—CHI was founded as the acronym of our names: Christina, Ingrid and Helen.

Though the studio has grown since the early days, it is still grounded in the spirit of friendship and collaboration.

Meet the people we share our workdays with.

Current residents

Christina Zigouras


Christina Zigouras established her practice in 2008. Since inception, the business has expanded, and she formed an alliance with the other founders of CHI Design Studio in 2011. XtheT Design works with clients to define requirements and budgets, and collaboratively explore building and construction techniques. Christina is a member of the BDAV and is a Registered Building Practitioner.

Ingrid Hornung


Ingrid has been working as a building designer in Melbourne since 1996, and as a sole practitioner since 2001. Her focus is on creating homes that nurture their occupants and support their changing needs; and she won an award (Best Alteration and Addition Under $200K) from the BDAV in 2011, for just such a home. Ingrid’s passion is creating homes that combine pleasure, practicality and sustainability for (and with) her clients; and she believes that every project is an opportunity to make a difference. She is an active member of the BDAV, ATA and VWT.

Renu Shrestha

Renu completed her Bachelor of Architecture from Kathmandu Engineering College in 2007. She spent the next five years working on multi-storey apartments, residences, commercial buildings, health care and landscape projects in Nepal, experiencing the whole process from design to construction. In 2013 (and newly married) Renu and her husband decided to find opportunity overseas, first in Perth, then in Melbourne. Renu has been with CHI Design Studio since April 2017; she enjoys the encouraging atmosphere amongst the CHI crew (and the ready serve of ice cream is good too!) She hopes to make a contribution to Melbourne’s diverse architecture.


Helen Geddes

Helen is the third founding member of CHI Design Studio, specialising in interior design and fit-outs for commercial and residential projects.

Helen qualified previously as an architectural draftsperson and worked professionally in this discipline as well as Interior Design. Her intrepid travel exposed her to wide ranging cultures and expanded her horizons. As Drawing Initiatives, Helen has completed projects for both residential and commercial interiors throughout Melbourne. Since moving on in 2017, Helen is focusing more on jewellery design, and travel!

Elizabeth Wheeler


Elizabeth Wheeler was drawn to building design, her second career, by the chance to combine her interest in the built environment with social change activism. Elizabeth is designing and documenting a range of projects under Ingrid Hornung’s supervision. She also has her own business: Future Focused Buildings, through which she selects, shops for and advises on building products that don’t cost the earth. Elizabeth holds an Adv Dip Building Design (Architectural), a BA and a Grad Dip in Women’s Health.

Sara Estrada

Sara was introduced to CHI Design Studio through the BDAV Mentor Program in March 2014. Recipient of three Student Excellence Awards for Best Digital Presentation in June 2014 and Best Detail Assemblage Drawing & Best Environmentally Sustainable Design of the Year (Team Member) in November 2014 at Holmesglen TAFE, CHI Design Studio were eager to keep her as part of the studio team.  Her role in the Studio was primarily documentation and 3D presentations.  Sara’s attention to detail made her a very valued part of the team at CHI. Originally from Colombia, Sara has an interest in emergency housing, sustainable and environmental design. Sara has travelled throughout Australia and overseas, and is happy to call Melbourne home.

—apply for a space with us

We are always looking for new studio buddies. Sounds like you?