LEARN ABOUT OUR TEAM
Benjamin Johnston and his talented team of professionals share their vast knowledge and experience with discerning clientele through a comprehensive design approach that creates extraordinary homes and commercial environments. Get to know how this team delivers diverse global perspectives to every project.
BENJAMIN JOHNSTON, Partner & Creative Director
Benjamin Johnston Design, LLC is the culmination of Ben Johnston’s international design practice and lifestyle brand. Ben has dedicated his life to the pursuit of artistic expression as a designer, artist, teacher, and tastemaker, all with the focus of bringing beauty to the world around him and enabling others to do the same.
Following his graduation from St. John’s School, Ben earned his Bachelors of Architecture from Texas A&M University and his Masters of Architecture from University of Texas at Austin. Ben was honored to be the first American selected for a design residency with the prestigious firm, Cesar Pelli & Associates –Tokyo. Following this, Ben launched his first design business focused exclusively on interior design, allowing him to follow his passion for bringing extraordinary designs to life. Ben eventually expanded the firm to include architectural services, offering clients a holistic approach that invites his prestigious team to manage the creation of luxury homes from start to finish.
Ben shares his knowledge with the world through syndicated television appearances, international shelter magazine placements, speaking opportunities at industry events and conferences nationwide, and through his role as brand ambassador for numerous luxury brands.
ERICH PLOOG, Partner & Managing Director
Erich Ploog is responsible for the direction of all operations of Benjamin Johnston Design, LLC including accounting, procurement and human resources. He brings a wealth of business process, operational excellence and organizational change management experience to the team.
Erich is a native Iowan and moved to Texas for college where he obtained his Bachelor of Business Administration (BBA) from the University of Houston and his Master of Business Administration (MBA) from the University of Texas at Austin. He has had a long and successful career in management consulting for such firms as Accenture and IBM, where he advised numerous Fortune 100 companies during strategic and operational transformations.
Today, Erich runs Benjamin Johnston Design like any other successful company. In fact, under his leadership, University of Houston named Benjamin Johnston Design as one of their 'Top 10 Fastest Growing Businesses" managed by one of their graduates. As with everything he does, Erich strives to make the experience for clients not only enjoyable, but highly efficient and professional.
PAOLA NERI, Designer
Paola Neri is a designer who seeks to create beauty in the world, drawing inspiration from many different artistic pursuits and expressions. Growing up in Cochabamba, Bolivia, Paola originally trained to be a dancer, as it was her first love and earliest exposure to the arts. In later years, she branched out and began developing her skill in oil painting and design. These interests ultimately led her to pursue a Bachelors Degree of Architecture from the Universidad Privada Boliviana. After graduating, Paola began living and working in design and construction administration through several hospitality projects in her hometown. Realizing that this was her professional calling, Paola decided to move to Italy to pursue a Masters Degree in Interior Design at the Florence Institute of International Design, graduating in 2012.
Since moving to Houston in 2013, Paola acquired a deeper understanding about furniture design and how it can shape the way in which we live. In 2017, Paola has brought her passion for design and her detail oriented prowess to Benjamin Johnston Design, LLC, where she continues to assist clients in creating inspired spaces to call home. Se habla Español.
RAJANI ALVARADO, Designer
Since obtaining her Bachelor’s Degree in Interior Design from Texas Tech University in 2014, Rajani’s experiences in the interior design industry have only increased her passion for creating designs that function equally to their beauty. Rajani grew up right here in Texas, but her rich cultural background both in Mexico and Texas have given her a great appreciation of history, textures, finishes, and colors across a broad spectrum of design styles. Her bilingual upbringing has allowed Rajani to connect with our Latin American clients and collaborators all over North America.
Rajani began as a Design Assistant at Benjamin Johnston Design, LLC in 2017 and quickly ascended to the role of Designer due to her passion and hard work. Rajani is the lead designer on numerous projects and oversees everything from extensive remodels to ground-up construction. Her desire to create meaningful beauty is only matched by her drive to ensure the complete satisfaction of her clients. Se habla Español.
CARMEN CASTILLO BECHTER, Designer
Carmen brings a strong background in creative leadership and project management to the team at Benjamin Johnston Design, LLC. Originally from Tampa, Carmen has extensive construction and remodeling experience from growing up in her family of custom home builders. With a prior career as a licensed lawyer in both Florida and Texas, Carmen’s understanding of the technical and detailed needs of her clients and collaborators is essential to a creative projects’ successful outcome. Her expertise spans from creating and coordinating all facets of design to partnering with clients and architectural, construction, and development teams.
After graduating from University of Florida with a Finance degree and South Texas College of Law with a Juris Doctorate, Carmen furthered her studies at Rice University by concentrating on her passions for art, architecture, design and green building practices. Carmen’s passion for beautiful and functional design has taken her to work on internationally published projects as far away as Tel Aviv, Israel. Carmen believes that beautiful and well-designed interiors have the ability to positively change and enhance the lives of the people that inhabit them. Se habla Español.
MADELON DEVANEY, Designer
Infused with the spirit of the American West and a design aesthetic that blends beauty and purpose, Madelon is a rising star of design. She graduated with a Bachelors in Interior Design from Samford University in Birmingham, Alabama as well as a Masters in Production Design from the Savannah College of Art and Design. The combination of interior design and production design has informed a unique perspective on the practice of both: namely that design has the power to impact the ambiance and emotions that one feels when experiencing a space in a number of ways.
Originally from Boise, Idaho, Madelon’s passion for beautiful design has taken her to five continents and worked on projects in cities such Hong Kong and Tena, Ecuador. She has a passion for solving design issues by transforming the space to communicates a well thought-out narrative. Although Madelon has only lived in Houston since 2018, she has realized the amazing potential the city holds and is excited to be a part of this truly international city she now calls home.
LINDSEY MEYER, Designer
Since obtaining her Bachelors Degree in Interior Design with a Minor in Architecture from Texas Tech University in 2014, Lindsey Meyer has returned to her hometown of Houston to create spaces that are as functional as they are timeless and beautiful. She began her career working for designers, Marjorie Slovack and Chandos Dodson, where she gained valuable knowledge on organizational practices and a deep understanding for the building process. These experiences gave her a strong foundation and appreciation for the collaboration necessary to incredible spaces and earned her a spot with the team at Benjamin Johnston Design, LLC in 2020.
Lindsey is the lead on numerous projects and oversees everything from extensive remodels to ground-up construction. Lindsey’s attention to detail, along with her desire to create meaningful beauty, is only matched by her drive to ensure that her client’s vision comes to life.
GREG ROFFINO, Architectural Manager
Since graduating with his Masters of Architecture from Texas Tech University in 2012, Greg has spent the past 9 years practicing residential architecture across Texas and beyond with Curtis & Windham before joining Benjamin Johnston Design. Complimented with a professional degree specializing in Urban & Community Design studies, he also has a vested interest in urban forms and contextual design. He has designed, produced, and managed the coordination and construction process of a wide range of residential projects including site planning, new construction, renovations, and historical preservation.
As a native Texan with an affinity for travel, Greg enjoys seeing & studying regional and vernacular architecture across the country and globe. Through studying abroad in Spain & Portugal began his passion for the historical and its influences on creating beautiful contemporary design. Using a strong understanding and respect to the principles of traditional architecture and the importance of scale, proportion, and context, he strives to create architectural designs and details that are not only timeless, appropriate, and contemporary, but also that respond to the needs and tastes of his clients.
BRIAN PORRECA, Architectural Designer
Brian brings over 20 years of architectural knowledge and expertise to the team at Benjamin Johnston Design. He has spent his career developing premier luxury properties with the intimate understanding of the technical, functional, and aesthetic needs of his clients and collaborators.
Born and raised in Houston and a graduate of University of Houston, Brian gained extensive construction and remodeling expertise while working with well-known luxury home designer, Robert Dame Designs for over a decade and a half. Following this rich experience, he went on to develop beautiful projects with a Houston custom homes builder for a few years. Today, Brian is excited to be a part of an enthusiastic team that appreciates his experience and allows him to develop interiors in a far more intimate, personal, and unique way than ever before.
MARC ANDERSON, Architectural Designer
Marc graduated from Texas Tech University with honors in 2014, obtaining his Masters in Architecture with a Certificate in Community and Urban Design. After a semester abroad in Paris, France he furthered his passion for Architecture, studying classical and contemporary design with a strong focus on scale, proportion, and place. Since his graduation, Marc has returned to his hometown of Houston, practicing residential architecture with Curtis & Windham Architects before joining Benjamin Johnston Design, LLC. He has participated, produced, and coordinated on a wide range of projects throughout Texas from remodels to new construction.
Marc is an Architectural Designer at Benjamin Johnson, LLC and assists the Architecture team with numerous projects working on all phases. He has a passion for working with clients and making their vision reality. Through every phase of a project, Marc strives to make every experience enjoyable and memorable while creating architectural designs that respond to the clients specific functional and aesthetic needs.
CRISTINE NAVARRETE, Design Assistant
Cristine Navarrete is a native Houstonian who grew up in the vibrant neighborhood of "Eado" on the edge of downtown. Cristine’s rich cultural background, along with her extensive travels all throughout Central and South America, have given her a great appreciation of history, textures, finishes, and colors across a broad spectrum of design styles. Since obtaining her Bachelors Degree in Interior Design from Sam Houston State University in 2016, Cristine’s experiences in the interior design industry have only increased her passion for creating designs that function equally to their beauty. Her unique, cheerful disposition and ability to relate and empathize with her clientele, have allowed her to create meaningful and purposeful design.
Cristine is a Design Assistant at Benjamin Johnston Design, LLC and is assisting on numerous projects and helps with everything from extensive remodels to ground-up construction. Her desire to create meaningful beauty is only matched by her drive to ensure the complete satisfaction of her clients. Se habla Español.
DEMILADE ADEBOYE, Accounting Manager
Demilade Adeboye is responsible for all day-to-day accounting activities for the firm including accounts payable, accounts receivable and financial reporting. Demilade ensures that all financial transactions between the firm and our clients and vendors are handled with the utmost care and professionalism.
Originally from Nigeria, Demilade went to the Wellesley College and graduated with a Bachelors of Arts Degree in Mathematics and Music in 2019. Demilade began working as an Account Manager in 2020 and shortly thereafter, began working with Benjamin Johnston Design. Fluent in English, French, and the language of mathematics, we are thrilled to have her expertise guiding us forward!
BETH CARONNA, Purchasing Agent
Beth Caronna ensures that all client orders are placed correctly with our vendors and managed closely while they are being manufactured, transported, received and inspected. Beth is managing hundreds of orders from across the world for our projects to ensure that our client expectations are not only met, but exceeded.
A graduate of Lesley University with a Bachelor’s of Science in Art Therapy and Fine Arts, Beth is originally from the western part of Massachusetts. She moved to Boston in 2014 for school, and has stayed in the city to live and work. She began working as a Project Manager at Designer Advantage in 2019, before beginning work with the team at Benjamin Johnston Design in the Fall of 2020. We are so happy to have her expertise in this area.