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 to 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

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. Most recently, it was featured in the 2018 issue of Towson Lifestyle Magazine and the 2016 issue of Baltimore Style Magazine.

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 in 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 lent itself to 21st-century upgrades that changed the feel of a log-cabin to that of a homey resort.

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

803 Oella Ave., Ellicott City, MD 21043

About Brennan + Company Architects

Brennan + Company has been serving the Baltimore metro region for the last 28 years. The team has a dedication to historic preservation, sustainable architecture, community involvement, and healthy live and work environments. Rob Brennan, AIA, makes up the first half of the firm’s name. Brennan sits on the Board of Directors of AIA Baltimore itself, as well as the Friends of Druid Park, and holds a master’s degree in architecture from the University of Virginia. Alongside Brennan is Associate Principal Carri Beer, AIA, who acts as the co-chair of the AIA Baltimore Committee on the Environment. She is currently pursuing a certificate in Permaculture through Charm City Farms. Brennan + Company’s list of achievements includes an honorable mention in the 2008 Design Awards for the AIA, and holder of the Most Resilient Concept in the bMORE Resilient Competition. With its holistic and sustainable environments that provide healthy and efficient living, Brennan + Company has been featured in Baltimore Magazine, Chesapeake Home, and Home & Design.

Featured Projects

With the following designs, it is no hard feat to see why Brennan + Company is as decorated as it is today. The first example is its work on A House in A Garden. The home was a one-and-a-half-story bungalow before being transformed into a three-story Craftsman-style home. Though limited by a surrounding garden, the home is cozy and efficiently compact. In 2007, this home received the AIA Potomac Valley Residential Design Award. Alongside this home is the elegant Wood House. Previously a generic rancher, this home exhibits the firm’s resourcefulness. Using milled wood from the original home, the renovated home now creates a connection between the interior and the outdoors.

Foundry Architects

2701 N. Charles St. Suite. #100, Baltimore, MD 21218

About Foundry Architects

Foundry Architects may be a small, local architecture firm, but its establishment has led to the addition of a new firm that services residential, commercial, educational, or institutional clients. Over the years, the firm has created lasting relationships with trusted contractors, engineers, and craftspeople to complete projects like Gobo Run. A modern home that boasts an open floor plan that blurs the line between its interior and the wonderful views of the surrounding mountains. Alongside its aesthetic, the home also implements passive cooling Bementon electric grids. This home has been featured in Chesapeake Home + Design and was awarded the AIA Baltimore Residential Award.

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 Mobley Architecture’s work, which is known for being hand-crafted drawings by Mobley himself. Thanks to the firm’s portfolio of wonderful homes, it 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.

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 that 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. Another notable project Mobley Architecture has completed is a 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. In Baltimore County, Mark Mobley Architecture built another waterfront home along the Bird River. Compared to the other two projects, this home takes a more modern approach emphasizing tall, river-facing windows looking out onto the pier.

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 Blvd., Baltimore, MD 21244

About Mimar Ponte Mellor Architects & Engineers

Established in 1994, Mimar Ponte Mellor Architects & Engineers is a multi-disciplinary firm that operates across several markets including the housing, transportation, healthcare, and government sectors. Since its inception, it has been serving clients all over New York City, Washington DC, and Harrisburg. Over the years, this firm has been recognized as The Best in Bethesda for 2012 and 2015m and was featured in the 2012 and 2011 issues of Home & Design Magazine.

Though the firm has a large team full of highly qualified professionals, this firm’s achievements are also thanks to its current CEO and president, Kal Bhatti, AIA. A member of the NCARB, Bhatti is licensed as an architect in 10 different states and has three decades of industry experience.

Featured Projects

One of its most notable projects is the Pfeifle Residence. Featured in the 2007 issue of Washington Spaces Magazine, this 2,700 square foot home brings the California modern style to the East Coast in Vienna, VA. Designed to integrate green features, this home has a new, glass-enclosed wing that functions as a two-story bedroom with a vaulted ceiling, effectively doubling the home’s space. Outside, the home offers access to a multi-level outdoor room that is lined by a granite water feature with an infinity pond. Another eye-catching project is The Watergate South residence. The firm’s design transformed an awkwardly combined, two-unit space into something more livable. The rooms of the residence use contrast to great effect. While the kitchen plays with black and white colors, the living area fiddles with warm and cool palettes.

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 Ave., Baltimore, MD 21212

About Penza Bailey Architects

Live, Learn, Work, and Play. This slogan perfectly sums up Penza Bailey Architects’ presence in the architectural market. As a 39-year old firm, it has gathered enough experience to produce unique, accessible, financially viable, and environmentally friendly structures for residential homes and commercial facilities. Over the years, these projects have earned the firm several awards. These include the Award of Excellence from the Maryland Building Industry Association (MBIA), four Design awards from AIA Baltimore, and several Remodeling Awards of Excellence from the HBA of Maryland. Alongside such honors, the firm was also featured in a number of industry magazines such as Style, Baltimore Magazine, the Baltimore Sun, Coastal Living, Chesapeake Home, and Home & Design. Currently, the firm is led by three principals, Daniel L. Bailey, Jeffrey A. Penza, and Laura Thul Penza who are all AIA accredited professionals just like the rest of the team.

“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 19,000 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 practices his craft. Inside the estate is a 25-foot tall vaulted ceiling flanked by six fireplaces and grand views of the entire property. 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 Conservatory Home is also a wonderful project. Aimed to extend the surrounding green landscape into the home, the firm added a garden potting station and a book nook where the homeowner can enjoy great views.

Purple Cherry Architects

Cathy Purple Cherry

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

1 Melvin Ave., Annapolis, MD 21401

About Purple Cherry Architects

Cathy Purple Cherry is the principal of the Annapolis-based firm, and also the reason for its memorable name. A graduate of the Cocoran School of Art, University of Colorado, Boulder, and the University of Maryland, Cherry established Purple Cherry Architects in 1996 as a high-end residential architecture and interior design firm. Finding success under the principal, Purple Cherry Architects branched out and now has offices in Charlottesville, Middleburg, and Greenbrier, Virginia. Purple Cherry’s work has appeared in multiple publications, including Baltimore Style, the Baltimore Magazine, Annapolis Home, Home & Design, and What’s Up? Annapolis where it was named the Best Architect/Interior Design service of 2020. The firm has also won many other awards such as Home & Design Magazine’s 2018 Designer’s Choice Award, Annapolis Home Magazine’s 2018 Design Excellence Award for Historic remodel, Traditional Architecture, and Wine Cellar, and was even a national finalist for HGTV’s 2018 Faces of Design Award in the Waterside Retreats Category.

Featured Projects

Among the firm’s many wonderful projects dotting Washington, Maryland, and Virginia, its most notable one is the Aqua Terra home in Harness Creek—a spectacular 10,000 square foot, three-story contemporary home designed to embrace the views of Harness Creek and a neighboring vineyard. With an impressive selection of natural materials like a painted glass interior from Israel and a 27-foot chandelier from New York, this home boasts features like 16-foot fold-away glass wall that joins the kitchen and dining area with a large screened porch. Other features include a metal and wood floating staircase that connects each floor, an interior lap pool visible through a glass wall to the corridor, a glass-enclosed wine cellar, and a magnificent cube pool house with fire element.

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 its 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. Boasting over a combined 200 years of experience, Riley Custom Homes also has a team of professionals who are experienced in 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 its 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. Another notable project is the firm’s work on the 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.

SMP Architects

1100 Cathedral St., Baltimore, MD 21201

About SMP Architects

Since 1982, SMP Architects has designed restaurants, schools, laboratories, private clubs, and residences. Though these projects are from largely different markets, the firm is capable of crafting structures that exhibit a look that is as unique and distinctive as the firm’s clientele. A great example of its work is the Modern Residence. A residential project, it is a contemporary house crafted with raw and pure materials. Aside from an open floor plan that takes advantage of the stunning views overlooking a ravine, this home’s use of wood products in both structural and aesthetic details adds warmth to its modern interior. Projects like these have gained the firm features in publications like Baltimore Business Journal, Dezeen, and The Baltimore Sun. Currently, this firm is managed by company president Walter Schamu. Aside from his status as FAIA, Schamu is known for working on the firm’s historic, residential, religious, and club projects. He is also the founder of the Baltimore Architecture Foundation, and is famous for expertise in historic architecture.

SPIRE Architecture

Craig Martin
Kurt Shepard

Best of Annapolis Best Architect

121 Cathedral St. Suite #2A-3, Annapolis, MD 21401

About SPIRE Architecture

SPIRE Architecture 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 a 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 Architecture. Prior to SPIRE Architecture, Martin has worked with Marks Thomas Architects and Hord Coplan Macht—two established names in Baltimore architecture. With this gathered experience, 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 Architect 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. Another notable project is a new home priced between $1 million and $1.5 million in the Eastport area. A home that maximizes natural light and city views, this home’s design features viewing decks, a second-story library, and space to enjoy outdoor dining.

TailorCraft Builders, Inc.

Aaron Drummond
Rick Dyson

Maryland Building Industry Association Custom Home Builder of the Year

122 Clarence Ave., Severna Park, MD 21146

About TailorCraft Builders, Inc.

The two men behind TailorCraft are Aaron Drummond and Rick Dyson. Drummond received his MBA from Boston University and has been building homes for the last 10 years, while Dyson 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 its mission statement includes giving back to the community, and to that effect, the firm has 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 the MBIA is 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 does not 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. Another notable project is a new home in the Chesapeake Bay area. 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 molding.

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 St., Baltimore, MD 21201

About Ziger/Snead Architects

An architecture firm nationally praised for its reputation for design excellence, Ziger/Snead Architects has crafted designs for both the commercial and residential markets. Over the years, these projects have earned it over 100 local, state, national, and international awards for design excellence. Most recently, Baltimore Heritage awarded it the 2019 Restoration & Rehabilitation Preservation Award. In the same year, the Architizer A+ Awards named it a Finalist winner for its work on the Slate House. Alongside these awards, the firm has been featured in several publications including the Baltimore Sun, the Baltimore Business Journal, Baltimore Magazine, Home & Design, and Forbes. Ziger/Snead Architects is currently led by three partners—Steve Ziger, James A. Snead, and Douglas Bothner. Ziger is a graduate of the University of Illinois. Aside from this, he is also an NCARB certified architect affiliated with the 2018 AIA College of Fellows. Snead is also an AIA professional with over 30 years of experience as managing partner. Bothner meanwhile is an AIA professional known for his design approach which is rooted in deep appreciation of art, architectural history, and construction.

Featured Projects

This firm has several award-winning projects. But its work on the Slate House is its most memorable project. A contemporary retreat, this 7,000 square foot home was previously a late 60’s ranch-style home destroyed by a fire. Now with dark slate shingles that wrap the sides and roof as a protective shell, the home also features cathedral ceilings. To evoke the memories of the previous home, the new home has charred wood siding that cap the gable ends. Such materials contrast with the interior’s open and light-filled design. Aside from being a sustainable home, this residence has received numerous awards including AIA Maryland’s 2018 Honor Award and AIA Baltimore’s 2017 Honorable Mention. In 2019, this home was also named an Architizer A+ Awards Finalist.

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