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farmhouse: endless summer

Work continues in Woodstock Maryland for the Mount Welcome Retreat historic farmhouse. On the exterior cedar siding is going up, fascia and trim are being painted with Sherwin Williams historic colors and the standing seam metal roof on the breakfast bay and mudroom are due for installation in the next couple of days.

these walls breathe…

a new life, a rich history; the days that once were and the story of what is yet to come. #farmhouse

Featured on Houzz: Stone’s Throw: Wonderful Ways With Pebbles

2D0V3489 copyOur project, natural haven is featured on Houzz in the ideabook Stone’s Throw: Wonderful Ways With Pebbles.

An except from the article in reference to our project:

“Even a small space can be enhanced with the addition of pebbles. While a bathroom is the obvious choice for a playful use of pebbles, a mosaic border could also enliven an entrance hall or home office. Other ideas include making a pebble ‘frame’ around an island bench in the kitchen. Or take the idea outside and edge a patio area with complementary pebbles.”

Ellicott City office update

Thank you to all of our clients, colleagues and friends for your support after the Ellicott City floods. It is so sad to see the devastation of this beautiful historic town. Our building seems to have faired well but we are not able to go back in for the foreseeable future. We are setting up temporary operations in Rob’s Catonsville home and will continue to service our clients in full capacity. Please email, message or call our cell phones for contact!

Rob, Carri, Lili and Kathryn

universal design on the gunpowder: cabinets, drywall, concrete and chimney!

Framing is complete, plumbings lines have been run, electrical has been wired, ducts have been installed, and we are moving ahead at full throttle!

In the past few weeks Hayes Construction has put up drywall in all the rooms, installed flooring, given the tile guys the go-ahead, and is in the process of painting the rooms with the colors we chose last week. And the cabinets are in!


The rooms are light-filled and spacious. The family room has a beautiful view of the the water, and a canopy view of the trees, which makes for excellent birdwatching from the windowseat. IMG_0273

The dining room is filled with light and has beautiful patio doors that will open onto back deck. And even the basement has a beautiful concrete floor and plenty of light.


The mason did a superb job on the chimney, capturing Carri’s vision to blend the stone into the brick like a french country villa.


Hayes has been wonderful to work with thus far and communication has been great. Anytime they hit a snag we talk about it at our weekly meetings  to come to a solution, which makes the process much smoother.


That’s all for now folks, until next time!

Rob’s Final AIA Baltimore President’s Message: Hope, Joy, Cheer and the Renewal of Spirit

Hope, Joy, Cheer and the Renewal of Spirit

December is upon us and there is much to do in our annual holiday routine as we prepare for the celebrations of family, friends, co-workers and the new year to come. The message of the season is a simple one: At this light-diminished time of year, we seek to create a spiritual spark to ignite our hope for a better tomorrow in our relationships, our families and our communities. This spark can be familiar and comfortable, recreated each year as tradition. It can also be a spontaneous emotional response triggered by an article, song, image, or a call to give. It can be a memory of the past and or a vision for the future. It moves us to act, become engaged and renew our commitment to our family and community.

We anticipate showing a greater appreciation for family and friends and for the needs of the less fortunate with varying degrees of restlessness. We know the reminder that we need to take a longer view and think beyond our day-to-day routine will always bring joy and happiness to others and can reward us in return. Giving our time, talent and gifts buoys our sense of belonging to a greater whole and propels us optimistically into the new year.

AIABaltimore’s Annual Meeting and Holiday Celebration is tomorrow night at the Centre Theater on North Avenue. We will recap our very successful 2015 and transition to 2016 with collegiality, cheer and a shared commitment to a better Baltimore. Our numbers are ever increasing and we are close to reaching our goal of 1,000 professional members. Please renew your 2016 membership and Chapter support post-haste and encourage others in your office to join the stimulating work of AIABaltimore. Just as the Centre Theater has brought light and activity to decades dark North Avenue, we can bring our personal spiritual spark of renewed commitment to our personal and professional relationships.

As I complete my term as President, the pleasure of being engaged and connected to so many of our members on an almost daily basis has truly charged my spirit for our community. We are present and engaged in the current civic and professional issues across the landscape of our presence in Baltimore and Maryland. I urge you to increase your involvement in all that AIABaltimore has to offer. The pleasure of serving and the reward of making a difference cannot be denied.

Best wishes to Anthony Consoli, AIA, President 2016, as he carries our collaborative effort forward to continued success.

Hope, joy and cheer,

Rob Sig

Rob Brennan, AIA
President, AIA Baltimore, 2015
Principal, brennan+company architects

for the love of art and auto : framing already!


This is the first project that I’ve worked on that has been built, so I’m very excited to see it come to life. Owings Brothers Contracting has been a pleasure to work with and it’s amazing how quickly the building is coming together. We had a lot of rain at the beginning of construction so for a while it construction was on hold because of all the mud, but now, as you can see, they’ve poured the foundation walls and are almost finished framing the building. IMG_0160

This artist studio over three-car garage is set into the hillside to comply with zoning laws. The garage on the lower level can be accessed from the driveway in the rear. IMG_0146

These beautiful six light LePage windows will provide beautiful daylighting. The sun was peaking through the gable window in the the snapshot below.


Featured in Houzz part dos: Decoración: Cambia los tiradores por otros de diseño más sugerente

int short

Our project, swell house, was just featured on Houzz in the ideabook “Decoración: Cambia los tiradores por otros de diseño más sugerente.” This translates roughly to Decoration: Change the handles for a more suggestive design.  The article details how you can refresh knobs on doors, drawers and cabinets on more personal pieces to give a unique touch to your home without breaking the bank. They featured a photo of a sliding door on a corrogated metal space with light wood floors and a dark metal number door pull from the swell house.


We were featured on Houzz!


A bedroom from our project, regenerative nest, was featured on Houzz this week in an editorial ideabook called “What color should you paint your bedroom walls?” 

The backstory: the owners wished for their home to become a place where they could age comfortably and accommodate possible future physical limitations. In keeping with the spirit of renewal and regeneration, we introduced our clients to choices available for a healthy and sustainable lifestyle, with color and material choices that reflect this soothing regenerative spirit.

November President’s Letter: Architecture Month Retold


Jillian Storms, AIA, shares architectural precedents during Poldi Hirsch’s time as well as the residential designs of other women architects showcased in “The Early Women of Architecture in Maryland.” Picture taken during Docomomo Tour Day of Poldi Hirsch’s works.

“Well building hath three conditions: firmness, commodity, and delight.”
Vitruvius, ca 30 BC

The message of the value of architecture to shelter and inspire is a simple one. It must be well constructed, useful and beautiful.

I attended and participated in a number of Architecture Month events this October. The Women in Architecture Committee organized a lecture and book signing with Catherine Coleman Brawer on the work of Hildreth Meiere (1892-1961). Meiere is featured in the committee’s exhibit of “Early Women of Architecture in Maryland”, displaying her stunning mosaics on a number of prominent projects. The Committee also organized a tour of the mid-century modern architecture of Poldi Hirsch in Havre de Grace on Docomomo Tour Day.

The Emerging Professionals Committee held an exhibit featuring the entries in the fourth annual “Architecture Seen” in Transit Photo Contest. These photos will anchor their annual calendar for 2016. The photos are displayed at City Hall along with the entries in the B|MORE Resilient Design Competition, a superb effort organized by our Committee on the Environment along with the Baltimore Architecture Foundation.

The AIABaltimore Design Excellence in Design Awards Celebration was held mid-month to recognize and honor the design of projects and the service of people that have contributed to a better Baltimore. This much anticipated professional and social event was held at the Lithuanian Hall in West Baltimore, a site featured during this year’s Doors Open event.

The second annual Doors Open Baltimore 2015 was held this past Saturday. Over 50 buildings and places were available to visit under the theme “Undiscovered Baltimore.” By my estimate, I would say we easily doubled attendance and quadrupled public enthusiasm year over year for this stellar event. Doors Open week began with a lecture by urban planner Daniel D’Oca, titled “The Arsenal of Exclusion and Inclusion.” Mr. D’Oca, currently of Harvard and formerly of MICA, has cataloged urban design moves and historical events that have shaped the urban environment’s social fabric. His intent is to raise the awareness of architects, planners, and the public on the importance of “open city” design.

The spirit of the urban built environment has been captured for centuries by the artist’s hand. The Peale Museum is currently hosting “Cityscape 2015: Contemporary Plein Air Views of the Urban Scene.” These on-location paintings depict 7 urban Mid-Atlantic cities through the artists’ eyes.

Architecture Month is our conscious effort to make the value of what we do more visible to our community. Architecture is our profession and our delight. Architecture Month is AIABaltimore’s and the Baltimore Architecture Foundation’s annual initiative to share our expertise, knowledge and passion for the built environment with the citizens of Baltimore. It is intended to celebrate the architecture of our place, both past and present. We hope that this concentration of events will continue to ignite the interest in the potential of architecture to improve the quality of life in Baltimore.

I would like to extend many thanks to our committees, their members and the staff of AIABaltimore for making Architecture Month so rich an experience for us.

Rob Sig

Rob Brennan, AIA
President, AIA Baltimore, 2015
Principal, brennan+company architects

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8333 main street, 2nd floor · ellicott city, md 21043
410.313.8310 baltimore