About Marcelo

M. Valdes architects PLLC is a residential architecture firm based in the Twin Cities that specializes in home design. The motto More Home Less House defines our design philosophy: to make enjoyable, amazing homes while cutting back on unnecessary square footage and cost. Based on prioritizing quality over quantity, the homes we design not just look good and work well for our clients, but they help lessen the environmental impact that the residential building market has today.


M. Valdes architects provide all the range of design services needed for a successful new home or remodel project. These services are grouped into three stages: the creation, development and construction of a home.

Creation - Although we make important design decisions throughout the project, the most significant ones are made at the beginning. Our first step is a meeting to become acquainted with the site and to understand the client's vision and budget for the home. Soon after this we come up with the first proposal, and based on the clients comments we submit a new one. This back and forth concludes with a proposal the client really likes. Plans at this point are good for understanding the project, but lack the specific information needed to bid or construct the house. This stage is called SCHEMATIC DESIGN.

Development- After the Schematic design we start working on the specifics of the project. Here we develop the loosely designed spaces from the Schematic stage and we focus on the wide range of decisions to be made, from windows to paint colors. This phase concludes with a Bidding and a Construction set of plans used for building the home. This stage is called CONSTRUCTION DOCUMENTS

Construction - There are many ways to select a builder for the project. These range from pre-selecting a contractor at the start of the design project, all the way up to selecting one after the project is completed and the bids come in. We help clients make these decisions, and support them in the construction administration of the project as well as visiting the site regularly to check that the home is built to plans.

Schematic Design set of plans

Construction Documents set of plans


Hiring an architect is the best way to get the home you want. Different to the experience of buying a car, where we can take the final product for a test-drive, most of us invest important amounts of money on a new home or remodel with limited knowledge about the final outcome. Our job as residential Architects is not only to help clients build their dream home, but also to make sure they visualize the outcome before any decision to build is made. We use models, sketches and digital renderings to help clients understand their future home.

We charge our services using the modality that best suits your project. These are: an hourly rate for all the time we work on a project, a fixed percentage of the total construction cost or a fixed price contract, including combinations of any of them if necessary. Fees are dependent on the specific conditions of a project, so please contact us for a fee estimate.


Marcelo Valdes, AIA, Principal of the firm, is a registered Architect in the state of Minnesota. He has more than 20 years experience in residential design in the United States, Europe, and South America. After a decade with SALA Architects in Minneapolis, where he was an Associated Architect, he started his own firm, M. Valdes architects PLLC in 2009.

Our work has been recognized by many awards and publications:

  • RAVE 2008
  • AIA/Star Tribune Home of the Month 2009
  • B.L.E.N.D 2011
  • RAVE 2012

  • Lectures & Courses

    Marcelo lectures and teaches continuing education courses on the subject of his passion, Home Design, at places like the Learning Life College (U of MN), White Bear Center for the Arts, Minnetonka Center for the Arts and more. If interested in joining one of our courses please check the upcoming schedule.

    Education & Teaching

    Marcelo Valdes has an Architecture degree from the Faculty of Architecture in Uruguay (1987), a Post Graduate Diploma from the Institute for Housing Studies in the Netherlands (1988), a Master of Architecture II from the University of Minnesota (2000), and is an Adjunct Assistant Professor at the University of Minnesota's College of Design since the year 2000.