Established in 1999, Outlaw Design Company designs houses, renovations, additions, and professional interiors. We are interested in translating our clients’ visions into their built projects in an enjoyable and minimally stressful process. Our mission is to design buildings that work well with the site and provide maximum function, comfort, and delight, use resources wisely, and are built to last. We want you to think, “I love my house!” when you arrive home. The Process We begin with an initial meeting, during which we listen to our clients’ ideas and compare the probable cost of the project they have in mind to their budget. We assess any relevant problems with an existing structure and become familiar with the building site to determine its potential and limitations. The initial sketches we produce are an efficient way to look at ideas in order to get input from the client before producing construction drawings. It can benefit a project to get a builder involved fairly early on, and there are many builders in the area that we’ve worked with and can recommend if you haven’t already found one you like. It’s inevitable that issues crop up during construction. We collaborate with the builder to work through these and encourage our clients to be as involved in the design and building process as they wish. Open communication, mutual trust, and solid relationships between client, builder, and architect are essential to good design.
Ruth Ellen Outlaw
An Albemarle County native, Ruth Ellen spent much of her childhood drawing plans of houses on lined notebook paper and building furniture and dollhouses with her father in his basement workshop. She worked with her husband as a professional chef for a decade before earning bachelor’s and master’s degrees in architecture at the University of Virginia. At VMDO Architects in Charlottesville, Virginia, she worked on school, church, and residential projects. Starting her own firm gave her the flexibility to balance a career with raising two fabulous daughters.
Originally from Missouri, Jill has been turning Ruth Ellen’s barely legible sketches into computerized construction drawings and 3-D renderings since 2006. She’s not afraid to tell Ruth Ellen when she’s designed stairs that don’t work or that she’s not going to stay up all night to finish a project. Jill was a Paralympic athlete who medaled in discus and javelin, and she most recently competed in Beijing. She and her wife, an officer in the Navy, like to camp, kayak, and "build things".