Eugene’s February One-Minute Mile

Dr. Eugene Thompson and IONIC CEO takes one minute to dive into his topic of the month!

Eugene’s January One-Minute Mile

Dr. Eugene Thompson and IONIC CEO takes one minute to dive into his topic of the month!

VISIONEERING with Grace Bible Church

For most of us, the new year is a time of reflection. A moment to consider the last twelve months and start planning for the future. Even if you do it every year of your life (or the life of your business), it never gets easier. That’s because, where you will be in the next five, ten or fifteen years is a difficult question to answer. Harder still if the future includes planning for a new building, renovation or move.

With IONIC, it’s easier. Not only have we helped countless businesses plan new spaces and renovations that include any potential future, but we do it every day. We call our process VISIONEERING.

Visioneering is about more than the spaces we plan. We apply decades of specialized industry experience to understand our clients and make sure their current and future needs are accounted for. Often, we know what they need more than they do, because we do this work every day.

That was the case with Grace Bible Church. They were ready to accommodate a growing congregation with a second location – a new campus in Norfolk, VA – but wanted to do so within specific budget restrictions. IONIC went to work, strategically planning for their evolving and future needs with their current constraints, and developing a conceptual design for the new building.

Ultimately, IONIC assisted Grace Bible Church in repurposing a 21,000 square-foot office building into their new worship location. The design mimics the contemporary feel of the primary location in Virginia Beach while utilizing the existing office space’s footprint to create a beautiful worship space with room for growth. All while staying within budget. IONIC partnered with Hoy Construction who helped from the very beginning to develop the budgets and goals for the team.


#LunchtimeLive with Array Digital and D. Eugene Thompson

IONIC’s founder and Entrepreneurial Excellence Award winner, D. Eugene Thompson, recently sat down with Array Digital to participate in their Lunchtime Live series to talk about what it means to be an entrepreneur.
From speaking about the challenges he faced as a new business owner, to gaining the traction that got IONIC to where it is today, a lot is packed in the thirty-minute conversation.
Want to hear Eugene’s thoughts and the origin story on IONIC? The Lunchtime Live episode is still available! Stream it, below: 


No RSVP Needed: IONIC Open House

February is typically our favorite month of the year because it’s when we host our annual Open House. We invite friends, family and clients to celebrate another year around the sun at both IONIC locations, while showcasing past and future projects, and the team’s exceptional party-planning abilities. From “Brats + Hardhats” to “DeZignosaurus Rex” we enjoy outdoing ourselves by taking the theme a little too far. Some may say that’s the IONIC way!

We aren’t able to gather under the guise of a zany theme this year, but trust us – we’re still celebrating. Our 20th year was one for the history books and we look forward to keeping the momentum going. We will have a lot to celebrate the next time our Open House comes around, but until then, please enjoy these fun moments and favorite captures from years past!

Re-DeZigning With IONIC

We work hard for our clients. Often, that means making a preexisting building work for them, too. We may be architects but there’s a lot more involved in our practice than simply building from scratch. 

IONIC has been repurposing pre-existing structures for ages, but it’s a rising trend for many reasons. Where our clients couldn’t afford building from the ground up, this practice provides a solution. Not only does it save money, but time as well. Repurposing a space can begin and end before teams of contractors would have finished building it. 

Our favorite part? Seeing where a property begins and what we can turn it in to! We’re currently in full swing of converting an old Norfolk, VA funeral home into a mini-storage facility. Originally an inhospitable and quite “horrific” site, this 14,345 square foot space will soon be a bright, welcoming and spacious location for our long-term client’s newest venture. The new building will feature 100+ climate controlled storage units. With IONIC architect Bart McElfresh at the helm, we expect the project to be completed by mid-2021.

Announcing Newly Licensed Architect: Chris Warren

Ionic DeZign Studios is proud to announce that Architectural Associate Chris Warren has successfully completed his Architect Registration Examination (ARE) 5.0 and is a newly licensed architect.

The ARE is administered by the National Council of Architectural Registration Boards (NCARB) and is designed to assess aspects of architectural practice that affect the integrity, soundness and health impacts of a building.

Chris has seven years of architectural experience, and joined the Ionic team in 2019.  He earned his Bachelors of Architecture degree from Virginia Tech in 2011.

Chris’ experience includes residential construction, with a multitude of projects involving  low-income housing, multifamily residential and single family homes. As a registered architect Chris will continue contributing his unique vision to Ionic designs, with a focus on creating outcomes that exceed client expectations.

Please join us in congratulating Chris on this achievement!

CoVa BIZ and Eugene

Eugene was featured in the recent edition of The Business Magazine Of Coastal Virginia – CoVaBIZ. Not only his efforts with IONIC but also his upcoming charity run for Diabetes – The 777 Challenge where he runs 7 marathons in 7 days in each of the 7 cities of Hampton Roads. Talk about Community!

Take a read through his article and if you want to know more about his running, go to this link.

Run Eugene Run

Crescent Community Center

Team IONIC is excited to share a sneak preview of the project that is currently in development. Crescent community center is a project in Virginia Beach off of Salem Road where the clients had received the condition of use approval back in 2013. The design that was completed at that time was very adventurous but didn’t quite capture the cultural desires of the client.

IONIC was brought in to assist the client in completing the vision that they so desperately desired. WPL is the civil engineer of record and had completed an approved site plan for the client to proceed with developing the infrastructure, grading and  parking but the client hadn’t move forward with any of the building documents.

The original plan called for 12,400 square feet of new construction. However this was too much for the congregation to afford. Originally a tower was included along with a dome structure both of which needed to be eliminated to bring the cost of construction within budget. After several years of frustration the client brought the issues to IONIC for assistance. We had previously worked with Syed Haider on other convenience store projects and had an excellent relationship with him over the years. When he walked in the door he told us that if anybody could make this happen it was us.

What a great testimonial!

And what a great responsibility to perform!

So after our discussion talking about the desires, goals and potential reduction in square footage for the initial phase, IONIC went to work on creating a plan that could be implemented. Our team of designers researched ideas, materials, and cultural impact that would make this project a success. All of these things needed to come together to meet the restricted budget.

IONIC first started with a floor plan and shared our initial ideas with client. After several back and forth conversations we were able to come up with a plan that fits the needs of the client and seemed to allow us to produce a structure within budget. This plan would also allow future growth to the full 12,000+ square feet whenever the church/mosque was capable of moving forward.

The next phase was researching ideas of how to keep the structure both contextual, cultural, and affordable. Yes, all those things usually do not go together. Regardless, that was our task.

Our team sketched ideas and concepts back and forth deliberating on an approach.

IONIC shared our Visioneering Master Plan with our client and achieved outstanding success!

Once we presented the idea and walked through the concepts as well as the interiors of the space by utilizing a three-dimensional model and capabilities of spinning the structure around so the client could see all sides different angles and interiors of our proposed design. Alongside our model we shared samples of exterior finishes which included porcelain tile on higher impact areas and stucco on the remaining portions.

Our primary focus was to have the front of the building become dominant in the design so the two key bookends were featured on the front utilizing the porcelain tile with tall glass entryway fronted by a simple arcade. To accomplish some of the blending of culture we proposed sandblasted storefront that characterized the Mosaic pattern often found in similar structures. This idea would allow sun to stream in from the outside and create a shadow cast across the floor replicating the Mosaic feel. Conversely at nighttime when interior lights are gleaming brightly, the shadows would be cast outside onto the paving in front of the entryway.

The effects will be dynamic!

After receiving accolades from our client in accomplishing exactly what they desired, our next hurdle was to see if we could get approvals administratively from the City of Virginia Beach on our new design. The primary concern here is that if they felt our design deviated too far from the original plans, we would have to go through the entire condition of use process again. This would delay the construction document phase by over three months if it was required.

With great joy the city’s planners saw that our design as being compatible with the original plan and found it pleasing. With this information we were granted an administrative approval to move forward!

Let us know if we can help you finish your master plan and help your project move forward. Send all questions and inquiries to

We look forward to hearing from you.

Meet Chris Warren

We are excited to anounce the addition to our Virginia Beach team, Chris Warren Associate Architect. Chris grew up in Hampton Roads and graduated at Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University in 2011. Previously he worked at Cox, Kliewer & Co. working on construction documents for many apartment complex projects from schematic design to final CDs. His vast experience in commercial work will help IONIC continue to deliver our projects on time and on budget.

Chris is also highly active in various community organizations such as YAF – Young Architect’s Forum, AIA Hampton Roads, P40 Network, tHRive as well as others.

Currently, Chris is helping us develop some master plans for a church in Richmond as well as construction documents for another historic church in Virginia Beach.

We look forward to seeing Chris continue to grow.

Be sure to welcome him the next time you see him out and about.

Two offices to serve you better. Headquarters in Hampton Roads. Second office in Central Virginia.