About Outlaw Design Company
Established in 1999, Outlaw Design Company designs places to live and work. Projects include new houses, additions, renovations, kitchen design, outdoor environments, and professional workspaces. We translate our clients’ visions into their built projects through an enjoyable and minimally stressful process.

The Process

We begin with an initial meeting, during which we listen to our clients’ ideas and compare the probable cost of the project they have in mind to their budget. We assess any relevant problems with an existing structure and become familiar with the building site to determine its potential and limitations.

The initial sketches we produce are an efficient way to look at ideas in order to get input from the client before producing construction drawings. It can benefit a project to get a builder involved fairly early on, and there are many builders in the area that we’ve worked with and can recommend if you haven’t already found one you like.

It’s inevitable that issues crop up during construction. We collaborate with the builder to work through these and encourage our clients to be as involved in the design and building process as they wish. Open communication, mutual trust, and solid relationships between client, builder, and architect are essential to good design.

Ruth Ellen Outlaw


An Albemarle County native, Ruth Ellen spent much of her childhood drawing plans of houses on lined notebook paper and building furniture and dollhouses with her father in his basement workshop. She worked with her husband as a professional chef for a decade before earning bachelor’s and master’s degrees in architecture at the University of Virginia. At VMDO Architects in Charlottesville, Virginia, she worked on school, church, and residential projects. Starting her own firm gave her the flexibility to balance a career with raising two fabulous daughters.

Jill Kennedy


Originally from Missouri, Jill has been turning Ruth Ellen’s barely legible sketches into computerized construction drawings and 3-D renderings since 2006. She’s not afraid to tell Ruth Ellen when she’s designed stairs that don’t work or that she’s not going to stay up all night to finish a project. Jill was a Paralympic athlete who medaled in discus and javelin, and she most recently competed in Beijing. She and her wife, an officer in the Navy, like to camp, kayak, and “build things”.



Born and raised in Madison, Virginia, Kaiti began working for Ruth Ellen in 2018 documenting houses and buildings alike with a clipboard and measuring tape in hand. The two met soon after Kaiti graduated from James Madison University and moved to Charlottesville. Having been a Virginia resident her entire life, Kaiti recently made the move to Missouri to pursue her dual Master of Landscape Architecture and Master of Architecture degrees at Washington University in St. Louis. In her rare free time, Kaiti enjoys perusing bookstores, photographing forgotten places, and cross-stitching. 



Jeff began collaborating with Ruth Ellen in the summer of 2022. He brings with him both design and 3-D modeling skills backed by 30 years in the construction and woodworking trades. Jeff share’s Ruth’s commitment to a collaborative approach, a passion for quality, and delivering good value.

“I’m lucky: for me, it’s easy to find fun in the work of building and art of design.”

Originally from Michigan and raised in rural Virginia, Jeff lives in Charlottesville’s Fifeville neighborhood in the home he and his wife spent five years restoring. Once an elite rower and serious rock climber, Jeff now enjoys art and building projects with his tween daughter.