Category: preservation + design

September 8, 2017

Construction is wrapping up in Alexandria for a renovation and significant addition including a library and photography room along with a detached garage and art studio above.
Concurrently in Granite, construction and rehabilitation is finishing on the historic farmhouse with the last installation of interior finishes and exterior work.

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?


September 18, 2016

I walked into the study and looked out north toward the barn. The red board-and-batten through the wavy historic glass reminded me of looking at my grandmother’s old postcards. She would hide them way in her well-locked hutch and show them to me as a treat during our afternoon chats (accompanied by a contraband savory from Greece). It was Albania…everything was warped.
One could easily fall in love with the massive granite stone walls, the elaborate scroll-sawn balustrade, the striking red barn…or perhaps the original slave quarters now in ruins. This historic property and its landscape including the rolling slopes and the pond are a testament to the value of historic preservation and efficacy of land easements.
Our clients wanted just that: something old, something adventurous, something to love: a restored farmhouse, two new pavilions set off by discrete hyphens and a stabilized slave-quarters outbuilding.
Current outbuilding conditions reflect a more Ruskinian approach of ruins in the landscape – though we are advocating for a more contemporary preservation approach of modern steel bracing allowing the historic language to sing in harmony with the new.
And just for fun, if you thought historic can be only traditional….check out the playfulness of Philip Johnson’s Pavilion in the Pond….after all, a synergy between architecture and historic preservation can become a charming melody.

Pavilion in the pond


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

August 20, 2015

We are so excited to be breaking ground on this project.  It has been a long time in the making and through perseverance and the dedication of the owner, we are moving forward!  We have really enjoyed working on this project and look forward to seeing it through construction.  Hayes Construction is the contractor and will be working closely with us to create this custom addition and renovation. We are so excited that this will be our second FOAM-FREE project!
foundation 2

July 24, 2015

I had the opportunity (and must admit great pleasure) to attend the Preservation Maryland Summer School this past Wednesday at the Frederick Douglass – Isaac Myers Maritime Museum in the heart of
Harbor East.  I must admit, though I love old buildings, I hardly imagined a day-long conference would turn out to be this much fun.  If you’re only thinking old timers,  buildings that have past their prime and in dire need of love and attention, you’re only seeing half of the picture.  Filled with professionals from all over the country, Preservation Maryland is truly opening a new interdisciplinary chapter.  This year’s focus on mainstreet revitalization got in depth on economic development, from fostering local cultural heritage – Berlin MD, Buffalo NY, to event programming as in Capital for a Day in  Brookeville, MD or pop-up shops in Renaissance Covington, KY.  And how does larger scale, mainstreet urban re-development directly relate to our special interest in residential architecture or even be considered interdisciplinary in nature?  The goal, and happily to say, success of Preservation Maryland, the National Trust along with Preservation Green Lab as well as the Maryland Historical Trust is engaging many disciplines from urban planning, architecture, preservation, business development, history and culture, sustainability, arts and tourism and many many more to underline the importance of cross-pollination.  Understanding these as nutrients for a healthy organism, one begins to see architecture and old buildings as a tapestry of social sustainability – with an overarching goal for engaging spaces, events, buildings…ultimately people.

July 15, 2015

We now have our LP SmartSide up and looking more like a house, though we are hiding all of our fantastic details.  We have some warm and natural exterior colors waiting to be applied.
The garage and shop have also been built and will be a nice bonus space to this Western Maryland cold, snowy climate.
I took the time to learn about porch types – my favorite is the cedar porch.  The crew at Gosnell worked patiently with me to build what I had envisioned. It is thrilling to see in person and I’m looking forward to the final product with painted siding and stone porch.  The approach to the house is successfully comfortable and happy.

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 5, 2014

framing 2
And suddenly…it’s a house.  The trusses arrived and were set at 24″ on center on top of our 24″ on center 2×6 structural wall on top of our 24″ on center MSR 2×10 floor framing on top of our basement wall.  Walking through the skeleton to see the clean, aligned bones was really exciting.  Our framers did a fabulous job with advanced framing and aligning all the structure.  It sounds simple and straightforward, but I’ve walked in many that seem junked up with unnecessary studs and multiple upon multiple jacks and kings.
framing 1
The blue line along the top plate is Tescon Vana magic tape sealing the corner edge of our plywood air barrier. Each spliced top plate is taped as well.
Next comes the roof sheathing, finalizing the plywood air barrier and taping all the seams.