A list of the most famous buildings in the city of Baltimore reveal a storied past that contains examples of every major architectural period of American history. As Baltimore grows, it maintains its historical roots while also keeping up with new architectural trends. Design-build firms who work to transform Baltimore allow clients a “one-stop shop” for their vision and are involved in the process from conception to execution. The firms listed below have helped homeowners reinvigorate their properties, and they all come with high reviews and recommendations from their diverse clientele.

Top Custom Home Builders

Winthorpe Design & Build

Scott Szeliga

Professional Remodeler Magazine America’s Top Remodeler

13050 Wainwright Road, Highland, MD 20777

About Winthorpe Design & Build

Scott Szeliga established Winthorpe Design & Build in 1988, servicing the Washington, DC metro area. The business expanded just two years later to include the entirety of the Baltimore Washington Corridor, and they began building custom homes soon after that. The firm takes into account aesthetics, possible gathering places, the need to adapt to a changing family, storage, and privacy issues when designing their homes. Named by Professional Remodeler Magazine as one of America’s Top Remodelers 2014, the firm also boasts a healthy amount of social capital; 80 percent of all the work they do comes from referrals. To that effect, Winthorpe has been given an A+ rating by the Better Business Bureau. Besides custom homes, Winthorpe also claims expertise in renovations, including whole home renovations, additions, kitchens, and bathrooms.

Featured Projects

In 2005, Winthorpe Design & Build completed the custom Taylor Residence in Annapolis, MD at the cost of $1.25M. The property is three stories tall and commands a striking figure on the hill it is built on. Stonework featured at the front of the house and the fireplace inside contribute to the elegant yet strong design of the home. The front of the property hides the sheer size of the home on its waterfront side. Several rooms, including the living room and a bathroom, enjoy second-story views of the body of water behind the home. Szeliga and his team are also responsible for the construction of a custom home in Howard County. The property will cost $1.49M, sitting on a lot size of a grand 10.2 acres. The homeowners will have five bedrooms and five-and-a-half bathrooms to play around with in this house situated in prime Maryland real estate. The central feature of the home’s floor plan is the rotunda, which serves as a central hub that leads into the other major sections of the house. Size is the name of the game here, and the home offers a lot of it, with a four-car garage plus walk-in closets for every bedroom.

Hart Design Build

Kenneth Hart

6700 Alexander Bell Drive, Suite 200, Columbia, MD 21046

About Hart Design Build

Hart Design Build has been around for the last 26 years and boasts a median project cost of $1.2M. The Columbia-based firm works along the Baltimore Washington Corridor, plus areas of Northern Virginia. Specifically within Charm City, Hart Design services Canton, Federal Hill, Fells Point, Highlandtown, Overlea, Park Heights, and Roland Park. Hart Design offers architecture, interior design, brand design, custom furnishings, and restoration alongside their design-build services. Their work can be found in the hospitality, commercial, and financial industries, as well as the residential. While the firm doesn’t have the largest presence on social media, the testimonials that can be found on their website are not without the gratitude of their former clients.

Featured Projects

For the hefty cost of $2M, Hart designed and constructed a new home in Baltimore County. The sprawling two-story home stands behind an expansive lawn. With a stone face on the outside and vaulted ceilings within, the project showcases Hart Design’s ability to create aesthetic homes. The home also features unique ironwork on the stair’s handrails and circular stationary windows for added light. Continuing the aesthetic trend is a $1.2M home also located in Baltimore County. The lower cost belies the elegant extravagance within the home, with its ample use of floor-to-ceiling windows, massive central kitchen island, black stone rear deck. The floor-to-ceiling brick around the fireplace mimics the exterior brick of the home, and soft browns, oranges, and greys tie reach room together in harmony.

Design Alternatives, Inc.

Michael Bowers

12420 Happy Hollow Road, Hunt Valley, MD 21030

About Design Alternatives, Inc.

Design Alternative has Michael Bowers as its leader, who embodies the varied landscape of Baltimore city with the claim that the firm can “do everything from Contemporary to Old World.” The design-build firm has over 40 years of experience to draw upon when working with its clientele. Reviews of Bowers describe him as attentive, organized, and on point with timely delivery. The owner of Design Alternative also hires contractors personally, some of whom have been working with him for decades. While Bowers’ designs might not be the most extravagant, it’s the personal experience that seems to resonate with his clients.

Featured Projects

There are three homes featured in Design Alternative’s portfolio that were designed and constructed by the firm. The first is a modern property called Hillspoint. With its sleek lines and bold shapes, the residence could double as an office space if it wanted to. The space utilizes tall windows to bring in the natural light, and allows views to the pool situated in the backyard. On the other hand, the house dubbed “Happy Hollow” goes back to basics and takes a more country-living style approach to its interior. Wooden paneling dominates the walls, the interior pillars, and the staircase, giving the space a comfortable yet sophisticated feel. Finally, there is the Geist, a simple yet well-built farmhouse with a large exterior entryway, a three-car garage, and an added pool house.

Bement & Sons Construction Inc.

W. Martin Bement

326 S Broadway, Baltimore, MD 21231

About Bement & Sons Construction Inc.

The president and stockholder of this design-build firm is W. Martin Bement, who founded Bement & Sons in Baltimore City in 1991. Over the past 25 years, Bement & Sons has served the Baltimore Metro Area in home building, whether or not the client already has plans in hand. Bement & Sons is a member of the National Association of Home Builders of Maryland. They specialized in high-end traditional houses and also offer services in renovation, addition, and historic restoration.

Featured Projects

Located on the former site of a golf course is the French Chateau-inspired luxury home built by Bement & Sons at 12232 Worthington Road. The custom home sits on 1.3 acres of land, with the property proper featuring five bedrooms, four full baths, two half-baths, and a three-car garage. The classical European design states the elegance of the exterior of the building, but the interior is wholly modern. You can find custom cabinets in the kitchen, a gas fireplace in the living room, and a marble soaking tub in the master bathroom. Behind the house is a 40-acre nature conservancy. Bement & Sons has also constructed a European Traditional-style custom home in Pikesville, MD. The two-story, red brick-faced home is notable for its custom kitchen and bathrooms, custom French doors, custom fireplace, and indoor/outdoor deck with floor-to-ceiling windows.

Parker Design | Build | Remodel

Chris Parker

6621 Loch Hill Road, Baltimore, MD 21239

About Parker Design | Build | Remodel

Parker’s slogan is “Your Journey to a Better Home.” Chris Parker and his team seem to be worthwhile companions on that journey. The owner and president of the firm has 15 years of industry experience under his belt, starting his career as a carpenter’s helper. Learning about client communication, the leveraging of technology, and project management techniques along the way has contributed to the vision of the company. Parker Design is recognized by the Maryland Home Builder Registration, the National Kitchen & Bath Association, and the Maryland Home Improvement Commission. The Better Business Bureau has given Parker Design an A+ rating as well. Helpful resources for homeowners and hopeful renovators, as well as an informative blog, can be found on the Parker Design website, showcasing their desire to make the process as pain-free for the client as possible.

Featured Projects

Parker Design’s work in Lutherville includes a two-story home that was given a complete remodel in just four weeks. The process included giving the home a facelift with new windows and doors, trim, and flooring; installing a new kitchen; and remodeling the bedrooms and bathrooms. The seemingly daunting task, as seen in the before and after pictures, was completed by the Parker team without going over the budget or going past the due date. The team also worked on an Annapolis cottage for a Maryland couple. When presented with restrictive zoning laws, and unable to expand out for a client who wanted more space, the firm found a solution by building up. What used to be a one bedroom, one bathroom home, now has four bedrooms, three bathrooms, and a spectacular view.

Goodier Builders

Clay Goodier
Dan Goodier

100 West Pennsylvania Avenue, Suite 301, Towson, MD 21204

About Goodier Builders

The presidents of Goodier Builders are Clay Goodier — in charge of home building, and Dan Goodier — in charge of the firm’s commercial business unit. Clay possesses a Master of Science in Real Estate from Johns Hopkins, a Bachelor of Arts in Economics from Vanderbilt University, and is also involved with the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation. In fact, Clay was honored with a 35 Under 35 Award from the foundation. Dn also graduated from Vanderbilt University, and while working with Jones Land LaSalle, he serviced the real estate needs of big names like Sprint and Microsoft. He is Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) accredited and is actively involved in the Urban Land Institute. The two are counseled by their father Bob, who founded the firm in 1985 and built his thousandth home by 2000. Not only does the family firm design and build homes, but they also practice humanitarian efforts. In the last five years alone, they have raised over $100k for charity.

Featured Projects

Making its first appearance on this list, the Charm City neighborhood of Ruxton is home to the Brightside. This custom home has a living area of 7,700 square feet, including a finished basement. The front of the house is set with an attractive auburn array of brick and stone, complemented by landscaping. The Brightside also contains a three-door garage. The Watkins Bridge III in Clarksville steps away from the traditional and introduces an angular modern design for Goodier’s portfolio. The increasing sizes on the side windows create a unique effect that makes the property stand out. Within, the homeowners will be struck by the interesting light fixture choices, as well as the winding staircase.

Turner Troxell, Inc.

Douglas S. Turner

1102 East Joppa Road, Towson, MD 21286

About Turner Troxell, Inc.

Prospective clients of this Towson-based design-build architectural firm will be speaking with Douglas S. Turner with their home building inquiries. The president of Turner Troxell, Inc., who describes his team as obsessive problem solvers, worked for 15 years with another Baltimore-region construction firm before founding his own company. While Turner Troxell also design-builds for clients who have businesses and churches to construct, Turner states that he loves working with homeowners and turning their vision into a livable space. The shining reviews from previous clients stand as testament to that. The team at Turner Troxell regularly update their Facebook and Instagram pages, where pictures of their work — often including the before and after — and their interaction with their clientele speak for itself. Turner Troxell also provides basement, kitchen, and bathroom remodeling, home additions and extensions, and general contracting.

Featured Projects

Just last year, Turner Troxell helped a family in the Stoneleigh community completely remodel their home, costing between $150k and $200k. Besides a new kitchen, bathroom, and living room, the team also converted the basement of the home into an apartment for the owner’s mother. To solve the lack of natural light, Turner Troxell dug out a window to brighten up the place. The work done for the Cootauco family in Baltimore County demonstrates design that caters to the client who orders it. Turner and team built the Hampton-community family an entirely new home, which doubled the original living space they had previously occupied. Besides the expansion, a deluxe master suite and bath and a much more expansive dining room were installed for the growing family. Finally, with a design that is characteristically in that Mid-Atlantic style, Turner Troxell offered their work on the Roberts residence in Baltimore city. Renovation was completed on over two-thirds of the original home, and a second and third floor were added to the property.

Owings Brothers Contracting

Michael Owings
Wallace Owings
Chris Owings
Timothy Owings

The Remodelers Council of the Maryland Building Industry Association Award of Excellence,
Maryland Building Industry Association Award of Excellence

1912 Liberty Road, Eldersburg, MD 21784

About Owings Brothers Contracting

The Owings Brothers really got their start in architecture when they were taught by their father, a retired steelworker, at an early age how to help remodel their family home. The owners of the company include family members Michael, Wallace, Chris, and Timothy Owings, who have taken their father’s lessons and transformed them into Owings Brothers Contracting. Since its founding, Owings Brothers has been recognized as one of Baltimore Magazine’s Best of Baltimore 2013 and one of Remodeling’s Big50. Their design-build and remodeling services have brought them north to Baltimore County, south to Anne Arundel County, and everywhere in between. The brothers maintain a regular presence on their social media channels.

Featured Projects

This custom, Cape Cod-style home in Carroll County was designed and built by the Owings Brothers for a family who contracted them. The finished product has three bedrooms, two full baths, a finished basement, and a two-car garage. In the house’s design, the Owings included built-in pantries in the kitchen, first floor living for a couple who wanted to age in place, and a fire pit in the backyard to complement the view from the top of the hill. The property exemplifies Owings Brothers’ client-focused design approach. Expanding upon that spirit is the Baltimore home the firm remodeled to accommodate a young couple who had just welcomed twins into their family. One of the most important design elements was the transformed laundry room, with a washer and dryer directly in front of a large window for ample light, and with plentiful storage on either side, including upper and lower cabinetry and a wide countertop. Owings brothers also completely transformed the kitchen and added custom-made cubbies to the main living area.

Penza Bailey Architects

Daniel L. Bailey
Jeffrey A. Penza
Laura Thul Penza

Maryland Building Industry Association Award of Excellence,
AIA Baltimore Design Awards,
Home Builders Association of Maryland Remodeling Awards of Excellence

401 Woodbourne Avenue, Baltimore, MD 21212

About Penza Bailey Architects

Spearheaded by Daniel L. Bailey, AIA, Jeffrey A. Penza, AIA, LEED AP, and Laura Thul Penza, AIA, LEED Advanced Professional certified in Building Design and Construction (LEED AP BD+C), this award-winning, Baltimore-based firm got its start in 1980. Supported by a team that is also American Institute of Architects (AIA) certified, Penza Bailey’s broad expertise includes commercial, historic preservation, Americans with Disabilities compliancy, and custom single-family residential design. The firm has been featured in Style Magazine, Chesapeake Home, Baltimore Magazine, the Baltimore Sunpaper, Coastal Living, and the famous Home & Garden magazine for their work and architectural insight. On top of that, they have also been awarded multiple times in their 30-year history by AIA Baltimore, the Home Builders Association of Maryland, the Maryland Building Industry Association, and even the U.S. Air Force. With a resume that includes a resort built in the English territory of Anguilla in the Caribbean, Penza Bailey’s talent definitely has reach outside of Charm City.

“We have been fortunate to have worked with many wonderful clients, and perhaps our greatest accomplishments as architects is to have earned the trust and respect of many clients from whom we have designed spatial solutions, enabling for them more rewarding lifestyles at work or at home. Many clients have expressed their amazement at the vision and design capability we brought to their project – bringing their dreams to reality beyond their expectations.” – Jeffrey Penza, AIA

Featured Projects

Located in the premier neighborhood of Ruxton, Penza Bailey’s Old World home is a massive, single-family home built in the homegrown American Shingle style. A swimming pool sits near the shade of the bordering forest on one side, and a rolling driveway curves up and around the front of the property on the other. If that weren’t enough, featured on top of the house is a rooftop terrace with accompanying widow’s walk, built so the homeowner could enjoy the view. The tall windows of the Magothy Second Home take advantage of the property’s waterfront quality. The location used to house four separate lots, but the existing buildings were demolished in favor of this impressive building. Glass walls provide a views of the water, and the post and beam construction of the interior space adds rustic charm.

Zander Homes

Alex Trakhtman

10829 Falls Road, Lutherville, MD 21136

About Zander Homes

Zander Homes construct homes in a number of the most premier neighborhoods in the “city of neighborhoods.” The company’s website lists Ruxton, Roland Park, Federal Hill, Canton, and Fells Point as possible build sites. With some of the most attractive locales for the recent influx of young professionals moving into the city, it’s easy to see why Zander is at the top of this list. Zander’s energy-efficient building decisions and usage of environmentally friendly elements like water recirculation systems characterize the firm as forward-thinking architects. Their 8-Step Process of building a custom home helps prospective clients take that first step. The team is licensed by both the Maryland Home Improvement Committee and National Association of Home Builders. Zander offers additions, renovations, site work and development, and construction management, along with new home construction.

Featured Projects

After reading about their seven benefits of creating a custom design for a new home, you are able to browse through a gallery of the custom homes Zander has created for past clients. From the pictures alone, it can be noted that their designs don’t come from some cookie-cutter template. They both fit in with the surrounding area and stand out at the same time. Their French Country custom-built home in Timonium has a two-level pool in the backyard, a living area with vaulted ceilings and an overlooking mezzanine, and a dedicated wine cellar. The Colonial home in Carroll County has a more traditional facade and welcomes its homeowner with a striking red door. Inside, four bedrooms and two-and-a-half bathrooms can be found. The project itself cost between $200k and $500k and was completed just last year.

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