The state capital of Virginia has a rich architectural history, with a full spectrum of styles represented across its cityscape, from Georgian, Greek Revival, Neoclassical to Tudor, Italianate, Art Deco, and Modernist.
This list of the best residential architects in Richmond presents firms who continue the town’s diverse design legacy, whether influencing new-home trends or restoring historic structures to their former glory. These companies are led by members and fellows of the American Institute of Architects (AIA/FAIA) and the National Council of Architectural Registration Boards (NCARB), with team emphasis on Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design Accredited Professionals (LEED AP) and Building Design + Construction (BD+C)-certification. On the other hand, if you want to learn more about the cost of building a custom home in Richmond, check out our cost guide article.
503 Ridge Top Rd., Richmond, VA 23229
Ensminger Architecture has built more than 100 homes in and around Richmond, infusing neighborhoods with a range of styles, from mid-century modern to Mediterranean. Leading the charge is Dan Ensminger, a local who earned his architecture degree from Virginia Tech and founded the company in 1996. He has since launched long-term relationships with colleagues industry-wide, including in landscape, lighting, and mechanical and electronic systems design.
The Westhampton Georgian home highlighted here is a key expression of Ensminger’s talent. From the sprawling backyard’s paver patio and grill to the residence’s bright interior, no detail was left to chance. White wood walls and large windows allow natural light to stream throughout the space, and a tiered black quartz-top island serves as the eye-catching focal point of the spacious kitchen, leading to a sizable dining area and peninsula bar. The master bath is also enviable, with wide dresser space, two gray marble-top vanities, and immense glass-encased shower.
It’s no wonder that Ensminger’s work is regularly acclaimed in the media and included in the town’s Historic Garden Week tours.
Mark Spangler Architecture
1727 West Grace St., Richmond, Virginia 23220
Established in 1992, Mark Spangler Architecture has built some of the most impressively sized homes across the region, leveraging team insight into the challenges that come with immense structures. At the same time, founder Mark Spangler prides himself on maximizing the use of space and building with budget in mind. A licensed architect with a degree in interior design, he began his career as a draftsman, before launching his own agency.
Marrying historical architectural styles with contemporary solutions, the firm designed the Powhatan home above to blend neoclassical Italian architecture with a San Francisco rowhouse style, including intricately molded balusters that accentuate the red-brick exterior. The classical trim continues in the interior, where multiple built-in arched bookcases line the spacious living room and trimmed arch openings lead to the kitchen, which features a wainscoted range hood and cabinets that are a stylish backdrop for the tiered center island. The Victorian dining room can seat up to ten, and lounge areas abound, both inside and out.
The high-caliber craftsmanship shines here and throughout the Spangler portfolio.
Patrick Farley Architect
3412 W. Leigh St., Richmond, VA 23230
With over 30 years of industry experience, Patrick Farley, AIA, LEED BD+C, wields depth in multiple arenas, including sustainable development, affordable housing, master planning, solar-energy systems, and net-zero-energy building design. He earned his bachelor’s and master’s of architecture from UVA and has led over $10 million worth of design-build construction projects, allowing him to bring builder insight into his architectural process. Farley has been recognized by organizations such as AIA Richmond, the Alliance to Conserve Old Richmond Neighborhoods (ACORN), and the Better Housing Coalition for his work.
Patrick Farley Architect designed this featured modern suburban home with an intimate garden courtyard, to bring the native landscape indoors. A screened porch oversees this space, its lounge areas winding easily to the backyard patio, and tall windows and glass sliding doors punctuate the remainder of the white-panel exterior, flooding the interior with natural light. A soft-toned fireplace wall warms the vaulted-ceiling living room, which flows to an expansive kitchen, dining room, and sitting room with half-wall divider. Inviting details continue throughout, including the marble tile that accents the master bath’s recessed tub and alcove shower.
As with all of Farley’s projects, nature and aesthetic design weave seamlessly into unified design.
Johannas Design Group
1901 W. Cary St., Richmond, VA 23220
As founder of his namesake firm, Dave Johannas, AIA, NCARB, brings over 25 years of experience in urban design, from mixed-use to high-end residential, with specialization in historic preservation and adaptive reuse projects. Joining him as partner is Scott Corwin, Associate AIA, who earned his chops in construction before pursuing a master’s in architecture from Virginia Tech.
The Johannas Design Group has won multiple awards from ACORN and the Greater Richmond Association of Commercial Real Estate throughout the past two decades, for the outstanding craftsmanship the team infuses into every project, including the Park Avenue home shown here. Within the solid-brick façade is a flowing white and wood interior. Built-in cabinets highlight the living-room fireplace, and classic white pillars lead to the kitchen, which features an eat-in center island and multiple prep spaces. The dining area offers inviting views of the front courtyard, which is lined with flagstone and features and easy-reach vegetable patch near the entryway.
Neighborhood revitalization is evident wherever the Johannas Design Group leaves its innovative print.
Josh McCullar Architects LLC
3802 Fauquier Ave., Richmond, VA 23227
Josh McCullar Architects has been serving Richmond since 2016. A native of the Piedmont region, founder Josh McCullar, AIA, NCARB, earned his bachelor’s in environmental design and architecture from North Carolina State University and his master’s in architecture from UVA. He spent 19 years with other firms, gaining experience in both public and private projects, before starting his own practice.
The stylish family home shown here represents the rich vision the firm fulfills for its clients. Dark manganese ironspot brick, whitewashed red brick, cedar, and reclaimed Virginia-sourced white oak make up the textured façade of this River Road beauty. A corner sunroom provides a venue to admire the picturesque scenery, in its location close to James River, with a covered porch bordering the perimeter, for a closer view. Large windows lining the home’s interior bring ample light into the already-bright white-walled spaces, which lead toward a glass-railed staircase. Soft neutral tones appear in the furniture and cabinetry, creating a mix of modern design and traditional rural architecture characteristic of the Piedmont region. This sublime blend is accentuated throughout the kitchen and dining areas, where rustic pieces meet minimalism, from the center island’s drop lamps to the window-side breakfast nook.
The firm’s timeless designs simply shine!
510 Architects LLC
3330 W Leigh St., Suite A, Richmond, VA 23230
Both launching their careers via the Virginia Tech Master of Architecture program, Heather Grutzius, LEED AP, and John White founded 510 Architects in 2009, after garnering experience with other firms in the state. They bring a deep understanding of materials, means, and methods to the design process, maintaining a wholly focused vision from concept to realization for the many residential and commercial projects they complete throughout the city.
The team performed an extensive renovation for this 3,000-square-foot, three-story rowhouse in the historic Fan District. The cool gray and white exterior opens to warmth, indoors, with light-wood finishes accents across the main living spaces. Touches of orange fill the family room and the adjacent kitchen, where a brick wall serves as backsplash and a wooden waterfall-edge island is the riveting centerpiece. The master bedroom features a raised bed with traditional wood-mantel headboard and matching bookshelves, leading to a stunning en suite bath outfitted with a rain-head shower that hangs above pebble flooring. The leisure continues outdoors, in a backyard oasis that includes patio, grill, and firepit.
As 510 Architects note in its philosophies, beauty is in the details — and so is innovation.
309 N. Adams St., Richmond, Virginia 23220
After securing a master’s in architecture from UVA and spending several years with leading New York City firms, Katie MacNelly moved back to Richmond and spearheaded the 2009 launch of her own practice, ARCHITECTUREFIRM. Husband and fellow UVA alumnus Danny MacNelly joined her as partner in 2015. They have since been designing hospitality, residential, and contemporary art spaces in the state. In 2017, Adam Ruffin, another fellow UVA graduate, became the third partner, now managing the Brooklyn office.
Featured numerous times in print magazines and online publications such as Dwell, Dezeen, and Archello, this black-wood-exterior home is a haven on the riverside. The elongated windows and glass sliding doors bring abundant light into the interior during the day and transform the structure into a window on the universe at night. Inside, the walls and ceilings are lined with light wood, creating an airy atmosphere that frames the views of foliage. It is as restful for the parents as it is full of adventure for the three young boys who reside there, and the exterior features amplify the family’s gathering space, with open decks that bridge the home and a fireplace that warms the central stone patio.
This show-stopper speaks to ARCHITECTUREFIRM’s dedication to timeless designs that are an expression of their surroundings.
Hays + Ewing Design Studio
1900 Chesapeake St., Charlottesville, VA 22902
Winner of the Award of Honor from the Virginia Society of the AIA and named one of the top ten energy-efficient homes in the state, by EarthCraft, this modern take on the dogtrot is composed of two wings and a breezeway with a dark-stained poplar façade. Seasonally textured, this comfort-centric residence allows the owners to enjoy time away from the city, with relaxing al fresco dining from spring to late fall. The kitchen and main living spaces are in the east wing, while the ground level of the west wing offers a studio office and master bedroom, with three other bedrooms partially embedded into the hillside in the lower level. The build employs a passive solar design, from natural ventilation to operable windows, and offers a geothermal system of radiant floors throughout.
Hays + Ewing Design Studio is the team behind this exceptional home. Firm partners Christopher Hays, AIA, LEED AP, and Allison Ewing, FAIA, LEED AP, each hold a master’s in architecture from Yale and bring over 30 years of industry experience to the table. Hays has extensive global reach, with designs implemented in Spain, the Netherlands, Brazil, Italy, and Japan, and Ewing holds international presence as well, with projects in Japan, Italy and Canada. She is also a recipient of the Monbusho Fellowship with the Tokyo Institute of Technology. Serving Virginia since 2004, this studio agilely combines green design with modern living.
4015 Fitzhugh Ave., Richmond, VA 23230
Set against the backdrop of a historic Richmond neighborhood, the brick-walled Tudor Revival home featured blow opens to a bright and classic interior. Tall French doors and extensive windows illuminate the white walls, contrasted by dark wood finishes in the fixtures and furniture. Several sitting rooms extend beyond the grand arched brick foyer and the intricately molded carpeted staircase, with comfy couches warmed by traditional wood fireplaces. A long white quartz-top island is the focus of the modern kitchen, which offers an undermount sink fronting the range. The formal dining room seats 14, and the elegant, cage-chandelier-lit hallway leads to the bedrooms. The master bath also has its own fireplace at the corner of the freestanding tub and large vanity mirror.
This sophisticated restoration was executed by 3North, which has been serving Richmond since 1999. The 30-strong team of architects, landscape leads, interior designers, and graphic designers is led by founder and managing principal John Adam (“Jay”) Hugo, a member of both the American Society of Landscape Architects and American Society of Interior Designers. The team’s other principals include Erin Webb, Morgan Pierce, AIA, ASLA, LEED AP, and Peter Dove.
The quality of this masterful renovation highlights why 3North has earned such notable honors through the years, including the 2020 AIA Virginia Awards for Excellence in Architecture merit award.