On Tuesday, August 25th, the partners of NANO – Terri and Ian Dreyer – were guests on “The Food Show” on 1350AM 3WL Radio.

Hosted by Mary Ann Fitzmorris, filling in for regular host Tom Fitzmorris, Terri and Ian discussed the design of restaurants around New Orleans and nationally. From lighting, to selecting chairs, to sound attenuation and the size of the kitchen, they talked about all the aspects that have to come together to create a space that encourages diners to eat, drink and enjoy themselves.

Terri and Ian talked about their design approach and processes and the many restaurant designs they have been part of.

A few of the spaces they talk about include: Il Mercato, Oak Oven, Apolline/Dominique’s, Rio Mar and Ancora.

You can listen to their interview by following these links:  [Segment 1] [Segment 2] [Segment 3


Quick Guide to the Architecture Design Process


Have you ever wondered what happens when you hire an architect? A lot! These are the steps NANO LLC takes when we start your project. Keep in mind that not all of these steps are necessary for all projects. Some are more tailored to residential clients, and others are more for commercial clients, and depending on the type and size of the project even some additional steps not listed here could be needed. On any project, we ALWAYS customize these steps to reflect exactly what the client’s specific needs are!


An initial meeting/consultation/conversation with the client to discuss site selection and the design strategy based upon the target audience the client is marketing to. Market research and a client’s business plan comes into play at this very early stage of the design process to help make a decision on which direction the design should take. Client goals, needs and requirements are discussed. If the client decides to move forward and hire NANO, a contract is then signed and a deposit is collected.


NANO will visit the site, review the existing conditions and take as-built measurements of what is there (existing building/property). A set of as-built plans are created. These are simple floor plans and exterior elevations – a minimal set showing what currently exists on site and nothing more. A surveyor is typically contacted at this stage and scheduled to produce a site survey – this survey is eventually incorporated into the as-built documents. NANO will visit the city/county building department to review applicable records which may include as-built drawings of an existing building; previous surveys; public records such as previous liens on the property. NANO will gather information from state and city agencies regarding specific land use and building code requirements as well as pre-submittal and pre-permit procedures. NANO will also create a schedule to outline what will be done and by when.


NANO will generate 2-3 preliminary designs incorporating the information from step two. At this stage NANO is also bringing design concepts to the table (the stuff architects learned in school). Maybe there was a specific site feature that could be enhanced with the new architecture or opportunities within the project not previously discussed. NANO will explore the sequence of how you approach the building and move through the space. How the building is experienced is a focus of this stage. The general locations of the functions within the building are considered and graphically represented in diagram form. The graphics, illustrations and sketches are just diagrams at this stage. Features like windows may be added schematically or not at all. Simple plans and elevations are produced to represent relationships among spaces and the basic envelope shape (think about it like carving a simple, basic model out of a block of clay). Material options start to become part of the discussion and a target budget is established/confirmed for the overall project. There are typically 2-4 client meetings involved with this step. The client makes decisions with help from NANO regarding the various schematic options. An overall design strategy is chosen. For fast-track projects, a contractor is brought in at this stage to speed up the design and budget.


As decisions continue to be made, NANO further develops the schematic drawings. The graphics evolve from diagrams to actual architecture at this step. The drawings are refined in regards to details and methods. Materials are decided on and NANO figures out how everything fits together (how does the floor meet the wall: base trim, flush trim, no trim). Window openings are further defined with mullions and opening locations. Information from other consultants, like the structural engineer, is developed and coordinated with the design drawings. Specifications for materials, fixtures/appliances, assembly details, and relevant code information are incorporated into the project. Recommendations from trades, suppliers, and manufacturers are added to the drawing set. The client continues to make decisions at a more specific level of detail (four or six burner gas range, which direction do the windows open?)


A full set of construction documents provides graphic documentation for bidding and execution of construction services. These documents provide all information necessary to construct the project and are legal documents. After final approval from Authorities Having Jurisdiction, NANO will proceed to construction documents, entailing a complete set for permitting and construction. NANO will also handle all documents and exchanges with the city/local permitting office, as well as other authorities associated with the project.


The construction documents are sent out to several contractors and they are asked to review them and submit a bid for how much they would charge to do the construction. Then negotiations on the pricing occur. For fast-track projects, this stage is negated since a contractor was brought in at stage 3.


The documents and drawings for the project are now complete and construction begins. As construction administrator, NANO is responsible for coordinating the work of contractors/subcontractors and overseeing quality control on the construction of the project. Typically with a project of any complexity NANO is retained to answer questions, deal with clarifications and administer revisions if necessary. In most instances, it is mandatory that code required field inspections and quality control during construction is overseen by a licensed architect. NANO also protects the interests of the client and the integrity of the design. NANO will review the invoices, overall costs and scheduling and provide purchasing of finishes and fixtures, if needed.

Cooper Promoted At NANO LLC

NEW ORLEANS – NANO LLC, a New Orleans architecture and interior design firm, announced the promotion of Lee Cooper to Senior Designer.

Cooper received his Bachelor of Science in Architecture from The Catholic University of America and his Master of Architecture from Tulane University. Since receiving his degree from Tulane in 2015, he has primarily worked on hospitality projects in the New Orleans area, but has been instrumental to NANO LLC on industrial and detention facility projects, reps said. Cooper is an Associate Member of the AIA.

“Lee has shown remarkable professional growth since he joined NANO,” said Terri Dreyer, NANO Managing Partner. “He hits the ground running and is always ready for the next design opportunity. We’re glad Lee is part of the NANO team and are eager to help him further advance professionally as he pursues his architecture license.”

NANO LLC is a full-service architecture and interior design firm based in Mid-City providing custom design services for residential, commercial, historic and municipal projects of all sizes.


NANO LLC Welcomes Interior Designer Samantha Johnson

NEW ORLEANS – NANO LLC, a New Orleans architecture and interior design firm, announces the addition of Samantha Johnson to their team as an Interior Designer.

Johnson received her Bachelor of Fine Arts in Interior Design from the prestigious Pratt Institute of Art and Design in 2011 and has been a Louisiana Registered Interior Designer since 2015. She was previously a Designer/Project Manager for BROOME 53, Inc. and Chandler Pierce Architect in New York.

“Samantha is the perfect addition to our team,” said Terri Dreyer, Managing Partner, “Her extensive experience on commercial and residential projects, in addition to her proficiency in furniture design, give NANO the advantage of being able to provide our clients with a full range of comprehensive design services.”

NANO LLC is a full-service architecture and interior design firm located in MidCity providing custom design services for residential, commercial, historic and municipal projects of all sizes.


Culver Joins NANO LLC

NEW ORLEANS – NANO LLC, a New Orleans architecture and interior design firm, announced the addition of Kyle Culver to their team as a Senior Designer and BIM Manager.

A Slidell native, Culver earned his Bachelor of Architecture from Louisiana Tech University. Over the past 11 years, he has worked for architecture firms in Texas, Washington and Louisiana on projects located throughout North America, as well as in Asia and the Middle East. He is a LEED Green Associate

“We’re very excited about Kyle joining our design team,” said Terri Dreyer, managing partner. “His expertise in historic rehabilitation, architectural software and architectural theories is a wonderful addition to our firm.”

NANO LLC is located in Mid-City providing custom design services for residential, commercial, historic and municipal projects of all sizes.


Join NANO at Biz Night!

Join NANO and Biz New Orleans for Biz Night on Thursday, October 19th from 5:30-7:30pm at NANO’s most recently completed project – 2513 Metairie Road.

Come see and experience a building that was designed by NANO, while networking and enjoying complimentary hors d’oeuvres, beer and wine!

Business attire and reservations are required.

$5 to attend with 100% of ticket sales going to New Orleans Area Habitat for Humanity.

Visit to register