renovation and addition to our house, which he then got approved by the City. We loved his ideas so much that we asked him to come up with ideas for a totally new 9,000 square foot house. He did that and got that approved by the City as well. Finally, as time to build the new house got close, my husband and I became sentimental about some of the parts of our existing house and wanted to keep some parts of the original house that were important to us. So James patiently came up with a third set of plans which incorporated all of the ideas from our original remodeling plans and the ideas from our new house plans, which he got approved at the City as well. He and his team are very professional, creative, and easy to work with and there was no drama. He was very attentive to our desire to save money where possible in certain parts of the house. It is a large house and some rooms are used always and some rooms are seldom used. We had a lot of positive feedback that he worked very well with the City of San Marino and attended the many hearings and special meetings necessary for our project, interacted with our neighbors, and handled all of those things on our behalf. He helped guide us through the selection of contractors and reviewing construction bids, and was at the construction site often to answer questions and make sure things were getting built correctly. He is very professional and worked really well with our contractor and his guys. We loved everything he had done for us so much that once we started construction we also hired him to do all of the interior design for our house. He and his team selected our tiles, paint colors, fabrics, hardware, and other similar interior design items. They were also on site often making sure the materials were installed properly. In addition to giving us everything we asked for, there were many nice unexpected surprises he had designed into the project which we did not fully understand until they were built. But we are very glad he included them. We love our new house and would be happy to refer James and his team to anyone needing an architect or interior designer. As a matter of fact, when my niece and her family recently moved back into town, I told her to call James and he went and looked at several houses with them that they were looking to buy and advised them on what could be done with each one. Now, he is currently preparing plans for them for the large remodel they will be doing to their new Pasadena home. We would highly recommend James to anyone.Read More

I've known Jim for about 4 years now when we hired him back in 2013 to design an addition and remodel of our kitchen. He is very easy to work with and is attentive to our needs and budget. Whenever we came across a bump in the road, he was there to come up with solutions. We can tell from the start he is very educated in the industry and knowledgeable with procedures when working with the City of Pasadena. We receive many compliments from family and friends about our layout of our family and kitchen area, it's very functional and easy to entertain our guests. I truly believe our space has improved our family lifestyle. Jim is very talented in his craft and is willing to go above and beyond for your project from the start to completion. We always have guests asking us who the designer is and I will always recommend anyone to hire Jim as their architect.Read More

We came across James Coane’s name completely by accident. When we were house hunting in San Marino area in 2010, we saw a gorgeous historic house. The listing agent mentioned it had been expanded. The work was so seamless, that we could not tell where the original house started and where the new construction began. Many times, with expansions, you can totally tell it is an “add on”. From that day on, I swore to myself that if we found our dream home, we would want Jim to do it. And boy, are we glad we did!!! In 2012, we found a beautiful mid century modern home in Pasadena, but it looked like it was stuck in the 50’s. We had a vision of A LOT of glass and a very open concept. Jim was able to fulfill our vision, while keeping to the classic Mid Century Modern vibe. He, along with his wonderful team, walked us through every phase, from design to completion. We went through many changes along the way, and he happily met with us to hear our concerns and make the changes to help us achieve the perfect home. The other big advantage of working with Jim, is that he seems to know EVERYONE! So when we needed a pool added, he knew just who to work with. They worked in tandem and articulated exactly what our vision was. When we wanted to do landscaping, boom, done! His team would communicate directly with my landscaper to make sure the look jived with the house. We even used Jim’s Team for interior design! They helped us source the furniture and accessories, coordinate the look and make sure everything was perfect! This is my dream home, and I love that he helped us get to it. Thank you Jim and team, we are forever grateful!Read More

The first step in building your DREAM HOUSE is finding your DREAM ARCHITECT! James Coane is your guy! He sure was ours! Backstory: My wife and I had been looking for our dream home for over 3 years in the Arcadia, San Marino and Pasadena, Los Angeles area. We had seen well over 100 homes but never liked any of them because many were built in the 1900-1940 era in historical neighborhoods and the styling wasn't to our liking.... We ultimately wanted a Mid Century Modern(MCM) style home. We finally realized that we would never find our dream home unless we were willing to renovate. SO... We started keeping tabs on what we loved about each home we saw for future reference. We noticed that many of the homes we liked were renovated by Coane & Associates. We were amazed by how seamless the new additions looked compared to the original home. We wouldn't have even known had the realtor not told us of the addition or renovation. After searching for homes high and low, we were introduced to a pocket listing originally owned by a Disney executive. It was located in the prestigious Oak Knoll neighborhood of Pasadena and we loved it! The house was of MCM nature but had not been touched since it was built in 1949. My wife and I really wanted to update it! About James Coane: We immediately thought of James Coane. We called his office the same day we saw our potential home. James spoke to us for over an hour on the phone discussing and hearing what we liked about his past projects and our thoughts on them. He was very generous with his time and didn't seem impatient to get off the phone. I mean, he wasn't even getting paid yet at this point. When we told him the home we were potentially going to purchase, he immediately knew the house and offered to come and take a look since he had some down time. We got along immediately and you could tell he was a fan of MCM. He genuinely seemed excited about hearing our thoughts about the house and he also added some excellent thoughts on the property. Mind you, this was before we even bought the house. I don't know many architects who would be so willing to just show up to discuss about a potential project without getting paid. Fortunately, the stars were aligned and after a week, the house was ours. We called James to immediately set up an appointment. On the first day, he did measurements and brought ideas he had for the house from our previous phone conversation.....I mean, he took notes before agreeing to our project???? WHO DOES THAT?. We were totally blown away! Either James is a supercomputer or he was just reading our minds! The ideas he presented were amazing! Some ideas that James thought of that I'm forever grateful for was: 1. Increasing the height of the roof from 10 feet to 14 feet. 2. Giving us the famous Neutra Kaufmann House look and adding a stairway to our roof create a pavilion. 3. Making the house with floor to ceiling glass windows.....I mean WOW! 4. Giving us a themed wall that really ties the whole house together. Throughout the whole process, he was there with his artistic insight. Obviously, he did have the help of his associates when he couldn't physically be there. We expected nothing less since I'm sure he had tons of clients who needed his expert services. James is in demand! Could you blame him? However, he was always available on his phone or would drop by to discuss ideas after his meetings with other clients. He ALWAYS MADE TIME FOR US and actually cared about our project. HE understood our woes and fears. One of the things he said will always stick with me: "Guys, listen, this is your house, your haven.....your sanctuary. This is where you'll be creating memories.....this is HOME....I want to make it happen for you". Wow! Talk about a guy who's on your side! James provided us with detailed CGI images of what the house will ultimately look like with exact measurement and even with furniture suggestions to help decorate the place. We actually were so impressed that we used him for our decorating choices too....yes, he has a decorating division too!. After it was all said and done....we were thoroughly impressed and so happy we found James. I know you won't be disappointed if you go with James Coane...we sure weren't. I'll post some pics to show how happy we are with James for making a house, OUR MCM DREAM HOME! Thank you James!Read More

We hired James and his team in 2013 to design a simple remodel of a Pasadena house, originally built in the early 1900's, that had not been updated since the 1970's. Not surprisingly, our simple remodel turned into more or less building a complete new house on the footprint of the original. James cheerfully and expertly switched gears, providing us all we could have hoped for and more. His design ideas were consistently reflections of our taste and lifestyle rather than a strict interpretation of the story he thought our historic residence should tell. He is a problem solver - having built our prior home we knew what we wanted and James would figure out how to deliver that in a high quality, cost effective way. In addition, he was very helpful in working with local planning and building authorities to ensure a smooth approval and construction process. I would highly recommend James and would not hesitate to hire him again should the opportunity arise.Read More

We have been use James service for our home in Pasadena. James is professional and very personal too. he has great talents and worked well with the construction team and City employees. I refer James to my other friends that looking for a great architecture. highly recommended.. Solomon ChenRead More

JIM COANE is the single, most-trusted, most relied upon name in my every real estate holding. I have been fortunate to be able to call upon Jim since 1993 for every one of my real estate ventures, residential and commercial. The environmental enjoyment of space is vital to my employee's creativity and success, my company's growth and our personal happiness. My collaboration with him has achieved enormous and unexpected benefits. Jim's designs and insights have brought balance, logic and extraordinary comfort to my completely out-of-balance life. It is incalculable how many compliments I get from clients, potential employees and celebrities who visit our offices. His home design has also proven to be a timeless masterpiece, still garnering unsolicited compliments 25 years after the last wood plank was set. Jim Coane is a treasure and his genius and craftsmanship are gifts that impact almost every hour of my every day. I could not be more blessed.Read More

Michael B.  ★★★★★

Jim worked closely with us throughout all stages of our extensive remodel (essentially we were building a new house while using the 'bones' of our 1929 Mediterranean). Jim has a tremendous ability to translate a creative vision into architectural reality that works within the confines of your space. He does this through ongoing engagement with the owners and numerous examples of inspirational photographs. My wife and I would strongly recommend Jim...we couldn't be happier with the end result!

Solomon C.  ★★★★★

We have been use James service for our home in Pasadena. James is professional and very personal too. he has great talents and worked well with the construction team and City employees. I refer James to my other friends that looking for a great architecture. highly recommended..

Best of Houzz 2024 - Design
Best of Houzz 2024 - Client Satisfaction
Best of Houzz 2023 - Design
Best of Houzz 2022 - Design
Best of Houzz 2022 - Client Satisfaction
Best of Houzz 2021 - Design
Best of Houzz 2021 - Client Satisfaction
Best of Houzz 2020 - Client Satisfaction
Best of Houzz 2019 - Design
Best of Houzz 2019 - Client Satisfaction
Best of Houzz 2018 - Design
Houzz Pro Software User
Houzz Influencer
Recommended on Houzz
25,000 Ideabook Saves