In my business (film director) I work with knuckleheads all day long. These people have ideas, express opinions and concerns and yet, they seem to bring no added value to the process or final outcome--until you really listen to what they are trying to communicate.

Their questions lead to modified solutions, and, in the end, refine/guide the process with equal parts fun, frustration and revelation.  The balance of art and commerce is something I’ve had to learn. And it hasn’t been easy.

UNTIL… I met Johnny Hirsch, who has the natural ability to listen and understand the client’s needs and utilize any weakness (bad taste, over the top ideas, or functional misses) and turn it into a creative strength without all the whining and crying. That is a gift.

As is being a psychologist: I like the color black, my wife red. Johnny makes both of our ideas work in a new, improved and unexpected way.

That is bringing added value!

Clarity of needs and wants: Johnny helps us understand and leads the charge. We have done numerous projects together, all successful. Just take a look at his work, I do believe it speaks for itself--though what doesn’t show on the page is the process and pleasure of the collaboration.

There are a lot of good designers in the market place, right? Give them unlimited funds, and enough time and the results should be good, yes? Well, not always. Good taste, simple taste is rare. Making the ordinary extraordinary is not for the talentless. It takes imagination, skill, understanding…. and WHAM, the birth of simplicity! 

The simpler the design, the more skill required. Beauty with functionality is a rare commodity. Less is always more and I find Johnny understands this well.

Johnny has the talent to find the heartbeat of a project, any project.

Would I recommend him? YES I would. Good taste is hard to find, let alone patience to work with knuckleheads like me.


John Mastromonaco  



Subject: Letter of Recommendation for PLACE Principal Designer, Johnny Hirsch

Date: January 18, 2017

To Whom It May Concern:

After knowing Johnny Hirsch for nearly a decade, when it came time to buy a home and redesign it with forward-thinking style & a modern aesthetic, there was no doubt we wanted to partner with Johnny and his firm, PLACE. Johnny is one of the most talented individuals, with a sense of style and an eye for design that is special beyond words.

To say that building a house is stressful is an understatement. Johnny’s calm demeanor during both the design and build process helped us think clearly and thoughtfully. A home is personal, and Johnny helped us through the entire process with his caring consideration of learning who we are, how we live, and by creating an environment and living space to support that.

Johnny is responsive, thorough and his attention to detail is impeccable. He is full of concepts and ideas that got us truly excited to design the home of our dreams.

True talent is rare, and Johnny is talented to a remarkably impressive degree. We are thrilled to have had the opportunity for him to design our home.


Andrea & Matt



Working with PLACE has been a very positive, collaborative, and rewarding experience. Johnny's approach to our new home was really centered on us, our lifestyle and how we want to live in Santa Barbara.

We're reminded every time we enter our home that  it's really a special place. We're reminded every time we use a room, it's really a functional place.

Everybody who has entered our home has been truly astounded by this fact, but even more so, by the aesthetics and the use of materials chosen by PLACE.

Johnny is exceptionally gifted and we would not hesitate to recommend him for your project.


Richard and Donna Haro