Get to Know Us

Advance Design’s Roots Go Deep

advance-design-studio-building-2002

Advance Design Studio Building circa 2002

The Jurs family has been cut from the fabric of the Gilberts Illinois small farming community since the turn of the century, with Jurs family businesses spanning twelve decades in the same building at 30 Railroad Street. First a journey-man and then a master carpenter, Todd Jurs started his original company Advance Builders, Inc. in 1992 performing kitchen and bath remodeling within residential renovations and additions along with some new home construction throughout the Northwest suburbs of Chicago.

In 2002, he was joined by his wife Christine, a professional designer. They combined their talents and re-launched the newly revamped company, Advance Design Studio, Ltd., offering a much more comprehensive package of home remodeling services; the new company added in-house design services and a complete showroom full of cabinetry, tile, countertops, plumbing fixtures and lighting for a complete design-through-construction experience.

Today, Advance Design Studio thrives with a dedicated team of professionals leading the company and the Jurs’ original mission still at heart. Tucked alongside the railroad and situated within the iconic town between the firehouse and the post office, the original building still houses the Advance Design Studio design hub and offices, today grown into a beautiful 4,500 square foot showroom.

Celebrating the company’s 30th Anniversary in 2022, their unique “Common Sense Remodeling” system integrates all areas of project development with one cohesive team of professionals. Advance Design clients reap the benefits of a fully-integrated remodeling process– from preliminary design and investment planning, to product education and selection combined with construction and project management- conveniently all under one roof.

With the Common-Sense Remodeling process, you can have a fully customized, predictable, and positive remodeling experience free from the headaches of traditional remodeling.

Our Team

Each talented member of the Advance team is responsible for a unique part in Common Sense Remodeling. Their passion and dedication makes the work you see in these beautiful photos possible.

Advance Design crew member works on a client kitchen island
Two team members smile while holding a Chrysalis Award.

Managing Directors

Claudia Pop, Advance Design Studio, Gilberts, Illinois

Claudia Pop

Managing Director of Sales & Design

Claudia’s extensive experience as a successful Lead Designer allows her to efficiently oversee the leadership and direction of the Sales and Design team.

Project Designer Claudia Pop is a natural connector. Combined with her unique sense of design style, it’s not uncommon to hear clients say, “She just gets me”. Practical advice combined with creativity, Claudia is adept at managing not only kitchens and baths, but large projects including whole home renovations and home additions.

“For me, design is about much more than creating just a beautiful interior. It’s about improving lives. It’s about listening, educating, and helping each client make the best decision that fits them perfectly.” says Claudia with her smooth accent.

A naturalized citizen formerly of Romania, Claudia pursued art and design throughout her education beginning with a unique Art High School degree and concluding with an Interior Design Degree in 2011 from Cuyahoga College in Cleveland, Ohio.

Claudia resides in Streamwood with her husband and daughter. In her spare time, she loves to travel with friends and family.

Nick Holm, Advance Design Studio, Gilberts, Illinois

Nick Holm

Managing Director of Construction

Nick’s talent and success at Advance Design Studio allows him to expertly oversee the leadership and direction of our field crew as the Managing Director for Construction.

Project Manager Nick Holm is a skilled craftsman who personally excels in framing and trim work. While his skills as a carpenter certainly endear him as a project manager, it is his demeanor that clients enjoy the most. Nick is able to relate to clients easily and strives to provide consistent communication during a project. 

In high school Nick had the opportunity to work in his family’s construction business. After graduating from Western Illinois University with a degree in Criminal Justice, he found himself returning to construction, and then ran his own company for nearly 10 years.

During his time as a business owner, he fine-tuned his ability to interact with clients in such a way that gained their confidence. Nick joined the Advance Design team in 2017 and has proven his ability not only as a talented carpenter but also as a successful manager.

“I was initially attracted to Advance because of their obvious pride in quality and craftsmanship,” Nick says. “From day one I was treated with respect and encouragement and knew I made the right choice by joining the company. I truly feel like I am part of a team and I can honestly say I work with the best in the business.”

Nick lives in Carpentersville with his wife and their three children. He loves spending time with his family and learning new tricks of the trade.

Lead Project & Specialty Designers

Their design expertise combined with skilled navigation through hundreds of product details makes our Lead Project Designers the best remodeling project advocates a client could ever want. Our Specialty Designers work diligently behind the scenes to orchestrate the hundreds of details required to produce remodeling projects seemingly effortlessly. Each is blessed with unique talents and training. We couldn’t do a great job without them!

Lead Project & Specialty Designers

Paul Zmola, Project Manager, Advance Design Studio, Gilberts, Illinois

Claudia Pop

Lead Project Designer

Claudia is adept at managing not only kitchens and baths, but large projects including whole home renovations and home additions.

Project Designer Claudia Pop is a natural connector. Combined with her unique sense of design style, it’s not uncommon to hear clients say, “She just gets me”. Practical advice combined with creativity, Claudia is adept at managing not only kitchens and baths, but large projects including whole home renovations and home additions.

“For me, design is about much more than creating just a beautiful interior. It’s about improving lives. It’s about listening, educating, and helping each client make the best decision that fits them perfectly.” says Claudia with her smooth accent.

A naturalized citizen formerly of Romania, Claudia pursued art and design throughout her education beginning with a unique Art High School degree and concluding with an Interior Design Degree in 2011 from Cuyahoga College in Cleveland, Ohio.

Claudia resides in Streamwood with her husband and daughter. In her spare time, she loves to travel with friends and family.

Paul Zmola, Project Manager, Advance Design Studio, Gilberts, Illinois

Chris Low

Lead Project Designer

He is an accomplished designer having developed both urban contemporary styling, as well as mid-west traditional and transitional design atmospheres for homeowners.

Project Designer Christopher Low believes that communication is a key factor in a successful renovation. As the project’s first point of contact, he prides himself on keeping his clients well-informed throughout the design phase, and on through completion of the entire project experience.

He is an accomplished designer having developed both urban contemporary styling, as well as mid-west traditional and transitional design atmospheres for homeowners. His flexibility and eye for detail make him able to coordinate complex spaces with relative ease.

Chris graduated from De Montfort University in the United Kingdom with a Bachelor of Science degree in Media Production in 2014. His career took a turn when he had an opportunity to work for a kitchen and bath firm in the UK. What was originally intended to be a temporary position blossomed into a passionate career in interior design and construction management.

“I was attracted to Advance Design Studio because of their loyalty to all their employees and clients,” Chris said. “Being part of the ADS family is an award in itself.”

Chris relocated from his home in the UK to marry his wife, an Illinois native. He loves dogs and nature. He’s a competitive swimmer and practices macro-photography as a hobby.

Jason Johnson, Project Manager, Advance Design Studio, Gilberts, Illinois

Anna Leimann

Lead Project Designer

Coordinating every aspect of a kitchen or bath renovation, Anna prides herself on communication, inspiring homeowners while taking care of the coordination and creativity at the same time.

Project Designer Anna Leimann is known by all who have the pleasure of working with her as being intent on details, a critical skill set that enables her to keep on top of the most complex design projects. Coordinating every aspect of a kitchen or bath renovation, Anna prides herself on communication, inspiring homeowners while taking care of the coordination and creativity at the same time.

After graduating from Olivet Nazarene University with her BFA in Interior Design and a minor degree in Business, she has served as both designer and project manager for many of her years in the industry.

“I love the team mentality at ADS and how they are always looking to improve upon themselves for the benefit of their clients. It’s what attracted me to this company over others!”

Anna currently lives in Sugar Grove with her husband and two dogs. She loves to bake and complete projects around the house, like the whole house renovation she has completed on her own home.

Ewa Nowak, Project Manager, Advance Design Studio, Gilberts, Illinois

Ewa Nowak

Lead Project Designer

Lead Project Designer Ewa Nowak thrives in her ability to connect with clients and maximize square footage in every space she designs.

advance design team ewa nowak

Lead Project Designer Ewa Nowak thrives in her ability to connect with clients and maximize square footage in every space she designs. She prides herself on her ability to listen to her clients and understand their needs. She values the balance of both functionality and beauty in design, and she enjoys incorporating unique elements that represent each of her clients in her projects.

Ewa earned her bachelor’s degree in interior design from the Harrington College of Design. With over 12 years of experience in the kitchen and bath industry, Ewa is fully equipped to handle any project. Her extensive background in design production and custom millwork has cultivated her detail-oriented work ethic.

“For me, great designs happen when all elements act together to create a unified message that reflects the needs and character of each individual client. Being able to listen to my clients’ needs and translate those needs into unique designs is incredibly satisfying,” says Ewa. “I was drawn to Advance Design because of the company structure. Being a Lead Designer allows me to use my experience while continuing to develop my expertise.”

Ewa currently lives in Schaumburg with her husband and daughter. She loves spending time with her two dogs and cat while at home. In her free time, Ewa enjoys hiking, camping, and traveling to unique places.

Paul Zmola, Project Manager, Advance Design Studio, Gilberts, Illinois

Jackie Mortimer

Project Design Specialist

Jackie works behind the scenes to produce projects from the initial stages of early design development through project production in preparation for the field.

As a Project Design Specialist, Jackie works behind the scenes to produce projects from the initial stages of early design development through project production in preparation for the field.

Jackie graduated with a BFA in Interior Design from the Illinois Institute of Art in 2005 and received accreditation through the Council for Interior Design. In this fast-paced environment, her calm countenance contributes to an efficient creative process that begins with beautiful designs and renderings, and culminates with detailed financial analysis, accurate product ordering and shipping, and efficient project documentation.

“The project variety is what makes every day interesting, all of our clients are unique. Having a hand in developing a family’s sanctuary makes each day a pretty spectacular day for me!” says Jackie.

Jackie is a lifelong resident of Marengo with her husband, son and three dogs. She is inspired by re-organization projects and enjoys running in the peaceful Coral woods of her neighboring community.

Jason Johnson, Project Manager, Advance Design Studio, Gilberts, Illinois

Kelsey Billings

Project Design Specialist

 An amazingly talented CAD designer, she is behind many of the lifelike color 3D renderings used throughout our design process.

As a Project Design Specialist, Kelsey works behind the scenes making projects come to life often before the crew is even on the site. An amazingly talented CAD designer, she is behind many of the lifelike color 3D renderings used throughout our design process. Responsible for many of the details, she heads up design production work of researching and specifying products, designing with cabinetry, setting up field instructions, and a hundred other details that go into making a home renovation happen.

“I enjoy working at Advance Design Studio because every day I learn something new,” Kelsey says. “I love that everyone here is always willing to help each other out, which makes for a great work environment.”

Kelsey graduated from Western Michigan University with her Bachelor’s degree in Interior Design and joined the Advance Design team only days after graduation. She cultivated countless real-life design lessons from her time studying abroad in Greece and gained industry experience working internships before beginning her career at Advance Design.

She currently lives in Hoffman Estates with her husband and her Yorkie Oakley. In her spare time, she loves to travel and is a huge fan of the Chicago Cubs and Blackhawks.

Jason Johnson, Project Manager, Advance Design Studio, Gilberts, Illinois

Jessica Cannon

Project Design Specialist

Jessica is inquisitive, supportive, and encouraging – a perfect combination for a project design specialist.

As a Project Design Specialist, Jessica works behind the scenes with designers to produce breath-taking spaces. She believes that teamwork is essential to a successful project and is willing to take on any task she is assigned. Jessica is inquisitive, supportive, and encouraging – a perfect combination for a project design specialist.

She graduated from Milwaukee Institute of Art and Design, where she majored in Industrial Design with a minor in Graphic Design. She interned at DesignPac out of college as a Packaging Engineering Assistant using AritosCAD to create dielines for inserts. She then took a role as an Industrial Design Assistant, where she created graphics, renderings, conceptions, and sales presentations for retail displays.

“What attracted me to ADS is their approach to design. As a project design specialist, I get to work with a lead designer from the start of a project to completion. This gives me the opportunity to learn all aspects of the design process, which allows for the creation of a better, more accurate design for the client,” Jessica said.

Jessica currently lives in Lake in the Hills, IL. In her spare time, she practices photography and enjoys reading, hiking, and baking. She also loves creating art. 

Paul Zmola, Project Manager, Advance Design Studio, Gilberts, Illinois

Megan Hill

Project Design Specialist

With her proficiency in CAD software and empathetic yet driven work ethic, Megan produces beautiful 3D design renderings to bring projects to life for our clients.

As a Project Design Specialist, Megan works behind the scenes to efficiently bring projects to life throughout the design and production stages. The poise and thoroughness she brings to her team ensure that no mistake will slip through the cracks.

Megan graduated Summa Cum Laude with a bachelor’s degree in Interior Design from Olivet Nazarene University. Her empathetic yet driven work ethic allows her to easily understand the needs and desires of homeowners and contribute to uniquely functional design solutions. With her proficiency in CAD software, Megan produces beautiful, detailed 3D design renderings to bring projects to life for our clients. 

“I enjoy working at ADS because the company invests in all of their employees, making us a strong, unified team. Being able to bounce ideas off one another and clearly communicate allows us to grow and create the best possible outcomes for our clients. It’s fulfilling to know that my work is going to transform the lives of our clients,” Megan said. 

Megan is a lifelong Genoa resident and enjoys staying active by playing sports and relaxing with a non-fiction book or tv show. She also loves spending time with her energetic dog Phoebe. 

Nathan Raney, Director of Accounting, Advance Design Studio, Gilberts, Illinois

Katie Esposito

Project Design Specialist

Katie's diverse project experience, organized work ethic, and dedication to the client experience make her a valuable asset to the design team.

As a Project Design Specialist, Katie works diligently with the design team to organize the many details that go into our projects. She works behind the scenes to produce a variety of projects, and she is one of the kindest people you’ll ever meet!

“Every day is always something new and I enjoy the challenges that come along,” Katie says. “The atmosphere here is one where everyone cares, not only for their clients but for each other. We all work great together, and that in turn makes the process for clients smooth sailing from start to finish. I am glad that I have the opportunity to be part of this wonderful team.”

Katie earned her associate degree from Lewis University and finished her bachelor’s degree in Business Administration from the University of Phoenix. She is an extremely organized and dedicated teammate who always goes above and beyond for clients and co-workers.

Katie lives in Huntley with her husband Brian and three children. She loves spending time with her family as well as going to Chicago Cubs games and baking.

Construction Management Team

The construction managers bring years of trade experience and attention to you as you live through construction. These accomplished craftsmen’s combined talents bring quality and a superior client experience to every job they manage. You can relax, knowing they are in control.

Carpentry Specialists

Each carpenter possesses their own set of unique skills and abilities. These skilled craftsmen are clean-cut and trustworthy; you can always feel good about the guys in the red and black shirts who will respect your home, get the job done, and do it with a smile.

Carpentry Specialists

Amir Vasques, Carpenter, Advance Design Studio, Gilberts, Illinois

Amir Vasques

Carpenter

Amir has been part of the Advance team since 2013. You may see him on your project early on, as he is the fastest demo-specialist on the team.

A naturalized citizen from Belize, Amir and his siblings were forced to drop out of school to help provide for his family. He arrived in the US without any real marketable skills. An early friend took him under his wing and taught him how to speak English and to become a carpenter. It wasn’t until age 38 that he had the opportunity to take classes at Evanston High school to work on his GED.

“I value the opportunity I have here to be a hard worker and apply my talents. I am a good framing carpenter and have learned all other aspects of well-rounded carpentry. I have the opportunity to always be learning something new and increasing my value as part of a team,” says Amir.

Amir has been part of the Advance team since 2013. You may see him on your project early on, as he is the fastest demo-specialist on the team. He works directly with Project Managers on carpentry construction and has become a valued member of the company.

Amir resides in Glenview with his wife and 2 daughters.

Jeff Dallain, Project Manager, Advance Design Studio, Gilberts, Illinois

Jeff Dallain

Carpenter

In addition to maintaining easy ongoing communication, his dedication to his craft is evident on every project he leads.

Jeff takes great care to make certain every detail is a perfect as it can be. “Todd always says, make it right it might be there for 100 years…I take that statement seriously in everything I touch”, says Jeff.

Jeff led the field for 6 years in his ability to perform his job with skill and precision as a master carpenter. In addition to maintaining easy ongoing communication with clients as projects progress under his careful watch, his dedication to his craft is evident on every project he leads.

“I am a people person, and I love to help people whenever I can. Advance has allowed me to help people by using my talent to do something they are not able to do by themselves. It’s extremely satisfying to know the results will be admired for years to come”, says Jeff.

In 1994 he worked to complete a 4-year program with the Chicago Regional Council of Carpenters Apprentice Training Program. The following 16 years he performed as a Union Carpenter in the commercial construction industry as a carpenter and Foreman. For a short time he ran his own residential remodeling business, and joined Advance Design in 2013.

Jeff lives in Huntley with his wife and has enjoyed a bit of a drum obsession for over 30 years. He is a fan of anything outdoors.

Sergio Simon, Carpenter, Advance Design Studio, Gilberts, Illinois

Sergio Simon

Carpenter

He revels in the satisfaction of making something beautiful with his hands that you can see, touch, and appreciate.

Sergio works with project managers and installs kitchens and baths, overseeing carpentry details, cabinetry, millwork, and finishing touches. He revels in the satisfaction of making something beautiful with his hands that you can see, touch, and appreciate. He is motivated by the complex teamwork, organization, and unique problem-solving skills necessary to create the end product of a finely run remodeling project. 

“Advance Design is different from other companies in this line of work. The team works so well together. Everybody has respect for each other, and we work together to complete each project,” Sergio says.

Sergio lives in Carpentersville with his three kids and likes to play the keyboard in his spare time.

Key Support Team

The Key Support Team is the glue that holds everyone together. This group keeps the entire system moving forward from client relations to marketing, finance, and transportation. They work diligently behind the scenes, and are critical parts of the ADS team.

Key Support Team

Nathan Raney, Director of Accounting, Advance Design Studio, Gilberts, Illinois

Nathan Raney

Director of Accounting

His attention to detail and communication assures clients that their project goes smoothly.

As the company’s Accounting Manager, Nathan oversees all aspects of the behind-the-scenes accounts payable, receivables, financial reporting, and client billings. His attention to detail and communication assures clients that their project goes smoothly on the back end. 

When larger projects require coordination with a bank, a title company, and complicated paperwork like sworn statements, Nathan is an expert at navigating the myriad of paperwork and correspondence.

“Advance Design is a great company to work for,” Nathan says. “From the office staff to the field, the people and the atmosphere Todd and Christine created are what makes this job great.”

Nathan enjoys spending time with his wife and daughter and relishes the opportunity to sit down with a good book.

Nathan Raney, Director of Accounting, Advance Design Studio, Gilberts, Illinois

Brianna Bardonner

Marketing Coordinator

She creates engaging, relevant content to educate, entertain, and otherwise share the beautiful work of ADS.

Brianna’s (Bri’s) effortless communication style may be the first experience you have when calling on Advance Design, whether by social media, email or phone.

Bri’s creativity is behind most of the company’s marketing and social media presence. From website engagement to all measures of online interaction, she creates engaging, relevant content to educate, entertain, and otherwise share the beautiful work of ADS.

Bri graduated from Virginia Commonwealth University with her BFA and a Minor in Marketing, blending her artistic and communication talent. She has worked as a freelance digital communications specialist since 2012, where she built websites and managed social media for non-profit organizations. 

“The most important thing for me in my work is to truly believe in who I represent,” Bri says. “The passion and honesty of the people at Advance is what I fell in love with, and I am proud to promote those qualities every day.”

In her spare time, Bri loves to go on road trips with her border collie. She also enjoys sculpture as well as computer design, film visual effects, and video game design.

Nathan Raney, Director of Accounting, Advance Design Studio, Gilberts, Illinois

Ellie Thiel

Marketing Specialist

She is a key force behind the team’s efforts through social media utilizing photography, graphic arts, writing and design.

Ellie began her career at Advance Design at the young age of 17, working to help stage photography during school breaks throughout high school and college. Today, she has become a key force behind the team’s efforts to share the beautiful work of Advance Design through social media utilizing photography, graphic arts, writing and design.

“I love working with creative people who support each other and help each other succeed - I love to showcase what our team is capable of and the beautiful work we do,” Ellie says.

Ellie has a bachelor’s degree in Interdisciplinary Communication & Advertising from Elmhurst University. She lives with her husband, Jackson, in West Dundee. She enjoys playing sports and is a club volleyball coach. 

Matt Warmbier, Production Manager, Advance Design Studio, Gilberts, Illinois

Matt Warmbier

Field Production Manager

If there was a wizard behind the curtain, that would be Matt’s role. Maintaining scheduling and coordination for multiple overlapping projects is his specialty.

One of the first of Advance Design’s field members you may encounter is Matt Warmbier, our Field Production Manager. Matt attends many of the walk-throughs, coordinating the construction team to properly analyze site conditions, working together with trades and the designer to formulate a design and construction plan and accurately predict project costing.

If there was a wizard behind the curtain, that would be Matt’s role. Maintaining scheduling and coordination for multiple overlapping projects is his specialty; a responsibility that is critical to the success of each project and for the overall operation of the organization.

Matt came to Advance after operating his own specialty tile business for 15 years. Well versed with project management from his prior experience, Matt’s goal is to give homeowners exactly what they desire for their home within a great remodeling experience.

“The thing I enjoy most about working for ADS is the fact that I know I’m working for a company that wants to enrich the lives of others by doing high quality renovation work,” says Matt.

Matt resides in Woodstock with his wife and 3 children. He spends much of his time coaching high school and club soccer.

Our Values

1. It’s All About the Client Experience

Our commitment to our clients shows in everything we do. We dedicate everything from the Common Sense Remodeling Process, to our showroom, to our behind the scenes systems, to our staff training, to how we answer the phone, to the complete client experience.

2. We Believe in Our People

We take care of our people, and they take care of our clients. Our “people first” environment gives our team the tools and opportunities to succeed and rewards them for that success. People are the core of our company culture.

3. We Act With Integrity and Excellence

How we do business is as important as what we do. We hold ourselves to uncompromising ethical standards and performance. These standards extend to day-to-day business conduct, employee practices, sales process, and continuous commitment to client satisfaction.

4. We Improve the Quality of Life

Lives and families are changed forever by what we do. Our clients enjoy meals with friends in newly renovated kitchens. They can relax after long work hours in a master bath, and they can spend quality time with family in a new basement. Close your door to the world and enjoy your home and your family exactly the way you envision it.

5. We Are Passionate About Design and Fine Craftsmanship

We have an appreciation for detail in the simplest of design matters. Whether it’s a perfect miter joint or the creative way the kitchen cabinetry hides all the spices, fine design and attention to detail are integral parts of our DNA. Our passion for design and fine craftsmanship is evident in every finished detail of your new space.

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Projects Completed

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Years of Local Experience

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Cities Served

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