Vallen Design Studio

about vallen design studio

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One look through the Vallen Design Studio portfolio, and you can see that Michael Vallen is not a formulaic architect, churning out variations on a theme for clients who come to him for a specific “look.”


In the portfolio, you will see a wide range of projects in both scope and design approach, from a modernist house on a rocky San Diego hillside to a re-imagining of a dilapidated, turreted corner Victorian into a 3-unit apartment building in Logan Circle (which won a Mayor’s Award for Excellence in Historic Preservation).


What you see as you look through the portfolio, though, is not just a listing of current and past projects, but also a drawer full of puzzles.


Current projects are puzzles with their pieces spread out in a mess on the table. At the beginning, half the pieces land upside down on the table. Along the way, missing pieces need to be tracked down. At the end, a clear picture emerges. Completed projects, completed puzzles.


We’ve also included a “Special Projects” section on the site to share a few of Michael’s related interests, including some very special experiences helping to stabilize and preserve two colonial-era estates in Prince George’s County, Maryland (Melwood Park and Compton Bassett), and a growing passion for restoring – and then heavily using – vintage Airstream travel trailers.

In fact, these special projects are included alongside the architectural portfolio because they are entirely the same thing to Michael Vallen: puzzles that start out messy and become clear through a process of research, thinking, troubleshooting, and a lot of hard work.


When you work with Michael Vallen, you don’t get ego-driven design. You get a thoughtful listener. An intensely curious investigator. A thorough researcher. A dogged problem solver. A fierce advocate. And probably more than a few stories about things you never knew even existed. You'll learn more than you thought you were going to learn. And you'll end up with a project that reflects you perfectly.