Esteban Lopez

San Diego - Interior Designer

Affectionately known as “Esta-flan,” Esteban Lopez has made a career as both an interior designer and tastemaker.

The native New Yorker, who now calls Mission Hills home, took to the West Coast in 2003, after developing a successful design career in the Big Apple. In his spare time, Lopez loves a round of tennis when he’s not traveling up the coast to Napa with his husband and business partner, James Niebling. What does he owe his success to? Lopez credits surrounding himself “with brilliance” as key.




Place you call home now (neighborhood etc)?

Mission Hills.

Any notes on your education?

I hold both a Landscape Design/Horticultural and Interior Design degree.

Favorite sport to watch?


Favorite sport to play?


Best vacation ever?

Hawaii’s Big Island—Kona, Hilo and in between .

Dream trip destination?

Palm Springs or Los Angeles.

Favorite dessert?

In San Diego, it’s a toss-up between Fort Oak’s Gianduja Tort or Juniper & Ivy’s Yoddle.
In NYC, Le Cirque’s desserts were the best!

Underrated food?

Tacos Libertad.

Dish you’re best at cooking?

Flan (I’m known as “Esta-flan” by close friends) or Bouillabaisse (Catalan Style).

Best meal you’ve had at a restaurant?

There is a little restaurant in Seattle called Marmite.

Road trip—three in the car with you. Living or dead. Who are they? Why?

Went up PCH from SD to Napa with my Husband. It was week-long 4th of July weekend.
We made hotel stops in Santa Barbara, Carmel, San Francisco and Tiburon.

Favorite TV show as a kid?

Gilligan’s Island.

Favorite movies?

Aliens (It still holds up today).

Favorite actress and or actor?

Meryl Streep.

Favorite bands?

No Doubt, The Beatles, Jonas Brothers.

Most impressive live performance you ever saw?

Recently at the Hollywood Bowl—LA Philharmonic Piano Concerto performed by Inon Bernatan.

Car you drive now?

Alfa Romeo Stelvio.

Car you’d like to drive?

The upcoming 2020 Alfa Romeo Tonale.

Best car you've owned?

BMW 330xi Wagon.



Summer drink of choice?

Carpano Antica Spritz with Vermouth.

Winter drink of choice?

Fiji Water.

Vodka or gin?

Kettle One.


Histoires De Parfums.

Go-to red on a wine list?


Go-to white?


Favorite beach?

Del Mar.

On a Saturday, your favorite errand to run is?

Checkout what’s new at Neiman Marcus and Bloomingdales.

Otherwise, you’ll be busy doing what?

Lounging on our bedroom deck, or hanging out with some of our friends.

Best work advice you ever got?

“Surround yourself with brilliance.”

Best thing about your career?

My design team.

What do you do now for work? Tell us something about your work and career path.

I have been an independent interior designer since 1997, that’s not changing anytime soon.

Do you have any philanthropic interests/endeavors?

Would love to help solve the homeless problem globally.

Add anything else about yourself here that you would like the world to know about you.

I have a great “dry” sense of humor.