Meet our team of Architects in Boulder, Colorado


Dale Smith

President, Designer
Company President Dale Smith has 28 years experience providing architectural and design work to a variety of users. His experiences during that time have provided exposure to a wide variety of project and building types. He has been involved with corporate and institutional planning, design and interiors projects, airports, commercial office, retail projects & food service projects.

Elizabeth Smith

Owner, Architect
Elizabeth Smith has over 20 years experience in the architectural profession. She began her career focusing on historical preservation and renovation in the Boulder and Front Range, Colorado areas, completing work on many high profile commercial and educational structures. In the early 1990’s, she relocated to the Vail Valley where she worked largely on commercial, multi-use buildings in resort settings including project types such as Lodges, Golf course club houses, condominium developments, and retail/office projects. She participated in writing and developing the design guidelines for Deadwood, South Dakota and Bachelor Gulch, Colorado.

Tessa Reist Hathorn

Tessa Reist Hathorn is a licensed architect and a LEED Accredited Professional with nine years of experience in architecture using Revit. After starting her career at BNIM Architects working on historic renovations and the renowned Kauffman Center for the Performing Arts, she eventually moved to Boston, Massachusetts, to work with Moshe Safdie and Associates and later Austin Architects where she helped implement BIM in both offices.

Some thoughts on who we are, what we believe, what is important to us, & what separates us from others;


  • Fänas Architecture is a small Boulder, Colorado-based architectural firm led by partners, Dale and Elizabeth Smith. Both Dale and Elizabeth received their education from the University of Colorado, Boulder and have over 50 years architectural experience between them. Fänas was established in Boulder in 2000 with a second office opening in Pagosa Springs in 2006.
  • We are, by design, a small firm of talented, excited, professional designers. We procure a limited number of projects at any given time, so as to be responsive to our clients and their projects.
  • If we were to be described in a single word, that would have to be ‘appropriate’; appropriate aesthetic, appropriate sustainability, appropriate balance of quality, quantity, & cost.
  • Unlike most firms, ours is not named after its founders. That’s not what is important. Our name, Fänas, is a Gaelic term, with the duel meaning of “space” and “opportunity” – can “architecture” be defined in more simple terms?
  • It’s become a cliché, but as our past clients will attest, we listen.


  • Our team of Boulder Architects specializes in the planning, design & detailing of custom homes, additions & remodels, and a variety of commercial projects. We provide architectural services including architectural design, interior design, master planning, site & landscaping design, and construction administration.
  • We engage a limited number of projects at any given time. In working with Fänas Architecture, you will only ever deal with one of its owners, Dale or Elizabeth Smith. You will not be passed on to another project architect or job captain. You will only ever work with someone who has a vested interest in you and your projects success.
  • One of the enduring hallmarks of our practice is our commitment to listen, to learn, to become intimate with our clients and their properties, to explore and search for original, creative thought. We take time to include all staff in charrettes for each project, with the understanding that the best solutions often result from collaboration.  We explore many options, in search of the best right answers. We purchase sketch paper by the case, and we use it.


  • Col • lab • o • rate: to work jointly with other or together especially in the intellectual endeavor. The key element in our approach is communication. Fänas Architecture believes that the best ideas evolve from an engaging and collaborative design process with clients, consultants, builders, and within our own firm. A collaborative process allows an open and impassioned exploration and enables a clear understanding of appropriate solutions.
  • We utilize all tools & methodologies at our disposal; from the artistry of hand sketches & models, to the most advanced, integrated 3D software available. The actual design of all our projects begins ‘old school’, by hand drafting. There is a connection between head-hand-pen that will never exist with the computer. It allows the thoughts & design to literally flow, to organically develop, from one element or concept to the next. The warmth & comfort in hand drawings & renderings also tends to be more ‘user friendly’ in the initial stages of design. At the appropriate time, our designs are transferred to computerize three-dimensional models, views and animations. This satisfies another priority, which is to assure that we thoroughly communicate the design to our clients. No surprises.

In summary, the practice of architecture is highly subjective and varies widely. We believe sincerely and humbly that we are at the top of the game, that our creativity and service are best-in-class.  This belief is held by others, too, including the vast majority of past clients, contractors, design review boards & others. Mostly, we simply love what we do.