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Ballard & Mensua Architecture

Founded 2005 • With Angi since June 2010

4.7

(24) Verified Reviews

Business Details

Phone Number

Address

5185 MacArthur Blvd #370 Ste 312

Washington, DC 20016

Description

Ballard Mensua Architecture, led by Seth Ballard, NCARB, AIA, is a boutique architecture firm with a focus on creating truly custom designs and solutions for our clients. We have very strong vendor and contractor relationships, a result of our detailed understanding of construction. Unlike many architects, who like to design and then hand over control to the builder, Ballard Mensua maintains control of management of the project throughout construction. We have a unique cost-study process that helps to put our clients in control of spending... and results in completion of projects on budget.. almost unheard of in this business. Our designs speak for themselves... see our website at www.ballardmensua.com. Our business philosophy is that all clients should be a reference and we work hard to make sure to see projects through. We also have a unique ability to do very large projects without tearing a house down... we save much of the house and build around it... saving sometimes 10 dumpsters of landfill (truly green). Finally, where many architects bring their large ego and force their designs on clients... Ballard Mensua prides ourselves on tailoring designs to each client, listening to specific needs and working hard to make sure that our designs fit what a client is looking for. Additional email - info@ballardmensua.com....

Verified Reviews

A few reviews for this pro...
5.0

01/15/2019


jack L.

We just finished a spectacular custom home project in McLean, VA and we are so very grateful to Seth Ballard and his team! If you are considering hiring his firm, look no further. There can be no better architect in the DC/VA/MD area – and his pricing is more than fair. We first picked Seth because we loved his architectural style and heard that he had a reputation for ensuring that his plans are executed with impeccable precision and attention to quality. Also, his references were stellar….without exception, his former clients offered glowing praise for his talent, diligence, and follow-through. And now that we are former clients, we understand why. We always knew we were going to have a gem of a home with Seth at the helm. What we did not fully appreciate at the beginning was his proven ability to help us STAY ON BUDGET and his deep bench of connections with first-rate contractors and subcontractors who were prepared to bend over backward to meet Seth’s exacting standards. Here are just a few highlights from our experience: CONCEPT PHASE: During the initial meetings at our home, Seth went the extra mile to learn all about our lifestyle, future needs, architectural likes/dislikes, and budget. During this stage of the process, he would effortlessly make freehand drawings to help us visualize potential styles and layouts. We ultimately elected to go with a craftsman design, with lots of wood features inside and out. PICKING THE RIGHT PROPERTY: Seth joined us for car rides through the local neighborhoods, helping us to scout out the property that was best suited for our construction plans – free of any potential HOA or permitting snafus. DESIGN: With Seth’s guidance, we iterated on different design options. The design phase was high-tech and highly visual. Lots of 2D and 3D elevations, plus 360-degree videos. At each step, Seth clearly identified the estimated construction cost, and we would make decisions about what to dial-up and what to dial-down. For example, we elected to go with a cheaper asphalt roof (rather than slate), but with a more premium window. There were literally dozens of choices like that, and Seth did a superb job of helping us to make the right trade-offs and to “value engineer” the house. PICKING THE RIGHT CONTRACTOR AND SUBS: One of the things that distinguishes Seth from the competition is that he works closely with a handful of contractors and subcontractors who have already been “pre-screened” for excellence. Seth connected us with a general contractor who was not only honest and diligent, but whose carpentry was truly “artisan grade.” Seth also drew upon a stable of outstanding subcontractors – in areas such as HVAC/plumbing, electrical/lighting, structural engineering, cabinetry, tile, drywall/paint, countertops, hardwood flooring, landscaping, etc. It was perfectly clear that these subs were striving to deliver the highest quality and exemplary service. Why? Because Seth was an important source of repeat business for them. This made them extremely responsive. BUDGETING: Seth developed detailed spreadsheets estimating costs for every aspect of the project, as well as options for “enhancements.” Once we made our choices, he was instrumental in securing a FLAT FEE CONTRACT with the builder (inclusive of subs) for everything we wanted. To provide even more control over the cost, the agreement specified that certain items would be “owner provided, contractor installed.” This meant that, regardless of whether we bought pricey appliances or tile or flooring, it would have no impact of the builder’s fees. To his credit, Seth’s estimates were quite accurate, and the project stayed on budget. ARCHITECT FEES: We negotiated a flat fee for Seth’s architectural services, and got way more than we bargained for. We had no idea Seth would stay so engaged throughout the project -- micromanaging every detail, and even offering interior design suggestions (e.g., stains and paints, cabinet and window designs, furniture layouts, etc.). It became clear that, regardless of how much we had agreed to pay in fees, Seth was “all in,” and was committed to ensuring that the end result was perfection. To be sure, in any large construction project, there will be some hiccups. But this was yet another area where Seth shined. Rather than being indifferent, or pointing the finger at those who were actually at fault, he would step up to “own the problem” and take charge until the issue was resolved. In one such case, he developed a design tweak that saved us money and produced a more beautiful result in the process. We never had to stress too much, because we knew Seth was 100% engaged and we could trust that the final work product would be a treasure of a home. One final thought. While Seth’s tremendous talent is obviously perfect for large custom projects, we have no doubt that he can deliver outstanding value for smaller home renovations too. When we did kitchen/bath renovations in our prior home, we naively thought that a “design-and-build” firm would deliver the best solution. With the benefit of hindsight, we could have done so much better hiring Seth as the independent architect and separately hiring a builder who would be accountable to the architect. The result would have been better quality construction, a better value, and far less stress. So whether you are about to embark on a modest remodel or getting ready to “dream big” with a new custom home, look no further than Ballard Mensua Architecture.

Description of Work
Custom home design and management

Category architect

5.0

12/08/2018


Alex D.

My wife and I had two great meetings with Seth regarding a potential remodel or teardown in North Arlington. Seth is knowledgeable, creative, and energetic. His knowledge and confidence about what was possible, especially in terms of permits and variances on a very small lot, took a lot of anxiety out of the process. He gave us great initial floor plan sketches and cost outlines. Our plans ultimately took a different turn, but I had full confidence in Seth to create a great result.

Description of Work
Initial consultation

Category architect

5.0

10/26/2017


Eric G.

We first heard about Ballard and Mensua from an advertisement in a magazine in our dental office (Arlington Magazine I believe). The kitchen in the ad was beautiful and in line with what we were thinking. Following the ad, i researched the company on Angie's and their website. We chose to do the basic consultation fee for $250 and called them up. Their team was prompt in setting up the appointment with Seth (the owner) who showed up on time on the scheduled day. Seth was great. He was with us for about 2 hours and took the time to understand what we wanted to do. He drew several sketches and some great ideas. Our property is a little unique and he took the additional time to have his office call the county to make sure we could do what we would like. He also sketched out possibilities if our preferred plan was not legal, thankfully, it was. Additionally, he outlined what a low, medium and high price range depending on the materials and equipment we would like. I found this a great use of time and highly recommend contacting Ballard if you are planning a remodel.

Description of Work
Initial consultation for kitchen and deck remodel.

Category architect

2.0

02/21/2016


FAIZUR R.

promised to get rough sketches and general idea about the project. last moment another person was sent who wasn't helpful too expensive would not use the services

Description of Work
preliminary sketches

Category architect

Service Provider Response

Dear Mr. [Member Name Removed]: I was extremely surprised to see this review. I believe it is not fair at all and have emailed you to request that you remove it. I have also asked Angie's List to remove it. As you know, you called me asking for help to review the work of another architect friend of yours. We discussed that the amount of work you are looking to do would cost north of $400,000 construction cost in the washington, DC market, but perhaps could be done for as much as half of that in the Richmond, Virginia market. We agreed that I would hold to my $250.00 first meeting fee to come down and sketch out ideas and then give you a more firm price to provide more detailed cost study drawings. When I gave you a quote over the phone for cost study drawings of $10,000, you were quite concerned about this cost. We then discussed that I could possibly refer you to a consultant with less overhead and that one of my consultants could do this work for you for less money if you did not mind working directly with them. Knowing that the drive to your home is long and that you had already expressed the interest in saving money, I called you the day before the meeting to offer to send my consultant Doug Dillard down to meet with you. I offered a choice of this or rescheduling with me as my schedule was a little tight for an almost all day trip. We agreed together that you would meet with Doug. Unfortunately when Doug showed up you had an emergency and left one hour after he got there (late because of traffic on '95). You and I spoke after I heard word from Doug that you were having some trouble coming to an agreement. The trouble was mostly that you were asking him to do drawings without agreeing to pay him to do these drawings. I offered at that time during that phone call to come down and meet with you and not charge you anything. I also told you that I would apply the $250.00 you had paid Doug towards my fees moving forward. When I reminded you of the $10,000 cost study fee, you told me you would work this out with Doug. I do not know what further I could have done. Doug works for a totally separate company and does not work for Ballard Mensua -- he works for Design Drafting Service (his own company) .. When I read this review I checked in with Doug to hear his side of the story and he explained that he had tried to make you happy but that you did not want to pay for drawings. He also told me he offered to send back your $250.00. I would still request for you to please remove your bad grade that you have given my company. If you want to review Design Drafting Service, I understand, but feel that giving me a bad grade after I have done what I did as explained above is unfair. i
5.0

09/30/2015


Greg C.

There is no doubt that we picked the right architect for the job. As one can see from the before and after pictures ? Seth is an incredibly talented designer. He responded to all of our needs (big and small) and was an excellent advocate for us throughout the entire project. Having completed a project of this size we now realize how important it is to have an advocate for the design as well as for the process. Seth made our dreams a reality. Transforming our 70?s colonial home to meet the needs of modern living would be a great challenge. We considered a long list of architects, but after meeting Seth ? we agreed that he was the right person for the job. Seth Ballard understood our vision. He was easy to communicate with and we found his fees to be reasonable. For us, Seth made the design phase fun. He always entertained our ideas, received them with enthusiasm, and, when possible, quickly incorporated our ideas into the design. There were two existing limitations that had to be designed around ? our existing home and a county restriction on our lot. Neither of those restrictions compromised the design. The final design was beautiful and much more than we hoped for. The bidding phase was a necessary exercise for us, however if we had to do it again we would not have done it since there was extra time and cost ?a result of putting the project out to bid to multiple contractors. In this process we were looking at cost and accountability. We met with all the builders and reviewed all their bids. All five bid proposals were within the dollar range Seth gave us before the project even went out to bid, and with Seth overseeing the project all builders would be accountable to Seth. So while we became better educated consumer through this process ? we went with the builder that Seth originally recommended. It turns out that Seth's relationship with the builder is what is most important. Because our project was so complicated it required a lot of management. We are grateful that Seth micromanaged the entire project. He made sure that his design was completed as drawn. Unfortunately, we had a few considerable unforeseen condition, lucky for us Seth was able to skillfully navigate a solution. He was able to get the contractors to agree to do the repairs at their cost and incorporate an added a design element that enhanced the entire project! In the end we believe that Ballard + Mensua's fees were recovered by provided us with two very vital cost saving things: 1. A design and plan that was so fully developed resulting in just a few change orders; and 2. An ability to advocate for us when issues and unforeseen conditions came up. We love our house! We would use Ballard + Mensua again without hesitation. Through this process we learned that the most important qualities to look for in an architect is his ability to deliver the design ? and his ability to advocate for that design and for his client!

Description of Work
Scope of work including design, plans and oversight of a complete renovation/addition to existing home, plus landscape design

Category interior designers,remodeling,architect

5.0

09/28/2015


Deborah M.

Description of Work
Seth Ballard is designing our waterfront home in Berlin, MD. He has great ideas, is very professional and committed to the project. His price is higher than others but he is proactive and worth the money. I will give an update when the project is finished.

Category interior designers,architect

5.0

09/15/2015


Ada I.

After months of researching on potential architects and interviewing a few, I hired Seth to undertake a major expansion/renovation of my house. I couldn't be happier with the results. The best decision that I made for my project was to hire him as the architect and project manager. He is great architect and an excellent project manager. Seth put his personal touch on my house but let my style and preferences shine. He also did an excellent job handling the builder, any issue that emerge during construction, and making sure that I made informed decisions about the budget. The craftsmanship of my house is great. That was Seth's work on helping me to choose the builder and undertaking a hands on supervision approach. If you are looking an architect that can help you to do top quality reno in which you want to imprint your style, Seth is sure bet. I also like his direct and honest approach to handle issues that emerged. Seth made a potentially stressful project to go easy in terms making sure that the right decision were being made to have a solid and beautiful renovation. If I had to do the project again, I would hire Seth in a heart bit.

Description of Work
The project included a new kitchen, family room, master suite and basement.

Category remodeling,architect,home remodeling

4.0

04/28/2014


Alex G.

Very good team, Seth and Dean have been professional, smart, responsive, and I would definitely recommend. Only issue is that the initial estimates done (back of envelope) were much lower than the actual price and we've been having budget issues ever since. Make sure you get reasonable initial estimates before getting into details.

Description of Work
Architecture design and managing contractors during build phase of a significant remodel project.

Category architect

4.0

04/28/2014


Terrie B.

Description of Work
Seth Ballard came to our house for a consultation. We wanted to ascertain the viability of a small design project to create an addition connecting the kitchen to the den with lots of windows/light. Seth had actually gotten the date confused and came on a day that we weren't home. Then he scheduled another meeting for the original date. He gave us an abbreviated meeting and charged us a little less. He gave us additional ideas to think about expanding the space of our original concept. He left us some pencil drawings and 3 estimates of high, medium and low prices for our original concept, his expanded concept and a kitchen renovation. The reason that I have taken so long to provide this feedback is because I wanted to see how much our actual kitchen renovation cost. That is the only project that we pursued. Our actual cost using 2 Angie's List businesses, Cabinet Discounters semi custom cabinets and Innovative Home Improvements as our contractor was $15k less that Seth's lowest estimate and that included a very high class of granite. Seth told us that a kitchen renovation and his expanded addition was such a small job (estimated at $200K) that we would have a hard time finding a company to do the work. I guess that Seth is accustomed to working on very large, upscale projects. If you are looking for a small job, he's not your guy. I have not given up on my desire for the original concept and hope to do it one day. Seth did give us some good ideas for the kitchen renovation which we used.

Category remodeling,architect,home remodeling

5.0

04/26/2014


David B.

Seth was knowledgeable, professional and instilled confidence in his ability to design and manage the project. When we proceed, we will certainly look to him first.

Description of Work
provided a detailed estimate of our home renovation "wish list"

Category remodeling,architect

5.0

02/25/2014


Douglas H.

Seth Ballard has a perfect sense of design that is reflected in the interior spaces of my new home, the finishes, and materials. He also has the construction experience that is invaluable when working with a builder - he knows how the project should go together. Seth does not design from the outside in or from the inside out - he works with an entire vision that is constantly evolving as he works closely with his client to meet their needs and budget. I am living in a beautiful new home that integrates the way I live inside and outdoors within my woodland and waterfront environment. When you work with Seth you may find that he has strong ideas about design details, materials and colors. Think hard about what you want and press for the realization of our own vision - then listen to Seth and follow his advice !

Description of Work
Seth Ballard designed a beautiful waterfront cottage that is virtually perfect for me and my site on a cove on the the Eastern Shore of Maryland

Category architect

5.0

04/06/2013


Mark S.

Great. Great. Great. As someone who has always harbored a distrust of architects, I was very happy to have found one that doesn't just have a strong design sense and a command of aesthetics. Seth very clearly combines these with a practical, hands-on understanding of construction methods, processes, and materials. He combines the very best of artistry and engineering. Seth's approach to our project was very methodical at each and every step, from the initial concept through to execution of the work. He incorporated our thoughts and wishes while preventing us from inflicting mistakes on ourselves. He helped us select a contractor that in the end, we were very happy with (Rarco Construction). While our project was in the construction phase, I always felt like we were his most important client. I highly recommend Seth.

Description of Work
Seth worked my wife and me to redesign the front entry to the house.

Category architect

5.0

02/23/2013


Ummara M.

In a nutshell you cannot find a better architect to partner with. Seth's approach is truly best practice – he partners to work collaboratively and does not enforce ideas. He is focused on quality, on the ideal state for now and the future, on the likes and dislikes of the person he is working with - he cares about the project as much as he cares about the people he works with. He has a very keen sense of design and construction, he sees things that other architects cannot fathom, thinks out of the box to solve problems, and works to ensure that the client is elated with the outcome. He may push you on the budget if he finds that you are compromising quality and safety for money. You hear about the nightmares people go through with such project, ours was a walk in the park…and I kept wondering if I was missing something. Truth was that Seth deals with the issues so you, as the client, are at peace and stress free. It was a breeze working with Seth and in the end he created something we love coming home to, are proud of and receive rave reviews about. Our friends and family cannot believe how he converted our old house to look the way it does now. It takes genius and caring to do that. Things you cannot find elsewhere. You cannot find a better partner for your architectural needs than Ballard and Mensua.

Description of Work
We had the entire facade of our house renovated as well as the entrance expanded.

Category architect

5.0

12/18/2012


JOSH L.

The project was a great success and we were really pleased with Ballard Mensua's design and attention to design details. We started working with Seth nearly 15 months ago. We immediately liked his strong design skills and style (meeting notes on paper vellum including hand-drawn sketches) and understanding of life with little kids (we have three under 7). He immediately grasped what we needed - and had specific, thoughtful and elegant solutions to the design challenges we faced. The design process was very efficient and we quickly came to understand that while Seth appreciated our budget and was conscious of costs he was really focused on the goal of making this a more livable and enjoyable space. And i began to appreciate that Seth, while being open minded about ultimate style choices he would leave to my wife and i, was exacting and precise about the quality and the overall design decisions. In short, i didn't need to worry about anything in the design that was going to be sloppy or ill considered. He was consistently one step ahead of us in terms of thinking through details. We didn't need to ask about crown molding - it was in there. We didn't have to worry about whether the powder room was too small - he was totally confident (and right) that it was sizable enough. I wanted a bigger stove than I thought our budget would allow -- he preserved the space in the plans to allow for what we really wanted until we could make a better decision based on our budget. And we ultimately were able to get the stove we wanted because of some saving he helped us identify. Like most good designers Seth appreciates quality craftsmanship that often comes with a commensurate price tag. The initial design was substantially more than i wanted to pay. But i found him to be understanding and very flexible on what was worth trimming and what was worth preserving. He would say, "sure - let's take this cabinet line down a notch and that will effect the prices in this way." But in the same breath he would say, "but i wouldn't go below this because quality suffers and it makes a big difference." I found it to be a helpful approach if you're interested in quality work. And ultimately we trimmed the budget to a place where we were comfortable and he helped every step along the way. And perhaps the greatest benefit Seth provided was that he allowed us to prioritize a number of project we were considering by creating a rationale and thoughtful budgeting and bidding process with a number of vendors. By taking owner purchased/contractor installed items like cabinets and appliances off budget we could get a better picture of true costs from a number of bidding contractors. By the time construction started Seth was less involved in the day to day but he stayed closely connected, always available and was consistently our advocate through the project -- pushing the contractors, leveraging his relationships with appliance and cabinet vendors. Today, nearly 6 months to the day construction began Seth was here, reviewing the smallest possible details of moldings, trim and paint. At the end of the day, we couldn't be happier with the project and found Seth to be real pro. I particularly liked his approach to bidding and pricing projects. It is a very transparent and straightforward. We recommend him highly.

Description of Work
We redesigned the first floor of our Northwest Washington, DC home to include a powder room, a family communications center and a totally renovated kitchen. HVAC, lighting and floors were part of the project scope. The goal was to improve the comfort and flow of the first floor and to replace the outdated kitchen.

Category architect

5.0

03/29/2012


Peggie M.

He was a super nice guy and absolutely amazing. He came out twice to meet me but unfortunately the project was little more money than we wanted to do. So if we are going to go with the project then we are going to use him. He was really good. He is an architect and so he came out did some preliminary designs just like sketch drawings for me of what could happen on my remodel. He came out, took a look at the house, did a complete review of the house, gave me some sketch drawings, possible renovations and also gave me a break out of what it would cost for all the renovations based on each different things that we needed done. He also offered some different suggestions; some cross cutting measures, savings and then went through about his process of how he works and went through some of the issues with me. We would highly recommend him to anyone. We had called a lot of architects in and construction people and he was the only person among everyone that offered additional ideas like who kind of gave me pretty much alternate options from what we were thinking of doing some savings. He showed up, had all the stuff with him. Some people bring marketing stuff when you call them for the first time but he brought everything like paper and stuck it over. He was there for quite some time. The first draft was like a plan though it was a sketch but it was pretty good plan.

Description of Work
Ballard & Mensua Architecture came out in February and did some quotes, some drawings, basic architectural plans and gave us a kind of a process and everything. I pay $200 for each time he comes out.

Category architect

5.0

02/09/2012


Barry H.

Seth Ballard was referred to us in March of 2010. During the initial interview we went over all of our goals with Seth including construction of a new kitchen, new appliances, new siding, new insulation, renovation of both bathrooms and a solution for our water problem. Seth provided some preliminary designs for us within two weeks. Soon afterward he brought Gerry Staley of Gerald C. Staley Builders and Antonio Correia of AVC Construction over to our house as references for the construction and a complete discussion of our requirments. We decided to hire the two contractors that Seth recommended. Over the next 3 months we were provided with estimates, timelines, payment schedules, solutions for water drainage and drawings for our review and approval. In addition, Seth and my wife began a series of trips to vendors in order to select products. Excavation began in July 2010 and proceeded very quickly. Framing began several weeks later. The entire project was completed in January 2011. We are very happy with the results. We have a new kitchen, new bathroom, improvements to a 2nd bathroom, a beautiful new patio, new front stoop and entry walk, new siding, insulation and last but not least a compete drainage system that fianally solves our longstanding water problems. Seth did an outstanding job providing designs, product selection recommendations, construction references and overall project management and we are very satisfied with his work and the end result.

Description of Work
Seth Ballard provided a number of services for us. He sat down with us initially and went over our requirement in detail. He provided options for our design and produced the drawings for each phase after we selected what we wanted. He introduced us to a primary contractory and a potential sub contractor for masonry work that he felt would provide the very best work for the job. Seth provided over project management in addition to architectural services. He recommended a number of vendors for product such as counter tops, appliances, light fixtures, paint, etc. and proceeded to go with my wife to help her make the selections for product used on the job.

Category architect

5.0

01/23/2012


Robin B.

We contacted Ballard Mensua to provide consultation regarding a house we were making an offer on. We were making a quick decision about the purchase and needed to understand the potential cost of renovations first. The receptionist contacted Seth Ballard while he was on vacation and he called us back as soon as he returned. I did not return the call because the seller had taken the house off the market. Mr. Ballard called me twice more an was extremely friendly and professional when I called back to say that the services were not needed. I look forward to working with Mr. Ballard for any future projects.

Description of Work
Consult only.

Category architect

5.0

11/13/2011


Eric M.

We contacted Seth to help us expand our 1950's "cottage" in Falls Church. We had seen several examples of Seth's work and loved the Craftsmanesque look of some of his projects. We had attempted a project about 5 years before with another architect but ended up firing him and cancelling the contract because he could not control costs. Needless to say, cost control was a high priority with Seth. Seth worked with us to select a contractor who could perform the defined scope of work for the price. Between Seth and the contractor they were able to complete the project almost exactly on budget. The completion time stretched out a bit but the project was substantially completed close to schedule. We did not want to make our house into a McMansion, we just needed some more living space. We also wanted to open the house up to the yard by adding parches on the front and back (which also required adding a new door on the back). Seth opened our eyes to a number of possibilities we had not considered. The addition was not huge but it added space in all the places we need it. The addition/remodel encompassed the master bedroom, master bath, kitchen, dining room and living room. In addition to the addition, we changed the look and feel of the entire main floor by adding new trim and doors on the inside and new windows on the outside. We also had the repair of numerous deferred maintenance items rolled into the scope of the construction work (replacing the entire roof, new siding, and new gutters). Now living in the "new" space I have to say Seth got it right. The new space just works. Everything fits, it feels spacious yet it is not really very large. The look of the exterior is exactly what we wanted.

Description of Work
The scope of work included minor excavation, pouring footings for the new section, framing, roofing, siding, gutters, finish carpentry, drywall, painting, plumbing, electrical, and installation of kitchen appliances, Seth worked with us to design all aspects of the project, develop cost estimates, select the contractor, and manage the construction. In addition, Seth had a wealth of other contacts the provided us with good information and saved us considerable amounts of money. His leads for kitchen appliances, kitchen cabinets, and granite saved us thousands of dollars.

Category architect

5.0

09/07/2011


Hans W.

Seth Ballard and his team are top notch! Every single client that we have referred to Seth and his team have raved about their service. I even have received stellar reviews from a client of mine who manages billion dollar commercial projects for a living, and that's not easy to do!

Description of Work
Ballard & Mensua have provided architectural services to several of my clients. In some cases, Ballard & Mensua simply prepared conceptual drawings, in others, they walked the client all the way through permits and construction. Ballard has helped us on small projects, as well as very extensive ones. On both ends of the spectrum the company is 5 star. Some of the projects include: -kitchen & bath remodeling -Basement remodeling -2-story addition to a NW Washington colonial -new home construction

Category architect

5.0

04/16/2011


Robert J.

Seth is both talented and a total professional. He met all our goals and helped us create a much needed addition on our home. We are not the only ones pleased with it -- Our neighbors comment often on how great it looks, and repeatedly remark how well it fits with the home. We have a 1905 Queen Anne style home that has had many renovations over time, some obviously done with great care. Thanks to Seth, we were able to keep within the style and tradition of this home, while meeting our needs for accessibility and more living space. One of Seth's strengths is that he is a great listener. By listening to us, and watching how we lived in the current space, he was able to craft a wonderful plan to meet our needs. He understood and respected our budget as he translated our visions and needs into construction plans. He then worked with us to finish the home with perfect detail. He was our advocate-- working with us and our general contractor, and other building professionals. There are several items that we would still regret if Seth had not stepped in and told us, "Yes, you are correct. That needs to be fixed." He took over, and the issues were quickly resolved. I can not imagine working on our home and investing like we have (and will again) without such a total professional. He helped us find this home, develop a long term master plan and get the critical phase 1 done - making our home more comfortable for our family. Our enlarged family room with a coffered ceiling is amazing, and our master bedroom, bath and walk-in closet are beautiful and "fit" with the character of our home. To say he is Five Stars is an understatement, he is simply the best and great to work with. There is no question that Seth will be our architect of choice for the next phase of our renovation and into the future.

Description of Work
Seth provided numerous services. First, he helped us find our home by visiting many properties with us over several months until we found the home that we could invest in and make meet our needs. Then he helped design a master plan. We started with phase 1, which was an expanded family room, extended front porch, and a master bedroom on the main floor with modern bath and large walk in closet. Next came the bidding process and contractor interviews...he guided us along, but it was our choice and within our budget. Finally, the phase one building plans were drawn and permits secured. Construction began on schedule and finished just a few weeks late. My husband kept detailed accounting, and Seth helped with all design and selections, we could not be happier with how well our new addition of almost 1000 sq feet turned out. Our contractor, Gerald Staley, was awesome, and everyone was courteous and professional. By the end of this project, we very much felt as if they were family. We look forward to the future phases. Keep in mind they were not inexpensive...but our home and needs could not have been addressed by just focusing on price... we needed to pay for the talent which we lacked... but they delivered and our house is more a home today, thanks to Seth.

Category remodeling,architect

5.0

04/05/2011


Jonathan P.

After interviewing over 10 architects and design/builders we felt Seth offered the most holistic approach. For renovation novices like us, Seth was the perfect guide and a great collaborative partner. He was able to take our goals and budget and work within the limitations of a cramped Cape to create a truly stunning, but simple design. We really appreciated his involvement in every aspect of the project from start to finish: his concern for the quality of work, no matter how small the detail, his availability throughout, and how he really advocated for us. Seth was very conscious of recycling/repurposing materials when possible, which also helped our budget. We began construction in June 2009 and lived in the house through the project, which was completed on schedule in December 2009. Would we use Seth again? Absolutely! We're looking forward to working with him again on Phase 2 very soon.

Description of Work
We badly needed to expand our 1950's Cape Cod and were drawn to Seth's distinctive style on a number of homes he had crafted in our neighborhood. Seth completed a master plan for us that was broken into two Phases: a Kitchen and Dining room, Living room, Master Bedroom Suite addition/renovation in Phase 1 and a front porch and dormer addition as part of Phase 2.

Category architect

5.0

01/17/2011


Barry H.

My wife and I discussed the renovation of our house early in 2010. Both of us had ideas about what was needed to renovate and improve our home in order to prepare for our retirement years. My wife wanted to focus on expanding and renovatng our kitchen and purchasing new appliances. In addition, she wanted to remodel the upstairs bathroom since it was so old and the fixures were outdated. My priority was to address water issues that threatened our house plus replace old insulation and siding. We knew that we needed the expertise of a good architect in order to plan a renovation that satisfied all of our needs within a budget we could handle. Seth was a referral from a friend and we called him to set up a meeting. Right from the start we knew that Seth was the right person for the job. He worked with us to come up with a good design for the kitchen that would be modern, functional and pleasant to the eye. Seth introduced us to contractors who provided outstanding work and addressed our needs at a cost that remained within a reasonable budget. The work began the first week of July and was completed within 6 months. We were able to live at our home while the work was accomplished. All of our goals for our renovation were accomplished with very few change orders or re-work. The completed work is beautiful and the house is now more energy efficient and water resistant. The kitchen has a lot more room, is pleasing to the eye, and provides a much more pleasant and efficient place to prepare meals. The bathroom has been ugraded and modermized. Our home is more comfortable for us to live in and a much better place to enterntain friends and allow for visits from family than it was before. Our renovation goals were acomplished due to Seth;s outstanding customer service, expertise in design and recommendations for products and contractors to perform the work.

Description of Work
Seth sat down with us for a good long time and listened to our needs for a renovation of our house. He outlined some preliminary ideas and then returned with two expert construction contractors to help us work out the details and look at options. Seth provided detailed drawings of our house both as built and proposed designs for our renovation. He worked closely with county inspectors to get us what we wanted that would conform with the county permitting process and the life safety code. In addition, Seth worked very closely with us on the selection of the proper appliances, paint, cabinetry, bathroom and kitchen fixtures and counter tops. He accompanied my wife to various outlets in order to select and purchase these products for the renovation. Note, cost above includes all work by all involved in the project.

Category architect

5.0

01/10/2011


Julie B.

The work on the projects mentioned above, were performed by three different contractors, and we had three different experiences as a result. The continuity we found throughout the experiences was Seth. He had good working relationships with these contractors, but he had a better working relationship with us. He responded to us, he advocated for us, and he was unwavering.We felt that he represented us in all situations, and believe me there were some hairy situations that arose. Who out there who has done work on their house has not encountered a nightmare or two? Our first contractor went Chapter 7, and despite that, we got our project finished on time and under budget. Why? Because Seth advocated on our behalf, thought outside the box with regard to the situation we were in, and the options we had. He guided us through and we came out very well indeed. And not to be discounted, was his concern for the workers who lost their jobs as a result of the bankruptcy. Everyone made sacrifices, including Seth. The other two projects were smaller in scale, and lower in budget. We were happy with the innovative suggestions he made with regard to space planning, and the low cost, high impact suggestions he had for our space. His familiarity with the contractors we worked with allowed him to know whether or not the work we were asking them to do was within their capability, and if not, he suggested someone else that could help us. I would not hesitate for a minute to recommend Seth to anyone, and I have done just that for family and friends. It is risky to engage in a working relationship with a friend or a neighbor, but we were confident doing just that with our initial project after meeting with him and understanding his approach to doing business. Today, 7 years later, we remain good friends and good neighbors. I respect his talent, his work ethic and his customer care.

Description of Work
Ballard Mensua provided architectural services related to an addition to our house for a kitchen and dining room, a complete basement renovation, and a bathroom remodel. We used Seth's great designs and are very happy with the way our house looks today, 7 years later. We have engaged his services in other ways as well, with regard to the maintenance of an aging house, including rotting windows and wood trim.

Category architect

2.0

09/30/2010


Chuck S.

Seth is the original Flim Flam Man. The best part of his engagement was his overall design. His electrical and mechanical layouts were lousy, as was his choice of General Contractor (GC). Seth continually favored the GC in any conflict, even though we were paying Seth. He allowed substandard workmanship and quality to go unchecked. He required immediate payment for Upcharges, while deferring credits until they became so jumbled that no one knew for sure how much was due to whom. Seth's design cost us tens of thousands in unnecessary expenditures, starting with his HVAC design. He converted our perfectly adequate single system into a dual system, thereby doubling the installation and operating costs, while reducing the comfort level. He allowed a substandard concrete slab to be poured for the carport, which would not pass county inspection until $4,000 worth of retrofitting was done. His specs for gutters were for 6 inch to us and 5 inch to the contractors, costing us several thousand dollars to remedy. Seth never took responsibility for his own errors and mistakes to the point of asking us to pay for some materials which he had left over to repair his design error on the stairs. Our construction contract contained a no smoking clause, which the GC completely ignored. After a few attempts at enforcement, Seth simply gave up. And the list goes on . . . End any engagement with Seth after he finishes the Construction Drawings. Hire and use your own Contract or Project Manager to represent your interests with the General Contractor rather than using Seth. Even better: find another more professional and competent architect.

Description of Work
Seth Ballard, Principle, designed an addition to our residence. In the master bedroom, he added a walk in closet and additional floorspace. On the first floor, he added a full bath and family room, moved the laundry room from the basement, and enlarged and remodeled the kitchen. Other more modest changes included an enlarged foyer and trim modifications. A single carport was converted into a double garage. Seth's design was well thought out and met our needs. He was patient as we spent several months refining the details. Seth is very good with space, form and proportions, as you should expect from an architect. Unfortunately, all his good design and planning was negated by the general contractor he brought forward whom we came to know as the General Contractor from H*e*l*l (see my separate review for V McCarthy Carpentry, Inc).

Category architect

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    General Information
    Free Estimates
    No
    Eco-Friendly Accreditations
    Yes
    Payment Options
    Check
    Warranties
    Yes

    Services Offered

    Architectural service - custom homes, renovations & remodeling, historic preservation, interior design, kitchen & bathroom design, screened porch & patio design, energy audits, construction management, custom millwork design & detailing, pool design

    Services Not Offered

    Filing for permit... we use permit expediters for this work.

    Frequently Asked Questions & Answers about Ballard & Mensua Architecture

    How is Ballard & Mensua Architecture overall rated?

    Ballard & Mensua Architecture is currently rated 4.7 overall out of 5.

    What days are Ballard & Mensua Architecture open?

    Ballard & Mensua Architecture is open:

    Monday: 9:30 AM - 7:00 PM
    Tuesday: 9:30 AM - 7:00 PM
    Wednesday: 9:30 AM - 7:00 PM
    Thursday: 9:30 AM - 7:00 PM
    Friday: 9:30 AM - 7:00 PM

    What payment options does Ballard & Mensua Architecture provide

    Ballard & Mensua Architecture accepts the following forms of payment: Check

    Does Ballard & Mensua Architecture offer free estimates?

    No, Ballard & Mensua Architecture does not offer free project estimates.

    Does Ballard & Mensua Architecture offer eco-friendly accreditations?

    Yes, Ballard & Mensua Architecture offers eco-friendly accreditations.

    Are warranties offered by Ballard & Mensua Architecture?

    Yes, Ballard & Mensua Architecture offers warranties.

    What services does Ballard & Mensua Architecture offer?

    Ballard & Mensua Architecture offers the following services: Architectural service - custom homes, renovations & remodeling, historic preservation, interior design, kitchen & bathroom design, screened porch & patio design, energy audits, construction management, custom millwork design & detailing, pool design

    Are there any services Ballard & Mensua Architecture does not offer?

    Filing for permit... we use permit expediters for this work.