Great Clients = Great Architectural Projects

Client Partnership—The Backbone of Architectural Excellence

We are blessed with the opportunity to build on some spectacular sites. Waterfront lots along rivers, bays and oceans, lofts that overlook city skylines, large estates in valleys and mountain ranges. It is easy to become completely enamored by the innumerable possibilities of a beautiful site.

Nearly 50 years in the game and we’ve learned this:

No matter how incredible a site it may be – how limitless the budget, or how relaxed the timeline – the project will suffer if the relationship with the client is not ideal.

You, the client, are the most important piece of the puzzle. If you want to embark on the journey of manifesting a project that has never existed before, and you’re looking to have fun while doing it, you’re our people.

Our motto, “Let’s do that!” encapsulates our philosophy.

For the client, this means you’re willing to trust the process and the journey. You’re open to experimentation, unexpected avenues of design, and a desire to contribute actively during the project. You want to explore various solutions to ultimately create a legacy house that meets your desires.

The Importance of Mutual Trust During Architectural Projects

Building on Trust

A successful architectural venture is not a one-sided affair; it’s a collaborative process that demands a mutual trust between the client and the architect. Trust is the cornerstone that allows the free flow of ideas, enabling both parties to push the boundaries of creativity.

For clients, this means granting architects the leeway to explore and innovate. For architects, this involves being transparent about what can realistically be achieved, both aesthetically and functionally.

When this trust is established, the end result is often a project that exceeds initial expectations, creating not just a structure, but a home filled with personal meaning.

Communication: The Unsung Hero of Successful Architectural Projects

The Power of Effective Communication

In the digital age, the mediums for communication have diversified, but the essence remains constant—clarity and timeliness. Effective communication is more than a series of email updates; it’s an ongoing dialogue where feedback and insights are exchanged openly.

For architects, this involves making sure that the client is aware of both the micro and macro aspects of the project. From discussing minute design details to providing an overview of project timelines, effective communication minimizes misunderstandings and enhances the project outcome.

For clients, keeping the lines of communication open means providing timely feedback and asking questions, ensuring that the project stays aligned with their vision.

Budgeting and Financial Planning: The Practical Pillars

The Financial Framework

One of the less glamorous, yet utterly crucial aspects of any architectural endeavor is the financial planning that underpins it. A well-laid-out budget is like the foundation of a building—it needs to be rock solid for the rest of the structure to hold up.

A clearly defined budget benefits both parties, as it sets the parameters within which creative solutions can be explored. Once financial expectations are set and agreed upon, it allows for a smoother, more efficient project rollout, ensuring that the focus remains on the creative and functional aspects of the project.

The Hallmarks of Exceptional Clients

Who is A Great Client?

We’re grateful to have worked with some incredible people. The process of designing a custom home is intimate and it takes time. Because of this, our relationships with our clients typically last much longer than the length of the project.

Great clients show up on time because they respect our time. They come prepared to meetings and participate in the process. The ideal client expresses their joys, as well as their concerns. They give honest feedback and trust our expertise. They are polite, friendly, and pay on time. Ideally, they have a good sense of self and can laugh at the small things.

Sealing the Deal with Satisfaction

The completion of the architectural project is not the end, but rather the beginning of your experience in the newly constructed building.

Having a holistic appreciation that this is the beginning and not the end will allow you the time and space to enjoy this big accomplishment.

With nearly five decades of experience, Bohl Architects understands the importance of this final step, ensuring that clients walk into a legacy home that meets both functional requirements and personal aspirations.

Our Job

Bohl works diligently to give you the best possible experience. Much like a construction project, the layers of the architectural design process build on each other. We will define it for your individual project, so you know what to expect at every step of the process.

It’s on us to begin with clear objectives, establish the best way to communicate with you, let you know how and when to pay us, and to keep track of milestones in the schedule. Transparency is the key to success.

Great clients = Great Architectural Projects

If you are thinking about a project and want to learn something and have fun along the way, let’s talk. We would love to hear from you.

Bohl Architects has forty-eight years of experience in designing legacy houses.

FAQ on Achieving Successful Architectural Projects

Q1: What makes a site 'ideal' for an architectural project?

An ideal site is not just about breathtaking views or geographical location. It’s a blend of feasibility, budget, and how well it aligns with the client’s vision. While waterfront lots and city lofts offer a unique appeal, the compatibility between the site and the project’s requirements plays a pivotal role. Every site has its challenges. Our job is to take advantage of the most beautiful possibilities and meet your individual program.

Q2: What qualities define the 'ideal client'?

The ideal client is engaged, open to creative dialogue, and values mutual trust. They understand that a project is a two-way street requiring active participation and feedback. Trusting the architect’s expertise while being willing to express their desires and concerns is key to a successful project.

Q3: How important is client-architect communication?

Communication is the bedrock of any successful project. Clear objectives and transparent discussions not only facilitate a smooth process, but also help in anticipating and mitigating potential challenges. Effective communication ensures that both parties are aligned in their expectations and timelines.

Q4: What does 'transparency' mean in the context of architectural projects?

Transparency refers to a clear and open exchange of information, including project objectives, budget considerations, and schedule milestones. It eliminates any ‘guesswork’ and helps the client to understand what exactly is happening at every step of the project.

Q5: How does Bohl Architects maintain long-term relationships with clients?

Bohl Architects takes pride in crafting legacy houses that stand the test of time, much like our relationships with clients. Through effective communication, mutual trust, and a shared vision, the engagement often extends beyond the duration of the project, leading to lifetime relationships.

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Barefoot Luxury: Coastal Interior Design That Connects You to Nature

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Being by the water has a unique and almost spiritual effect on our senses. The moment we arrive at the coast, something changes within us. The light dances on the water’s surface, the air is imbued with the scent of the sea, the wind carries a refreshing briskness, and the landscape undergoes a breathtaking transformation. Successful coastal interior design captures these ephemeral feelings, making the experience of being by the water unforgettable, regardless of a building’s distance from the shoreline.

The Allure of Coastal Living

Coastal living is an aspiration for many, and for good reason. The geography of the countless waterfront coasts around the world offers varied climates and characteristics. Yet, they all share a common desire in their interior design: to blur the boundaries between indoor and outdoor spaces.

Whether it’s the gentle lapping of water against the shore, the distant melodies carried by the wind, the starry night skies, bonfires on the beach, or the mesmerizing sunrises and sunsets over the endless horizon, coastal interior design acknowledges that it cannot compete with the grandeur of nature. Instead, it seeks to enhance our human experience and amplify all the sensory delights the coast offers.

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The Essence of Barefoot Luxury

Barefoot luxury is the heart of coastal interior design. It’s about creating comfortable living spaces that exude a casual elegance. These spaces are designed to be both creative backdrops and sanctuaries where you can immerse yourself in the beauty of nature. Whether you’re watching fireflies on a warm summer night, sipping coffee with a breathtaking view, hosting a dressy cocktail hour, or simply lounging with sandy feet and bathing suits, barefoot luxury makes every moment feel significant.

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The Power of Coastal Inspiration

“To me, the explanation of life seems to be its melody, its pattern. And I feel in life such an infinite, truly inconceivable fantasy.” – Isak Dinesen

Coastal interior design aspires to create spaces that are not just beautiful but also inspirational. Architects and designers who work on coastal projects understand that they can be catalysts for future inspiration, relaxation, and fun.

By capturing the essence of the coast’s magic, they transform ordinary spaces into extraordinary ones. Artists, authors, and film directors often recognize coastal settings as powerful connectors to the human experience, frequently utilizing them to tell compelling stories and evoke deep emotions.

Coastal interior design goes beyond aesthetics; it’s about creating an atmosphere that connects you to nature and enriches your life. Whether you’re fortunate enough to live by the water or are planning a coastal retreat, the essence of barefoot luxury can transform your space into a haven of peace and inspiration.

It’s a reminder that the beauty of coastal living lies not only in the magnificent views but also in the way the spaces we inhabit enhance our connection to the natural world.

Bohl Architects has forty-eight years of experience in designing beach homes in styles ranging from Modern to Craftsman. Give us a call if you’d like to discuss your coastal project.

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And After All, You’re My Window Wall

“Because maybe
You’re gonna be the one that saves me
And after all
You’re my WINDOW WALL”

- Not quite Oasis
Window Wall River

Windows Are Poetry

Like a great song, windows are poetry.  Windows alone are nothing special. Windows are simply a frame with an insert of glass when you look at them piled in a big-box store or on a job site before being placed on the home. The real magic comes when the window or windows are carefully placed within the composition of the wall.

Contemporary Window Wall

A Window Wall is Complex Design Challenge

A window wall is a complex design challenge.  To be a successful composition, the wall must strike a balance of figure and ground that reverses when the sun goes down. The openings must be designed for day and night. In addition, the window wall needs to be designed for the temperature and movement of the sun.

window wall 0000 Window Wall Water View

Activities occurring on both sides of the wall will be affected by the movement of the light.  Designing the openings in the wall to respond to this movement creates a dynamic rhythm with the space constantly changing.

Waterfront Window Wall
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How Do I Achieve A Window Wall Design?

There are multiple ways to achieve successful window walls. One way is to create punched opening with the biophilic intention of framing the view as if it’s a moving picture. The careful placement of punched openings can be used to deliberately manipulate the light for dramatic effect on the interior.

A more challenging design is the modern window wall. Advancements in glass and steel technology now allow us to flank large scale windows together. The objective is to blur the definition of the interior and exterior. When done successfully, the window wall creates a grand gesture connecting to the expanse and horizon of the landscape, while maintaining the refuge of being inside. A window wall is about the quality of light and view, not so much the quantity of light and view.

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What are some key characteristics and considerations of window walls in architecture?

  1. Natural Light: Window walls are designed to flood interior spaces with abundant natural light, reducing the need for artificial lighting during daylight hours. This not only enhances the overall ambiance of the space, but the energy efficiency of the building.
  2. Panoramic Views: They offer breathtaking panoramic views of the outdoors, whether it’s a scenic landscape, urban skyline, or any other visually appealing surroundings.
  3. Indoor-Outdoor Integration: Window walls blur the boundary between inside and outside, promoting a sense of unity with nature or the cityscape.
  4. Thermal Efficiency: Properly designed window walls incorporate energy-efficient glass and framing systems to minimize heat gain or loss, ensuring comfort and sustainability.
  5. Architectural Aesthetics: Window walls can be a striking architectural feature, contributing to the overall design and aesthetic appeal of a building.
  6. Climate Considerations: Local climate conditions, including temperature, humidity, and wind, will dictate the appropriate selection of glass and insulation solutions for year-round ease and comfort.
  7. Privacy and Glare Control: Depending on the location and purpose of the building, window walls may require shading devices or blinds to address privacy concerns and reduce glare.
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Walls by Bohl Architects

Window walls offer numerous advantages, but their design and implementation must be carefully planned to balance aesthetics, functionality, energy efficiency, and occupant comfort. When executed effectively, they can transform a space, creating a dynamic and visually captivating environment.

No matter what the project, Bohl designs in a way that connects the inside of the home to the outside. Window walls are just one of the many ways we accomplish this. For the majority of our clients, we have incorporated a window wall into the design of their house.

Bohl Architects have forty-eight years of experience designing legacy houses. We love incorporating window wall designs into the homes for our clients. A window wall is a wonderful way to capture the view of the landscape and develop an effortless connection of the inside and outside.

We love what we do, but the final product is only successful if you love what we do. Call us at 410.263.2200 or click here – we’re excited to hear about your unique project.

window wall 0001 Window Wall View

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Ceiling Design – A Room’s 5th Wall

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Chronicles of Choosing the Wall (And Ceiling?) Paint

Between scrolling Pinterest for hours and awkwardly asking your acquaintance of a neighbor at an open house what color paint they used in their house (we’ve all been there) you finally settle on a color to paint your interior space.

You head to the paint store asap. If you go any longer you might change your mind…again. Once you’ve got your paint and materials, you remember that 5th wall. No, we’re not talking about a pentagon-shaped room. Look up! It’s the ceiling. You automatically reach for a gallon of ceiling white and call it a day.

This is a missed opportunity. Ceilings are often taken for granted.

“You’re telling me I must choose a ceiling color as well?” says the Client.

We get it. The decision fatigue is real…But hear us out.

Famous Examples of Ceiling Design

Incorporating the ceiling into the design scheme of a room can change the entire ambiance of the space. Coffers, beams, domes, and cathedral ceilings are some of the many ways that ceilings become design opportunities for making the space special.

Think about some grand examples like, Sistine Chapel, Pantheon, Grand Central Station in New York City, Oxford’s Bodleian Library…While your ceiling is likely not the same size as these rooms, you can look to these famous spaces as inspiration for ceilings on a smaller scale.

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Bohl Architects Ceiling Design Ideas

We love getting creative with our clients, but we understand that grand gestures aren’t for everyone. Although, it would be cool to bring Michelangelo back and have him do a ceiling in a Bohl home. And per request, we’re happy to channel our inner Roman and design a giant, concrete dome for your living room.

Usually, we take a more modest approach with our clients. We agree that sometimes ceiling white is just the simple and sophisticated way to go. Not every space is meant to have a unique ceiling design or color. Below are a few design notes that Bohl has on ceiling paint ideas.

50/50 Paint

The ceiling doesn’t necessarily need a grand gesture, sometimes, a subtle change like 50% wall color and 50% ceiling white will give the room a tailored finished appearance. 

“Alright I don’t know about doing a mini constellation on my ceiling, but I can commit to the 50/50 paint idea.” – Client

Haint Blue Application

Haint blue is a Southern expression and describes the blue paint that is used on the ceilings of wraparound porches to mimic the sky. This is another less ambitious option (although we are always down for a grand gesture.)

Bohl Architects often does a sophisticated take on this expression on simple flat interior ceilings, using Benjamin Moore’s Palladian Blue.

This. Color. Is. Incredible.

HC-144 is layered in its reflectivity and depending on the light, it can appear blue, green, or gray. It’s restful. It works well in a lot of different rooms.

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Wallpaper on the Ceiling

Wallpaper on the ceiling, especially in a bedroom, adds a level of polish that is appreciated when lying in bed. Is your book boring you? Set it down on your chest and stare at the mesmerizing ceiling instead.

Papers in subtle patterns work well for this application. Victoria Larson’s Cowrie is our current favorite for this. Bold, exciting, patterns can elevate the excitement of spaces and can be used according to your willingness to commit. A small commitment could be a powder room ceiling, or a larger commitment could be wallpaper on the ceiling of a kitchen or living room.

Whichever you choose, Bohl’s goal is to design a tasteful space that brings you joy.

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Bohl Architects is Here to Talk the 5th Wall

Amongst all things architecture and interior design, we are here to talk with you about the ceiling. We realize that designing a home can be overwhelming at times. There are a lot of decisions to be made, even when it’s a smaller scale project. Deciding on paint colors for your walls, and ceilings, is just one piece of the puzzle. Sometimes, ceiling white is the way to go, but we’re here if you’re interested in exploring other ceiling design opportunities.

Bohl appreciates listening to you about your dreams of space and wants to support you in your design decisions. We enjoy creating architecture for the sake of architecture, but the love of this art and business is mainly because of our collaboration with creative clients.

Bohl Architects has forty-eight years of experience in designing legacy houses. Give us a call and we can talk about the 5th wall.

Ceiling Design (FAQ)

Why is ceiling design important in architectural planning?

Ceiling design, often termed the “5th wall,” plays a crucial role in a room’s ambiance. It can enhance the room’s character and augment its aesthetic appeal, making spaces feel more personalized.

What types of ceiling designs exist for homes?

Numerous designs exist, from traditional flat ceilings to intricate ones like coffered and domed ceilings. The choice often depends on the room’s function, the homeowner’s taste, and architectural considerations.

How can ceiling design influence the perception of room size?

Ceiling designs can manipulate spatial perception. Specific elements and colors can either elongate or expand a room, affecting how spacious it feels.

Are there trending colors or techniques for ceilings?

While the classic white remains popular, emerging trends include the 50/50 blend and the “Haint Blue” hue. These choices can offer modern twists and redefine room atmospheres.

Is wallpaper a viable option for ceilings?

Absolutely, wallpaper on ceilings can add a layer of design depth. From subtle elegance to striking patterns, wallpaper can transform a room’s overhead landscape.

For a deeper dive and personalized advice, consulting with Bohl Architects is the best approach. Our expertise ensures optimal design outcomes tailored to each space.

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Sustainable Architecture: Designing Green to Serve Many Generations

The most sustainable house is built at one time and serves many generations for many years without modification or major repairs.

Why Design Sustainably?

We believe it is our ethical responsibility to follow sustainable design principles and they are intrinsic to our practice. We design legacy houses and for us this means using quality materials with efficient systems for longevity.

In line with sustainable advancements, our team collaborates with consultants and general contractors right from the early design stages. This ensures you receive the most relevant information, guiding you to make environmentally responsible decisions for your home.

Discussing Sustainable Architecture & Design

Whether it’s a renovation or new construction, sustainability is an ongoing conversation throughout our design process. During the initial design phase, we discuss the overall objectives for the building, analyze the site and determine the best orientation for the home.

We’ll be sure to discuss your unique program and work with you to create a hierarchy of importance. The main objective is to take advantage of the natural qualities, topography, light, and air, inherent to the site.

Sustainable Considerations

A smaller, well-designed house lives large.

In addition to basic energy sustainable features such as insulation and high efficiency mechanical systems, geothermal heating, and LED lighting, a most important sustainability measure is to design a house that is the appropriate size.

A house that is too large will increase the energy use during construction and consume operational energy throughout its life. Every attempt to build smaller will increase sustainability. To build the most efficient footprint possible, we determine if certain spaces can accommodate multiple functions.

Recycle and Reuse

When applicable, we discuss recycling of old materials and the reuse of the existing.

Quality Materials

Using local, natural, non-toxic, quality materials is always the goal.  Our buildings tend to use a lot of glass, in tandem we analyze our building systems for the best wall construction possible for insulation and comfort.  We are careful about proper air sealing and weatherization. We analyze the climate and design for efficient insulation at all roofs, wall cavities, and foundations.

Efficient Systems

Most of our projects incorporate the best available technology to date for the important comfort systems in the house. We design buildings that use high efficiency HVAC, solar, geothermal energy efficient lighting and appliances. We openly communicate and share all the possibilities with you so you can determine the systems that will bring you the most value.

Sustainability for Waterfront Properties

Conscious design around the landscape and ultimately the protection of the rivers, estuaries, bays, and oceans are a layer of sustainable design we strive for in our waterfront projects. We work with you to improve your shoreline and plant your properties with native species using water-smart plantings and technology for storm water management and smart irrigation. 

Water Systems

We guide you to make smart selections for water systems, septic management, plumbing fixtures, and plumbing fittings.

Let’s talk sustainable considerations for your home

Bohl Architects Case Studies:

We incorporate sustainable elements in every home, but Magothy Modern and Bembe Beach are two stand out projects. Both houses are compact in their square footage. They have multiple floors on a small footprint. This compactness is important in reduced energy consumption of construction and operation.

Each house features screened porches, patios, terraces, and a variety of exterior living spaces that are not heated nor cooled but provide useful pleasant spaces for life. Again: reduced energy for construction and operation. These exterior living spaces are custom designed for the unique features of each site, considering sun and wind patterns, and privacy.

In both Magothy Modern and Bembe Beach, we designed for multi-generational use with a long horizon. The houses are tailored for the needs of our clients but are also designed to be flexible as the needs of subsequent generations’ use and enjoy the house. The most sustainable house is built at one time and serves many generations for many years without modification or major repairs.

Magothy Modern

For Magothy Modern, Bohl designed the basement space with the existing topography so that storage, mechanical and secondary rooms are sheltered by the earth: this is very economical space to construct (fewer windows and exterior siding) and very energy efficient in operation. The living spaces of the basement have full windows to the view, and “walk out” to the grade. This makes for excellent functioning rooms with very efficient energy costs of construction and operation.

Click Here to view the full project.

Bembe Beach

Bembe Beach is adjacent to the Chesapeake Bay flood plain. We designed the first floor in solid concrete and placed it 2 feet above the highest flood height requirement. The foundation is designed to withstand flooding and allow for easy “clean-up” after a high-water event. Durability is a very important principle in sustainability.

Click Here to view the full project

The Historical Context of Sustainable Architecture

The roots of sustainable architecture trace back to age-old practices that were inherently in tune with nature. Overtime, urbanization, and technological advancements distanced architecture from its natural beginnings. Today, we’re returning to these roots, bridging ancient wisdom with modern innovation, and combining sustainable architecture with principles of biophilic design.

Check out our piece on The “Greenest” House in America

Benefits of Sustainable Architecture and Biophilic Design

The primary focus of sustainable architecture is to minimize the impact on the natural world, while biophilic design is about maximizing the human’s connection to the natural world. When sustainability meets biophilic design, the results are great for both parties.

  • Financial Savings: Energy-efficient homes that also incorporate natural elements can lead to significant savings on utility bills.

  • Enhanced Well-being: Spaces that connect inhabitants to nature, through light, materials, or views, can substantially improve mental and physical health.

  • Increased Property Value: Nature-centric, sustainable designs resonate with today’s homebuyers, increasing resale value.

  • Reduced Environmental Impact: Beyond just reducing waste and energy consumption, biophilic designs restore a natural harmony to urban spaces.

Traditional vs. Sustainable Architecture with Biophilic Element

Traditional buildings often prioritize immediate needs. In contrast, sustainable architecture that integrates biophilic elements ensures a home is not only functional, but also forms a symbiotic relationship with the surrounding environment.

Ready to Talk About Your Future Sustainable Space?

With sustainable architecture and biophilic design principles at our core, let’s craft a home that’s not only good for the natural world, but also resonates with your innate love for it. We can design a home that allows you to experience living in a space that is a seamless extension of the landscape.

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FAQs on Sustainable Architecture & Biophilic Design:

What is the primary focus of sustainable architecture?

Sustainable architecture primarily focuses on reducing the environmental impact of a building, ensuring it’s energy-efficient, and making use of sustainable materials.

How does sustainable architecture benefit me as a homeowner?

Beyond the environmental benefits, homeowners can experience long-term savings, a healthier living environment, and increased property value.

How do sustainable architecture and biophilic design intersect?

While sustainable architecture focuses on minimizing environmental impact, biophilic design ensures human-nature connectivity. Together, it becomes a building that is eco-friendly and human centric.

Why is biophilic design essential in modern homes?

In an increasingly urbanized world, biophilic design restores our innate connection to nature, promoting well-being, reducing stress, and enhancing livability.

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Biophilic Design Principles & Wellness

What is Biophilic Design?

Biophilia- n. Love for the natural world felt universally by humans. Biophilic design is an intrinsic principle for Bohl – we have always given importance to it, and it’s evolved with our practice over time. The goal is to create a building in harmony with its environment and with varying degrees of actual inside to outside connection. 

Benefits of Connecting the Interior to the Outside

As architects, we have the power to prevent illness and depression through designing meaningful spaces that are connected to nature, utilize low-toxic materials, and prioritize healthy air circulation. Incorporating biophilic design has been proven to make humans feel calmer, less stressed, more productive, and rested. Afterall, who doesn’t feel better after getting some fresh air or spending time in nature?

Although many humans want to be connected to the natural world, we have varying definitions as to what that entails. Some may want to rough it in the wilderness, while others may be looking for more of a glamping experience. No shame either way, but our designs do veer more toward that luxury glamping lifestyle…

Part of the Bohl design process is to identify where nature plays a part in your life so you can reap the wellness benefits of biophilic design.

Questions that Guide Biophilic Design

What is the climate of the site?
Understanding the climate is fundamental to creating a design that’s harmonious with its surroundings. The local climate can dictate materials used, architectural layout, and even the positioning of the structure. If a site experiences harsh winters or scorching summers, a design that responds to these conditions will not only be energy-efficient but will also enhance the comfort of its inhabitants. Climate-responsive design can also play a pivotal role in reducing a home’s carbon footprint.

What makes the site special?
Each site has its own unique charm and characteristics that differentiate it from others. It could be the subtle undulations in the terrain, the way sunlight filters through the canopy, or even the historical significance attached to it. By recognizing and celebrating these distinct features, we can craft designs that respect and amplify the inherent beauty of a location. In doing so, we embed a sense of place and belonging in our creations.

Does the site have special environmental features to be enhanced by our design – specimen trees, water features or views, native plants, cliff side, rock outcroppings, bucolic scenery?
These natural features aren’t just aesthetic assets; they’re touchpoints to nature that can deeply influence the experience of a space. Specimen trees could offer shade and become focal points in a garden; native plants can be woven into the landscape to foster local biodiversity. With the right design, a cliff-side view can become a living painting inside a room. Our goal is to ensure that the built environment seamlessly integrates and elevates these environmental features rather than overshadowing or compromising them.

How can we make the landscape better with the addition or renovation of a home?
The intervention of architecture should be a means to enrich the landscape, not detract from it. This might involve creating spaces that allow for more greenery, setting up rainwater harvesting systems to nourish the grounds, or even using materials that age gracefully with time and weather. A thoughtful renovation can enhance both the aesthetic and ecological value of a site, turning it into a thriving habitat for both humans and wildlife.

What challenges will we face when incorporating the project into the site?
Every site comes with its set of challenges, be it rocky terrain, high groundwater levels, or even local regulations. Anticipating these challenges allows us to craft innovative solutions that turn potential drawbacks into design opportunities. By collaborating closely with local craftsmen, environmentalists, and communities, we can glean insights and knowledge that aid in navigating these challenges while staying true to our design ethos.

Does the property have large temperature swings?
Large temperature variations not only impact the comfort of inhabitants but also dictate the choice of materials and construction techniques. For instance, a site with significant diurnal temperature shifts might benefit from high thermal mass materials like stone or brick, which can store heat during the day and release it at night. Designing for such conditions ensures that homes remain comfortable year-round while minimizing reliance on artificial heating or cooling.

Is there a proliferation of bugs?
In areas abundant with insects, considerations extend beyond mere comfort. While bugs play a critical role in local ecosystems, unchecked they can become nuisances or even health hazards in homes. Here, design solutions could range from integrating insect screens, choosing specific plants that deter pests, or even designing water features in a way that doesn’t encourage mosquito breeding. Striking a balance between welcoming nature and ensuring comfort is key.

Is it surrounded by urban concrete?
Urban settings, with their expanses of concrete, offer unique challenges and opportunities for biophilic design. While the immediate natural environment might seem limited, innovative solutions like vertical gardens, green roofs, or urban forests can reintroduce nature into the concrete jungle. The juxtaposition of greenery against urbanity can create striking visual contrasts while also offering pockets of respite and tranquility in the hustle and bustle of city life.

Bohl Architects Biophilic Design Case Studies

Merida Courtyard House

Living in a city can sometimes take us away from our nature, but this home in Downtown Merida does quite the opposite.  Whether it’s the courtyard, the pool, or the roof, there is a place to experience the natural world.

Magothy Modern

A modern design that takes advantage of the natural light and the Magothy River views. The horizon line is apparent from nearly every room in the interior, while the outdoor patio provides rest and a complete connection to the surrounding landscape.

The Future of Biophilic Design with Bohl Architects

Our designs have always been more than just buildings; they are structures that breathe with their environment, fostering a symbiotic relationship between nature and humans. As we look ahead, Bohl remains committed to the principles and practices of biophilic design.

We have seen the profound impacts our biophilic designs have had on the wellness and well-being of our clients. With each project, we aim to push the boundaries of what’s possible, crafting homes that are not just sustainable, but are spaces that have soul and bring joy.

In the coming years, we’re excited to delve deeper into innovative methods, materials, and technologies that align with our biophilic ethos. Through architecture, we get to explore the myriad ways we can weave nature into our daily lives, and to discover the transformative power of design that truly resonates with our innate love for the natural world.

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Why Historic Preservation Is Important

What is Historic Preservation all about?

Historic buildings are tangible pieces of the past that help define a community’s story. As architects, it’s important to know what once was so we can develop on that story. You can’t know where to go if you don’t know where you came from. It’s not about keeping everything the same, but rather maintaining a building’s integrity while simultaneously creating something new and of this time. “It has been said that at its best, preservation engages the past in a conversation with the present over a mutual concern for the future.” – William Murtagh (1923–2018) William Murtagh was a historian who served as the first “Keeper of the Records” for the National Register of Historic Places.

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Four Historical Preservation Standards

There are different ways to approach a historical property. The four preservation standards are preservation, restoration, reconstruction, and rehabilitation.


Document what is existing and make notes about materials and history.  This approach is all about maintenance and retention of original materials is the highest objective.


Remove evidence of any alterations that do not coincide with the time period that’s being preserved. This approach involves a lot of historical research.


Recreate portions of the house which may have been lost, based on material evidence and documentation available.


The need to alter or add to a historic property so that it meets continuing or changing uses, while retaining the property’s historic character.

Historic Preservation For Your Home

All facets of Historic Preservation are of value, but rehabilitation is where a project can really become fun. There is something about making a historic building a viable, living structure for the next century that brings us joy.

Modern additions to a building are made with attention to detail and the utmost care for what’s existing. It’s about taking the familiar and tweaking it in a way that creates something aesthetically cool and durable. This is what legacy means to Bohl.

Through historic preservation, we’re able to understand ourselves and how humans live, hence allowing us to better serve you. Our goal is to design in a way that’s compatible to the house’s original function and style, while still creating something that is entirely unique and meets your needs. Bohl Architects listen to your lifestyle considerations first so we can ensure they’re accommodated in the overall design.

We have nearly 50 years of experience working with historic architecture. Whatever your project entails, you can be confident that we’ll meet your expectations. If you’re interested in learning about our previous preservation projects, read on. If you’d rather skip right to the discussion of your old home’s potential, we’re here!  

Still Wondering Why Historic Preservation Is Important?

Take a look at Bohl Architects Historic Preservation Case Studies to witness the transformative power of preserving the past. These studies unveil not just architectural sights but also the stories and cultural imprints left behind. Our historic preservation work includes both residential and commercial projects. History isn’t just to be remembered; it’s to be lived and appreciated anew.

Bohl Architects Historic Preservation – Case Studies

Frederick Douglass Summer Home in Highland Beach

The Frederick Douglass Summer Home was built for the famous abolitionist in 1894-95 by his son, Charles Remond Douglass. The house faces Chesapeake Bay in the community of Highland Beach, Maryland, which was developed in 1893 as a summer resort for elite Washington, DC black families. Frederick Douglass designed the house with its second-floor balcony tower, so that “I as a free man, could look across the Bay to where I was born a slave.”

Bohl Architects completely restored the home in 1986 to National Park Service Standards and listed the home on the National Registry of Historic Places in 1991. The house was raised 4 feet with a new foundation system to comply with FEMA Flood Plain requirements. The exterior wood siding was removed allowing wall cavity access while not disturbing the interior bead board finishes. The siding was restored and replaced in original coursed positions. The house received interior modifications and infrastructure to function as a modern residence.

The home received the 1995 Orlando Ridout Prize from the Anne Arundel County Trust for Preservation, Inc. It is now the house museum of the Highland Beach Historical Association.

1840’s Gothic Revival

This home is nearly 200 years old. There have been only six owners of this home, each having the property for long periods of time and giving their own personal touch to the space. Bohl completed a renovation and addition to this historic, Gothic Revival home.

Hudson Farmhouse

Bohl Architects added to the back of the original 1840s home. We maintained the old feel, while adding modern touches.  The plan now contains adjacent dining and living areas on the main floor, each with a fireplace. We designed a new eat-in kitchen and sitting room, where window walls overlook the pond and meadow.

Prince George Street

Trust Bohl For Your Next Historic Preservation Project

The heart of preservation is not just in the bricks and mortar, but in the soul of the community and the tales these structures tell. At Bohl Architects, we are passionate about giving life to these historic spaces, ensuring they remain standing as reminders of our shared legacy and continue to inspire future generations.

If you’re ready to embark on a historical preservation project or simply wish to learn more about our architectural work, contact us today. We’d love to hear from you!

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The Importance of Dogs – Dog Room Design

Client (And Dog) Survey

At the beginning of every project, Bohl Architects asks that our clients fill out an in-depth survey that helps us understand their current lifestyle and what they hope for in their future home. 

If there are multiple humans to be living in the house, we require that everyone fills out the survey. This way, we can identify where people are on the same page and where opinions about programming priorities are different.

If we establish that the clients are “dog people,” we have a dedicated section of the survey for these domesticated companions. Since it’s nearly impossible for the paws to type, (although dogs have proven to be quite impressive) we make sure to ask our client intentional questions that help us create a space that caters to both the pet and the owner’s needs.  


Understanding the Client’s and Dog’s Lifestyle

To design the house in a way that fits you and your needs, we want to know about you and your dog’s lifestyle.  Does your pup(s) do everything and go everywhere with you? Does your pup(s) have specific areas where they thrive?  Asking these big picture questions help guide the design decisions.

We would advise a client differently on the materials used if they are happy to embrace a comfortable level of patina and wear versus if they prefer a house in pristine condition and unchanged over time. Either way, we work with you (and your pup) to make sure that it lives up to your expectations. 

Reducing Damage in the House with Quality Materials

Heavy traffic areas are often beat up over the years and even more so when there are animals in the house. Materials are a central consideration regardless of having a furry friend, but they are especially important when living with dogs. 

  • Carpet runners over wood floors in high traffic areas.
    Carpet is easier on our pups and helps keep them from slipping and sliding on our floors indoors.

  • Oriental carpets

    Oriental carpets work so well with our pups!  Easy to clean and hide the fur and occasional mishap that may occur.

  • Sunbrella fabrics

    Commercial grade indoor/outdoor fabrics make living with dogs so much easier. Angela Healy has a drooly black German Shepard who has established residency on her living room sofa. The sofa is now covered in navy blue Sunbrella fabric, which is easy to remove and makes periodic cleaning easy. Boy do our domesticated companions have it good!

Dog Room Ideas

We occasionally have clients that want to create a dedicated space for their pet, and we collaborate with them to execute their dog room ideas.

  • Dog bath in the mudroom

    Having a space to clean your pup before they enter the main parts of the house is a game changer.  Additionally, an outside shower can also do double duty for this purpose.

  • Built-in dog doors and doggie crates

    This gives your pup some autonomy over their decisions to go outside or take time out from the humans in the house.

  • Built-in doggie station for chow time

    Having a pull-out bin for dog food and a designated place for dog bowls helps makes dinner time more efficient and less likely to be messy in a high traffic area like the kitchen.

  • Dog room in the pantry

    We’re currently completing a kitchen renovation for one of our long-time clients. Over the years, they have had a precious dog by their side. We segregated the pantry from the main kitchen, so that this dog would have her own space. Plus, there is a glass door that she will be able to look out to the water views. There are pocket dog gates with stone plinths on either side, and a pull-out cabinet for her food. Wood floor is shown in the rendering, but we have since decided to put stone floor in the pantry so that it doesn’t get scratched up overtime.

Bohl Architects is a nationally recognized architecture and interior design firm specializing in custom residential design and historic preservation projects. We strive to create spaces of pure delight and that’s for our clients and their pups.

We love what we do, but the final product is only successful if you love what we do.

Call us at 410.263.2200 or click here to get started with us today– we’re excited to hear about your unique project.

German Shepard
dog room

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Molding Cartoon

How Moldings Enhance Your Home

History of Moldings

The original purpose of moldings dates from prehistoric times when moldings were used as structural elements to bind together or connect surfaces. The Ancient Greeks took moldings to a higher level by visually dividing spaces using crown molding designs based upon geometric shapes of an ellipse, hyperbola, and parabola. The Romans based their molding designs on circles and today we still use their quarter-round and half-round moldings. During the Italian Renaissance of the 1400’s, Greek and Roman molding designs were revived and illustrated in pattern books to provide exact dimensions of these features for builders to use in construction.

Types of Molding

Moldings are used to enhance the intersections of floors, walls and ceilings. Baseboards along floors, wainscot along walls, window and door frames on walls and cornices at ceilings incorporate the elegant profiles and ornamental details of a molding’s surface that is designed with recesses and reliefs, with the primary importance of the type of shadow it will cast.

Thornton Sitting Room for Moldings

King George III gave his name to the Georgian style of architecture that featured elaborate moldings. The living room in the Thornton Estate in Kent County, Maryland, includes many types of moldings. There are layers of elaborate crown molding, egg and dart, and dentil profiles that incorporated the window headers. The space also includes chair rail and baseboard, as well as the Chippendale mantel with a pineapple motif, the symbol of hospitality. An unusual detail is the reeded trim (vertical half round shapes) for the windows that interrupts the chair rail and extends to the top of the baseboard. This detail makes the room seem taller in height. These moldings and ceiling medallions of plaster were crafted by hand, since the invention of large machines for planning wood that led to mass production of moldings did not occur until the second phase of the Industrial Revolution.

Moldings Today

Fast forward to 1969, when molded polyurethane moldings were introduced. Unlike wood, this material resists decay, insect infestation, and water damage and requires little maintenance. Since polyurethane moldings are not a natural material like wood, they cannot be stained. King George III might not approve, but modern house designs have little or no moldings or trim to maintain a minimalist look.

Case Studies

Modern Case Study 1

For the Hudson Valley Farmhouse project, Bohl Architects created a minimalist look by minimizing the use of baseboard molding. The kitchen and dining area has no interior molding around the windows and doors. At the windows, the drywall turns the corner of the window jambs to end at the window frame, which accentuates the rhythm of the windows and frames the landscape. When you have large windows such as these, replacing moldings with pops of color can add architectural character to the space.

Case Study with Moldings

For an addition to an 1840 Gothic Revival style house, Bohl Architects specified moldings including baseboard, paneling under the windows, crown, layered molding around doors and cased openings and wrapped beams with additional crown molding to intersect the ceiling for a coffered look. The light olive color ties this addition to the original part of the nearly 200-year-old home, which was recently featured in Veranda Magazine.

There are many ways to add ornamentation to your space and moldings are a great option. Whether you prefer traditional moldings or minimal moldings for your new home or renovation, we can collaborate with you to create your individual look!

Trust The Experts At Bohl Architects

Bohl Architects is a nationally recognized architecture and interior design firm specializing in custom residential design and historic preservation projects.

The interior spaces of our homes dramatically capture views of the landscape and develop an effortless connection of inside and outside. We take you on a journey of architectural exploration, leaving you not only with a home that is entirely attuned to your needs and wants, but with a better understanding of how our collaboration with you brought the space to life.


We love what we do, but the final product is only successful if you love what we do. Call us at 410.263.2200 – we’re excited to hear about your unique project.

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The Modern Beach House

The beach is the ever-changing boundary of land and ocean, offering a mesmerizing view across the waves to the distant horizon.

From the time the first settlers arrived on the shores of the New World’s Atlantic Ocean, coastal homeowners have tried to tame nature’s elements. Water that varies from still to stormy, tides that erode the dunes and the aftereffects of hurricanes that destroy homes in its path.

Still, the lure of the sea is irresistible, and we continue to dream of owning a Modern Beach House. Continue reading to discover the key elements and design features of a modern beach house that seamlessly blend with its coastal surroundings and provide a comfortable, yet sophisticated living space.

Modern Beach House Views

Views of the water vary from morning fog to the sparkling surface created by the high noon sun as it dances over the water, to the still night’s dark blanket of water illuminated by a full moon. Next to the tranquil view of the endless horizon, who can resist the sound of waves breaking and rolling onto the beach? The soothing sound instills a sense of calm, and the wave break freshens the air as it sends cooling breezes. It is no surprise that insomniacs love recordings of ocean sounds, no matter how far they live from the coast.

Choosing a Knowledgeable Team to Build a Modern Beach House

Before embarking on the journey of building a modern beach house, the homeowner mustn’t look over the complexities of building along the water. To make sure the process goes smoothly, you must have a knowledgeable team that has experience navigating the intricacies of the shoreline.

When working on a waterfront property, an architect is required to design more in-depth site plans and submit for distinct grading and building permits. During the contractor selection process, it’s key to make sure that the engineers and builders are aware of additional site work that may be necessary before construction, as well as how to deal with any foreseeable complications. While choosing a solid team applies to every building, it’s especially important for those on the beach.

Modern Beach House Exterior Challenges

Modern Beach Houses come with unique challenges. Many sites are long and narrow, to maximize the number of ocean front lots, so providing every room with ocean views and balanced sunlight is not easy. Plus, window placement is critical for privacy from close neighbors.

Corrosive salt air requires careful consideration of a beach house’s exterior materials and hardware that resist mildew, rot, termites, and high winds. Materials such as concrete, cementitious siding, anodized, powder coated (available in many colors) or pultruded aluminum door and window frames, marine grade stainless steel door hardware, and metal roofing are all appropriate choices. The latter also has the additional benefit of reflecting the sun, which could lower AC cost, if light colors are selected.

Modern Beach House Design

Modern Beach House design is a blend of the clean lines and sleek minimalism of modern architecture with informal interiors inspired by the beach setting. Imagine light, airy volumes framed by white walls to reflect the sunlight and sisal or gray-washed engineered wood flooring, walls of windows that combine large picture windows and operable units to maximize the sights of the ocean and the sound of waves breaking over the sand.

Think casual furnishings, easy care fabrics of lightweight cotton and linen, natural materials, splashes of all shades of blue in furnishings and pillows, accessories of mirrors framed in seashells and accents of found beach treasures such as shells and driftwood.  

When you step through the front door of your Modern Beach House, you can’t help but exhale and leave the work week behind as you toss off your city shoes and slip into clogs for a walk on the beach.

Chesapeake Bay Modern Beach House Design by Bohl Architects

Our team at Bohl Architects carefully considered these factors above for Bembe Beach. The special microclimate of a gently sloping site with a sandy beach along the Chesapeake Bay. The Owners are avid sailors with young children who sought a beachfront lot to launch their boat for weeklong sojourns on the Bay.

Bembe Beach Image 1

The Owner, Elina Donaldson, is an Interior Designer of Simplicity by Elina and is known for creating bright functional spaces with a strong connection with nature. Bohl Architects incorporated her preference for clean lines, natural elements and shapes in the materials and products for the house. Full height sliding doors and window planes make the open plan living-dining-kitchen a seamless indoor outdoor space.

Bembe Beach Image 2

In response to the coastal site’s challenging environment, Bohl Architects selected a rain screen exterior cladding system with monolithic fiber cement panels to withstand salt spray, sun exposure, high humidity and airborne debris and hurricane force winds. The house’s rectangular footprint is offset with one side of the front elevation clad in gray fiber cement panels, and the other side clad in horizontal teak boards that will weather over time. The reveals to the black rainscreen membrane create a grid onto the two wall planes that are joined together like interlocking puzzle pieces. At the front elevation, windows and doors are thoughtfully set into the wall grid.

Bembe Beach Image 3

At the dramatic waterside rear elevation, the grid changes to three stories of structural framing infilled with large panes of glass. Projections of decks with glass rails at the second floor and the third floor’s sunroom with floor to ceiling glass walls reach out to the Bay. At twilight, when the house is illuminated from within, the walls become prisms of glass.

Bembe Beach Image 4

The compact floor plan evokes the Maryland historic center hall plan with the circulation element of stairs that rise along the side wall of the first floor to become a bedroom “bridge” to the second floor‘s three bedrooms. The staircase then changes to two separate single runs, one up to the box bay sunroom and another up to the top bridge between the third floor office and family room.

Bembe Beach Image 5

With the “service” areas at the front and the primary rooms at the rear, each level of the plan is organized for views of the Bay that range from a flat plane of still water to stormy top caps.

Bembe Beach Image 6 1

Simplicity by Elina evokes the beach setting with the stained concrete floor finish on the main floor, the blue waves of the rug, and the sleek modern bar stools paired with the Scandinavian dining table and chairs. The kitchen cabinetry is a modern grid of stone blue panels and wood open shelving.

Bohl Architects has over 47 years of experience designing beach homes in styles ranging from modern to Craftsman. Our team is grateful to work on spectacular waterfront projects with amazing clients, and Bembe Beach is one of them. Now that summer is here, contact us to fulfill your dream of a house on the beach!

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