Kate Johns AIA Company Background

Kate Johns AIA is an architectural firm specializing in new traditional architecture and historic preservation. Established in 1986 in the Hudson Valley Region of New York State, we concentrate on classic country house architecture, whether formal or informal. Circulation, the experience of moving through interior spaces and from interior to exterior spaces, as well as light and the framing of views are our primary design concern. Attention to the rules of proportion and classical detailing are also important as is the building’s relationship to the site and to its architectural context.


Trusting, long term relationships with our clients mean everything to us. We pride ourselves on our responsiveness to each client’s very individual vision. Our projects are truly collaborative efforts – listening well is one of our most valued skills. Many of our clients come back to us over and over when they have new projects in mind. Most of our new clients are referred by our existing clients.


From the mid-1970s in architectural school through her thirty years of practice, Kate has adhered to her love and knowledge of traditional architecture to create hundreds of “new old houses”. Having grown up in the northeast and subsequently lived in many areas of the country, including the west coast, the southwest, and the south, Kate has a strong knowledge base of the many different styles of historical architecture in our country. Through travel and study, she is highly knowledgeable of the classical roots of much of our architecture. She is greatly influenced by the many ways in which vernacular buildings interpret classical principles, while still adhering to the demands of particular climate, site and cultural conditions. Her buildings strive to harmonize with their context while providing delight for their users.


The term “historic preservation” encompasses many levels of intervention with an existing building. From strict “preservation” of an historic structure according to the Secretary of the Interior’s standards, to renovation, adaptive reuse, and additions, our firm has many years of experience with them all.

We approach renovations with a lifetime’s knowledge of historical architecture and an eye to preserving as many important original features and finishes as possible while upgrading the structural stability, energy efficiency, and modern-day use of the building. Our additions strive to respect the design intent of the original architect or that of the most prevalent style of architecture the building maintains. As in our new construction, we strive to harmonize rather than to make a “design statement.”


Historic Preservation, a focus of our firm from the beginning, is the original “green” sustainable construction. On the most fundamental level, it is recycling an entire structure. We reuse as many original elements as we can and add energy saving new elements, such as insulation, storm windows, and efficient heating and cooling systems.

In new construction, we base our designs on the time-honored design principles of traditional buildings, most of which were established in the days before there were ANY fossil fuels; thereby, and by necessity, they are energy conserving. Our buildings are designed to last at least 100 years. They are built with materials and details that can be routinely maintained. We start with allowing for natural daylight and ventilation; most glass facing south, overhangs or porch roofs to protect from western sun, natural renewable resource materials, and human scale rooms. We then add maximum non-formaldehyde insulation, insulated glass windows, and high efficiency heating and cooling systems. We avoid the use of MDF and specify non-toxic glues in plywood and non-arsenic pressure treated lumber.


We work with respected local builders, developers and real estate professionals – partnering with the best in the field to ensure superior quality and execution every step of the way.



Behind every Kate Johns, AIA project is a talented team of professionals who bring a unique viewpoint to everything we do. We work with trusted structural, civil and mechanical engineers as well as landscape architects and interior designers. We provide specifications on all aspects of a construction project including plumbing fixtures, appliances and lighting fixtures.


Kate established her Hudson Valley firm in 1986 in Columbia County, New York. For over twenty years, her work has upheld the highest standards of new traditional architecture and historic preservation. Prior to establishing her firm, she worked in the historic preservation division of the architectural firm, The Ehrenkrantz Group in New York City. Kate also worked in New Orleans for the preservation architecture firm of Koch and Wilson, after working for the National Park Service as an architectural intern on a Historic American Buildings Survey (HABS) team in Baton Rouge, LA. Kate is currently registered in the states of New York, Massachusetts, Connecticut, and Maryland and can obtain reciprocal registration in any state through her NCARB certification. Kate currently serves as the architect member of the Historic Preservation Commission of Hudson, N.Y. She previously served on the boards of the Columbia County Historical Society, The Columbia Land Conservancy, The Empire State Plaza Art Commission and The Columbia Economic Development Corporation. Her unwavering commitment to creating an architecture for today, building on the classical vocabulary of the past, makes her work highly sought after, both regionally and across the country.