Dwell Design Studio Dwell Design Studio

Smacking Down Bad Design Since 2009

Dwell is here to save you from bad design, boring ideas and faulty execution. We’re notoriously accurate: producing some of the cleanest documents this side of the galaxy. We’re methodically unconventional: designing clever spaces that aren’t outlandish or lacking purpose. And we’re solid people: easy to work with, fun to be around and void of pretension.

Dwell Leadership Team

  • Jason Shepard

    Chief Executive Officer

    Jason Shepard

    Chief Executive Officer

    I started Dwell to make a difference and honestly because I can’t work for your typical employer in this industry. My expectations are higher. I don’t want to just be a rockstar, I want to be a rock god. I want us to stand out amongst the best by providing a level of consistency, quality, and communication that crushes the competition and leaves you wanting to work with our team over and over again.

    I am a collaborator. I love working and learning alongside so many great professionals, from Branding and Marketing, Management, Development, and so many creative consultants to make sure we are bringing you something unique and experiential each and every time.

    I look forward to kicking ass, crushing your goals and sharing my passion for creating experiential communities with your team. As I said, we are rock gods. All other architects' amps go to 10, ours go to 11. Time to turn up the volume!

  • Rob Snyder

    Chief Marketing Officer

    Rob Snyder

    Chief Marketing Officer

    Daring Masterplans? Unquestionably! Creative Risk Taker? Undoubtedly! Never Satisfied Until Plans are Perfect? Damn Right! Unabashedly Handsome and Downright Charming? Not bloody likely!!

    Trouble is Rob’s middle name. Well, no, actually it starts with an M, like Masterplanning, because that is what Rob does. From the planning department at Disney to planning Olympic Games, Universities, and to intensive mixed-use developments for Dwell, Rob’s passion is solving complicated planning challenges.

    Have you read enough? Is this the dark web? Rob keeps clients happy. Rob stops at nothing to set the client’s project up for success by being ultra-communicative, responsive and working tirelessly. Oh and I forgot to mention, Rob is even better at Marketing for Dwell.

  • Tiffany Shepard

    Chief Financial Officer

    Tiffany Shepard

    Chief Financial Officer

    As far back as I can remember, I wanted to be an architect...oh wait, no…that’s not my story. Actually, you would have caught me daydreaming of singing and roller-skating along Venice Beach like Olivia Newton-John in Xanadu. I was a child of the 70s during the Vietnam war, born in Guam where my dad was based while serving in the United States Airforce flying C130s. I stayed a west-coast girl moving between, Seattle, Colorado, California and finally Arizona where we eventually settled and I went to high school and college. I had always loved math and business leading me to a Finance Degree through Arizona State University.

    Dwell has been an opportunity for me to do what I really love to do. Which is to take care of this amazing group of people. Our Dwell family is what makes this place different than a J.O.B. It’s like a second home for us and we love and appreciate each and every member of the family. Cheesy? Well maybe, but it’s true. If I’m not at the office, you might catch me traveling the world or enjoying a nice glass, ehm, bottle of wine.

  • Jay Silverman

    Managing Principal

    Jay Silverman

    Managing Principal

    Many architects think about design as a product, but for me, great architecture has always been about serving people first. This means designing with the user in mind, as well as taking a collaborative approach to the design process and making a positive impact on the community through leadership, service, and engagement.

    I am passionate about creating outstanding places to live and work and building great relationships with my clients by listening to their needs to make their development successful. I enjoy directing all phases of a project, from master planning and schematic design through construction, as well as finding creative solutions to the complex design challenges associated with mixed-use and urban-infill development.


  • Steve Moriak

    Managing Principal

    Steve Moriak

    Managing Principal

    I can still remember on my very first job, as a naive sixteen-year-old, I told my boss, “I can design this house better than you.” This competitive drive and entrepreneurial spirit continues to nurture my spirit today. As the founding member of the DC office, I take great pride instilling the drive for perfection and the nurturing of client relationships that have been the fundamental building blocks of my career. The opportunity has taught respect and humility for clients as they build and finance their dreams. I have always been a huge sports fan and my real passion is playing baseball, but I also love to golf, fish, and watch football.

  • Ryan Miller

    Principal, Director of Retail

    Ryan Miller

    Principal, Director of Retail

    For starters, we don’t do retail design like everybody else. My name is Ryan & over 15 years I learned a lot working at a couple of big retail design firms, but knew when I had the chance to build something from scratch, it would be different. I lead our retail and mixed-use teams recognizing Retail isn’t just a storefront, it’s part of our community - it’s where we ditch our phones and get together! I’ve built our retail team to create places where people want to be - not just buildings that happen to have lease space and big parking lots. Look, I’m not some bright-eyed idealist that just draws pretty pictures but really doesn’t know how the retail game works either. New ground-up retail, mixed-use below podium, value add renovation, you name it, I know it and love to coach, teach and grow the retail team with the same passion that I have for creating places for people.

  • Michael Leopold

    Principal, Director of IT

    Michael Leopold

    Principal, Director of IT

    Leopold [ Lee-o-poled]

    See also Code Guru, Construction Expert, Tech Guy, Star Wars Nerd

    (Noun) A person with above-average knowledge of building design, construction, documentation, and code. He is sometimes thought of as a myth or legend, but he does exist and has brought forth his expertise to projects for the past 20+ years. It is said that if you stare at Revit long enough he will appear, but that has not been verified.

    (Verb) Go Leopold up that plan - Taking a blank site and efficiently cramming all the units and parking an owner needs, while still meeting code and in budget. That code official just got Leopolded - the act of 'negotiation' with city officials to help interpret code to better the project.

    Synonyms

    Magic Mike, Professor Leopold, Rain man, Dr. Leopold, Vader

  • Imran Kifayat

    Principal

    Imran Kifayat

    Principal

    I’ve always seen design as the perfect marriage of art and science. It's fascinating when they're mixed together in the right proportions. Like a Series I E-Type, brilliantly engineered with stunning good looks.

    That's what I'm constantly chasing in architecture and the reason I love the work I do. It's about searching for the perfect balance and finding it. Technical precision through thoughtful, creative planning. I want to help create it in the communities and spaces we design, and I want people to experience and enjoy it. It’s really pretty simple.

  • Jose A. Perez

    Principal

    Jose A. Perez

    Principal

    Reaching for perfection in quality, efficiency and accuracy is the goal in every task I do. I believe in spending that extra minute, that extra hour, and taking the necessary steps to make sure the work gets done properly and to the satisfaction of our clients as well as the future and intended users of the spaces I design and create. High-rises, mid-rises, and complex mixed-use developments are the projects where I will devote my expertise daily. Learning and understanding new technologies, materials, and building systems are also my passion. It allows me to provide an additional level of service and perspective to my clients. You will find me every day, not only interacting face to face with my clients and addressing their requests, but also keeping the design process and overall project on schedule, looking with a magnifying glass at cost-efficient details and developing quality design and solutions to challenges.

  • Vinay Ganeshan

    Principal

    Vinay Ganeshan

    Principal

    I grew up culturally confused and confident on 4 different continents - Asia, Africa, South America, and North America. As a counterpoint and after dreams of a pro tennis career fizzled out, I have settled down in the DC area.

    Professional focus and expertise has been on complicated urban mixed-use multifamily projects. Although I speak one language, I can be fluent in all residential types – Condos, townhouse/single family, mixed-use, multifamily, senior housing, and student housing. Translating and implementing client and project goals into built realities has always been the primary goal and keeps clients happy.

    Shameless Golf addict with aspirations and will work for golf.

    I married a biologist and we have two soccer-crazy boys. No pets.

  • Sherry Sadai

    Principal

    Sherry Sadai

    Principal

    With over 20 years of experience in high-density residential architecture, coincidentally combined with over 20 years of life in the DMV (that’s the DC-MD-VA region for you out-of-towners), Sherry joyfully calls the DMV her home.

    She has significant experience particularly in large scale multifamily/mixed-use and student housing. The intricacies and complexities of combining cool places to live with cool things to do are what makes the practice of architecture exciting for her. She is embedded in her projects and derives great satisfaction in exceeding her client’s expectations.

    Sherry received her Architectural degree from the University of Texas at Austin (Hook ‘em Horns!) and is licensed in VA. Outside of work, she loves being active in her church, catering weddings, and riding death-defying rollercoasters.

  • Dean Davis

    Director of Design

    Dean Davis

    Director of Design

    It all started with Lincoln Logs. Or maybe it was a good coloring book. Regardless, drawing things, painting things, creating things has always been my passion. And the devil is in the details. The plastic models I was gifted as a child became as real as I could make them, with illuminating headlights or rotating gun batteries. As I got older and visited job sites with my grandfather in Texas a wider world was opened to me. Hearing his stories, his learning the art of building from a German immigrant who ingrained in him that “if it is worth doing, it is worth doing right!” made a lasting impression on me.

    At Dwell, we all feel that “it is worth doing right”. No two projects are the same because no two places, no two clients, no two challenges are the same. We feel that every project should be as unique as its own circumstance. Your project will be YOUR project because that’s doing it right. Let’s take this journey together.

  • Venky Babu

    Principal, Planning and Design

    Venky Babu

    Principal, Planning and Design

    The most exhilarating places around the world that I have experienced among my extensive travels have characteristics that make for exciting human connections like innovative ideas, elegant architecture, intimate scale, tactile experience and seamless integration with the landscape. My impulse to create such places is what draws me to the profession.

    I have been given several titles: Site Plan Ninja, Kick-Ass Urban Designer, Killer Planner, Creative Thinker, and others but the one I like is ‘ Transformative Designer”. That captures my value of being in the profession.

    Besides being a transformative designer, I am a consummate professional. Clients respect my ideas, responsiveness, reliability, listening to their ideas, concerns and values, above all they feel extremely comfortable knowing they cannot expect anything less than a ‘bang out job’.

  • Paul Allen

    Principal

    Paul Allen

    Principal

    Growing up in South Carolina, my Dad taught me the value of laughter and how to build relationships. My Mom gave me a love of drawing, which led me to Clemson and a degree in Architecture.

    My career includes many project types including retail and medical. Since 2000, my focus has been Multi-family and Senior Housing using construction types such as wood, steel, and concrete.

    I have a loving wife, four children, and a dog. We value being active in our church and staying grounded in our faith.

    FUN FACTS:

    - I love vanilla ice cream sprinkled with balsamic vinegar.

    - Not long after being married, I left my wife stranded at an Italian train station.

    - At 6, I left a runaway note on dad’s pillow and then forgot to run away.

  • Ofra Gelman

    Principal

    Ofra Gelman

    Principal

    My very first project coming out of UCLA, was the Bellagio Hotel in Las Vegas, with over 3,000 Keys, 6 Villas, and a BOH the size of a small town. The project took 3 years to design, had no budget, and the final cost was $1.6 B!

    I then managed the design and construction of the Mirage Conference Center. Again, no budget, no deadline.

    As I eventually joined the real world of architecture, I had a huge wakeup call. Working for various Developers on Hotels and Mixed-use projects, I found out that projects had Budgets! and Deadlines! and I finally learned the meaning of VE. Though I am excited to dive headfirst into any hospitality project that comes my way, I am eagerly waiting for the one project that would top my first.

  • BJ Laterveer

    Principal

    BJ Laterveer

    Principal

    For as long as I can remember, I wanted to be an Architect. I had no idea what that meant, but somehow I knew the juice was worth the squeeze. That drive took me to God’s country of Clemson, SC, and I was on my way. Over twenty years later I find myself having worked on some amazing projects that any Architect would be proud to have been a part of. I have played high in the sky with 50 and 60 story skyscrapers and down to earth with expansive mixed-use developments. My exposure to wood, steel and concrete construction in various project types developed my love for playing in the deep end of the pool. Love of complexity, client relationships and always striving to compete at a high level brought me to Dwell. Who wouldn’t want to crush Architecture all over the country?

  • Evan Bourff

    Principal

    Evan Bourff

    Principal

    Evan Bourff is a principal and chief facilitator of the Orlando office. Badass Team? Ready to rock and roll. Snacks? Stocked. Caffeine? Your cup shall runneth over.

    You can usually find Evan dabbling in various parts of the design at one time because that’s what Evan does. Approaching design solutions both big and small to deliver thoughtful projects at every scale. But what gets Evan up in the morning you ask?... Providing the perfect work atmosphere that is the catalyst for collaboration, learning, and success.

    But the pursuit of perfection doesn’t stop at the office. Evan loves to golf and chase the dream of the perfect swing. So, if you ever need a business development meeting on the course, Evan can facilitate that too.

  • Emily Norton

    Associate Principal

    Emily Norton

    Associate Principal

    How many 3rd graders decide what they want to be when they grow up and actually follow through with it? In fairness, when Emily made this decision she thought being an architect was making tiny scale models of buildings for her Polly Pockets to live in. Fourteen years later that same girl graduated from Pennsylvania State University with a Bachelor of Architecture.

    Fast forward to today: PA’s native daughter has been in the south honing her craft with projects spanning university, healthcare, and retail, with an emphasis on multifamily and mixed-use. The one constant is Emily’s passion to ensure each project she manages is completed accurately and efficiently, start to finish. Or she likes to tell people what to do. Hard to tell.

  • Matt Graf

    Associate Principal

    Matt Graf

    Associate Principal

    My professional journey began after graduating from Georgia Tech with big ideas, but few marketable skills. Luckily my High School drafting Teacher, Mr. Cilaski, provided the rest. I started with a young, medium-sized firm that did multifamily and retail. Over the course of 13 years, I worked on project teams, in the design department, and the Design Technology department. Realizing that I enjoyed the idea of architecture more than the practice of architecture, I focused on technology and training. With that in mind, I did a brief stint at an MEP firm, helping them develop a Revit program. While there I learned a lot about the woes of their process and gained a deeper understanding of how a building works. From there I joined Dwell as the BIM Manager. Constantly solving issues of varying types is my happy space.

  • Meredith Bowen

    Associate Principal

    Meredith Bowen

    Associate Principal

    A child of the 80’s, Meredith’s desire to build, influence, & transform spaces started with her Barbie Dream House plan and grew as she repeatedly commandeered her brothers’ Ghostbuster’s headquarters for “renovations” and designed countless Lego villages for He-Man & She-ra (the original “dynamic duo”) to destroy. After a brief stint in landscape architecture, she found her niche as an architect – leading teams on multifaceted retail & mixed-use projects, problem-solving on challenging renovation jobs and enthusiastically organizing everything that crosses her path. Seriously, who doesn’t appreciate a killer color-coded diagram?? When she’s not working, you can find her tackling home improvement projects, out & about in the beautiful (though truly unpredictable) Georgia weather with her family, or burying her nose in a good book.

  • Greg Watford

    Associate Principal

    Greg Watford

    Associate Principal

    My journey in Architecture began as a young lad in a small town in South Carolina. I had a big interest in building things, a small talent for drawing and the ability to solve complex problems, IE Rubiks Cubes. I also thought that it was a good way to become rich and famous… Ok, so I was wrong about that part. Anyway, growing up, I practiced drawing constantly: I drew in my textbooks, on furniture and on the walls of our house. Despite my many “successful” drawings, my parents encouraged me to pursue my dream of becoming an Architect. I later attended Clemson University where I learned how to chug a beer… oh and Architecture. Lots of Architecture. For the last nearly 20 years, I have continued to draw and pursue my passion for building things with reckless abandon. In my spare time, I like getting into mischief with my two boys and hanging out with my (very patient) wife.

  • Noel Mariano

    Associate Principal

    Noel Mariano

    Associate Principal

    During grade school days, Noel dreamed of being an Engineer but for some reason, he decided to pursue Architecture and ended up loving it. After graduating and getting licensed in the Philippines, he decided to venture into other countries. First stop, Saudi Arabia. Working in a foreign country was exciting so after a couple of years, he moved to Singapore. When the recession came to Asia, he moved to New York City where he worked in a firm doing office renovations in NYSE, World Trade Center, and Rockefeller Buildings. In 2005, he decided to move to Atlanta and that's where he put down his roots. At first, he worked in a hospitality firm and then moved to a firm doing Multifamily projects. All this international experience in multiple types of architecture constantly influence and inspire his work at Dwell as a team leader.

  • Terry Dopp

    Associate Principal, CA Director

    Terry Dopp

    Associate Principal, CA Director

    Hailing from a unique background my mother was a professional clown and my father is a Marine (ret.)! Seriously, my mother was a professional clown performing in parades, birthday parties even an occasional circus! My father is a proud Marine and served in Vietnam, a true hero if I’ve ever known one. I was taught to have fun and be disciplined at the same time. Like our culture here at Dwell it’s easy to perform at high levels (disciplined) and when needed to enjoy life (fun).

    I started my construction journey as an estimator, after the President of the company had to wake me up from pure boredom, they moved me to the field where I stayed for nearly ten years as Superintendent. Needing a change, I moved south to Atlanta where my illustrious career as a Construction Administrator began. During the recession I did a stint as an EMT-I waiting for the moment I could get back where I belonged – CONSTRUCTION!

    In my spare time, I coach 10u softball, grill out whenever I can, go camping with my beautiful wife and four kids and travel. To say I’m blessed is an understatement 😊

  • Joe Reboulet

    Associate Principal, CA

    Joe Reboulet

    Associate Principal, CA

    Construction has been my passion from a very young age. Demolition and renovation of the family home(s) taught me to appreciate a job well done. Dad handed me a sledgehammer and said ‘knock down that kitchen wall.’ It was love at first sight! Working as a framer, roofer, concrete tester and siding installer throughout high school and university earned me firsthand knowledge of the basics of the trade. Working in the Caribbean for 18 years, I learned the basic ‘construction Spanish’ needed to survive in today’s world of construction sites (it's nothing like the Spanish taught in school!). Working in Afghanistan for two years planning for US and ISAF forces taught me I never want to go back to Afghanistan.

    Although I have performed all the functions of a registered Architect, I have always excelled in the Construction Administration portion of the work. It is where the intent of the documents is realized. The Owner’s expectations are transitioned from 2D drawings into 3D reality. No phase of the Architectural process is more exciting than this one for me.