10. Top Architect
Kara Bartelt, 38, design principal, Lettuce Office
Résumé: Bartelt's Buffer House, a 2,500-square-foot energy-efficient home encased in greenery, won an international award. Her next project, a solar array for Occidental College, will remove 1,250 metric tons of carbon dioxide from the atmosphere. And toHOLD, her line of designed objects incorporating tillandsia air plants, is a top seller on Etsy.
Path to the Top: "When I worked for Cesar Pelli, the brilliant Argentine-American architect, incredible projects came his way. It inspired me to do something entrepreneurial. My parents owned small businesses, so working for myself was a no-brainer."
Defining Moment: "I loved designing the Overture Center for the Arts in Madison, Wisconsin, while I was working for Pelli. Every decision, from the angles of the sight lines to the fabric on the chairs, was important."
Home Improvement: "I used to want to create my own house, but now I'm interested in more influential projects. I'll always tinker and change things wherever I live, but I don't want to design the 'perfect' home anymore."