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
Brown Fenollosa Architects
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. Between 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’ designs.
Brown Fenollosa Architects converted an 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 bring forward a craftsman aesthetic despite 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. While the front facade 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.
Thomas P. Catalano
Institute of Classical Architecture & Art New England Bulfinch Awards,
Trends, Home & Architectural Top 50 American Homes
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 press coverage from The New York Times Magazine, The Boston Globe, Ocean Home, Luxury Home Quarterly, Design New England, Beautiful Homes and House Beautiful.
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 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. A South Bay residence received the same careful attention. Walk through its entrance and you are immediately treated to a panoramic view through the living room’s double-height windows. In fact, Catalano Architects oriented all of the main living spaces toward the picturesque bay.
Stern McCafferty Architecture & Interiors
Boston Society of Architects Awards,
International Interior Design Association Awards,
Glass Association of North America Residential Award
46 Waltham Street, Suite 302A, Boston, MA 02118
About Stern McCafferty Architecture & Interiors
Stern McCafferty Architecture & Interiors has won a number of awards from 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.
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.
Boston Society of Architects Awards,
International Design Awards
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.
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.
Boston Society of Architects Educational Facilities Design Award,
Build News Architecture Award for Best Architecture & Urban Design Firm
1920 Washington Street, Boston, MA 02118
NADAAA, the No. 3 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, and the Build News Architecture award for Best Architecture & Urban Design Firm.
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 design of an outbuilding.
Hacin + Associates
Boston Preservation Alliance Preservation Achievement Award,
Boston Magazine Best New Construction Architect,
IIDA International Design Award for Best Residential Design
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.
Hacin + Associates reimagined a 2,500-square-foot penthouse on Beacon Street, after a lightning strike required a total gut of the Back Bay building’s upper floors. The disaster became an opportunity for the architecture firm to reenvision the unit as a sleek penthouse ready for entertaining and skilled cookery. Boston Home featured the project in its “Best of Boston” kitchen category. The kitchen, with its clean lines, ample storage, and muted palette, was also featured in Southern New England Home and Better homes and Gardens. 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. Aspire Design And Home and the International Interior Design Association took notice of the balanced renovation.
Albert, Righter & Tittmann (ART) Architects
New England Home Design Hall of Fame Firm Award,
Boston Home Magazine Best Traditional Architect,
Prism Silver Award for Best Detached Home
262 Washington Street, Boston MA 02108
About Albert, Righter & Tittmann (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 Tittmann 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 & Tittmann (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 where Bostonites enjoy breezy summers. 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.
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 designed 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, which is 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.
Siemasko + Verbridge
Thaddeus Siemasko, AIA
Jean Verbridge, ASID, IIDA
ASID New England Presidential Award for Excellence in Design,
ASID New England Design Excellence Award
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 magazine, 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.
A new construction, shingle-style estate sits on a Cliffside overlooking the Atlantic Ocean. Siemasko + Verbridge designed the one-story residence and two-story barn structure that line the property’s spacious courtyard. The buildings, shielded from the street, are dressed in cedar wall and roof shingles. The material will weather in the ocean air, transforming to a muted gray. The copper roof fixtures will also petina, but remain a metallic complement to the traditional finishes. To take advantage of the ocean vista, Siemasko + Verbridge arranged all of the major living spaces along the oceanside, with access to terraces and patios. Siemasko + Verbridge designed another residence with a breathtaking view: Marblehead. The ground floor of this two-story, family home in Essex County is centralized around an eat-in kitchen and an open floor plan living space. The layout affords unobstructed, panoramic views of the ocean. Upstairs there is room for the family to spread out, between three bedrooms and bathrooms, plus a master bedroom with an en suite.
Maryann Thompson Architect
Massachusetts Historical Commission Preservation Award
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 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.
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.
Ruhl Walker Architects
William T. Ruhl
Bradford C. Walker
Boston Society of Architects Awards,
Builder’s Choice & Custom Home Design Awards
60 K Street, Boston, MA 02127
About Ruhl Walker Architects
William T. Ruhl, AIA, and Bradford C. Walker, AIA, LEED AP, established their eponymous firm in 1996. Prior to partnering with Walker, Ruhl — a member of the Rockport Conservation Commission — spent 10 years working with first Peter Forbes and Associates and then Leers Weinzapfel Associates, two respected Boston firms. Walker, who studied architecture at the University of Virginia and Harvard University, has served as a director of the Boston Society of Architects and taught design at a number of New England architecture programs; prior to co-founding Ruhl Walker he worked for 10 years at Peter Forbes and Associates. Ruhl Walker Architects residences have appeared in Dwell Magazine, Coastal Living, Cape Cod Home, North Shore Magazine, Boston Home Magazine, Architectural Digest, New England Home. Their single-family and multi-unit projects have also earned awards from Boston Society of Architects, Builder’s Choice & Custom Home Design Awards, Contract Magazine, Architect Magazine, and the American Institute of Architects.
The House of Shifting Sands is a year-round home and part-time think tank for its homeowners and their colleagues. Ruhl Walker Architects worked closely with the clients and the Town of Wellfleet Conservation Commission and National Seashore to design a home that fit the topography of the property, which rests on a 60-foot bluff. The result is a main house that unfolds in cantilevered volumes, nestled into landscaping that will, with time, make the home seem even more a part of the land. A separate structure stands 14-feet above ground level. It contains a yoga studio and a loft with a full bath. The Home Builders and Remodelers Association of Cape Cod (HBRACC) awarded the project for Excellence in New Construction of a Single Family Home. It was also honored at the 3rd Annual Building and Remodeling Industry of Cape Cod and Martha’s Vineyard. Back in the city, Ruhl Walker Architects recently renovated a 19th-century Back Bay rowhouse. The home is full of unexpected features, like a three-story atrium and bedroom suites connected by a glass bridge. For their redesign, the firm earned awards from the Boston Society of Architects and Builder’s Choice & Custom Home.