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Old City Design Studio is a residential architecture firm that provides a full scope of architectural services. We are partners who specialize in design that is sensitive to your neighborhood, your home, and your changing needs. Our personalized approach focuses on daylight, materials, and creative use of space to enhance the way you live.

We are licensed to practice architecture in the District of Columbia, Virginia & Maryland.

Melissa Boyette, AIA, LEED AP   Missy grew up in Jacksonville, Florida, where she worked for an architecture firm during school breaks. Her formal education began at the University of Virginia, where she received a Bachelor of Science in Architecture with a minor in Historic Preservation. Missy received her Master of Architecture in 2003 from the University of Texas at Austin, where she focused on the connection between buildings and their landscape. She became a registered Architect in 2006.  Missy’s internships in Charleston, South Carolina, and in Cambridge, Massachusetts deepened her knowledge and understanding of working in historic contexts and connecting buildings with their surroundings. Upon receiving her Master’s degree, she and Joe moved to Washington, DC. She spent several years working on single-family and multi-family residential projects and then transitioned to working on theaters, performing arts centers and cultural buildings located in DC, Maryland and Florida.  Missy enjoys helping homeowners to explore options for an efficient and organized plan, which might incorporate more storage, another bathroom, a bigger kitchen. Missy helps clients to live a modern lifestyle in an existing, and often historic, home by focusing on daylight, functionality and flexibility of spaces and how these will address the family’s needs.

Melissa Boyette, AIA, LEED AP

Missy grew up in Jacksonville, Florida, where she worked for an architecture firm during school breaks. Her formal education began at the University of Virginia, where she received a Bachelor of Science in Architecture with a minor in Historic Preservation. Missy received her Master of Architecture in 2003 from the University of Texas at Austin, where she focused on the connection between buildings and their landscape. She became a registered Architect in 2006.

Missy’s internships in Charleston, South Carolina, and in Cambridge, Massachusetts deepened her knowledge and understanding of working in historic contexts and connecting buildings with their surroundings. Upon receiving her Master’s degree, she and Joe moved to Washington, DC. She spent several years working on single-family and multi-family residential projects and then transitioned to working on theaters, performing arts centers and cultural buildings located in DC, Maryland and Florida.

Missy enjoys helping homeowners to explore options for an efficient and organized plan, which might incorporate more storage, another bathroom, a bigger kitchen. Missy helps clients to live a modern lifestyle in an existing, and often historic, home by focusing on daylight, functionality and flexibility of spaces and how these will address the family’s needs.

Joseph Boyette, AIA, NCARB   Joe grew up just outside of Towson, Maryland in a very small town surrounded by dairy farms. Right out of high school, he was drafting for a local surveyor. Joe has been studying, teaching and practicing architecture ever since. He has a bachelor's degree from the University of Maryland and a master's degree from the University of Texas at Austin. Joe has been a design studio instructor at The University of Texas Summer Academy and at The University of Maryland. He was the Assistant Professor of Practice at The Catholic University of America in 2009. He has been a registered architect since 2006.  Joe's full portfolio of work includes new and renovated university buildings in Philadelphia and Delaware, brand new mixed-use multifamily residences in DC, corporate interiors in New York and DC, as well as a large scale preservation project for the Department of the Interior building.  No matter how large or small the project may be, Joe has the vision and experience to solve the big picture problems, without sacrificing the details. His goal is to provide service to his clients that helps relieve the stress that homeowner's invariably experience with the deconstruction and reconstruction of one's own home.

Joseph Boyette, AIA, NCARB

Joe grew up just outside of Towson, Maryland in a very small town surrounded by dairy farms. Right out of high school, he was drafting for a local surveyor. Joe has been studying, teaching and practicing architecture ever since. He has a bachelor's degree from the University of Maryland and a master's degree from the University of Texas at Austin. Joe has been a design studio instructor at The University of Texas Summer Academy and at The University of Maryland. He was the Assistant Professor of Practice at The Catholic University of America in 2009. He has been a registered architect since 2006.

Joe's full portfolio of work includes new and renovated university buildings in Philadelphia and Delaware, brand new mixed-use multifamily residences in DC, corporate interiors in New York and DC, as well as a large scale preservation project for the Department of the Interior building.

No matter how large or small the project may be, Joe has the vision and experience to solve the big picture problems, without sacrificing the details. His goal is to provide service to his clients that helps relieve the stress that homeowner's invariably experience with the deconstruction and reconstruction of one's own home.

Heather Rao, AIA, LEED AP   Heather studied Architecture at the University of Virginia, where she received her Bachelor of Science. She continued to study both Architecture and Urban Design at Washington University in St. Louis, where she earned master’s degrees in both areas. Prior to joining OCDS, Heather spent the last 15 years working on a variety of projects at an award-winning Architecture Firm in Washington DC.  Her professional experience includes single- and multi-family residential, affordable housing, master planning and urban design, small-scale commercial, historic preservation and sustainable design. She has extensive experience working with local approvals, including planning, zoning, and historic agencies. Heather has volunteered and led large-scale community improvement activities with a local group of design, construction, and development professionals. She has also volunteered with the Washington Architectural Foundation, teaching both elementary and high school students about various aspects of architecture.  Heather’s approach to working with clients emphasizes communication and clarity. She enjoys assisting clients with understanding their goals and desires for projects of all sizes and is skilled at translating these into design solutions.    Portrait photography by  William Petruzzo

Heather Rao, AIA, LEED AP

Heather studied Architecture at the University of Virginia, where she received her Bachelor of Science. She continued to study both Architecture and Urban Design at Washington University in St. Louis, where she earned master’s degrees in both areas. Prior to joining OCDS, Heather spent the last 15 years working on a variety of projects at an award-winning Architecture Firm in Washington DC.

Her professional experience includes single- and multi-family residential, affordable housing, master planning and urban design, small-scale commercial, historic preservation and sustainable design. She has extensive experience working with local approvals, including planning, zoning, and historic agencies. Heather has volunteered and led large-scale community improvement activities with a local group of design, construction, and development professionals. She has also volunteered with the Washington Architectural Foundation, teaching both elementary and high school students about various aspects of architecture.

Heather’s approach to working with clients emphasizes communication and clarity. She enjoys assisting clients with understanding their goals and desires for projects of all sizes and is skilled at translating these into design solutions.

Portrait photography by William Petruzzo