Category: home improvement

March 20, 2017

4. Swap old counter tops with eco-friendly ones
If you plan to install an island or replace the old counter tops, try and go green. Green materials not only reduce the carbon footprint, they also give a distinct look to the kitchen. Recycled paper (refer picture), recycled steel, concrete, engineered stone etc. are interesting and distinct materials you could consider. 

February 22, 2017

Our Smithouse contractors are working diligently to remove part of the original stone walls on the interior of the historic farmhouse to open up to a larger family / living area.  When it comes to 200-year (ahem -pound) granite, heavy-lifting is morning routine.  Are you bootcamp ready?


May 26, 2016

March 2, 2016

Carri and Michael’s home renovation is being featured as a Guest Blog on Green Building Advisor!
CarMic exterior 3

December 16, 2015

Upon the arrival of the Roxul mineral wool insulation for sub slab, the contractor relaid the Stego vapor barrier (taped to edges at perimeter).  This delay actually may have been a good thing, as the mineral wool was protected from the elements and heavy foot traffic and slab was able to be immediately poured. slab pour
The framing of the second floor and roof are nearing completion.  We are using 2×6 structural walls with 3/4″ plywood sheathing, all edges and corners taped and sealed.  The headers above each opening are two TJIs with Roxul mineral wool sandwiched between them – we have insulated headers!  The lead carpenter did not find it to be time consuming or of any issue, but rather thought it was pretty cool and a no-brainer.
The fireplace is a Rumford fireplace, the most efficient design in providing warmth to a space.
roof and fireplace

September 28, 2015

The construction for the addition and renovation to our Gunpowder project is moving along quickly. Because the under slab Roxul mineral wool was a little difficult to source and had a longer lead time, our contractor got creative and “pre-installed” the StegoWrap vapor barrier to wrap under the sill plate.  We will go back and cut out the barrier to install slab insulation, tape back in the vapor barrier and pour the slab.
vapor barrier
Framing is 2×6 walls with 3/4″ plywood sheathing, fully taped to provide our primary air barrier.  We are then installing 1-1/2″ of Roxul mineral wool, Tyvek and then furring strips.  This has been a terrific learning experience as we work with the contractor and project lead to find economical, smart ways to create a foam-free, well-sealed healthy envelope.
mineral wool on walls

April 29, 2015

Upon hanging the TJI insulation cavity, the vapor open Weather Resistant Barrier (WRB) was installed and all seams were taped.  Given the pressure of the cellulose that will be blown-in behind this WRB, we decided to use Solitex Mento 1000 and taped with our favorite Tescon Vana tape.
mento and tape blog
The next layer is the ventilation cavity / rainscreen / furring strips.  We decided on horizontal with vertical furring strips to keep the cellulose bulge in check and maintain an acceptable ventilation cavity as well as provide a more substantial nailing surface for our engineered wood siding.

March 3, 2015

Ellicott City, MD, January 19, 2015 – Brennan + Company Architects of Ellicott City has been awarded “Best Of Houzz” for Design & Customer Satisfaction by Houzz, the leading platform for home remodeling and design. The 28-year old architecture firm was chosen by the more than 25 million monthly Houzz users from among more than 500,000 active home building, remodeling and design industry professionals.
Brennan + Company Architects is a 28-year-old, 4 person open-studio, collaborative firm housed in a historic 1840s sustainably renovated building on Main Street in Ellicott City, Maryland. The firm promotes elegant, thoughtful, historic and sustainable design, and specializes in beautiful and smart community buildings and residences, both new and renovated.
“We believe building preservation and reuse generate a sense of place and create holistic sustainable environments for healthy and efficient living,” said Rob Brennan, principal of Brennan + Company Architects and President of AIA Baltimore. “We are thrilled that the public recognizes the value of thoughtful, beautiful historic design in today’s modern world.”
The Best Of Houzz Award is given in two categories: Design and Customer Satisfaction. Design award winners’ work was the most popular among the more than 25 million monthly users on Houzz. The DC Area’s Customer Satisfaction honors are determined by a variety of factors, including the number and quality of client reviews a professional received in 2014.
“We’re delighted to recognize Brennan + Company Architects among our “Best Of” professionals as judged by our community of homeowners and design enthusiasts who are actively remodeling and decorating their homes,” said Liza Hausman, vice president of industry marketing for Houzz (check out the services they offer here).
The 2015 Best of Houzz Design for a DC Metro area staircase was awarded to ten professionals. Brennan + Company Architects’ winning design is that of a craftsman style staircase in a DC home, titled “a house in a garden.”

November 14, 2014

We are so excited to see these loewen bifold doors installed in the nautiwoods house!  Cannot wait to see them open onto the soon to be built beautiful, new cumaru deck with sleek cable rail detail.
bifold doors

July 23, 2014

excavation, utilities and site prep. waiting for FoamGlas and Mineral Wool subslab and foundation insulation to arrive!
more information on this “in process” project.