I loved working with Lorena Checa of CHECA Architects!
I most valued her integrative approach – considering how all the elements of what we were doing fit together and supporting us in how to weave the project together on every level. Lorena was entirely respectful of our taste and brought all of her talents to help us manifest what we wanted.
She was able to balance our budget concerns and insure an outcome that was high quality and truly aesthetic. Bottom line, Lorena’s intuition and caring heart made her a person that we could trust as we navigated a complex and naturally stressful process.
Lorena’s firm was supportive on even the most practical level, guiding us in how to locate and purchase the many accouterments we desired.
I hope this expresses the truth of how grateful and delighted we are with the outcome. Thank you.”
Great Falls, VA
Everyone who walks into this house says, “Wow, what a great house!” But what is even better is that it has been nearly two years since the renovations, and my own reaction to this house is, “WOW”.
The design process of our renovation was fun and exciting. We had our own needs and ideas to start with, but it felt like a really collaborative effort. Mostly we liked what she offered. She easily and graciously listened, including all of what we wanted, or instead, convinced us that what we thought we wanted, we wouldn’t like when we saw it. She could really see what wasn’t yet there better than we. She listened to our lifestyle and how we would use the house. In the finished house there is not a single corner that is not attractive and well used.
Lorena was sensitive to our budget concerns. She would show us the focal points where we should install the “top of the line” fixture or hardware but then show us other locations that could do with less pricey fixtures.”
Lorena Checa is a genius. If you want contemporary style with warmth, look no further. Lorena mixes elegant simple design, with natural stones and woods, and a dash of dare. So many modern houses look cold and sterile. Lorena’s style is elegant, spare and very warm and inviting. She sought innovative ways to bring in the most sunshine and natural light and sky to our townhouse. She helped us prioritize where to save money and where to invest. She understood our budget and our priorities. As a family of 5 (3 kids) Lorena was constantly aware of the practical parts of designing for a family with kids and how to make the house work and shine at the same time. We bought a complete fixer upper and have very limited remodeling experience. We have heard nightmare stories from friends about theirs, but working with CHECA Architects was a joy (we also had great contractors Kelly And Steve from Space Crafters). Her wisdom and experience helped narrow our choices down to one or two things. She listens and understands our concerns. Her commitment to environmentally friendly building and beauty, not only transformed our home, but it has pushed us all to de-clutter and simplify, and appreciate the beauty of what we have. We tore down walls in every sense of the word. CHECA Architects understand the practicality and poetry of how a real people live and thrive. I cannot recommend them enough. Lorena is trustworthy, warm, smart, and deeply committed to making your house a really beautiful, modern healthy home.”
Mount Pleasant, Washington, DC
Lorena has amazing ideas and everyone she recommended—the stone person, the cabinet maker, the solar company—did excellent work. We love the house.”
Dr. Melissa Kern
Foxhall Village, Washington, DC
Lorena Checa and her team did a full (“to-the-studs”) renovation of our historic 3-story townhouse in Foxhall Village. She managed every aspect of the job, from design to furnishings. We are thrilled with the result. Lorena was the consummate professional, and attentive to every detail. In addition, she showed a fantastic artistic flair from the unique architectural features she incorporated, to the color schemes and furnishings she helped us select. We wished to make our 80-year-old house as green as possible and Lorena was at the cutting edge of green and sustainable design. Lorena’s depth of knowledge was evident at every turn; as a result there were no surprises. My wife and I have recommended Lorena and her team to our friends and no one has been disappointed. We give Lorena our highest recommendation.”
Dr. Bill Deegan
Foxhall Village, Washington, DC
My husband and I bought a 1950s colonial house with the idea of remodeling it. We decided to live there before doing any remodeling so we could see what we liked and didn’t like about the house. We found that we both liked the idea of living in an older house but we wanted something that was more open and had more natural light. Also, we were attracted to the neighborhood because the homes were unique and there were lots of big trees and rolling hills. Unfortunately, the house didn’t take advantage of any of that.
We spoke with at least two other architects before we found CHECA Architects. We decided on CHECA for several reasons. First, we liked the idea of working with a smaller architectural firm so we wouldn’t be just another project. Second, we had seen pictures of a house Lorena had designed and we were very impressed with the clean and open design of that house. Third, from the beginning, Lorena spent a lot of time studying all aspects of the house, helping us visualize the new design, and giving us suggestions on materials to use. Finally, she didn’t try to talk us into tearing down the house, even though that would have been easier, and she welcomed our input throughout the process.
We have received many compliments on our house. When people enter the house and look out the floor to ceiling windows in the back, they always remark about how beautiful it is. The master bedroom has the most amazing view of the sky and the surrounding trees. When you’re on the third floor you can look out the windows and see the sunset and the trees swaying in the wind. In addition to being a lovely and interesting structure, the house is adaptable and comfortable, whether we’re enjoying a cup of coffee on the deck or hosting a home concert. We are very pleased with the results!”
My wife and I have done a number of projects with Lorena.
Lorena has helped us to make virtually every corner of our house into a delight, to use and to admire. She accurately figures out how we live, and how we want to live and tailors her designs to enhance our lives. Working with the highest of standards she is still budget conscious. She is not only a great architect, but works extremely effectively with clients (us) and with our contractor. Lorena also has a large number of specialists: interior decorators, cabinetmakers and even stain glass artists who add so much to a project. Our relationship must now be close to 15 years old and we could not be happier with the results of her work.”
Rafe & Lenore Pomerance
Adams Morgan, Washington, DC
When I moved to D.C. to live with my daughter, I told her that I refused to live in a Granny flat in a basement. We finally decided that the only way to avoid basements was to buy a good house and add rooms on the side for me.
That is how I met Lorena Checa. She was recommended and I met with her. She was receptive to what I described — I wanted a bright and airy sitting room with a small office area and a bedroom with bath, big closet, dressing area. I got what asked for in just the way I wanted it but it turned out so much better than I ever imagined. I sit at my desk now and look out the tall windows and clerestory in front and I am outside at the same time that I am inside. It’s glorious!
As a practical matter, my rooms are wheelchair accessible if that becomes necessary; they are environmentally efficient, and the use of forms, windows, wood, and light is esthetically harmonious.
Lorena also redesigned the living room of the main house and added two screened porches, which we love. The whole project came in at budget at the expected date. Lorena was on top of the construction as it progressed and she worked well with the contractor.”
Palisades, Washington, DC
Checa Architects PC, and primarily its principal Lorena Checa, designed and supervised the remodeling of my apartment during the summer of 2012. This was a challenging task since the apartment essentially was one large room that included a floor-to-ceiling enclosed atrium open to the sky. I chose to work with Checa Architects because in the past Lorena had worked with my late wife and I on two other design/remodeling projects. I knew from experience that I could rely on her for practical, innovative, tasteful and attractive solutions.
Lorena quickly saw the redesign opportunities and possibilities for the one room: she converted it into four distinct activity areas by removing the atrium entirely and putting in a roof structure with skylights. With sliding pocket doors she separated the open kitchen from the rest of the one room. She enlisted a trusted contractor to handle and coordinate construction jobs, electrical works and plumbing needs. She brought in lighting experts and color/paint specialists, and integrated their work with the contractor. She brought an experienced carpenter/millworker to design, build and install bookshelves and cabinets with drawers along the walls of two of the four activity areas.
Without exception Lorena was on top of the project from start to finish. In a word, the end result is spectacular. The remodeled apartment is a joy to live in: fabulous and innovative lighting, plenty of space with natural movement, and a welcoming, eco-conscious and gracious atmosphere.
I would not hesitate to recommend Checa Architects. Lorena’s attention to detail and keen spatial and color sense are exceptional. She always was available for consultation and visited the site almost daily to stay on top of the work. Lorena has an easy-going temperament that makes her a pleasure to deal with.”
Samuel H. Wyman
Cathedral Heights, Washington, DC
CHECA Architects first came to my attention when I was seeking to remodel my 70’s-era kitchen and an upstairs bathroom. I viewed photos of one of your stunning projects and later got to see the actual home. After seeing that house, I knew that was the feeling I wanted for my home, and references confirmed that they were pleased with the results of working with Lorena Checa.
During the design process, Lorena was able to intuit exactly the kitchen I wanted, as well as designing a brighter family room and bathroom and a new deck that complemented the whole design. What helped me most in completing the project was your assistance in choosing a builder for the project and the fact that you coordinated closely with him throughout the process.
Lorena listened to all my concerns, designed custom cabinetry for the kitchen and family room, helped me to find appropriate lighting and other accessories, paid attention to all the details, and ensured that everything was done correctly.
I was delighted with my finished project; not only is my kitchen addition spacious and beautiful, the whole house now has an airy, contemporary feel. Based on the process of working with Lorena and the beautiful results, I would definitely recommend CHECA Architects.”
We recommend CHECA Architects without hesitation for any size home renovation or addition. We loved our house but were simply outgrowing it. When faced with the decision whether to expand or move, we couldn’t bear the idea of leaving our neighborhood.
We interviewed 3 different architecture and GC firms to get an idea of what options we had for expanding our very traditional older home in a way that could better utilize our limited space and give us the updates we needed without completely losing the current features we love with house.
CHECA Architects worked with us as a team, listened to what we envisioned and provided us multiple options at various budgets to achieve our vision. Together we were able to keep our traditional dining room area, while blending it into a modern and more useable fully renovated kitchen and open family room.
Lorena Checa has an incredible eye for detail, evident at every stage of the process. Her attention to detail and onsite presence as the renovation took place gave us great confidence that the renovation would be timely completed and look fantastic.
We are thrilled with our renovation and addition and would work with CHECA Architects again without hesitation.”
Michael Neifach and Susan Mathias
Chevy Chase, Washington, DC
Lorena Checa was architect and project manager for a 3-phase full home renovation of our 5 bedroom, 3 bath split foyer home (circa 1973) on 2 acres in Northern Virginia.
This project involved (Phase I) building a deck that connected the master bedroom and communal areas, (Phase II) creating a new front entry and artfully opening up the living room, dining room and kitchen, and (Phase III) converting 3 bedrooms and 2 baths into office and hall bath, master suite with bedroom, sitting room, and master bath, and redesigning the family room adding a bar and patio walkout.
What makes Lorena’s services unique is her commitment to fully understand and experience your desires as client and homeowner and then translate them (using her talent, training and artistry) into an environment that makes a difference for you every day. We mention this quality because without it the product would have been solely hers and not ours. Although this project took fully 5 years to complete, we never tired of Lorena’s presence, advice and support. We now seek it out on any matter having to do with improving our home. Lorena is a trusted professional, counselor and friend.”
Barbara & Raul Tuset
Fairfax Station, VA
Lorena Checa was the designer of two renovation projects in our Washington D.C. home. The first was in the early 1990’s where she designed an expansion of our home enlarging bedrooms, living area, a bathroom and creating a utility room on the 2nd floor. All of this was done without increasing the footprint of the house.
The second design project in 2011 was enlarging the bathroom in the master bedroom. This project involved demolition of the existing 1920’s bathroom and a closet and replacing them with a modern bath including Thassos marble floors, glass tile walls, granite counters on custom designed cherry cabinets, special lighting, new custom etched glass windows and doors and a glass shower enclosure.
Three particular strengths come to mind when I think of Checa Architects. The most important, to me, is Lorena Checa’s ability to listen carefully to a client’s vision, translate it into a project that can actually be constructed and then present you with a design which matches your vision but is vastly improved by her imagination and knowledge.
The second is the depth of her knowledge of both design and construction. She can envision not only how a space will flow but also how it can be enhanced by the materials used. Her understanding of how different materials and fixtures will appear and will operate in real world situations is invaluable. She also has a vast source of artisans and suppliers for many one-of-a-kind solutions to difficult design problems.
Finally, Checa Architects are problem-solving perfectionists which is exactly the combination you want designing and overseeing your construction project.”
Danie Roden & Mark Wagner
16th Street Heights, Washington, DC
Lorena Checa did a brilliant job of designing our new space and making it fit with the existing house. The interior feels spacious and light (I especially appreciate the use of glass blocks as a clerestory), and the exterior fits well with the traditional neighborhood. I have had enthusiastic compliments from passers-by as well as from our guests; one neighbor said that the entrance has a “Zen-like serenity”.”
“What I especially appreciate, still, is the process that brought the end result. Paul and I were full partners in working out the possibilities and deciding on the final plans, in every detail. I never felt that an idea of ours was beneath consideration.”
“Lorena was not only conscientious in the use of her time on out behalf, but she always pointed out ways that we could cut down on professional costs by doing a bit of legwork ourselves. I think it is rare to find someone who combines practicality with true artistic talent, but that’s certainly what one needs in an architect.”
Chevy Chase, MD
We like Lorena’s work so much that we are now beginning our third renovation with her. We wholeheartedly recommend Lorena Checa as an architect/designer.
For our first renovation of our home in 1999, Lorena created an addition that transformed three small rooms in our 1942 colonial—the dining room, kitchen and sunroom –into an open-plan, light-filled kitchen, dining area and family room.
Of the many architects we interviewed, Lorena was the only one who really listened to our requests for better traffic flow, increased storage and maximization of natural light. Lorena developed a sophisticated plan that exceeded our expectations. The renovated space serves as the heart of our house and the design is as fresh and welcoming now as it was when first built.
For the second renovation in 2008, we tackled other concerns: blah entrance with no protection from the rain, cluttered first-floor office, and lack of closets. Lorena again worked her magic. She designed a porch with a roof, a functional and elegant system of hand-crafted shelves and desks for the office, adding a skylight to make the space feel bigger, and Lorena designed a new room on the second floor for storage and use as a bedroom.
Lorena also enlarged the second floor hall. Since this required reducing the size of an existing bedroom, we initially hesitated. After all, why pay money to make a room smaller, even if it’s only by a few inches? Lorena, as usual, was right. The new hallway with its window added much needed breathing space to the second floor. We love it.
It’s this attention to detail that makes Lorena’s projects so special. Lorena sees the possibilities, both in the overall design as well as at the granular level. Had we worked with another architect, we might never have been asked about enlarging the hall, a small item that made a huge difference.
This is just one of many examples of how Lorena creates an architectural design and delivers a finished product that is much more than you ever expected.
We’re beginning our third project with Lorena. Although much smaller in scope—the renovation of two bathrooms– we wouldn’t consider doing any work on our house without Lorena’s expert guidance and design.”
Chevy Chase, Washington, DC
As General Contractors, we have worked with many architectural firms over the past 30 years. We have performed and collaborated with Checa Architects on numerous projects. I can say with confidence that Lorena Checa is the best designer we have worked with. Her naturally intuitive design sense and extensive experience combine with her creativity to produce a remarkable product. Her attention to detail is truly impressive. We look forward to our next project together.”
Joseph Klockner, LEED AP BD+C
Klockner & Company
Most importantly, I love the design work done by Checa Architects. The result is the creation of environments that show off the very best qualities of our cabinet and furniture collaborations. The attention paid to both natural and artificial lighting is high up on the long list of attributes that distinguish Lorena Checa’s designs.
The successful completion of an architectural project is more complex than most people can understand until they see it actually happening. It requires excellent communication skills, coordination of efforts by clients, architects, contractors, suppliers, trades people and laborers. Checa Architects brings the communication skills, the patience, the level of relentless attention to detail and the experience to foresee and avoid difficulties that result in the end in a satisfied customer.
For me as a crafts person and furniture maker, I get to work efficiently and see the full completion of drafted design, brought to reality. It is the original design concept, the planning, the careful drawing, and the unique level of follow through of Checa Architects, which make me so happy to participate in these rewarding projects.”
From the Woods
I have worked with Lorena Checa since 1990 on numerous residential projects in the metropolitan Washington, D.C. area. During that time, I can state without reservation that her designs are characterized by sensitivity to her client and the environment and exhibit amazing attention to detail. This results in carefully prepared drawings that allow the builder to price the project thoroughly and to construct it accurately and on time.
Personally, Lorena’s thoroughness has made my job as a structural consultant easier and pleasurable. It has been an honor to be associated with the beautiful designs that CHECA Architects has created for numerous clients in a variety of architectural styles.
My advice to any prospective client would be to give CHECA Architects complete control from start to finish. You can be assured it will be completed tastefully, accurately, on time, and within your budget.”
Jim G. Konnick, P.E.
JGK Structural Engineers
I have worked with Lorena as a supply and design resource, on several projects over the years. Lorena is very creative, exceptionally thoughtful, and she listens carefully and intently to the needs of her clients. She makes each project collaborative and enjoyable – always with the goal of getting the best result for her clients. She stays current on the latest in design and material possibilities, with a particular passion for green design. I would highly recommend Lorena for any of your design requirements.”
Quality Window and Door Inc.
Lorena Checa is a rare breed of architect who imbues sensitive, creative, design skills to any size project with exacting detail. She is a joy to work with, an intent listener, and a precise communicator with a high demand for quality she extracts from the entire project team. This translates to impeccable, beautiful completed projects. As a collaborating consultant for some years now, I can say whole heartily, hiring Checa Architects will ensure a highly successful project.”
Gilmore Lighting Design