What We Do

Tumu is a full-service design studio focused on Architecture, Interiors, Urban Design, and Custom Furniture.

We help passionate people design their dreams.

We strive to design with a courageous mindset, strong social consciousness, and a creative, accessible approach.  As architects, we are natural problem solvers with an aesthetic overview. We ask the client to define their needs given a specific site, use, budget, and schedule and then address those needs through the process of design.  We provide an experience that is tailored to you and your needs: whether you are looking to build a headquarters for your business, renovate a space for your new restaurant, make a home for your family, or just want to know what is possible for a space you have.   Tell us about your dreams as well as your constraints.  Often these two things conflict with one another but they are equally important.  We love a challenge and will leverage our wealth of experience and passion for design to turn constraints into assets.

Our Services

Architecture: Our architectural services include schematic design, design development, construction documentation, and construction administration. This service is tailored for people who have a project program, a budget, and a craving for good design.  Our studio has a wealth of experience turning our client’s visions into fine modern architecture.

Interiors: Full building renovations, interior buildouts, furniture selection, procurement, and design. We are always keeping up with current products and love to get into the materiality of space.  If an even more unique space is desired, we pair our interior design with custom furniture to create one-of-a-kind spaces tailored specifically for you.

Urban Design: We have extensive experience in a wide array of award-winning civic and urban projects. We can help with park spaces, mass transit, design guidelines, and visioning. Some of the best work we have had the pleasure of being involved with has been in the field of urban design.

Custom Furniture: For our more discerning clientele, we provide custom designed standalone and built-in furniture. Each piece is uniquely designed to meet the needs of our clients. We work in conjunction with the finest millworkers and furniture makers to deliver exceptionally detailed, meticulously crafted, high-end furniture.

Design Consultation: Oftentimes it helps to have professional assistance in the very beginning of a potential project. This service is tailored for people who need specific guidance in some areas. We can provide preliminary concepts, programming, planning, and pricing.

Who We Are

Tumu is owned and operated by wife-and-husband team Huili Feng and Ross Barney.  Together the two have spent twenty-eight combined years creating award-winning projects at all scales: international high-rise office and mixed-use, hotels, public space, institutions, schools, private homes, furniture and everything in between. Projects they have worked on include The Chicago Riverwalk, Fermi Lab OTE Research Center, Jiang Bei Sports and Culture Center, O’Hare International Airport Intermodal Transportation Facility, Chicago Union Station Master Plan, and the Vertical Expansion of the Blue Cross Blue Shield Headquarters Building.

Our Story

Huili Feng was born and raised in China. Following her heart to pursue the dream of being an architect, she came to Chicago in 2002 without knowing anyone. After receiving her master degree in Architecture from University of Illinois at Chicago, she worked for Goettsch Partners, and helped the company to expand their market in designing commercial and mixed-use high-rise buildings in China. Huili and Ross met while working together at Goettsch’s office.

Ross Barney is a native Chicagoan. He studied architecture at the Pratt Institute in Brooklyn, NY. In 2006 and 2008, the two joined the practice of Carol Ross Barney respectively. Huili and Ross were key members of many of the company’s prominent and award-winning works. In addition to their contribution to overall project design, Ross was instrumental in bringing BIM technology to the firm and Huili directed the interior and building material library.

Through all this experience the two have built up a broad knowledge of design, materials, detailing, and interiors.

Other Passion

Outside of Tumu Studio, they share a passion for teaching and mentoring. Ross frequently holds a position as an Adjunct Professor at the IIT College of Architecture, where he has been teaching design since 2007. His studio was recognized by AIA Chicago in the 2012 Design Excellence Awards, receiving a Sustainability Leadership Award Special Recognition for their work on the Iron St. Farm Master Plan. Huili has led various architectural tours, presentations for schools and organizations. She has served as a studio critic at the School of the Art Institute. The two are both on the advisory board for Growing Power Chicago, a national nonprofit organization with a focus on environmental stewardship and community outreach through urban agriculture. They are both avid scuba divers and have a strong passion for environmental conservation.

…they also have these two little people that hang around them all the time and need an abundance of love and a lot of food to nurture them.