Jared Polsky, RA
Founding Principal

Jared founded the Larkspur-based firm of Jared Polsky and Associates, now Polsky Perlstein Architects, in 1982. With a Master of Architecture from the University of California, Berkeley, and over four decades of continuous design practice, Jared has developed a well-deserved reputation as one of the leading residential architects in the Bay Area.

A natural and charismatic leader, Jared has established a relationship-driven practice based upon strongly-held principles. His deep interest in creating spaces that celebrate and enhance the lives of his clients guides the studio’s approach to people and projects, resulting in an interactive design process in which clients and architecture team work hand-in-hand in a manner he describes as “joyous.” For Jared, and for the firm, every project presents a new and exciting challenge.

Inspired by architecture’s confluence of artistry and problem-solving, Jared brings his many years of experience and expertise to the practice of design, along with a deep knowledge of wood frame construction, product specification and estimating. He has represented hundreds of clients at design review, planning commission and city council hearings, and his extensive background in the political process of garnering municipal approvals enables him to expertly guide his clients through what can sometimes be a stressful process.

An inquisitive creative and an accomplished photographer, Jared has traveled extensively all over the world, soaking up the architecture and taking thousands of photographs. Jared’s Havanese Charlie – whose brother Chester belongs to his business partner Rich Perlstein – is a frequent visitor to the Polsky Perlstein studio.

Richard Perlstein, AIA
Richard brings over 40 years of diverse architectural practice to his position as principal of Polsky Perlstein Architects. A native of Pittsburgh, PA, he earned his undergraduate degree at M.I.T., before relocating to California to complete his Master of Architecture degree at the University of California, Berkeley. He worked for several years on a diverse array of commercial, multi-family residential, light industrial and shopping center/ retail design projects before joining Polsky Architects in 1989.

In addition to his role as design principal, Richard oversees the office’s technical infrastructure and provides expert advising in the areas of construction detailing, products and specifications. He strives to remain current about developments in construction materials and building processes, proactively integrating sustainable and responsible building technologies into the office’s work. Adept at interpreting building code-related questions and applying the diverse planning codes of Marin’s many jurisdictions, his expertise is an invaluable resource.

Richard has been affiliated with the Marin Task Force – a North Bay-based sub-committee of the AIA San Francisco chapter. Active in the community affairs of his hometown of Corte Madera, he has served on numerous steering committees, as a planning commissioner, as a pro bono volunteer for public projects in town and as a coordinator for his neighborhood’s emergency Neighborhood Response Group. He lives in Corte Madera with his wife and their pet Havanese, and has a long- standing love of singing small group a cappella. Rich’s Havanese Chester – whose brother Charlie belongs to his business partner Jared Polsky – is also a frequent visitor to the Polsky Perlstein studio.
Elizabeth Raar, RA
Project Architect

Originally from Holland, Michigan, Elizabeth grew up in a fixer-upper house, and has been interested in architecture and design from a young age. By the time she was 11, she had determined that architecture would be her profession.

Elizabeth earned her Bachelor of Architecture degree from the Syracuse University School of Architecture. After architecture school, she took an internship at an architectural concept firm in The Hague, Netherlands. She moved to the San Francisco Bay Area in 2014 to work with Polsky Perlstein Architects, and has been a valued member of the staff for nearly a decade. She loves focusing on making clients’ homes simultaneously functional and beautiful, and having the ability to work on projects from initial concept through to completion.

When she’s not in the office, Elizabeth is most likely traveling the world, salsa dancing, or baking delicious things. She is also the co-host of “She Builds” – an architecture podcast focused on women in the design and construction industry throughout history.

Patrick LePelch, RA
Project Architect
Patrick brings three decades of experience in architecture and design to his role at Polsky Perlstein Architects. After earning both a Bachelor and Master of Architecture from the University of Maryland, he relocated from the east coast to California over 25 years ago.

With experience working on every housing type throughout his career, Patrick brings a broad base of residential design expertise to the office. He began his career with a mid-sized firm in San Francisco that specialized in residential design within the urban context, then established his own practice in Eugene, Oregon where affordable, mid-density housing was the main focus. In 1999, he moved back to the Bay Area to continue his own practice, shifting his focus to custom homes, residential additions and renovations for individual clients. He is adept in working within many design vocabularies, and enjoys bringing every client’s ideas and aspirations to reality while working alongside the industry’s best consultants and builders.

When he is not designing beautiful homes, Patrick can be found running the trails of Marin, riding his mountain bike or surfing the local beaches with his family. With a passion for adventure sports, he truly appreciates everything Marin County and Northern California have to offer.
Tyler Shelton
Project Architect

Tyler has been with Polsky Perlstein for over two decades, and he has been involved in design and construction in one form or another for most of his life. His career in architecture evolved organically through a diverse array of experiences and extensive travel. Pivotal early experiences include helping his grandfather build a log cabin in the Alaska wilderness, and working with his uncle to build numerous rustic structures at his homestead, also in the Alaska wilderness. Traveling throughout Western Europe after high school, and a semester in France during college, opened his eyes to architecture and design.

After moving to California, eschewing more traditional working environments, Tyler worked on ranches and wineries, becoming a licensed general contractor in 1987. Over the years his work became highly customized, entailing more and more design, which led to his use of the computer as a design tool. He taught himself CAD, developed his expertise, and joined Polsky Perlstein in 2001.

He has since been taught, and continues to learn, the fine art of drafting and design by the best in the business, (see other biographies), and he feels privileged to have a career working with professionals he considers to be of the highest caliber.

Amanda Arnesson
Certified Interior Designer
Amanda joined Polsky Perlstein Architects as an interior designer in 2011, taking a circuitous route to the practice of design in which she excelled in every endeavor she encountered.

Amanda graduated cum laude with a Bachelor of Arts in English and Fine Art from the University of Southern California. After 10 years as a graphic design professional, she shifted her focus in order to pursue her increasing interest in design for the built environment. While working and helping to raise her two boys, Amanda completed U.C. Berkeley Extension’s Interior Design and Interior Architecture Program with distinction, earning her CCIDC certificate in interior design. She has renovated two personal homes, and contributed her skills in visual concepting, design presentation, product knowledge, fabrication, and installation to projects ranging from simple kitchen renovations to ground-up residential projects with custom furnishings.

Away from her desk and the showrooms, Amanda hikes with her boxer dog Smu, scuba dives, collects Japanese baskets, and loves to buy unusually high shoes, (because the extra height confuses her boss, Jared).
Kathy Sanders
Office Manager

Kathy has been the Office Manager for Polsky Perlstein Architects since 1995, maintaining all office accounts and invoicing, and more generally keeping the office running smoothly. She earned her Bachelor of Arts from the State University of New York at Albany, as well as an MBA from Baruch College in New York. Prior to relocating to California, she worked many years in the finance department of CBS Sports in New York, where her responsibilities included planning, budgeting and acquisition analysis.

She lives in Mill Valley with her husband and Moose, her basset hound. She plays tournament bridge and has achieved the rank of Silver Life Master.

Laura Van Amburgh
Senior Associate

When Laura joined Polsky Perlstein in 2010, she brought with her a breadth of architectural experience across various project types and scales, as well as valuable insights gained from running her own firm.

Laura graduated from the University of Texas in Austin in 1989 with a Bachelor of Architecture. She began her career working on commercial projects in Southern California, but eventually crossed over to residential design – where her true passion lies. She lived in Santa Fe for 12 years, forming the partnership Van Amburgh + Pares + Co, which focused on single-family residential, multi-family tax credit projects, small commercial and hospitality projects. She moved with her family to the Bay Area in 2008, joining Polsky Perlstein Architects shortly thereafter.

While Laura leans more toward a modern design vocabulary, she also admires the intricacies of the Bay Area’s more traditional architectural styles. She enjoys collaborating with the client and the contractor to produce a beautiful home that meets the clients specific needs and vision, and she deeply appreciates the comradery and expertise of her office peers. On weekends Laura enjoys everything Northern California has to offer, hiking with friends in Marin County or spending time at the beach.

Kathleen Heimerman
Senior Associate

With a professional degree in Landscape Architecture and a Masters of Architecture, Kathleen brings an integrated approach to broad design challenges. Her diverse background spans high-end residential projects, (both architecture and landscape), architectural design and large-scale master planning for multinational clients. Her extensive experience includes project work in civic, technology, commercial, education and residential market sectors.

Joining Polsky Perlstein gave Kathleen the opportunity to continue to pursue her design interests in both residential and multi-family projects. She strives to integrate sustainable design practices and green building technologies into every project she undertakes.

Kathleen lives in San Anselmo, where she enjoys hiking and gardening. She has lived abroad, in both Portugal and Italy, and continues to follow her love of travel.

Jessica Smith
Project Architect

Born and raised in Marin County, Jessica first met studio founder Jared Polsky in 1988, when he worked with her parents on the design of their Tiburon home. Always drawn to the arts and sciences, she had the opportunity to take architecture classes at Redwood High School, one of the few high schools in the region to offer architecture. After graduating from the University of Colorado, Boulder, she initially pursued a career with firms focused on the design of larger projects, before shifting her focus to single-family residential design.

Jessica joined Polsky Perlstein ten years ago, drawn to the firm’s ethos of mentorship, communication and continuous learning, and she considers her decade of practice with the firm an essential element of her design education. She finds joy in getting to know her clients on a personal level, and designing homes that fit their needs, passions and individual lifestyles.

Taking advantage of all that Marin County has to offer, Jessica enjoys hiking, rowing, open water swimming, and pursuing creative artistic outlets outside of architecture such as ceramics. With a black lab named Domino, she describes herself as one of the office’s “dog people.”

Cyrus Namdar
Junior Associate

Cyrus joined Polsky Perlstein in 2022 after completing his undergraduate education at New York University, where he earned a Bachelor of Arts in Urban Design and Architecture with a minor in Environmental Science. A native of Marin County, Cyrus grew up very near the Polsky Perlstein studio. Founder Jared Polsky had worked on the design of his parents’ nearby home, a relationship that opened up the transformative opportunity for him to work as a summer intern at Polsky Perlstein throughout high school.

Enthusiastic and candid, Cyrus brings a sense of joy and possibility to the studio, and he truly enjoys the creative process of designing highly personal spaces for the firm’s clients. His varied experiences and interests give him a nuanced approach to design, and he enjoys the challenge of working on homes of varying scales. He credits his grandfather, an avid gardener, with inspiring his interest in environmental science, while his time in New York spurred his interest in the efficient use of space.

Outside the office, Cyrus volunteers at Marin County’s Marine Mammal Center, a non-profit well known for its mission to rescue, rehabilitate and release marine mammals who are injured, ill or abandoned.