We’re blitz, an architecture and interior design firm.

Blitz is a full service architecture and interior design firm, specializing in commercial, retail, and hospitality design. We provide the complete range of architectural services required to take a project from programming through construction. We also offer urban planning and furniture services. And though our focus is the built environment, we’re committed to total design solutions – balancing buildings, branding, and experiences.

We are entrepreneurs with a can-do attitude. Our passion for good design and unlimited energy for creativity make us formidable partners and client advocates. We desire to collaborate with individuals and organizations that share our values and match our energy.

Melissa Hanley, AIA

Principal + CEO

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Melissa Hanley

Principal + CEO

hello!

I’m Melissa, a principal and co-founder of Blitz. I perform many roles in the studio but primarily I design. When I’m not working on projects for innovative local technology workplaces and global retail, hospitality, and product brands, I spend my days managing operations, brand, and project delivery strategy for the studio.

I’m a maker at heart and fell in love with creating things at a very early age. As the daughter of a contractor / fine wood-worker, building runs in the blood. My phenomenal parents encouraged (and tolerated) my artist expressions even at the expense of the furniture and walls. This sense of exploration and freedom to test ideas has been at the core of my world view ever since and informs my process to this day.

I’m committed to making Blitz projects not only beautiful and a pleasure to inhabit, but functional and economic successes as well. The trust my clients put in me is an incredible privilege and I love the process of design and collaborating with individuals who value the functional, economic (not to mention aesthetic!) benefits great design. The projects where my Client is an active member of the design team are the most successful and the most rewarding.

Its an exciting time in design. I feel privileged to be considered a champion for good design and regularly contribute my projects and design knowledge to technical and lifestyle publications such as Interior Design Magazine, Contract, Vanity Fair, GQ, The Atlantic, The New York Times and The Wall Street Journal.

Education

Bachelor of Arts in Architecture, University of California, Berkeley,
Minor – City and Regional Planning

Licenses

Melissa is licensed to practice Architecture in CA.

Seth Hanley, AIA

Principal + Creative Director

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Seth Hanley

Principal + Creative Director

hello! I’m Seth, a principal and co-founder of Design Blitz. I perform many roles in the studio and across the business, but my primary focus is assisting the Blitz team with technical feasibility and code compliance. Great design can be transformative, and getting it there requires a dedication to service and technical excellence. My day is a success when things run smoothly and clients are happy.

I grew up in London where I developed an early and strong interest in the built environment. That interest led me to Leeds Metropolitan University for a Bachelors degree in Architecture, and Oxford Brooks University for postgraduate diplomas in both Architecture and Urban Design. I re-settled in California in 2001. I’ve been licensed to practice Architecture in California for nearly a decade and and feel privileged to work everyday in an industry that I love.

I’ve been fortunate enough to work with leading technology companies like Skype, Comcast, Zendesk, SquareTrade, and Bandai to name a few. My work has been featured in over 100 publications around the world, including Interior Design Magazine, Vanity Fair, GQ Japan, and many international design blogs such as Contemporist, Designboom, and ArchDaily.

Education

Postgraduate Diploma in Architecture (RIBA part 2) + Urban Design Oxford Brooks University,
Oxford, UK

BA in Architecture with Honors (RIBA part 1)
Leeds Metropolitan University, Leeds, UK

Licenses

Seth is licensed to practice Architecture in CA, CO and UT.

Ambrosia

Head of Security

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Ambrosia

Head of Security

Ambrosia is a founding member of Blitz and takes her role within the company very seriously. Whether she is greeting clients at the door or ensuring all treats served are of the highest quality, Ambrosia is the epitome of a team player. At 19.4 pounds, she packs quite the punch and keeps the office safe should anyone with an eye on our designs try some funny business.

When not supervising the daily operations at Blitz, Ambrosia enjoys shopping online for mid-century Danish furniture, scouring flea markets for Victorian-era hat pins, and tweeting about life as a colorblind design guru.

“Eric

Eric Barch

Designer

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Eric Barch

Designer

Originally from the Midwest, Eric developed an interest in architecture from an early age, admiring the Frank Lloyd Wright houses in his neighborhood. His love for great design translated into studying architecture at the University of Wisconsin Milwaukee. After graduating, he began his career as a CAD draftsman at an MEP firm, where he created technical drawings for mechanical and plumbing systems. In 2014, Eric relocated to San Francisco where he created in-house renderings for various public and civic projects in California including libraries and transit centers in the Bay Area.

Eric’s fascination with rendering software led him to a career in the architectural visualization industry, where he honed his rendering and presentation skills. He geeks out over new modeling tools and technology and is passionate about the little visual details that take his renderings to the next level.

Outside of work, Eric can often be found at local breweries and tap rooms sampling the beer flavors with his fiancé and close friends. When he isn’t sampling the epic Bay Area brews, Eric unwinds from a busy week by rocking out on the guitar and drums.

Education

Bachelors of Architectural Sciences, University of Wisconsin Milwaukee

“Emily

Emily Burchill

Interior Designer

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Emily Burchill

Interior Designer

Hailing from Endicott in upstate New York, Emily is a welcome addition to Blitz’s hearty crew of former East Coasters. Her interest in interior design started at an early age, when she began decorating and changing her bedroom according to every season. She eventually decided to combine her creative love of interior environments with her fascination with technical construction of spaces and pursue a career in interior design.

Emily got her start in Philadelphia, where she attended college at Drexel University and worked at NELSON before relocating to San Francisco. She worked on a variety of projects in Philadelphia in commercial interiors, higher education, and healthcare. Emily was also a Habitat for Humanity Young Professional and worked with a team in Tupelo, Mississippi to help a father and his daughter build a new home their family.

Emily is passionate about learning exactly what clients see in the future for their environment and corporate culture and then translating that into a space unique to them and their employees. She loves being able to take an idea and transform it into a real design element, whether it be a ceiling, wall, or floor detail.

As a recent arrival to the Bay Area, Emily is excited to see what the West Coast has to offer, from being around so many young entrepreneurs to learning more about the Bay Area’s design community and overall style. Outside of the office, Emily enjoys an active lifestyle of running, hiking, and backpacking – basically, anything she can do outdoors with her German Shepherd, Bravo. When she is home, she likes nothing better than hanging out with her large family of seven siblings.

Education

Bachelor of Science in Interior Design from Drexel University

“Safiya

Safiya Carter-Thompson

Office Manager

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Safiya Carter-Thompson

Office Manager

Safiya is a Bay Area native, born and raised in Oakland. As part of the administrative team, she assists the design staff and also keeps the office running smoothly. Safiya’s strong organizational skills and problem-solving prowess make her a natural in her line of work. Her favorite part of the job is the feeling of being part of a team, and she thrives on making sure others have what they need to succeed.

Like any good Blitzer, Safiya is a creative at heart. In her spare time, she knits and works on her art. Safiya has a special affinity for textile arts, which started when she took a textile class in college and fell in love with fabric manipulation through color. She also considers herself lucky to spend a lot of time with her immediate family, who all live nearby in the Bay Area, and she enjoys eating out at new restaurants and catching movies on the big screen.

Education

Master of Fine Arts in Textile Arts from University of Kansas

Katie Clifford

Katie Clifford

Junior Designer

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Katie Clifford

Junior Designer

Coming from Cincinnati, Ohio, Katie is super excited to join Blitz and live in the Bay Area for the first time. She fell in love with art and creative projects at an early age, taking her first design course in high school. Her father was a landscape architect, often taking her to job sites and teaching her about the industry. She soon discovered her love for architecture and design, going on to study interior design at Ohio State University.

Katie’s passion comes from her innate curiosity in user experience and digging deeper into physical problems through design research. The transformation of spaces that change a person’s happiness is one of the main reasons that Katie loves creating unique spaces curated for the user. She finds that collaboration and design research are key ingredients to a successful project.

When she is not at the office, Katie enjoys sketching, training for marathons, listening to local live bands, and taking photographs of landscapes or interesting scenes on the city streets. New to the area, she is looking forward to exploring California with future trips to Big Sur and Yosemite.

Education

Bachelor of Science in Interior Design, Ohio State University

Tovah Cook

Tovah Cook

Environmental Graphic Designer

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Tovah Cook

Environmental Graphic Designer

Born and raised in Dallas, Tovah discovered her love for experiential design within the built environment. She began her passion in design at the University of Houston earning her undergraduate degree in Architecture and Environmental Design from the University of Houston. She continued her education with a MFA in Graphic Design in hopes to bridge the design gap through visual communication at the Academy of Art University. Her thesis research identified a human-centered approach for architects to design for children with autism through environmental graphic design, the ADA standards, and inclusive design strategies and products. She is fascinated with the psychology of how graphics can impact a person’s emotions within a space.

She has participated in many local recreational facility and city design projects, as well as large scale retail projects. While working in the solar industry for over 3 years, she helped put clean energy on over 500 homes through designing photovoltaic systems.

Outside of the office, Tovah is enthusiastic about nature and traveling, staying active through dance, attending craft fairs, and reading books in parks.

Education

Master of Fine Arts in Graphic Design, Academy of Art University
Bachelor of Architecture, University of Houston
Bachelor of Science in Environmental Design, University of Houston

Jerry D’Amato

Jerry D’Amato

Junior Designer

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Jerry D’Amato

Junior Designer

A Bay Area native, Jerry’s interest in design started at an early age when he enrolled in art classes at the ripe age of 10. His love of drawing and painting led him to take his first CAD drafting class in high school when he realized architecture was his passion. He volunteered for Habitat for Humanity throughout high school, building homes for low-income families all over the Bay Area. This experience taught him the importance of holistic design and allowed him to be a part of his community, showing him how neighborhoods can completely transform.

Jerry believes there’s no one way or medium to approach the process of design. He loves modern multi-use architecture that could be easily constructed, relocated, or recycled. He received his Bachelors in Architecture from UC Berkeley, where a driving factor behind his studies was learning about multi-functional spaces that can accommodate a variety of uses. He’s excited to be working at Blitz because of every project’s attention to design detail from a micro to macro scale.

In his free time, Jerry makes electronic music, rocks out on the piano and drums, and plays paintball with friends.

Education

Bachelor of Arts in Architecture, University of California, Berkeley

Eric Hull

Eric Hull

Designer

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Eric Hull

Designer

Born and raised in the rolling hills of Kentucky, Eric recently relocated from Connecticut to join the west coasters in San Francisco. From furniture design in Brooklyn to 70-story office towers in Shanghai, Eric is interested in every scale of design.

Having grown up with a mother who was a graphic designer and artist and a father who was an Architect and woodworker, Eric has always had an interest in design, art, and making. The combination of backgrounds has given him both a love for the creative and abstract design process and a paralleled enthusiasm for precision, detailing, and the realities of building.

Eric received his Master of Architecture from the University of Pennsylvania. There he researched a wide variety of design problems from systemic design strategies for the future of desalination in Southern California to the constructability of geometrically complex, folding, wall systems.

When he’s not working, Eric enjoys running, painting, building, biking and exploring new places on his motorcycle. Having never lived on the west coast, he is excited to explore the Redwood Forests, hike Yosemite, and enjoy the great outdoor culture of California. He may even brave the cold waters of the Pacific and learn how to surf.

Education

Masters in Architecture, University of Pennsylvania
Bachelor of Arts in Architecture, University of Kentucky

John Hunter

John Hunter, AIA

Director of Projects

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John Hunter

Director of Projects

John’s fascination with buildings began with growing up in a house built by an Englishman. Though located in central Massachusetts, it was built prior to 1747, so, technically, it was built by an Englishman. Originally constructed of hewn American Chestnut beams with pegged construction, it was added to over the ensuing decades and was essentially a collection of North American wood construction technology. Interacting with it daily spurred an interest in design and construction technology that continues to this day.

In practice since 1981, John has had the opportunity to work on a broad range of projects in every climactic zone the US has to offer. He has a particular interest in Building Science and in trying to find better ways to deliver projects to clients.

Having raised a family of musicians, John enjoys playing music and seeing live music. He is convinced that, in another 80 or 90 years, the whole guitar fad will blow over and the banjo will again be America’s stringed instrument.

Education

Masters in Architecture from University of Wisconsin, Milwaukee
Bachelors in Geography from Clark University, Worcester

Licenses

John is licensed to practice Architecture in CA.

“Krisztina

Krisztina Joszef

Job Captain

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Krisztina Joszef

Job Captain

Born in Budapest, Hungary, Krisztina moved to sunny SoCal at the young age of 4. She originally planned on becoming an elementary school teacher but after studying abroad in Rome, she immediately changed her major. She soon moved to New York City to pursue a Bachelors degree in Architecture and Art from New York University.

After graduating from NYU, she began her graduate studies in architecture at UCLA and hasn’t looked back since. She loves being able to curate a positive user experience through the built environment. While Krisztina’s professional work is quite diverse, ranging from from retail to tech offices to healthcare to conceptual competition entries, the projects she is most proud of were those all focused first and foremost on the user experience.

She made her way to the Bay Area because of her love of ultimate frisbee as the Bay is home to many of the highest caliber teams in the world. She has been playing for over 12 years, coached for 6 and currently plays with Blackbird, a San Francisco co-ed team that is consistently a top-ranked team in the nation.

Education

Master of Architecture, University of California, Los Angeles
Bachelor of Arts in Architecture and Art, New York University

Bridgett McGrath

Bridgett McGrath

Director of Communications

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Bridgett McGrath

Director of Communications

A true Venice Beach native, Bridgett has not strayed far from the California coastline throughout her educational and professional career. Bridgett first migrated north to attend the University of California Santa Cruz (Go Banana Slugs!) where she studied urban sustainability and international resource management and policy. After graduating, she traversed the Central Coast to settle in the Bay Area. Bridgett’s interest in sustainable building and design led her to a summer intensive architecture program at the University of California Berkeley. Following the program she began her AEC career in the marketing department of a mid-size firm and quickly found that marketing and communications was a happy marriage of her love of design and writing.

With years of communications experience and a passion for architecture and interior design, Bridgett specializes in brand development, strategic marketing, and public relations. She has worked for firms ranging from 20-800 staff and has assisted with the development of many industry events and conferences in the Bay Area. She is committed to clear and honest language and stunning visuals.

Outside of the office you can likely find Bridgett building live-edge dining tables, lamps, and the occasional shuffle board at her West Oakland wood shop. A builder at heart, Bridgett enjoys the fine detailing and precision that comes with complex joinery. Given the chance, she will likely spend the afternoon geeking out at the local hardwood supply store.

Education

Bachelor of Arts in Environmental Studies from University of California, Santa Cruz

Zach Meade

Zach Meade, RA

Senior Design Associate

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Zach Meade

Senior Design Associate

Originally from Southern California, Zach developed a love of architecture through years of building with Legos as a child. He first studied architecture at the University of Lund in Sweden, where he gained an affinity for both Scandinavian design and traveling. Zach then received his Masters degree in Architecture from NewSchool of Architecture and Design in San Diego, CA. He has also recently studied digital design at the Vienna School of Applied Arts.

Zach brings a strong expertise in design to the Blitz table, having honed his skills through years of working and traveling all over the world. In prior years Zach practiced architecture in New Zealand and Australia, where he worked at large-scale offices such as Woods Bagot. He has a passion for digital design and the usage of technology to advance the field of design, which he expressed in his exploration of zero-gravity architecture for his Masters thesis.

As a citizen of both the United States and the European Union, Zach keeps a foot on both sides of the globe and therefore always has his fingers on the pulse of good design. He loves both architecture and design, and this passion is expressed in the incredible amount of dedication he devotes to his projects. When Zach is not busy working he enjoys running, exploring the Bay Area, biking, playing the drums, and savoring good comedy.

Education

Masters in Architecture, NewSchool of Architecture and Design, San Diego, California
Bachelor of Arts, University of California at Santa Barbara, California
Intermediate Urban Design Studio at the University of Lund, Sweden
Alessi Mutants digital design studio at the University of Applied Arts in Vienna, Austria

Licenses

Zach is licensed to practice Architecture in CA.

Kimberley O’Dowd

Kimberley O’Dowd, RA

Senior Project Manager

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Kimberley O’Dowd

Senior Project Manager

Originally from Philadelphia, Kimberley now enjoys city life in San Francisco. When she’s not exploring the city’s fantastic restaurants, she is crafting some magic at home. Her sewing machine is an outlet to experiment with clothing and a reason to horde fabric.

Kimberley is a licensed Architect and a LEED AP certified professional whose work is greatly influenced by observation and thrives on collaboration. With a portfolio ranging from fast-paced tenant improvement projects to award-winning healthcare projects to complex international socio-economic projects, she has a wide range of experiences and expertise under her belt.

Kimberley loves the small design moments that bring uniqueness and a sense of space to the project. She enjoys working with clients and seeing their personality come to life in the architecture and design. The challenge and psychology involved in interpreting needs, code restrictions and end users make each project an exciting adventure. In any size projects, she understands that small design moves can make a big difference.

Education

Bachelors of Architecture, Philadelphia University
Temple University Japan in Tokyo
Ecole d’Architecture La Villette in Paris

Licenses

Kimberley is licensed to practice Architecture in CA, and PA.

Tamara Roth

Tamara Roth

Associate + Senior Interior Designer

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Tamara Roth

Associate + Senior Interior Designer

Tamara has called California home for the past 18 years, but her Midwest roots occasionally reveal themselves in her slight Chicago accent. Born and raised in the suburbs of Chicago, Tamara can’t remember a time when she didn’t want to be an interior designer. She is fascinated by how design and the built environment directly impact user experiences, and believes designers can positively impact the way people work and live – social engineering at its best!

An associate member of IIDA and a LEED ID+C Accredited Professional, Tamara has nine years’ experience with commercial interiors projects ranging in size from 5,000-900,000 SF, primarily for law and technology clients. Well versed in all phases of the design process, Tamara considers herself a generalist and has successfully taken on multiple roles. She has extensive project experience in the Bay Area, as well as in Shanghai, Los Angeles and Seattle.

Tamara believes that design is a dialogue that should happen with all team members, and enjoys collaborating and working in teams to come up with innovative solutions. One size does not fit all, so she believes in building strong client relationships and developing intelligent solutions that respond to the project’s goals.

Outside of the office, Tamara is passionate about engaging with the design community. For over eight years, she has volunteered with the IIDA Northern California Chapter in many roles. Most notably, she chairs the Honor Awards annual design awards program and has served on the IIDA Northern California Board of Directors for four years. Tamara also shares her passion for design and technology by teaching at UC Berkeley Extension and California College of the Arts.

Education

Bachelor of Fine Arts in Interior Design from California College of the Arts

What we do

All projects begin with location as climate and context impact everything. We have an obligation to understand where we’re building and this means research. Buildings and sites are synonymous; a building should be of its place. Interior design is an integrated pursuit – a building interior must be in harmony with the over-arching framework. Furniture must bridge the gap between the environment and the user and, ultimately, we design for users.

Roll over each work type for more info.

Architecture

We work with our clients towards the creation of projects that achieve all programmatic requirements and are created with an integrity of vision that surpasses simple design service to achieve a true goal-driven project. We design for humans, and listen to the stakeholders – whatever their position in the company.

Interiors

To speak of interior design as something distinct from architecture is simply nonsense. There must be continuity, and shared language (structure, materials) between building shell and building interior. New and existing buildings afford wonderful opportunities to unite architecture at different scales and provide unified, but also unique design solutions.

Site + Urban Planning

Our sense of place in the world is commanded by our relationship with the built environment. Site, landscape and the wider urban context provide the framework for our lives. Connecting projects to this context is essential to their success, and ultimately the success of the user.

Furniture

Furniture fills the spaces we design and is integral to the experience of the user, since it’s the part of the project people physically interact with the most. We consider it our responsibility to ensure this aspect of the experience is continuous with the project vision, but also the right fit for the user. Cool is, well, cool, but functionality is cooler!

Project

At Blitz, it’s the project that goes in the middle, not our egos. We strongly encourage all those involved in the project to make decisions solely based on what is best for the project.

Our Philosophy

Churning out what you’ve always done won’t just yield the same results, it will leave you and your project behind in an ever changing world. We find it irresponsible not to try things simply because you haven’t done them before. Furthermore, though we appreciate the compliment, you don’t want what we did last year because we’re already doing something better, more efficient and more effective.

Less can actually be more. Really! The key is knowing what to edit to bring out the essence of a project while not devaluing it’s spirit. We believe in smaller footprints and higher quality. What does luxury mean anyway? It’s more than just name and hype, more than just a price tag or a status symbol. It’s about quality, function, and well-being.

It’s about making the most of what you’ve got and celebrating a good idea. That’s where we come in. We’re here to help you realize your dreams – and if you’re not quite sure what they are yet, we’ll help you with that too. And do it sustainably, which means more than just ‘green.’ It means economy + value. It means being adaptable and re-using buildings, materials, even good ideas.

It also means being future-ready, looking beyond the immediate to the needs of tomorrow. We’ll look for ways to maximize the impact of your project, while minimizing the impact on your budget and the environment.

Spaces, systems, and materials are considered in that order. But before we get to that, we want to know the basics: We’ll talk budgets and we’ll discuss image and atmosphere, and probably end up branding the whole experience if you’ll let us. And we’ll have some fun along the way.

Every part of the design from the forks to the fenestration is a touch-point to be experienced by the user and should build on your brand and project identity.

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