Story

Why?

Why do we ask the questions we ask & so many of them?
Why can we create inspired environments & responsible processes?
Why can we focus on both brand & operations when others can’t?
Why do our projects have lasting value long after we’re out of the picture?

Because we ask why. We ask you why, and we ask ourselves why.

Connecting people. It’s why we love what we do and continue to do what we love. If you step into our office, you’ll find an interconnected, supportive, authentic and collaborative team of eclectic voices that carry equal weight – title and tenure aside.

If you listen in on our branding sessions or update calls, you’ll experience how invested in and uniquely connected we are with our clients and our team.

We connect people with brands and thrive on creating physical spaces that connect people with each other. We’re responsible for our projects and for keeping your best interests in mind.

We are starrdesign – no departments. no silos. ONE team.
We are architects, foodservice consultants, interior designers, marketing specialists & graphic designers. We’re also volunteers, artists, parents, coaches, creative minds & foodies that love everything from the appetizer to the dessert.
Our service is no different.

The clever combination of specialties within our team is how we deliver lasting brand value. We believe in “&” rather than “or;” not one or the other, but both, in every step of our process.

Because you should have your cake eat it too.

Our Team

no departments. no silos. ONE team.

responsible. invested. authentic.
meet our starrs:

steve starr
aia, fcsi

chief/president

Founder and chief since 2007, Steve is a self-proclaimed nerd – he’s creative, analytical and loves reading. He’s endlessly learning and expanding his knowledge of restaurants, architecture, marketing, food, football and just about anything else. At the same time, he’s just another one of us. A people person by nature in his down-to-earth charisma and care for others. A genuine leader, he drives his decisions with a team-oriented mentality where no voice is too small. He sees the unique value that each individual brings to the team and knows how to capitalize on them for the greater good of our projects. His fervent devotion stems from a passion for connecting people and the impact it can have on the world. He runs the office on collaboration and coffee and can turn any 5-minute conversation into 50 with no problem.

Steve Starr

ann travis

chief financial officer

This is the woman who does it all. The battle between Ann’s right and left brain makes her unlike any other accountant imaginable – exceptional with numbers, yet insanely artistic and creative. When she’s not balancing our books or running her online company, she’s probably painting, playing with her King Charles spaniel or ripping on Steve – their friendship goes back to their oldest children’s preschool days (or as she likes to say, “when he had hair.”) Ironically, she wanted to be an architect growing up– instead, she keeps the office running financially with her detailed analysis and our people running with her quick, unending humor.

Ann Travis

mimi williams
aia

associate partner

Constantly drawing and creating as a child, it only made sense that Mimi would become the most creative person at a design firm. Mimi is hands-on involved in multiple projects at a time, including her own. She and her husband, also an architect, enjoy landscaping and renovating when they’re not running their kids to soccer. Mimi’s selfness nature and disposition to put others first is inarguable- she could cure cancer and still feel guilty for not doing it fast enough. Then her ceaseless work ethic would waste no time before going on to tackle heart disease too.

Mimi Williams

brie carlson
aia

associate partner

A fearless leader who thrives in fast-paced environments, nothing gets by this die-hard Clemson fan. Brie’s an introspective, deep-thinking, problem solver who asks tough questions and gets practical results. Her canny attention to detail and clever sense of humor often result in witty remarks before you’ve even processed what prompted them. Brie and her husband love getting outside to hike with their two lego-loving sons (they get it honest) and though a restaurant design connoisseur, she prefers dining with her family of boys at the kitchen table.

Brie Carlson

ashlee jones
iida

director of interiors

Similar to her characteristic, ever-present hiccups, Ashlee’s energetic, warm and passionate personality radiates throughout the office. She has become a steadfast leader in her six years with starrdesign and is always bringing her upbeat energy to the table. It’s safe to say that she’s probably fueled by her latest Trader Joe’s find, and her creativity shines in the way she can effortlessly throw color or material palettes together. Ashlee loves the mountains, spending quality time with friends outside, wine and finding her peace of mind and body in barre classes.

Ashlee Jones

brenna johnson

project manager, BIM manager

Brenna knows what she wants and gets it done with her signature precision and perfectionism. But her passion doesn’t stop there. She is extremely committed to leading and volunteering with several animal rescue groups while maintaining her own “zoo” at home. Aside from fostering over 22 dogs so far, Brenna and her rocket-science husband have a dog of their own, three cats and four chickens. They spread the love by sharing the fresh eggs with neighbors using the Little Free Library in their front yard. The Alabama southern belle does nothing with half of a heart and is always up for an adventure.

Brenna Johnson

jeff cangro

sr.project manager

Jeff is a silent achiever who somehow seems to have his hands on everything with composure and precision, making him a key player on any project he touches. He grew up in New York but went to high school and college in Florida, while helping on the family farm. When he’s not “laser focused” on the multitude of renderings he’s perfecting, Jeff likes to spend his free time out in nature; hiking with the dogs or kayaking with the family. It’s that peaceful retreat that helps keep him calm during the chaos and maintain a steady mind and hand. We like to call him our calm, cool and collected “hit man.”

Jeff Cangro

janey koelbl
aia

project architect

“Oh, hey!” – that’s Janey, as if you’re surprising her every time you go ask her something. Maybe you are, if you’re interrupting the former dancer’s extreme focus. Also inherent from her competition days is her hilarious hip-hop/street talk. When combined with the Virginia Tech Honors Scholar’s insane intelligence, you get a tireless wit and jokes that bring light to any meeting. Her genuine care toward others comes just as naturally as her playful nature. She prioritizes others’ needs and is driven by their best interests, whether she’s helping you with something simple or designing a custom home for a wounded veteran and family (her favorite project so far). Just Janey things.

Janey Koelbl

naomi goli

sr. graphic designer

Naomi came to Charlotte from L.A. and brought its fast pace and fashion with her. Try to shut down one idea and she’s already throwing out another option, unphased. Though originally from Toronto, she grew up in Brazil and spent the past 15 years in L.A. – which shows in her casual yet chic, sophisticated style. Naomi is quick to organize and take ownership of responsibilities, even when they’re not hers. She works swiftly, with fingers flying across her laptop and design pad to create everything from basic signage or logos to stunning graphics.

Naomi Goli

allie yates

marketing coordinator

Allie’s analytical attention to detail and creative thinking make her fit right in with the starr design team. Her journalist side loves focusing on researching and writing, but her energetic nature feeds on engaging with others. She stays active and thrives on, sometimes quite literally, running from one thing on her planner to the next. The Tar Heel is the first face that greets you when you enter the office, and although gentle and graceful in demeanor, don’t be surprised if her playful sarcasm strikes. She’s particular about how she likes things done and we can always count on her to give 100%.

Allie Yates

Street Cred

no departments. no silos. ONE team.

We are experts in our disciplines, and we earn our “street cred” through sharing our knowledge with peers and partners.

Marketing

We have marketing & strategy professionals trained in communications, graphics, strategic positioning, consumer research and copywriting. We are part of the American Marketing Association (AMA) and are committed to strengthening your unique restaurant branding.

Foodservice Consulting

We have certified foodservice consultants that understand equipment, operations, restaurant finance and efficiencies. Steve is a certified foodservice consultant and a professional member of the Foodservice Consulting Society International (FCSI).

Architecture

We have several restaurant designers who are registered architects and are licensed to practice in 38 states. Steve, Mimi, Brie and Janey are members of the American Institute of Architects (AIA) and Steve is a member of the National Council of Architecture Registration Boards (NCARB).

Interior Design

We have a wealth of experience in restaurant interior design and interior architecture and are members of International Interior Design Association (IIDA). Ashlee is also National Council of Interior Design Qualifications (NCIDQ) certified.

Graphic Design

We have a wide array of graphic design experience both specific to restaurants and in general, including environmental graphics / signage, logo design, corporate identity creation, menu design, packaging, print and web design. We are members of both the Society of Environmental Graphic Design (SEGD) and the American Institute of Graphic Arts (AIGA).

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