Meet the Team




Terry Phelan, Founder and Principal Architect

Terry was born and raised in Washington, and has lived and worked on projects in both sides of the state. Never being one to take the most traveled path, she apprenticed for many years rather than going the college route, before taking the licensing exams to become a registered architect. Her awards and recognition vary from Street of Dreams homes in the 1980’s to the ecological design and business practices that have characterized our work since 1992.

Terry established Living Shelter with education as an important part of our mission. To this end she created and recorded over 80 interview format podcasts that are available for download on our companion website, The Eco-Logical Home.

Terry is passionate about having healthy and joyful elements in her personal life as well. She lives with her husband and dog in historic Old Town Issaquah, and enjoys spending time in her garden growing food, cooking for small and large groups, bicycling around town for errands, and finding solace in the deep woods of the Cascade and Olympic mountains.


Kira Connery, Project Designer, LEED Green Associate

Kira grew up in Southern California and called various locales home before landing in the Pacific Northwest. After receiving her B.A. in Architecture from UC Berkeley, she worked for three years as a custom kitchen designer in San Francisco. She lived and worked in Madison, Wisconsin for a few years, where she discovered a love for snow and lightning bugs. She returned to the west coast to earn her M.Arch from the University of Washington, where she focused on adaptive reuse and sustainability, public interest design, and the evolution of suburban cultural landscapes.

Kira is passionate about making sustainable design accessible and participatory, and is inspired by the potential of everyday places to enrich our interactions with nature and each other. In her spare time, she can usually be found cooking and crafting, reading, and exploring the Pacific Northwest with her husband and son.


Roy Stark McGarrah, Project Designer

Roy explores design through architecture, craft, and community based participatory art and research projects. He has designed tiny homes, cabins, wilderness quest base camps, and houses. Roy has also worked within communities on public art projects, Little Free Libraries (receiving honorable mention in the AIA Seattle’s Little Free Library Design Competition with Kira Connery), Parking Day installations, and a community design process in Kent WA to include under-represented groups in their first Parking Day in 2013.

Roy believes strongly in the power of groups to transform perceptions of power and responsibility, allowing communities to act as agents in the design of their built environment and in the process empowering and connecting to one another and the environment. Roy also finds great pleasure in travel, urban homesteading, spending time with family and friends, as well as hobby carpentry, making art, and dance.


Marty Bryant, Accountant/Admin


Bio pending.


Lia Zhu, Intern

Lia formerly co-founded the Hangzhou Permaculture design/build and education team. She focused on teaching permaculture and natural building to low-income students through offering work-trade opportunities and building demonstration projects.

Lia loves learning through hands-on activities and sharing what she knows with others. Lia is currently coordinating Living Shelter’s social media campaigns and helping with office management tasks while learning more about sustainable design and building.

Join the team