Red Leaf Village Company has hired the region’s best designers and engineers. But first, before describing them, here is some background on those of us employed at Red Leaf itself.

Elliott Pond In The News

Founder, Jim Hagey and a volunteer (Sabina)
Jim Hagey, President

Jim has been in the development business for 21 years. In the course of his work – it was in 1987 – he saw an article in Atlantic Monthly about a walkable community called Seaside in the Florida panhandle. He decided then and there that if he could gather the resources and find the right location, he would build a walkable community himself. The word “walkable” in this context means that it follows pre-1940s design principles – principles that give a higher priority to the pedestrian than to the automobile. It would have large, elevated front porches, alleys, narrow, tree-shaded streets, a town square and parks.

In 2000, in Ramona, California, he acquired the dream site that is now called Elliott Pond. It is perfect because it is within a five-minute, safe walk of schools and a shopping center. Plus, Ramona is a friendly town, a place Jim has always liked.

To learn which design strategies make a town great or terrible, Jim has visited Europe and criss-crossed the United States. He has found the best examples of good, new communities in South Carolina. Still, the best places to learn from are simply the old parts of town, the parts built before 1940. He has also read countless design and town-planning books, and books on environmental sustainability. In addition, he has asked a lot of questions, especially of the residents of Ramona.
Jim graduated from Stanford University in 1975 where he majored in Political Science. He shortly after entered the real estate business.

He says the best books on town-planning are Suburban Nation by Andres Duany, Elizabeth Plater-Zybeck and Jeff Speck; A Pattern Language by Christopher Alexander; Streets and Sidewalks, People and Cars by Dan Burden; New Urbanism: A Comprehensive Report & Best Practices Guide by Robert Steuteville and Philip Langdon; and Designing Sustainable Communities by Judy Corbett and Michael Corbett. He also recommends Green Remodeling by David Johnston.

Krisztina Szathmary

Krisztina Szathmary, Architect and Urban Planner

Krisztina has the enormous advantage of having attended architecture school in Europe, where designing on a human scale is standard. That’s why European communities are so charming. The setbacks, street widths and building heights are designed for the pedestrian. Even the distances are designed for pedestrians. A safe, shaded, five-minute walk can get you to the most important destinations – shops, schools, parks, friends’ homes.

Krisztina was born and educated in Hungary, where she graduated from the Technical University of Budapest. Her degree does not apply in the U.S., so she is not a licensed American architect. Perhaps her U.S. title should be something like “Architectural Designer”, but she is in fact one of the best architects in California.
As for the silent “z” in both her first and last names, Hungarians have their own rules for that letter and make it hard for the rest of us.



Karina Bania
Karina Bania, Designer

Jim first met Karina two weeks after she returned from a nine-month, sometimes solitary tour of India. Her design work reflects her unconventional approach to life. It is fun, interesting, but restrained, tasteful, practical and always looks timeless. We want our communities to reflect those same qualities.

The Mexican tile-maker was about to throw away his tile because his cat had just left paw prints across its still-soft surface. Karina deliberately chose that tile for the kitchen counter of a resort condominium – just because of the paw prints. She is also, as you probably can tell, an artist.



Michael Corbett, President; Town Planners, Davis, California.

We discovered Michael when we saw a 2-page Time Magazine article about his environmentally groundbreaking development called Village Homes   ("Back to the Garden: A Suburban Dream", February 22, 1999).

Village Homes showcases intelligent planning in two respects - how to enable residents to get around easily without a car and how to protect the environment.

Time Magazine named Michael one of its "Heroes of the Planet" in 1999 for his environmentally responsible town planning.
President Jimmy Carter, in 1979, presented Michael with The President's Award in recognition of his town planning.
He was mayor of Davis, California (1988 - 1990).

Michael is co-author of the highly regarded town-planning book, Designing Sustainable Communities, published in 2000. He, along with Andres Duany and four other visionaries, wrote the Ahwahnee Principles, which are the guidelines of New Urban development. Michael is assisted by the highly talented designer, Sue McDermott.


Geoff Graham (left) of Guild Quality Company,
Jim Hagey & Chris Anderson of Civitas Company

Geoff Graham, President; Guild Quality Company, Atlanta, Georgia.

Geoff, along with his brother, Vince and his father, Tom, created I'on Village in Mount Pleasant, South Carolina (10 minutes north of Charleston). It is the best community built in the United States in the last 80 years -- walkable, fun and wondrously charming. It even outdoes the first project they did, Newpoint, in Beaufort, South Carolina, which was awarded the Nation's Best Designed Community by the American Institute of Architects. I was delighted when Geoff, along with Chris Anderson (see below) visited the Elliott Pond site to give us two intense days of advice. Their coaching now continues by phone. Immensely, immensely helpful. I'm amazed that prior to their arrival, I thought I knew quite a bit. See www.ionvillage.com -- Jim Hagey

Mr. Chris Anderson, Marketing Director; Civitas Company, Mount Pleasant, South Carolina.

At Civitas, Chris played a central role in the development of I'on Village. He is a jack-of-all-trades and gave us expert advice on finance, design and marketing.


We were and are so impressed by I'on Village and its founders   that we hired three of its top architectural firms. (We did this with the blessing of Geoff Graham, Vince Graham and Chris Anderson.) To design a truly traditional, front porch community, these three deliver the best architectural know-how in the United States. Their work at I'on proves it. They are:

Historical Concepts, Peachtree City, Georgia.

Founded in 1982 by Jim Strickland, this firm designs not only great buildings, but creates small-town, elegant streetscapes. See www.historicalconcepts.com  

Moser Design Group, Beaufort, South Carolina.

Founded by Eric Moser. Eric was enthusiastically recommended by multiple sources, including Sarah Susanka in her best selling The Not So Big House . Among his specialties are houses with wrap-around front porches, which obviously will fit in perfectly in Elliott Pond. See www.moserdesigngroup.com  

Bill Allison (left) of Allison Ramsey Architects & Jim Hagey

Allison Ramsey Architects, Asheville, North Carolina and Beaufort, South Carolina.

Founded in 1992 by Bill Allison, the firm specializes in front porch houses of classic design. After contributing designs to the nation's best walkable communities, the firm has become a leading authority in pedestrian-oriented town planning. See www.allisonramseyarchitect.com  


Elliott Pond will showcase environmental sustainability. Accordingly, we have hired the country's leading experts in storm water, construction, solar. Among the experts hired so far:

Tom Cahill (left) of Cahill Associates & Matt Moore of URS Corporation

Cahill Associates, West Chester, Pennsylvania.

Cahill Associates is a national leader in the sustainable management of storm water. They are designing Elliott Pond's streets and parking lots with bioswales and with pervious pavement - so that storm water will pass directly through to the groundwater. Tom Cahill serves on the U.S. Green Building Council 's Site Design committee. See www.thcahill.com


David Johnston
David Johnston, President; What's Working, Boulder, Colorado.

David is perhaps the nation's foremost, hands-on authority of environmentally responsible, single-family home design. He combines environmentalism, several decades of construction experience and a fondness for the spirit of Buckminster Fuller. The result is practicality, efficiency and tremendous creativity. David is a frequent lecturer and is author of Green Building In A Black And White Worldand of Green Remodeling. See www.whatsworking.com