Founded in 1998, serrao design | Architecture is led by Jay Paul Serrao and Melissa Szpik Serrao, a collaborative husband and wife team jointly involved in all projects, uniquely positioned to provide thorough and uninterrupted service to their clients.


The aesthetic of the work varies with the influence of client, site and budget and is distinguished by well developed and practical organization, refined space making and disciplined detailing incorporating (often common) materials with inherent color, texture and natural material qualities. 



Jay Serrao, AIA
Partner, Architecture


Melissa Szpik Serrao
Partner, Operations


design + build

Open Positions


Scrappy, strong, and open-minded.  Able to work with your hands as well as your mind. Usual computer stuff is a must, but with a small firm, a good fit and a team player is a must. 



  • Strong computer skills (we use macs and pcs) PowerCADD, AutoCADD, Creative Suite (all apps), any Revit/BIM experience would be a plus.
  • Able to draw by hand and model on computer and in cardboard.
  • Willingness to try new ways but also take direction.

Project Manager

Experienced on and off site.    



  • A firm understanding of the whats and hows is critical for success.
  • Scheduling and Estimating experience necessary.
  •  A willingness to do what has to be done.


Do I need an Architecture firm?

If you care about design and your environment, yes.

When should I call in an Architect?

As soon as you can!  Thinking about buying a new house that needs some work?  An Architect can walk through the house with you and point out the potentials and deficiencies and discuss what needs to be done so that the house can be turned into a home.  Want to build from the ground, up?  An Architect can help you see the potential in a site, and give you information about the possibilities of can be built.

Is my project too small? too large? not exciting enough?

Every good Architect loves Architecture.  No project is too small, too big, or too anything else.  If the client loves good design, likes what we do and is open minded and excited about what can be, that is all it takes to make a good project.

Can't I just hire a design/build contractor? Their design is cheaper.

You get what you pay for in design.  Anyone can draft up some plans, it doesn't make the design good, and doesn't mean that once it is built it will at all match what you thought you were getting.  Architects are extensively trained in aesthetics, materials, methods, construction, detailing.  They are expert problem solvers with loads of ways to make the best of the building.  They are there to control costs, they are there for you throughout the construction phase, and they are there for anything that you might need after.  There is fast food and there is farm-to-fork quality dining.  There is design and there is Architecture.   

What's the first step after I set up an appointment?

Once an appointment is on the books, we will research the location, and get as much information as we can about the rules, codes, regulations, etc. that will apply to your project and site.  During our initial contact, we will ask you a few questions to understand who you are are, what you need, and what you want.  We will then meet you "on site."  We will walk through the building or property with you, point out considerations, and answer questions.  Leaving the meeting you should have a pretty good sense of what it will take to get what you want.  If appropriate/desired we can go over our portfolio more and outline the process.

What's the second step? 

When you know that you want to get started, we will put together a proposal.  This will outline the project, the time duration, the expectations, and the costs.  Once the contract is approved we can start the project.  There is typically a small retainer of about 5% of our fee paid up front.

What happens once we begin?

click here to learn more about the process of designing a project.

How long does design take?

The design duration is different for every project, client, and scope.  Taking a 3,000 square foot new home on a relatively normal site, with a typical program, it can take 9 weeks-20 weeks to design a project.  9 weeks is fast: fast, on the spot decisions, and a relative carte blanche to make it work.  Most clients like to spend a little more time making decisions, and we like to afford our clients sufficient time for consideration and decision making, and we are purposely flexible with scheduling.  More often than not, a 3,000sf home would take 5 months with decisions being made efficiently, but with intent.  Bottom line, it takes as long as you want and need.

What is the fee?

Typically our fee is 12-15% of the construction cost.  Scale, budget, and constraints dictate fee.  

How much does construction cost?

click here it see current construction costs.