About Town | Mowery Marsh Architects with Design in Mind

Written by: Christine Broomhead

Photography by: Blackstock Photography & Robert Socha

Hoboken’s historic brownstones are ripe for renovation, especially as more families are raising kids in town instead of fleeing to the burbs come kindergarten. Many of the designers and neighbors featured on Hoboken Living have remodeled one of these beautiful buildings, and over the last few months, as I talked to homeowners about their renovations, one architecture firm kept coming up: Mowery Marsh.

Jennifer Mowery and Brian Marsh are the husband and wife duo making up Mowery Marsh Architects. They have one of those aspirational love stories that started with a shared desk in a freshman Penn State architecture class and is going strong today as they parent two children and run a successful business together. “In school, people used to say we bickered like a married couple,” says Jenn. “I guess we still do!”

In their work, Jenn and Brian are known for their thoughtful designs and flawless execution. Their homes incorporate things like vanity drawers that pull out into steps so the kids can reach the sink and pocket doors that help a space go from seeming large and continuous to private and cozy. Everything feels quality and nothing feels like an afterthought.

When embarking on a project, understanding the preferences of each person is key. For a couple, they’ll ask both people to make independent lists and prioritize their wants. “People often compromise when they don’t have to,” says Jenn. “If we have a complete picture from both people, we can aim to make everyone happy.” Without fail, not everything on the wishlist fits within the budget, so Mowery Marsh phase the project to align the scope with the cost. Next comes the picking – the picking of hardware, counters, cabinets, tile, molding, doors, windows, sinks – the list goes on. Choosing these details before construction begins gives Mowery Marsh a truly accurate grasp on price and prevents change orders down the line.

Images by Blackstock Photography

Jenn and Brian are known for their thoughtful designs and flawless execution.

This planning and forethought is one of things that sets Mowery Marsh apart from other architecture firms. When they draw up plans for a home, they think of every detail, from the major elements, like the layout, all the way down to the fixtures. This rigor is essential to their success, explains Jenn. “We want as many opportunities for design as possible,” she says. Their thoroughness at this early stage allows them to seamlessly integrate the building’s formal structure with how the rooms function. For example, when considering windows and sun, they’re also thinking about the kinds of light they will install. When sizing the rooms, they’re also thinking about their trim and color. When planning multiple floors, they’re also thinking about how the stairs will unfold. Design is intrinsic to their architectural style, and it shows in their work.

Image by Blackstock Photography

Take their kitchens for example. Cabinetry is a central element of any kitchen, so they plan it well in advance. “When we do all our drawings, we foresee problems and opportunities before we’re in construction,” says Jenn. If there’s unsightly piping or venting, they adjust the cabinets so that it’s undetectable from the exterior. They even consider the color of the cabinets before they go on the walls. This is because painting cabinets will impact how the they’ll be installed. If they plan to use pre-painted cabinetry (which will stand out) they can bring them in later, but if they’re using field-painted cabinetry, which will be painted at the same time as the wall, they’ll plan for their installation earlier. It’s things like this, things that most people wouldn’t think of, that make a Mowery Marsh home so pristine and envy-worthy.

Image by Robert Socha

Take a closer look at Mowery Marsh’s work with designer, Joanne Laurie, at her amazing Bloomfield home