Overview

Look no further than Boston’s North End for architecture dating back more than a century; the oldest home in the city belonged to Paul Revere, and it’s still standing. Not far from there Boston’s city-dwellers have access to sky-high apartments. A penthouse near the Common just hit the market for $16M. For a summer retreat or a year-round oasis, one might look to Cape Cod and Cape Ann for a seaside abode. The architects on our list have mastered creating homes in any and all of those styles for Boston’s diverse clients.
 

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 in Boston

Albert, Righter & Tittman (ART) Architects

Principals:
Jim Righter
Jacob Albert
John Tittmann

Awards:
New England Home Design Hall of Fame Firm Award,
Boston Home Magazine Best Traditional Architect,
Prism Silver Award for Best Detached Home

Address:
262 Washington Street, Boston MA 02108

About Albert, Righter & Tittman (ART) Architects

Jim Righter is a graduate of the prestigious Yale School of Architecture and went on to become a professor there. Jacob Albert was his student. John Tittman also passed through Yale’s doors before establishing his own eponymous venture in Boston in 1991. Five years later, the three successful designers partnered to form Albert, Righter & Tittman (ART) Architects. Custom Builder, New Old House, and Period Homes have taken notice of Art Architects residential designs throughout Boston and in the coastal areas of Maine, New York, and Connecticut. A recipient of the New England Home Design Hall of Fame Firm Award, ART Architects has also been honored with the title of Best Traditional Architect from Boston Home Magazine and received a Prism Silver Award for Best Detached Home, among other accolades.

Featured Projects

Fine Homebuilding profiled ART Architects’ distinctive redesign of a Boston townhouse. Known as the Puzzle House, the project began with a three-foot excavation to restore original wood pilings. The design called for the brick and concrete foundation to be left exposed. The lower level now houses a rock garden primed for raking. A round, wood platform stands over it like a low dock, bridging one tranquil space with another — a tatami mat room behind screen panels. Up the oak timber stairs — framed by a rail of maple and galvanized steel — living spaces unfold in an array of shapes that appear haphazard but were meticulously planned by the firm. ART Architects earned a Grand Award from the Custom Home Design Awards for a more traditional project — a hillside farmhouse. One of the home’s notable features is its well-proportioned entryway, adorned with wrought-iron light fixtures attached to its vaulted ceiling. The choice of finish nods at the foyer’s connections to the outdoor courtyard and garden.

Brown Fenollosa Architects

Principals:
Zeke Brown
John Fenollosa

Address:
197 Broadway, Arlington, MA 02474

About Brown Fenollosa Architects

Zeke Brown and John Fenollosa, both graduates of the Harvard University Graduate School of Design, founded Brown Fenollosa Architects in 2006. After obtaining his degree and returning to Boston Fenollosa spent time with a New York City firm, where he drew up designs for high-profile clients, such as actors Steve Martin and Robert De Niro. Brown honed his skills working with the Boston practices Leers Weinzapfel Associates and Kyu Sung Woo Architect. Together, with their small team, the partners have designed homes and commercial projects in Boston and its suburbs, Cape Cod, the Berkshires, Vermont, and New York City. Architectural Digest, Boston.com, and Eater have featured Brown Fenollosa Architects’s designs.

Featured Projects

Brown Fenollosa Architects converted a historic, Union Park brownstone into a sprawling abode for a single-family. The structure had been carved into multiple units. The designers pulled down the original room partitions to create a contemporary, open floor plan. Floor-to-ceiling glazing along the double-height living room opens the home to the rear garden. Exposed brick, natural wood railing, and concrete bath fixtures contrast the craftsman aesthetic with the modern context. The firm also designed the complete renovation of a Berkshires escape. The Strawberry Hill House is a 5,000-square-foot home in Stockbridge. The front façade remained consistent with other properties in the neighborhood; the rear was opened up with windows and sliding doors that bind the home to a stone patio and its green surroundings. The rooms retain a traditional charm with warm wood floors and white casings, but clean marble finishes in the kitchen and baths bring a modern touch to each room.

Catalano Architects

Principals:
Thomas P. Catalano

Awards:
Institute of Classical Architecture & Art New England Bulfinch Awards,
Trends, Home & Architectural Top 50 American Homes

Address:
115 Broad Street, Second Floor, Boston, MA 02110

About Catalano Architects

The New England Chapter of the Institute of Classical Architecture & Art has awarded Catalano Architects multiple Bulfinch Awards for their residential designs. Founded in 1987, the firm is a 20-strong team of designers and staffers. Together they have been inducted into the New England Home Hall of Fame and listed as a Top 50 American Home by Home and Architectural Trends. Principal and founder Thomas P. Catalano, AIA, studied architecture at the Rhode Island School of Design before beginning a career with an accomplished Boston firm. The work he has done with Catalano Architects has drawn coverage from The New York Times Magazine, The Boston Globe, Ocean Home, Luxury Home Quarterly, Design New England, Beautiful Homes, and House Beautiful.

Featured Projects

A Wellesley home originally designed by architect Royal Barry Wills benefited from two renovations by Catalano Architects. First, the firm redesigned the kitchen and dining spaces, as well as the south-facing terraces. The west end of the house was completely reworked to house a garage, family room, and master suite. The team followed up with an addition to the east wing. The new square-footage encompasses a guest suite and a two-story study. The ground floor offers a master suite, guest suite, and workout studio. The designers also pumped up the house’s curb appeal. The formal driveway and gatehouse are a fitting entrance to the grand property. Also located in Wellesley is a Catalano Architects original that harkens back to stately early-20th century houses. This five-part colonial revival is set in brick and wood and accommodates three levels of active indoor and outdoor living. The L-shaped home surrounds a beautiful courtyard and includes a wine cellar underneath the staircase. The home is also energy-efficient.

Catherine Truman Architects

Address:
29 Warren Street, Cambridge, MA 02141

About Catherine Truman Architects

Catherine Truman has more than 15 years of experience in architecture specializing in preservation, new design, and interiors. A graduate of Yale University with a Master of Architecture degree, Ms. Truman also has an Art History degree from Dartmouth College and has completed coursework at the Architectural Association of London’s Graduate Program in Architectural History and Theory. Before starting her own practice, she worked for Ann Beha Architects on some of the firm’s most important preservation projects. Doing so gave Catherine Truman Architects the edge on new custom residential projects and a particular expertise when it came to renovating complex historic townhouses and homes. The firm has earned awards from the Builders and Remodelers Association of Greater Boston, the Institute of Classical Architecture and Art, and the International Interior Design Association.

Featured Projects

An 1873 brick townhouse in the Back Bay neighborhood of Boston was refreshed by Catherine Truman Architects. The exterior was carefully restored, from the copper work on the front roof to the juliette balconies at the rear. The interior now boasts maximized floor heights and a dramatic four-story skylit atrium in the center of the house. With a simple palette of oak, white, and gray tied together with concrete tile, the home has been restored to its former glory as a single-family home. This project won two PRISM awards in 2019 and was featured in Boston Home Magazine. For a 17th century farmhouse, the goal was to keep the character but modernize the home. Catherine Truman Architects fully delivered, radically transforming the main home and rebuilding the mud and laundry rooms to connect to the barn. Salvaged wood was employed as exposed beams; original wide plank pine was matched where needed. The project is also a net-zero energy project, with solar panels, super-insulated walls, and triple glazed windows. In 2019, the IIDA named it Best in Massachusetts.

Hacin + Associates

Principals:
David Hacin

Awards:
Boston Preservation Alliance Preservation Achievement Award,
Boston Magazine Best New Construction Architect,
IIDA International Design Award for Best Residential Design

Address:
500 Harrison Avenue, Studio 4F, Boston MA, 02118

About Hacin + Associates

A New England Design Hall of Fame inductee, David Hacin, FAIA, established Hacin + Associates, a South End team of more than 20 designers. Twelve years after its founding, the architecture firm expanded to provide interior design services, and now also offers graphic, exhibit, and furniture design. Through their partnership with Sasaki Associates, Hacin + Associates works toward sustainable and boundary-pushing advancements in architecture. Hacin is a member of the Boston Civic Design Commission and a co-founder of the Design Industry Groups of Massachusetts. Under his direction as principal and creative director of Hacin + Associates, the firm’s residential work has garnered a Preservation Achievement Award from the Boston Preservation Alliance, the distinction of Boston’s best new construction architect from Boston Magazine, and an IIDA International Design Award for Best Residential Design, among other honors.

Featured Projects

Hacin + Associates conceived the minimalist design of the penthouse atop Four51 Marlborough. By carefully curating elements, the firm managed to incorporate this clean contemporary design into the historic context of the Back Bay. The industrial design is punctuated by organic layers and natural materials. Black steel windows open up the home to a gorgeous street view, framing Boston’s characteristic red brickwork. Outside, the penthouse includes multiple terraces with 360-degree views. In 2018, the IIDA New England gave the project the Best in Massachusetts award and Best in Private Residential Design Award. Another project challenged Hacin + Associates to modernize a historic townhouse without burying the original architecture. The 5,500-square-foot home in Beacon Hill benefitted from new infrastructure and framing for all six of its floors. While the firm created a contemporary layout and made room for a new elevator, they restored original fireplaces and the windows retain 19th-century character. The IIDA New England took notice of the balanced renovation and awarded it Best Private Residential Design. Modern Luxury Interiors also featured the home twice.

Maryann Thompson Architect

Principals:
Maryann Thompson
Martha Foss

Awards:
AIA Awards,
Massachusetts Historical Commission Preservation Award

Address:
741 Mt. Auburn Street, Watertown, MA 02472

About Maryann Thompson Architect

Maryann Thompson Architect, a Cambridge-based design firm, has had residential projects featured in The Boston Globe, New England Home, Design New England, Architectural Record, and Architectural Digest. Founder and principal Thompson studied at Princeton University before obtaining a Master of Architecture and Landscape Architecture from the Graduate School of Design at Harvard University. Martha Foss, AIA, also a principal, is an 11-year veteran of Maryann Thompson Architect, educated at the University of Virginia and Yale University School of Architecture. The team has earned three national American Institute of Architects awards, multiple honors from AIA chapters throughout the Northeast, and a Preservation Award from the Massachusetts Historical Commission.

Featured Projects

Boston Society of Architects recognized the Maryann Thompson Architect-designed Traill Street house for Design Excellence. The project is a renovation of a 19th-century home in Cambridge, which held onto its original facade. Within the home’s walls, Thompson reimagined the traditional floor plan to accommodate large gatherings of the homeowners’ family, friends, and colleagues. To create sightlines and a flow of natural light — and to separate guests from catering staff during formal events — rooms were separated by sliding doors rather than narrow entryways. The design also creates gallery areas with spatial lighting for effective display of the client’s art collection. Upstairs, the master suite is oriented toward the wooded backyard. In another award-winning transformation, Maryann Thompson Architect designed the Bluff house on Martha’s Vineyard, an island south of Cape Cod frequented by former US presidents and celebrities alike. The house won an AIA New England Honor Award for Design Excellence for its careful configuration around the natural forms of the headland. Setting the floor plan on an angle gives the homeowners privacy in a clustered neighborhood, without impeding their gorgeous views. Exterior groove cladding nods at the island’s boat-building history.

NADAAA

Principals:
Nader Tehrani
Katherine Faulkner

Awards:
Boston Society of Architects Educational Facilities Design Award,
Build News Architecture Award for Best Architecture & Urban Design Firm

Address:
1920 Washington Street, Boston, MA 02118

About NADAAA

NADAAA, the No. 8 firm on the Architect Magazine list of Top 50 US Design Firms has designed Boston residences and institutional projects since 2011. Its lead architects began their careers years earlier. Educated at Harvard University and the Rhode Island School of Design, principal and co-founder Nader Tehrani founded and led Office dA, another Boston-based architecture and design firm. Tehrani then partnered with Katherine Faulkner, AIA, and Daniel Gallagher, AIA, to co-found and lead the critically acclaimed firm NADAAA. National and regional chapters of the American Institute of Architects have lauded projects out of the NADAAA offices in New York City and Boston’s South End. Interior Design magazine recognized NADAAA for Best Residential Renovation of Year. The firm also received a Boston Society of Architects Educational Facilities Design Award, a Builder Choice / Custom Home Grand Award, an AIA COTE Top Ten Award, and the Build News Architecture award for Best Architecture & Urban Design Firm.

Featured Projects

NADAAA completed the interior renovation of a Back Bay townhouse, transforming the four-story building into a home for a culinary artist and art collector. Most of the walls in the home are clean surfaces to create a gallery backdrop for Persian and Renaissance art. However, the occasional builtins and millwork paneling add texture and depth and strip the coolness of a museum setting. In the suburb of Newton, NADAAA redesigned a home that plays host to homeowners and their extended family. Expanding the home with an addition and pool house created much needed extra square footage and also created an interior courtyard for year-round, indoor-outdoor living. Pool house guests can view the garden through a wall of glazing and cedar rain screens. The project earned NADAAA a Residential Architect merit award for outbuilding design.

Peter Rose + Partners

Address:
242 East Berkeley Street, Fifth Floor, Boston, MA 02118

About Peter Rose + Partners

The Office of Peter Rose started in Montréal in the 1980s and moved to Boston in 1991. Peter Rose, FAIA, FRAIC is credited for large urban design projects, such as the Old Port of Montréal Waterfront Master Plan and the Canadian Centre for Architecture in Montréal. In Boston, Peter was joined by principals Stani Iordanova, AIA, LEED AP BD+C, and AIA Certificate of Merit awardee Matthew Snyder. Peter Rose + Partners is an internationally-recognized, award-winning design practice that has earned awards from the American Institute of Architects/BSA, AIA New England, and Green GOOD DESIGN™ Awards for Architecture. Its residential projects can be found in New England, London, and Turkey. The firm has been featured in Architectural Record, Dwell, Harvard Design Magazine, and Architectural Digest.

Featured Projects

Situated along Martha’s Vineyard coastline, the stunning concrete structure of East House rises up among the coastal vines. Peter Rose + Partners designed the 4,000-square-foot house with its ten-inch thick concrete walls relieved with sustainably harvested Spanish Cedar window frames. In contrast to its rugged exterior, the inside of its concrete boxes are finished with Douglas Fir and Alaskan Cedar planked walls that are soft to the touch yet durable for rugged coastal weather. The firm designed the home to be energy efficient, integrating the structure with geothermal wells, radiant heating, and calibrated window openings. The project earned a Green GOOD DESIGN™ Award for Architecture and an American Institute of Architects/BSA Housing Design Award. A family of five commissioned Peter Rose + Partners to design their contemporary vacation home in Edgartown. Island Residence is a collection of structures carefully planned to respond to its unique landscape and environment. It is made up of a 6,300-square-foot main residence, a 630-square-foot garage, a 270-square-foot storage shed, and a 130-square-foot boathouse. The home employs a suite of sustainability strategies that not only conserve energy, reduce waste, and save money, but also promotes intimate encounters between the house’s guests and its surroundings.

Siemasko + Verbridge

Principals:
Thaddeus Siemasko, AIA
Jean Verbridge, ASID, IIDA

Awards:
ASID New England Presidential Award for Excellence in Design,
ASID New England Design Excellence Award

Address:
126 Dodge Street, Beverly, MA 01915

About Siemasko + Verbridge

Thaddeus Siemasko, AIA, along with Jean Verbridge, ASID, IIDA, and former president of the Massachusetts Interior Design Coalition, lead architecture and design practice Siemasko + Verbridge. The company has spent a number of years on the Boston magazine Best of Boston Home lists for their facility with New England architectural styles and some of the distinctive spaces the firm has created in Boston-area residences. IIDA New England, Builders and Remodelers Association of Greater Boston, Cape Cod Magazine, North Shore, and the Cambridge Historic Commission have also recognized Siemasko + Verbridge for their work. Though Siemasko + Verbridge excels in single-family residential construction, the firm has also been successful in designing commercial, institutional, and multi-family projects.

Featured Projects

What began as a renovation on Boston’s North Shore eventually became a full new construction for Siemasko + Verbridge. The firm designed a traditional New England home that has the best of both worlds: a private wooded lot at its front and an open meadow leading to views of the ocean at the back. Rooms are arranged and organized in an intersection of public and private spaces. The quiet palette within reflects the nature outside, enhanced with artwork and accessories. Siemasko + Verbridge designed another residence on the coast of the North Shore: Sea Scape. Evolving from a restoration of a small summer cottage into a new home, the firm worked on giving the homeowners expansive views of the ocean as well as maintaining their privacy. Warm wood flooring and stone accents surround the open layout inside and grace the home’s exterior.

Stern McCafferty Architecture & Interiors

Principals:
David Stern
Diane McCafferty

Awards:
Boston Society of Architects Awards,
International Interior Design Association Awards,
Glass Association of North America Residential Award

Address:
46 Waltham Street, Suite 302A, Boston, MA 02118

About Stern McCafferty Architecture & Interiors

Named Best Contemporary Architect in 2018 by Boston Homes, Stern McCafferty Architecture & Interiors has also won a number of awards from the Boston Society of Architects and the International Interior Design Association. Architect David Stern and interior designer Diane McCafferty partnered to found the firm in 1999. Stern earned a Master of Architecture from Harvard University and now teaches design at the Northeastern University School of Architecture. He has more than 25 years of experience designing cultural buildings, commercial spaces, and private residences. McCafferty studied interior design at the Pratt Institute graduate program after obtaining a bachelor’s in art history from Boston College. Together, the pair has completed residential projects worthy of attention from Architectural Digest, Boston Home Magazine, New England Home, Interior Design, and more.

Featured Projects

Dwell magazine and HGTV featured the Stern McCafferty renovation of a South End townhouse. The 19th-century, Federal-style house on Rutland Street also won an award in the Small Firms/Small Projects category from the Boston Society of Architects. The five-story home is compact at only 2,000 square feet, but the architecture firm was able to adapt the main level into a graphic design and marketing studio with a contemporary family home above. The design opened up the original floor plans and used translucent panels and doors to bring natural light into interior rooms. The wood-clad stairway is topped with exhaust fans, creating a pathway for summer heat to be drawn up and out of the house. The Boston Society of Architects and the International Interior Design Association (IIDA) recognized Stern McCafferty for their work on a Follen Street residence — a Harvard Square farmhouse. While the facade was designed to blend with the historic neighborhood, the interior is a contemporary gallery space, designed to be a comfortable home and a backdrop for the clients’ collection of art and glassware. The design also features Stern McCafferty custom furniture designs.

Touloukian Touloukian

Principals:
Theodore Touloukian

Awards:
Boston Society of Architects Awards,
AIA Awards,
International Design Awards

Address:
151 Pearl Street, Second Floor, Boston, MA 02110

About Touloukian Touloukian

One of the Architecture Magazine Top 50 Architecture Firms, Touloukian Touloukian has designed cultural, commercial, and residential properties since 2003. Founder and President Theodore Touloukian, a member of the American Institute of Architects (AIA) and the National Council of Architectural Registration Boards (NCARB), received a Master of Architecture from the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor. With a focus on sustainable design, the small team of designers at Touloukian Touloukian has worked on new construction and adaptive reuse projects worthy of attention from the Boston Society of Architects, the American Institute of Architects, and the International Design Awards. The American Architecture Prize-winning firm has designed buildings in New York and Detroit.

Featured Projects

In order to optimize a Fulton Street condominium, Touloukian Touloukian enclosed a neglected outdoor space. The additional square footage — for a total of 1,000 square feet — created space for an additional bedroom. Setting the addition at an angle and including a contemporary take on the bay window keeps the client’s views intact. Touloukian Touloukian also designed the interior renovation of a 4,000-square-foot residence in Brookline’s Cottage Farm Historic District. The 1912 home was long neglected before the firm restored its Neo-Georgian features and updated its kitchen and baths. To fully integrate the contemporary and traditional aesthetics, the firm also added new flooring, millwork, and decorative plaster. The firm won a Small Firms/Small Projects Award for Design from the Boston Society of Architects and the American Institute of Architects for a home on 6th Street. Touloukian Touloukian renovated and expanded the Telegraph Hill home. To distract from less than desirable views, the firm reoriented the layout to divert attention toward the interior. The addition of a skylit stairway floods the home with natural light.