Sunday, April 29, 2018

My studio story with Stuart Allsop

In May 2017 I contacted Stuart Allsop ( a well known studio desinger and acoustic engineer) about designing my studio. We exchanged quite a few mails and we made an agreement:


The normal method of payment can be any combination of wire transfer and PayPal (I prefer PayPal, since it is the cheapest method for both of us), and is split into stages, based on progress with the design. I suggest an initial non-refundable down-payment of 35%, followed by another 25% upon delivery of the initial basic layout and specs, and 30% on delivery of the completed design. The final 10% is payable after the studio is finished and ONLY if it substantially meets or exceeds the design spec goals, or six months after I finish the design. 

I made the first payment in July but there were some huge problems so the money did not go through until 1st week in August. Stuart had said he was very busy but the initial design could be delivered in 2-3 months.

Mail on Oct 18th:
Hi Ricardo,
Nearly there!  Coming soon...
Best regards,

Next mail was 11/16/17
Should be ready on Monday, perhaps before.
Best regards,

First video arrived about Nov 23rd, 2016.  Not on the Monday but at least that same week. This was looking promising but was lacking a roof and ventilation system. IT was late but it did arrive.

Dec 15th
I finally got a link to where I could see the high resolution video from Sketch up and access the skp file. Finally!

We exchanged a lot of very friendly and interactive mails between Dec 16-22nd and I was feeling really positive. I asked for a slightly larger window in the live room and to make the storage area a bit bigger. He said he could do this and I would get the changes in a week or two.  I made the 2nd payment.

Jan 1, 9, 19,20, 24, 26, 30- no answers at all.
Feb 2nd, 6,

All the while Stuart has made at least 50 posts on the forum.

Finally Feb 8th
Hi Ricardo,

I owe you a huge apology.  I've been keeping you waiting for far too long.  I have been working on your project, with several versions of what can be done with the extra half meter, but I have not advanced near as much as I had expected by now, as I have been bogged down in other projects that I thought would be completed by now, plus some personal stuff that I wasn't expecting.  I have no other excuses than that.  Nearly every day I've been telling myself "Today I have to advance on Ricardo0s studio", and somehow something always comes up.

However, I will be taking a vacation next week, and I'll be dedicating most of that time exclusively to your project.  I'll be out of the office, in a small town on the coast, without much internet connection, so there won't be any distractions.  I'm letting all my clients know that I'll be off for a week. So that's my promise to you: I'll give your project the attention it deserves, and hopefully get it to the point where you can get your architect to star on the drawings.

I do apologize, sincerely, for this major issue.  I'll do my best to make up for it next week.

Feb 26th and March 1st a bit of communication but still nothing is finished as promised. No roof or HVAC.

March 8th- the design in different formats and with some of the people and furniture stuff removed… but not complete.

I wrote on the 18th, 25th, April 1st.. Never heard from him again.

Now it is 9 months not 2-3 months as we had agreed and I have a 90% complete design.

We only got to the 2nd payment and the initial basic layout and specs were not completed. There is no roof or ventilation system in my incomplete design.

What we agreed would be delivered with the 3 payments was:

Building layout (considering the above 5 rooms in a building footprint of 70m2), basic structural design (to be reviewed by your own local structural engineer), isolation design, CR geometry, CR treatment, LR treatment, VB treatment, HVAC, and basic Bill of Materials.  

I did not even get half of what was agreed on for the price.

So now, I sit here with my local architect who has never built a studio and we do not have a roof or HVAC system. IT is clear that Stuart had intended to put the ventilation system above the kitchenette and the ducting and silencer boxes above the control room ceiling. ?  The roof in the live room appears to be about 4 meters.

I am way delayed in this project and very frustrated and let down by Stuart.  I know he does amazing work on this John Sayer Studio forum but this is clearly his highest priority in life and not satisfying customers. I love how wise he is but would never ever recommend anyone to pay him to do anything as you never have any idea when you might get it? IF there are a lot of posts on the forum, forget it as he will answer them all before he does anything for you… Pity..

I will have to go for advice somewhere else.
End of my story until I get my studio built—

Sorry Stuart but this was not my fault.. I tried to work with you and was insanely patient.


  1. Hi Scott,

    Please contact me on jakobdewittig(at) .. I Have also tried to reach you through gearslutz.

    All the best

  2. Hi Scott,

    As a former client of Stuart's I share your feelings....I went through a 4+ year ordeal. I just felt like your story deserved some validation from a second source. I hope you still find a way to reach your goals.


  3. Things are slow in Portugal so I don't even have an approved plan yet. Looks like we will start building this summer as approval is soon. Pity with Stuart. He is super knowledgable but just does not get the job done, sadly. I really liked the guy but he did not deliver as promised. Lost money.

  4. Here is the link to my thread from part of the project. If you look through, you can see instances of it...I terminated my relationship with Stuart once I reached a point where I could carry on without him. He locked the thread to block me from commenting about it as he is a site admin.

    Again, Good luck to you...

  5. Just stumbled upon this; I also tried to work with Stuart a while ago and it turned into a huge waste of time. I a huge correspondence saved, most of it emails/PMs from me that he didn't answer. I brought up several times that it was unacceptable, but when I finally did answer there was not a shred of apologetic tone or anything.

    I sent him a ton of information about the project, about the building I was going to use, various ideas of how I wanted things, and his answers were more or less like he had skimmed through the emails at best. An email later and he was asking me about things that I had already clearly informed him about.

    Luckily I managed to pull out quickly. He charged me $500, had first said it would take a while until he could get started but then said he could get started right away. Sent him the money, then didn't hear back from him for 6-7 weeks. Got a couple of more semi-confused emails after that, then nothing. I emailed him, no reply. Wrote to him on the John Sayers forum, nothing. I let it go after that. But I'll track him down one day.

  6. Just chiming in to say Stuart screwed me over as well, but thanks to Paypal I was able to get my money back. The ordeal pretty much killed my motivation to treat my room for at least a year though. I've only recently decided to give it another shot.
    It's all very perplexing - why would Stuart give out tonnes of free help to randoms on John Sayers/Gearslutz but the moment someone insists on paying him for his time, he takes their money and ghosts them?
    I feel like the admins of these forums should do something. I'm only now discovering just how many people have been messed around by Stuart, and it's going to keep happening unless something is done.

  7. Update: I see Stuart was booted off John Sayers around a year and a half ago, so there's that at least

  8. I think the word is getting out.... Sorry to hear about your experience.. One must move on..