Sydney Katz

You grew up in DC and studied in LA. What’s the biggest difference? Besides the beautiful weather in LA, the biggest difference I noticed was in lifestyle and attitude. Most people in LA are very laid back and relaxed. My time there allowed me to experience a more relaxed culture, which has influenced how I live my life here in DC.

What architecture inspired you in California? The Arts and Crafts style from the turn of the century is prevalent throughout Los Angeles. Its honest beauty, balance and harmony have greatly influenced me as a designer; its structural expression and use of natural materials creates a warm and welcoming feeling.

Tell us something we don’t know: I was valedictorian of my high school class—and gave a speech that made all the students laugh, and the teachers and parents cry.