Allen was everything we were looking for and more in an architect for our gut-rehab project of our home in Chicago. We owned a property that was previously a 3-story 2 flat with a 2-bedroom apartment on the first floor and a 4 bedroom, 3 bathroom duplex up on the second and third floors.
We loved the charm of the home build in 1896 but wanted to convert the huge amount of space we had into a single family residence. Allen immediately saw our vision as we described it to him and improved upon it. He was creative and helped us to think "big" while at the same time being realistic and advising us to the limitations and potential pitfalls we might hit.
His architectural plans had to take into account major structural changes including knocking down multiple walls and installing new beams while still keeping the space aesthetically pleasing. In the end, from a finished product point of view, we have our dream home and we didn't have to move.
Allen was easy to work with, flexible, professional and responsive. Almost as importantly as his architectural skill was his ability to almost serve as our project manager and liason with the general contractor. We had never undertaken any sort of construction project and would never have known the right questions to ask or to push on certain areas in terms of finishing plans, materials, and costs. For the active part of the project Allen attended weekly on-site meetings with the GC and helped translate our concerns or the GC's questions in ways that we could understand.
Allen knows the City's code like the back of his hand and his plans took all of that into account while meeting our lofty goals. He was able to ensure that the contractor stayed above board and followed all required aspects of his plans with respect to code.
Finally, Allen's design opinions, insights and help with finishing choices such as tiles, plumbing fixtures, lights, floor colors, paint color, etc were invaluable. Again, not having experience with home projects or in the home design business, he was very helpful in pointing us toward features that were within what he believed to be our "style" and also market-popular and at a good price point.
Our project included a full bar, exterior improvements and a new front door in addition to the bathroom and living space improvements. All of Allen's designs were on point.
Overall, Allen is a really great guy, was knowledgeable, professionally, timely, reliable and talented. He has his clients best interests in mind and his finished product is unmatched. More...
Allen was great! He had a lot of great ideas. He was very professional and was always prepared and on time. He knew all the right questions to ask my contractor. He was very knowledgeable about the big things and all the little details. My space turned out better because of him and his input. I would definitely use him again on my next project. More...
We worked with Allen and David at Studio Villanueva on the plans for a conversion of a classic Chicago 2-Flat in a state of disrepair to a single family home.
They were very helpful in working with us to find a solution to get the best use of the space taking in account our desire to reuse a lot of existing features of the space (like built in pieces). They generated multiple versions layouts both listening to our ideas but also improving on them. They spent a lot of time in face-to-face meetings explaining the trade-offs of various approaches and tweaking designs as we talked through them. They didn't just say that we would want to have rooms/lights/outlets/doors/etc in specific locations, they talked us through why we would want them in certain locations and helped us make those decisions. When we wanted things that they felt were atypical or odd they talked through them to either understand our desires or help guide us to a better solution to what we really wanted. They were very conscious of keeping the project costs under control (for instance working around the existing bearing wall structure) without sacrificing the utility of the space.
The pricing was very transparent and the incidental costs (which were detailed in the contract up front) were very inexpensive.
The architecture work was done in the time frame estimated and scheduling meetings was easy. The project is currently in the permitting stages. More...
We hired Allen in the Spring of 2016 to help us design our basement renovation which included a full excavation in our 100 year old home. Allen 's design recommendation fit perfectly with our needs. He also recommended a structural engineer and fantastic contractor that came in on time and on budget. It was the first time we engaged in a project that exceeded our expectations and in large part that is attributed to Allen involvement and oversight. We would highly recommend Allen for any architectural and design projects. More...
We used Studio Villanueva for architectural services on our custom home. Allen and his team were detailed in their explainations, creative, detail oriented and patient when it came to us changing our minds and making adjustments on the fly.
They worked seamlessly with our contractor which provided efficiencies, piece of mind and cost savings.
I would highly recommend Allen & team and use them for future projects. More...
My husband and I worked with Allen Villanueva to redo a partially finished basement. Allen helped us through the design process, prepared us for the construction and what to expect, recommended several contractors for us to choose from, and oversaw the entire process for us. Allen took the time to understand what we wanted in our new space and worked with us to develop a design that was very much in line with our vision, taste, and financial limits. This project involved digging down into our basement just over a foot. Allen prepared us the limits of how far we might be able to dig down based on our house footing. He also made sure the design was in harmony with the upper floor in our home. I also appreciated that Allen suggested things that we might not have thought of in the design, paying particular attention to details of things like our stairs, the bar design and our wine cellar. We have a beautiful and functional basement now that we are so happy with. It is a perfect extension of our first floor and has the functionality we were looking for. More...
Silver Leaf Construction & Renovation
We have collaborated with Allen Studio Villanueva Architecture on several projects. Although we have yet to work together, we really came out very impressed with their process on both the architecture and hands on approach with each client.
Also has a very knowledgeable approach to the city and high rise development design.
I would highly recommend hiring Studio Villanueva architecture for your next residential design project.
-Silver Leaf Construction & Renovation More...
Allen worked with us to redesign our master bedroom and bathroom. My husband and I had very specific requirements in mind and some preconceived ideas of what we wanted. The space in the bedroom was also challenging. Allen was very patient and presented different ideas for us to consider. He met with us several times to discuss alternatives and listen to our input. Allen asked questions to guide us through the decisions. The ultimate design met all our requirements and expectations. Allen is a pleasure to work with. More...
Allen was a pleasure to work with. He helped my husband and I recreate our 1920's Arts and Crafts style home to perfection. His ideas and knowledge helped us transform the home to an amazing livable space that is perfect for our family. I would highly recommend Allen for any of your architectural needs. More...
Allen at Studio Villanueva did a wonderful job for me on a 5200 square foot grey stone on Astor Street. i worked with Allen on architect and design related items including Allen picking out all decorative materials and furniture. Allen has a great working style, is procative and timely with his approach and his artistic and innovative style is fantastic. i would highly recommend Allen More...
I've hired Studio Villanueva twice and would definitely do so again. From the outset Allen listened to our needs and developed designs that were creative, stylish and within our budget. He has a skill for handling structural challenges that we appreciated on both of our projects. The results have been a source of comfort and pride ever since. More...
When we met Allen Villanueva and decided to hire him, we were facing a daunting task: to remodel an old grey stone with a limited budget.
We needed an architect with creativity, capable of maintaining the Victorian character of the house and yet, bringing it into modern amenities, such as an open floor plan that would allow us to entertain a large number of people. Time showed us that Allen had all the skills to achieve these goals. Allen saw the house in the same way an artist sees an empty canvas, full of potential. He used all his creativity but at the same time he listened to our wish list for our dream home and incorporated it into the design. He went with us from the basic initial design through numerous iterations until the floor plans reflected what we wanted for our dream home.
He has a remarkable ability to focus not only on the big picture, but also the little details that make one's house special and personal. Allen was not satisfied until we were 100% happy with the design. I do not make this comment lightly since I am a person that is never satisfied. Since our budget was limited, we took the project in stages. Allen paid the same attention to largest project, the renovation of the first and second floors, as well as the smaller projects such as the front stairways and the entrance. He managed each stage, regardless of the size of the project, with the same dedication and professionalism. He is currently designing the final chapter, our basement, and the floor plan looks incredible. I must add that one of the advantages of hiring Allen is that he can deal directly with the contractor and demand that the project be completed to his specifications.
Finally, he does his work in a timely fashion, he is honest and his prices match the effort he invests in the project, and more importantly, his talent. More...
We hired Studio Villanueva for our masonry front porch restoration. Allen did the architectural drawings, city building permits and landmark review (we have a city landmark property in Logan Square), and assisted us in selecting a mason and overseeing the work.
The project was a total tear down of bricks, concrete, limestone and structural steel, and rebuild identically to the original porch. It was a very daunting project for us and we had difficulty even knowing where to start until we hired Studio Villanueva.
Our dealings with Allen were always very professional, and he was able address all of our questions and handle communication with the mason. He understood budget issues, but also how we wanted to restore the front porch to its original glory and not cut corners.
Working the the building department and landmark review is always difficult, but Studio Villanueva was up to the task and our project went forward without any design changes or delays.
Our porch is fantastic, we have received numerous comments from neighbors on how wonderful the building looks and how happy they are that we were able duplicate the original porch. More...
I worked with Allen at Studio Villanueva on our home's addition. He was insightful, timely, and professional. He offered us several designs to choose from and was, also, able to accommodate our last minute requests and changes to our project.
He assisted in picking out material and securing our contractor as well. I would not hesitate to recommend his services.
Lastly, his friendly and professional demeanor made what could have been a stressful project run smoothly and without any extra anxiety felt by our family. More...
I hired Allen Villanueva to help me convert my 2 flat into a Single Family Home. He did all of the architecture plans, worked closely with my general contractor, as well as helped me select all of the materials (tile, marble, appliances, fixtures). He works very collaboratively with his clients, allowing their style to come through. I love my house. More...