April 30, 2022
As a principal with Harrison Design in Santa Barbara, Anthony Grumbine has drawn building plans for some of the region’s finest private residences (such as the one pictured above). But he also serves his art in the public realm — currently he’s the chair of the city of Santa Barbara’s Historic Landmarks Commission and board president of the Santa Barbara Trust for Historic Preservation.
Before joining the Harrison team in 2007, Grumbine earned two bachelor’s degrees — architectural studies and art history — from Carleton University before graduating from the University of Notre Dame with a master’s in architecture. Before joining the Harrison team in 2007, he worked for architect and Notre Dame professor Duncan Stroik. He’s also an accomplished painter (see below).
We caught up with Grumbine for a quick Q&A to touch on perfectionism, failure, and punctuality, among other topics.
What drew you to architecture and design early on?
Grumbine: Drawing drew me.
What has been your favorite architectural field trip or vacation?
Studying all over Italy, with a trip to the Parthenon ruins.
What is your favorite public building in Santa Barbara?
Miraflores — the Music Academy of the West.
What do you like the most about your job?
Watching the design process come together through thoughtful collaboration, taking note of that first drawn image, and watching the beautifully executed results come to life.
If you had to go back to pick another profession, what would it be?
Not an engineer! Perhaps Giffin & Crane would take me on as a building contractor.
What is your greatest fear?
Failure – Not having done something that was within my power.
What do you consider the most overrated virtue?
Which talent would you most like to have?
To be able to draw with both hands at the same time.
If you could change one thing about yourself, what would it be?
What do you consider your greatest achievement?
Convincing my wife I was marriage material.
What is your most treasured possession?
A painting of San Marcos Square in watercolor.
What do you most value in your friends?
What is your most marked characteristic?
An innate sensibility to laugh at myself and maintain a good sense of humor about life.
What word or phase do you most overuse?
“Most juice for the least squeeze!”
What is your motto?
If it hasn’t been done before, it probably isn’t a good idea.