Baltimore is trying to soar past its industrial origins and transform into a modern city. It fits, then, that the architects who work in the greater Baltimore metro region are able to utilize forward-thinking design choices. The following list ranks the best of those architects who specialize in building homes for the people of Charm City. These firms range from those with the greatest experience in the Mid-Atlantic city, those who command the highest prices on the market, and those who work with the environment in the design of their homes. They may have been recognized and awarded for their designs, but the resulting homes speak for themselves.

This list includes both licensed architects and residential designers who can both design stunning homes but differ in other services offered. Architects are trained in design, engineering, and project management and have passed a licensing exam. Residential designers typically don’t manage projects and plans will need to be approved by a structural engineer. Whether you choose to hire an architect or a residential designer will depend on your project needs and complexity.

Top Architects

TailorCraft Builders, Inc.

Aaron Drummond
Rick Dyson

Maryland Building Industry Association Custom Home Builder of the Year

122 Clarence Avenue, Severna Park, MD 21146

About TailorCraft Builders, Inc.

The two men behind TailorCraft are Aaron Drummond and Rick Dyson. The former received his MBA from Boston University and has been building homes for the last 10 years, while the latter is a Baltimore native with four decades of experience. TailorCraft Builders was named a Maryland Custom Home Builder of the Year in the 3,500 to 5,000 Square Feet Category in 2015 by the Maryland Building Industry Association (MBIA). Part of their mission statement includes giving back to the community, and to that effect, they have worked with Homes for Our Troops and the Wounded Warrior Project.

Featured Projects

The house that won the aforementioned Custom Home Builder Gold Award from MBIA was a waterfront property in Annapolis on Lake Ogleton. The home has a full three stories with a deck stretching across the second floor. TailorCraft Builders designed a home that brings in the natural light and bounces it off the white walls. Striking light fixtures hang from the ceiling where the light doesn’t reach. The kitchen and dining area is an open space that would be suitable for entertaining, featuring the fireplace just behind the table. Hardwood floors are present throughout the space. Earlier this year, Drummond and Dyson completed the construction of a new home in Chesapeake Bay. The home features more of TailorCraft Builders’ trademark bright, simple, yet classic style. The home features rounded doorways and indoor columns that accent the sleek crown moulding.

Riley Custom Homes & Renovations

John Riley

Annapolis Home Magazine “Star Power,”
Capital Newspaper Home of the Week,
Chesapeake Home and Living “Maritime Modern”

202 Legion Avenue, Suite 4, Annapolis, MD 21401

About Riley Custom Homes & Renovations

The work of Riley Custom Homes has decorated the pages of Home & Design, Annapolis Home Magazine, and Chesapeake Home & Living. The firm has also been featured in the Capital Newspaper, where their Barish Beach project in Twin Harbors was honored as a Home of the Week. The firm’s president, John Riley, has been a part of the home building industry for 45 years, first stepping foot into the work as a teenager. Together with the rest of team, boasting over a combined 200 years of experience, Riley Custom Homes offers general contracting, green building, sustainable design, and handicap-accessible design to the greater Baltimore region.

Featured Projects

The most impressive home in Riley Custom Home’s portfolio is their three-story property on the Severn River in Annapolis. The exterior creates an impressive impression with its stonework, tall windows, and generous second-floor deck. Inside, the main star of the show is the kitchen. It features an open floor plan that separates rooms with arched entryways. Everything about the home exudes luxury, from the den dressed all in wood to the walk-in showers to the stone fireplace in the living room. Another project completed by Riley Custom Home is the Maidstone Farm. This two-story waterfront home has dual fireplaces, a combined kitchen and living area perfect for entertaining, high ceilings, and a pool out back. Also notable is the firm’s Millersville Horse Farm, with its unique round windows and pointed spires. Where the previous property emphasized strong lines, the Horse Farm uses circles as a motif.

Mark Mobley Architecture

Mark C. Mobley

Remodeling Council of the Home Builders Association of Maryland Award of Excellence

5115 Roland Avenue, Suite C, Baltimore, MD 21210

About Mark Mobley Architecture

Mark C. Mobley, a member of the American Institute of Architects (AIA), is the principal of the firm he founded in 1993. The architect was educated at Virginia Tech’s College of Architectural and Urban Designs and is a current member of the AIA. His work isn’t restricted to building homes in the Baltimore area. Mobley has also taught at the Maryland Institute College of Art. This level of expertise shines through in Mobley Architecture’s work. The firm has received the Award of Excellence six times and the Silver Merit Award twice by the Remodeling Council of the Home Builders Association of Maryland. Mobley has also been featured in the Baltimore Sun, the Baltimore Magazine, Chesapeake Home, Coastal Living, and Style. Mobley’s usage of hand-crafted drawings for the firm’s designs is a point of pride.

Featured Projects

The firm’s two-story affair in Jarrettsville is a brightly colored home constructed in the American style. Columns support the front-facing porch, which looks out onto a sizable front yard. The inside is home to more columns to mirror the exterior, this time holding up the open floor plan. Mobley Architecture’s next offering is this raised home on the waterfront in Bowleys Quarters. While its owners will be able to enjoy the view of the creek from the second-floor deck, a grander view awaits them at the widow’s walk on top of the home. Mobley built another waterfront home in eastern Baltimore County, this time along the Bird River. Compared to the other two projects listed here, this home takes a more modern approach emphasizing tall, river-facing windows looking out onto the pier.

SPIRE Architecture

Craig Martin
Kurt Shepard

Best of Annapolis Best Architect

121 Cathedral Street, Suite 2B, Annapolis, MD 21401

About SPIRE Architecture

SPIRE was the result of Martin Architecture Guild and KCS Architects joining together to create a firm with three decades of combined architectural experience. Craig Martin, AIA, who is an Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design Advanced Professional certified in Building Design and Construction (LEED AP BD&C), is the first of two partners heading SPIRE. He has had experience working with Marks, Thomas Architects, and Hord Coplan Macht, two established names in Baltimore architecture. Under him, the Martin Architecture Guild designed five local Homes of the Week in the Annapolis region. Martin has also been on a number of service related projects, including the construction of an orphanage building in Kenya in 2011 and a mission trip to Haiti in 2012. Kurt Shepard, R.A., formerly of KCS Architects before the partnership, is also an adjunct professor at Anne Arundel Community College. The firm was named Best Architect in Best of Annapolis 2017 and received the Best Home Design Award in 2014.

Featured Projects

In 2014, SPIRE completed an Artist’s Retreat for a professional family of artists living in Annapolis. The client expressed a need for an expanded studio space, not only to produce work but also to teach students. What started as a tool shed was transformed with the addition of a second floor studio and a first floor deck space. The property includes an Asian-inspired garden path complete with stone lanterns. One of the firm’s current projects is a new home being constructed for homeowners moving to the Eastport area. The project will end up costing between $1M and $1.5M. There is an existing structure in the space, but it has been damaged by fire and weather. SPIRE plans to maximize the potential for natural light and city views. The new design will feature viewing decks, a second-story library, and space to enjoy outdoor dining.

Mimar Ponte Mellor Architects & Engineers

Kal Bhatti
George Tehan
Rui A. Ponte

Baltimore Business Journal Top Minority Business,
Greater Baltimore Committee Achievement Award

7004 Security Boulevard, Baltimore, MD 21244

About Mimar Ponte Mellor Architects & Engineers

Mimar Architects is a multi-disciplinary, MBE- and DBE- certified firm that operates across several markets besides housing, including transportation, healthcare, and government. The firm was established in 1994 and has been building its expertise base over the last two decades, expanding to New York City, Washington, DC, and Harrisburg. Mimar Architects’ CEO and President is Kal Bhatti, AIA, who is a member of the National Council of Architectural Registration Boards (NCARB). He is licensed as an architect in 10 different states and has three decades of experience. Leading with Bhatti is George Tehan, AIA, NCARB, LEED AP, who is the CEO and Architect-in-Charge, and Rui A. Ponte, AIA, LEED AP, an award-winning architect. The Baltimore Business Journal recognized Mimar Architects as one of the city’s Top Minority Businesses in 2006. The firm has been a recipient of the Achievement Award from the Greater Baltimore Committee twice and has been named one of the Best in Bethesda twice.

Featured Projects

The DC Branch of Mimar Architects constructed the Pfeifle Residence, which would later be featured in Washington Spaces Magazine in 2007. The 2,700-square-foot home brings the California modern style to the East Coast in Vienna, VA. The home is designed to be integrated with the green environs, with the addition of a new wing effectively doubling the space of the home. The new wing is a glass-enclosed, two-story bedroom with a vaulted ceiling. Outside, the homeowners can access a multi-level outdoor room, lined by a granite water feature with an infinity pond. The Watergate South residence is also located in the nation’s capital. Mimar Architects was hired to complete the renovation of a 2,850-square-foot apartment. Mimar Architects’ design transformed an awkwardly combined, two-unit space into something more livable. The rooms of the residence use contrast to great effect, including black and white in the kitchen and cool colors against warm in the living area.

2e Architects

Peter Twohy

7604 York Road, Suite B, Towson, MD 21204

About 2e Architects

There are three things that every 2e Architects project has in common: The finished home is beautiful, the flow of the project is meticulously considered, and the clients served are satisfied with the result. So claims Peter Twohy, the architect behind the firm. He received his Bachelor of Architecture from the University of Notre Dame in 1988. Two years later he moved to Germany to work as a lead designer for Diniaware Architects in Königstein. His professional journey finally landed him in Baltimore, where he founded 2e Architects in 2005. The firm has been featured in Style Magazine, Baltimore Magazine, Baltimore Style, Architect News, and Chesapeake Home several times and uses 3D modeling renderings.

Featured Projects

The home that got 2e Architecture featured in Chesapeake Home & Living in 2014 is a rustic contemporary, net-zero home, meaning that the energy expenditure of the home is equal to the amount of green energy it creates. To achieve this qualification, Twohy installed energy efficient windows from Europe and utilized cell spray insulation. The home also takes advantage of solar power, absorbing heat from the exposed concrete floor. Twohy even claims that most months the meter runs backwards. The home itself more than passes the ‘beautiful’ requirement for a 2e Architecture project, with its striking outline. The rest of 2e Architecture’s portfolio showcases a talent for transformation. For Jonathan and Valerie’s home, Twohy was able to create a modern structure out of a 1980s contemporary husk. The high ceilings and open floor plan lended itself to 21st century upgrades that changed the log-cabiny feel to one of a homey resort.

Purple Cherry Architects

Cathy Purple Cherry

Baltimore SMARTCEO Brava Award,
Home & Design Designer’s Choice Award Local Traditional Architecture

1 Melvin Avenue, Annapolis, MD 21401

About Purple Cherry Architects

Cathy Purple Cherry is the figurehead of the Annapolis-based firm, and also the reason for its memorable name. Cherry is a graduate of the Cocoran School of Art, University of Colorado, Boulder, and the University of Maryland. She established the company in 1996 as a high-end residential architecture firm. Finding success under the principal, Purple Cherry opened a second location in Charlottesville, VA just last year. Purple Cherry’s work has appeared in multiple publications, including Baltimore Style, the Baltimore Magazine, Annapolis Home, Home & Design, and What’s Up? Annapolis. In the latter magazine, Purple Cherry was named the Best of Annapolis Home Designer in 2016. Other accolades include the Brava Award from Baltimore SMARTCEO in 2016 and the Designer’s Choice Award in Local Traditional Architecture from Home & Design in 2017.

Featured Projects

Purple Cherry’s portfolio includes the impressive Aberdeen Creek property, which cost $2M to create. The home combines the aesthetic of shingle-style seaside with the functionality of a Maryland farmhouse and produces a 14k-square-foot, four-story residence. The main floor includes a great room with a stone fireplace and open kitchen, a formal dining room, a butler’s pantry, a mudroom, and a heart pine paneled office. The sitting room is witness to a 180-degree view of Aberdeen Creek. The property also includes a pool room that acts as a large gathering place. The waterfront residence on Harness Creek, nicknamed “Aqua Terra,” is slightly smaller, standing at three stories with a living space of 10k square feet. The home enjoys views of the neighboring vineyard as well as the aforementioned creek. A floating metal and wood staircase connects each floor. Glass is the name of the game here, with the glass cube pool house and the glass enclosed wine cellar.

brennan+company architects

Rob Brennan, AIA
Carri Beer, AIA
Lili Mundroff, Assoc AIA

AIA Baltimore Design Honorable Mention Award (2)
AIA PV/Maryland Life Magazine Design Honor Award
AIA Maryland Design Citation Award
bMORE Resilient Competition Most Resilient Concept
COTY/NARI DC Metro Chapter Merit Award
Remodelor’s Council Award of Excellence

8333 Main Street, Second Floor, Ellicott City, MD 21043

About brennan+company architects

Brennan + Company has been serving the Baltimore region for the last 31 years. The team is dedicated to historic preservation, sustainable architecture, community involvement and healthy live and work environments. Rob Brennan, AIA, has a Master of Architecture and a Certificate in Historic Preservation from the University of Virginia and sits on the Board of Directors of the Baltimore Architecture Foundation and Preservation Maryland. He is also Chair of the Baltimore County Landmarks Preservation Commission. Associate Principal Carri Beer, AIA is the past co-chair of the AIA Baltimore Committee on the Environment and current President of the Catonsville Cooperative Market. She has recently earned a Certificate in Permaculture through Charm City Farms. Brennan + Company’s list of achievements includes honor, citation and honorable mentions in the AIA Design Awards programs. Ms. Beer has been recognized for designing the Most Resilient Concept in the bMORE Resilient Competition. Brennan + Company’s projects have been featured in in Baltimore, Chesapeake Home, Washingtonian and New York Times magazines. Home & Design Portfolio and houzz have awarded the firm with visibility on their respective media platforms.

Featured Projects

Brennan + Company design work is recognized as transformational. The first example is their house in a garden. What used to be a one-and-a-half story bungalow was transformed into a three-story Craftsman-style home. The firm took the space, limited by the surrounding garden, and built up to create a cozy home that is efficiently compact. Similarly, Brennan + Company was able to transform a mid-century modern house into an elegant wood home. As evidence of the team’s resourcefulness, wood from the original house was repurposed and used in the renovation. The end result creates a connection between the space inside and the outdoors.

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

Penza Bailey’s presence in the architectural market is summed up by their slogan of Live (residential), Learn (education), Work (healthcare, office), and Play (attractions, retail). Their goal as an organization is to find architectural solutions that are contextually appropriate, universally accessible, environmentally responsible, and financially viable. To that end, they are led by three principals: Daniel L. Bailey, AIA; Jeffrey A. Penza, AIA, LEED AP; and Laura Thul Penza, AIA LEED AP BD+C. The rest of the team of seasoned professionals includes a number of AIA, LEED Accredited Professionals. Penza Bailey has received an Award of Excellence from the Maryland Building Industry Association (MBIA), four Design Awards from AIA Baltimore across three decades, and several Home Builders Association of Maryland Remodeling Awards of Excellence. The firm has been featured in Style, Baltimore Magazine, the Baltimore Sun, Coastal Living, Chesapeake Home, and Home & Design.

“The most effective spaces for living are those that reflect the personality of the owner. I look for something, no matter how small or how quirky, that will individualize a space and make the owner smile inside.” – Jeffrey Penza, AIA

Featured Projects

The Woodcrafter’s Estate is a 19k-square-foot dream home located in Timonium. The completed project includes a four-car attached garage, a three-car detached garage, and a 1,500-square-foot woodshop where the homeowner practiced his craft. Inside the estate is a 25-foot tall vaulted ceiling, flanked by six fireplaces and grand views of the entire property. In order to maximize the amount of natural light, Penza Bailey constructed numerous sun studies of the house to find the best way to orient spaces. For clients who were also avid gardeners, the firm built the Conservatory Home. Penza Bailey aimed to extend the surrounding green landscape into the home, an effect achieved by the addition of a garden potting station and a book nook with green views.

Ziger/Snead Architects

Steve Ziger, James A. Snead, Douglas Bothner

AIA Baltimore Design Award,
Baltimore Design + Construction Reconstruction Awards Honorable Mention,
USGBC Maryland Chapter Special Recognition Award

1006 Morton Street, Baltimore, MD 21201

About Ziger/Snead Architects

Similar to the previous firm on this list, Ziger/Snead is led by three partners. Steve Ziger, AIA, received his B.S. in Architecture from the University of Illinois. Besides his contributions to the industry, Ziger’s involvement includes being Gala Co-Chair of the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra in 2016, a trustee of the Baltimore Museum of Art from 2006 to 2010, and the former president of the Contemporary Museum from 1997 to 2002. James A. Snead, AIA, received his Master in Architecture from Virginia Tech. Finally, Douglas Bothner, AIA, LEED AP was granted his master in the field from the Yale University School of Architecture. Ziger/Snead has received both the Grand Design Award and the Design Award from AIA Baltimore for their work on the Baltimore Museum of Art. The firm has gone on to be covered in the Baltimore Sun, the Baltimore Business Journal, Baltimore Magazine, Home & Design, and Forbes.

Featured Projects

Both of the residential projects listed here are award-winning, sustainable homes. The first is the Woodvalley House, located in Pikesville with Snead and Bothner themselves on the design team. The contemporary, private retreat is spread out over an area of 6,000 square feet, features three bedrooms, two-and-a-half bathrooms, and an open floor plan. Even though the team did not seek LEED certification with this project, design choices were implemented to promote energy efficiency. The design won the Ziger/Snead the 2008 Merit Award from AIA Maryland, plus the 2008 Design and Residential Design Awards from AIA Baltimore. The home was also covered in Baltimore Style. Following the efficient, nature-integrated style of the Woodvalley House is the River House in Jamaica, VA. This space is smaller at 3,500 square feet, but it still boasts three bedrooms and four-and-a-half bathrooms. The design team, which included Ziger and Bothner, accomplished the construction of a house which needed no artificial lighting during daylight hours. The River House was awarded in 2009 by AIA Maryland and in 2008 by AIA Baltimore. It was also featured in Baltimore Style.

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