Husband-and-wife team Francisca Villarroel Alonso and Antonio Alonso met while studying architecture at Catholic University and have lived in Northern Virginia for more than 30 years. Taking their cue from Francisca’s father, architect Melvin Villarroel Roldán—a designer of luxury hotels and resorts in Europe and around the world—they launched AV Architects in 2001 with the idea of bringing resort-style living to the DC area. “We wanted to give our clients the feeling of being on vacation every day of the year,” Francisca says.
The couple added a building component to their business model in 2003. Today, the firm employs seven staff members, more than half of them trained architects. “Our focus is architecture and design,” Francisca says. “Even when they are doing project management and working on site, our staff still brings an architect’s perspective to the job.”
She adds, “The build part is a bonus so that our clients don’t have to go through the stress of finding a builder.”
AV Architects + Builders concentrated on renovations for its first eight years, then evolved into designing and building custom homes. Today, the firm develops properties as well. AV Architects + Builders works with the same team of subcontractors on all its projects. “Some of them have been with us since the start,” Francisca says. “We are very loyal to them and consider them part of our team.”
According to Francisca, her firm’s business philosophy sets it apart. “In the design phase, we create the vision for the house, select the materials and nail down the cost of the project to the last penny,” she explains. “So when we move to the build stage, there are no allowances and change orders. We communicate with our subcontractors during the design phase to make this possible.”
AV Architects razed a small rambler on a quarter acre to accommodate the Falls Church house showcased on these pages. The owner specified something classic yet fresh and modern, so “we decided to do a spin on an Italian villa,” Francisca says.
The home’s exterior is clad in brick veneer with a pastel coating that resembles stucco and trimmed with brick accents. The shingle-and-metal roof is gently pitched in Mediterranean style. Practical, low-maintenance features include aluminum-clad windows, PVC trim and oversized gutters that channel rainwater runoff into a bio garden located at the lowest point in the property.
Inside, the house encompasses an open-plan kitchen/dining area/great room and a master suite on the main floor; two upstairs bedrooms with en-suite baths; and a finished lower level. Conveniences such as a Control4 whole-house automation system ensure the resort-style ease of living that AV Architects + Builders prioritizes in its work.
COMPANY FACTS & STATS
AV Architects + Builders complete four to six major renovations and about two custom homes a year. Renovations start at around $300,000, while custom homes begin at $900,000. The firm is a Class A general contractor and works with a team of 40 subcontractors.
Inquiries: AV Architects + Builders; 9903 Georgetown Pike, Suite 201; Great Falls, Virginia 22066
703-865-5065 • avarchitectsbuild.com • firstname.lastname@example.org
Architecture, Construction & Interior Design: Francisca Alonso and Antonio Alonso, AV Architects + Builders, Great Falls, Virginia. Landscape Design: Rossen Landscape, Sterling, Virginia. Art Consultation: Broadway Gallery—Fine Art & Custom Framing, Alexandria and Great Falls, Virginia. Styling: Charlotte Safavi.