Our name, our mission

Arocordis Design grew out our sense of mission to help our clients and communities thrive by design and by working together with us.  In our search we sought out basic Latin word forms which echo our own mindset of how we hope to help and inspire our clients.  We found two in our search, aro and cordis

The first, aro (v) - means in Latin “to cultivate, to till.” and then second, cordis (n), means in Latin, “heart, soul and meaning”. Thus for us, Arocordis means to cultivate the heart, soul and meaning in our design, place, and space making.
— Stephen M. Frey, Principal Architect, President

We like to leave things better than we found them, nurturing through our work, the socio-cultural, economic, environmental, and natural systems we are all part of to be at their very best.  We want to help you thrive by design!

American Meadows New Offices, Renovations - 2016

American Meadows New Offices, Renovations - 2016

About our firm

Arocordis Design provides a wide range of architectural, interior, workplace, planning, strategy, and other creative services.  We serve clients in Vermont and increasingly in other states, and virtually. Where not licensed to practice, we will partner, when required to do so, with licensed professionals to extend our service offering and value to our clients. 

On every project, large or small, we focus our attention and resources in ways not always possible as compared to larger firms. We strive to provide you a customized  experience supported by our agile team of design, engineering, and specialized consultants.

We dedicate our work to help you, your family, business, or organization thrive and be at your very best. Every. Day.

ZigZag House2 Project - 2016

Stephen Frey in Montpelier, VT on Houzz
Stephen Frey in Montpelier, VT on Houzz

What we offer

Arocordis Design offers a wide range of professional services as part of a tailored full-service package or individually or grouped relevant to your project needs.

Our goal is to help you, your organization, your family thrive by design.

We work under retainer, then hourly, hourly with an estimated maximum, percentage based of construction and more.  We happily will explain this and figure out the best value for your needs, budget and timeline.

Farm on the land, original watercolor, Stephen M. Frey 2008.

Farm on the land, original watercolor, Stephen M. Frey 2008.

Our architectural design services 

Masterplanning and home design strategies

Major home renovation and additions

Custom homes

Residential kitchen planning and design

3-D design and visualization services

Virtual interactive design using Skype, Google Hangouts or similar

Home site selection assistance

Sustainable design and planning

Healthy materials, chemical sensitivity, and indoor air quality design

Cost estimating

Site analysis, assessment and environmental analysis

Master planning and site use programming

Concept site planning & site design

Permitting plans and applications

Zoning and permitting analysis and summaries

Interior architectural design

Furniture layout and selection assistance

Concept lighting design

Fixed finishes design and selection

Specifications (by others) but coordinated by us.

Project management services

Owner advocacy and representation

Design for accessibility and universal access

Construction administration services

LEED services (in collaboration with  others) 

Commercial and institutional design

Office and workplace design

Workplace strategy


We are grateful to our clients and customers and the relationships we have built together.  It takes many hands to bring projects to life and its important to dig into the earth and get our hands dirty together. That's the spirit of collaboration we strive for every day!

Below is a partial list of who we have done work for and with as Arocordis Design, collaborating with others, or with other firms before 2010. Doing so shares a broader picture of our experience. 

Detail - Sundial

Detail - Sundial


National LIfe Group

AllEarth Renewables

American Meadows

CORA Health Services, Inc.

Citi Properties, LLC.

Vermont League of Cities and Towns

Heartbeet LIfesharing*

Seventh Generation **

Renewable NRG Systems **

Canopy Development, LLC **


Elmhill Inc. dba Maplehill Farm and School

Montpelier Public Schools

Orchard Valley Waldorf School - Little Lambs Daycare

City of Montpelier 

Langdon Street Alive (Creative Placemaking)*

Bethany United Church of Christ

Rise Up Bakery Restoration for Barre Historical Society

Vermont Technical College*

Rural Edge Housing Non-profit* 

Chitengo National Park, Mozambique - Senior Staff Housing*

State of Vermont Buildings and General Services**

Beth Jacob Synagogue **

Coastal Maine Botanic Gardens **

The Putney School**

The University of Vermont**


Jennifer Overton

Kassi & Eric Benedict

Lilli & Brian Cain

Denise & Peter Ricker

Others wish to remain confidential


* Indicates work done in collaboration with Ward Joyce Design (Lead)

** Indicates experience working for this client while at Maclay Architects


(image credit - Hard Work, Dirty Hands, 2011 - Ogilivy  PR CC license Com and Mods allowed)



Principal Architect

Portrait by Arocordis Design


Steve is Principal Architect and President of Arocordis Design. Steve leads the firm in all client facing work, project management, design, bidding, construction management services and more. He is building a practice notable for its mission and values driven design process especially in commercial and institutional project types, yet scalable to families and residential design.  He practices high performance workplace, commercial, and residential design while engaging greater community and sustainability concerns. Notable clients include National Life Group, AllEarth Renewables, American Meadows, Montpelier Public Schools.   

 Steve often speaks about best practices in office design, workplace strategies, and high performance sustainable architecture. He frequently presents at local, national conferences, and seminars, and develops and delivers live online webinars of original design focused content to an international audience. He regularly contributes articles to outlets such as The Burlington Free Press, Metropolis Magazine’s Point of View blog, LinkedIn. 

past experiences

Formerly Steve acted as architect, project manager, and finally design director at Maclay Architects, an award-winning Vermont architecture firm from 2001 to 2010. There Steve held design leadership roles on a variety of notable commercial, institutional, and residential commissions including Seventh Generation, NRG Systems and the Greening of Aiken Project at UVM. Before returning home to Vermont in 2001, Steve lived and practiced in Denver, Colorado graduating in 1992 from the University of Colorado College of Architecture and Planning, at Denver. Steve is a 1988 Graduate of UVM and grew up in Essex Junction, Vermont. He spent summers in high school working at his local school district as a plumber’s and painter’s helper, and a groundskeeper.  He’s an avid watercolorist and artist who exhibits often in Vermont.