Get to Know Us
Advance Design’s Roots Go Deep
The Jurs family has been part of the fabric of Gilberts’ small farming community since the turn of the century, with Jurs family businesses spanning twelve decades in the building on Railroad Street. Today, tucked alongside the railroad and situated within the iconic town between the firehouse and the post office, the now 4,500 square foot building houses the Advance Design Studio showroom and offices.
Todd Jurs started the original company, Advance Builders, Inc. in 1992, performing kitchen and bath renovations, additions, and later new home construction throughout the Northwest suburbs of Chicago. In 2002 along with Christine, the husband and wife team combined their talents and 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.
Todd and Christine believe that successful remodeling stems from a complete and careful upfront planning process coupled with a stellar team of people to execute. As a general contractor, Todd experienced for years firsthand the disconnect between designers, homeowners, and contractors – and he saw the negative impact the traditional industry approach had on his clients’ project experience. By design, Advance’s new company culture emerged directly from the real-life experiences of the founder himself.
Advance clients reap the benefits of a fully integrated remodeling process from preliminary design and budgeting, 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.
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.
Todd and Christine spend a great deal of their time developing and implementing procedures and strategies to improve company systems resulting in better remodeling project experiences for clients. They believe team building is critical, which ultimately transfers directly into the client experience.
Todd was always naturally talented with his hands and studied carpentry in high school. Inspired by his father’s mechanic business, in 1992 at the ripe age of 22 Todd began building wood furniture in his father’s garage and started a small carpentry business. The business grew over the first ten years into a respected general contracting company skilled at kitchen and bath remodeling as well as new home construction.
Todd leads the company today with three decades of carpentry, general contracting, and project management experience. He has worn nearly every hat in the organization since its inception. His passion for building a unique company culture of unparalleled customer service is well known to his team and clients. His commitment to making the “Common Sense Remodeling” experience remarkable to all who experience it is what makes Advance Design excel year after year.
“The greatest challenge of my career is to be able to effectively pass down to my team my personal work ethic, my Christian values, and my ability to lead people well,” Todd says. “If I can be successful at that, our company can accomplish anything we set our minds to.”
Todd resides in Union in the house he built and later renovated in 2009 with his wife Christine and children Austin and Savannah. He spends his spare time racing with his son, and building things in his custom designed race shop.
When Christine joined the company in 2002, she brought with her interior design skills and a meticulous passion for company development.
Christine earned her BFA in Architecture and Interior Design from Northern Illinois University in 1991. She came from the commercial design field but quickly found her love in residential design working with Todd. Over the years she has worked in design, bookkeeping marketing, and PR. Today she oversees internal operations, working extensively to develop the team, company processes, and marketing.
“Our business and our industry is in a constant state of growth and change. I am repeatedly re-energized by the next advancement in our company culture and our industry. I am motivated each time we make an advancement that can improve our client experience or give us the opportunity to offer an increasingly challenging career experience to our team,” Christine says.
When not watching the boys race, Christine is an avid horse-woman and spends her spare time riding and competing with her daughter and niece.
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
Lead Project Designer Nicole Ryan has a keen eye for design and a phenomenal sense of organization. These are both critical skills for making client projects successful. Whether it’s a single room or a whole house, Nicole’s innovative designs and intuitive nature ensures that each client’s vision is translated into wonderfully tailored living spaces that exceed expectations.
With an education in graphic design in 2003 from The Illinois Institute of Art, and further classwork at The Art Institute of Pittsburgh and the International Academy of Design & Technology, Nicole has effectively married her spatial design skills and interior design ability to make creative spaces come alive.
“It is nice to wake up every morning excited about the job I get to do. Having the freedom to be creative every single day, I love the challenge of being able to come into a client’s home and transform it into something even more than they thought possible!”
Nicole lives in Crystal Lake with her husband and two sons and enjoys being outdoors, running, travel and photography.
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.
Lead Project Designer Rachel Smith is one of those people who is always positive. An engaging personality, she prides herself on being a great listener. Developing designs within budgets is one of her strengths. Her creative ability is not held back in looking for ways to make things work.
Rachel worked for nearly 20 years in her own company playing the roles of designer, salesperson, project manager, and business owner. She’s worked on all kinds of renovation projects from small powder rooms to complete home additions. Her practiced design talent and diverse project experience make her the ideal designer to produce just about any type of home renovation.
She attended the University of Illinois on an athletic scholarship and finished her bachelor’s degree at Columbia College in Chicago. Rachel went directly from school to working in the remodeling industry. Designing and producing dynamic home renovations has been her passion and her attention to detail coupled with her contagious attitude makes her a pleasure to work with.
“Remodeling is hard, there’s a lot of moving parts and a lot that can go wrong. As designers and project managers we are always juggling many things at once, I try to make it look easy,” says Rachel. “Working with the talented team at Advance Design Studio makes my ability to accomplish amazing project experiences for clients much easier than working on my own.”
Rachel currently lives in Algonquin with her three children and two dogs. She loves to be outdoors gardening and traveling.
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.
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 says.
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.
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.
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.
Project Management Team
The project 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.
Project Management Team
Justin is one of those natural-born carpenters whose touch is gold wherever he works. Second only to his carpentry skill is his ability to transfer his carpentry skills and teach successful ways to manage projects to the Project Managers he oversees. Justin’s role is to oversee the field crews, spot training where needed and helping crews to work efficiently. His goal is to keep all the company projects running on time, on budget, and with a high level of customer satisfaction.
Justin has been a carpenter since he was 15 and has been a part of Advance Design since 2002.
“I am privileged to be part of a leadership team who values each unique contribution by every person on the team. I wanted to be part of something bigger than myself, and I love being empowered to make decisions. I’m motivated to be a great leader, inspiring the talented carpenters entrusted to me. I can’t imagine being anywhere else,” Justin says.
Justin lives in Woodstock with his wife and two children. In his free time, he enjoys operating RC helicopters and taking amazing aerial photos.
Jason is extremely personable, an excellent communicator and is willing to go the extra mile for all of his clients. A hands-on manager, his carpentry skills also give him the flexibility to frame additions and major renovations, as well as complete interior work, fine millwork and cabinetry detailing.
In 2003 Jason attended college and studied business but ultimately, he returned to carpentry.
“I have had the privilege of meeting so many great people and hearing their stories. The team has been great at fostering my talent, in a company that values contribution and clearly stands head and shoulders above the industry average”, says Jason.
Jason resides in Wauconda with his wife and daughter. He hails from Michigan but has been a resident of Illinois since 2006. He is an avid outdoorsman so he’s up for anything involving hunting, fishing, golf, and gardening!
After excelling in the building construction program in high school, Ryan knew he wanted to be a carpenter from an early age. He was especially endeared to residential construction as his class built an entire home during the course of the school year. A medical EMT, he realized after working an especially traumatizing ambulance run that he really needed to go back to carpentry.
Ryan ran his own general contracting business for a decade but left to work in commercial remodeling for several years following the recession. Yearning to return to residential remodeling, he finally was able to get his “dream job” here at Advance Design.
“I came to Advance Design because of their reputation,” Ryan says. “I love Todd’s motto (Are they happy?) because it embodies everything I stand for. I appreciate the family values of this company as well as the very tight knit nature of this team.”
Ryan’s hands-on approach to project management puts him in constant contact with all his clients. Known to complete projects on holidays to get a family moved in or drive out at midnight to check a roof seal in the rain, Ryan is known to do whatever it takes to make clients happy. He enjoys a challenge whether its building a custom feature, custom cabinets, or something he has never done.
Ryan lives in Palatine with his family. In his free time, he likes to attend his son’s soccer tournaments, ride and modify dirt bikes, snowmobiles, and 4-wheelers.
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.
Ed is a staple of Advance Design’s staff and the face of the Home Services division. His kind, knowledgeable persona graces many of our Handyman print and web advertisements. He handles smaller projects of any size, and exterior work, but is also known to take on a kitchen or bath from time to time. There is never a dull day.
He worked for 10 years for his father’s general contracting business before taking it over for an additional 15 years. He joined Advance Design’s team as a lead carpenter before working his way into his current Home Services Project Manager position where he seems best suited.
Ed has a calming presence that enables him to adapt well to any unforeseen situation. Clients love how approachable and kind he is. His demeanor makes for great, lasting relationships with many return clients who simply enjoy seeing Ed again!
“I enjoy the people that I work with, from the office to the field,” Ed says. “When I worked for myself and doing commercial work, I didn’t have the camaraderie and team that support me now. I hope to stay here until I retire!”
Ed lives in Lake in the Hills with his wife and three children. He is an avid learner and always searching for ways to improve his craft.
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.
As a Carpenter, Adam works in various capacities on renovation projects at Advance Design. You will see him frequently renovating kitchens, major additions, and other projects. He is an accomplished framer, working well under tight time constraints. He always keeps his work area clean and safe. Adam enjoys the challenges of the fast-paced environment necessary to meet deadlines and beat the weather.
“Advance Design excels because of the people. I love the camaraderie we have. Everyone works well together,” Adam says.
He currently lives in Marengo with his son. In his spare time he likes to go hunting and fishing.
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.
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.
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. He now leads his own crew as a Project Manager. 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.
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
Katie is often the first voice or face you may see at Advance Design. She always has a smile and a kind word for anyone and is easily the most likeable person you’d want to meet! She works with the design time to produce projects, and also heads up the Home Services division behind the scenes.
“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’s 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.
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.
As the Marketing Administrator, Rob communicates the “heart” of the company as well as a solid understanding of how we work through printed work, the website, and much of writing you see in our blogs. Rob turns our stunning home renovations into unique content.
“I came to work at Advance Design because of their incredible reputation for treating both the customers and employees with respect,” Rob says. “They encourage everyone to build a career, and the atmosphere is unlike any other place I have worked.”
Rob holds his Bachelor’s Degree in Journalism from Eastern Illinois University. A sports lover, he began his career as an Athletic Intern at Wayland Academy before working as a data analyst for several years, where he developed skills in detailed analysis critical for tracking marketing results.
Rob lives in McHenry with his wife and two sons. He loves to read, golf, and spend time with his family and dog. He is a fan of the Chicago Cubs, Chicago Bulls, and Green Bay Packers.
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.
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.
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.
Years of Local Experience
Ruth & Bud Kane
“Christine and Todd Jurs have built Advance Design Studio on a foundation of integrity, honesty, and superior attention to customer satisfaction.”
Ben & Laurie Feinzimer
“We worked with the design team at Advance Design Studio to create not only the new exterior and home layout, but the designer kitchen, all the baths, the mudroom/laundry, and the finished basement. Advance’s team was instrumental in designing, building and managing the entire project from start to finish.”
John & Julie Inskeep
“The team was able to create a gorgeous kitchen and flow throughout the first floor. Again they stuck to the timeline and budget, but most importantly I have the kitchen of my dreams.”
Got an Idea, a Sketch, a House, and a Dream?
- $Let's Get Started