I love the July/August issue. Each year, it’s packed with more homes, more great design, more interesting stories and more inspiration than any other issue we produce. Thanks to the annual Design Excellence Awards competition, you get the benefit of taking a peek into the challenges, solutions and triumphs of your peers around the country as they designed and built their award-winning projects.
As I do each year in June, I sit in a room all day with the judges and listen to their comments as they evaluate the projects and choose the winners. The judges discuss the noteworthy and sometimes less-than-memorable elements of certain projects, which allows me to see the projects through the eyes of home designers and builders rather than through the eyes of an editor. I’ve learned much by observing the judging process for six years, and I apply these lessons as I build each issue of Residential Design + Build for you to enjoy.
What I’ve learned is that at this level — the level at which awards are presented for this country’s best home design — awards typically are given to teams that collaborate. So often in the essay portions of the award entries, those submitting the projects write about the creative solutions applied in the field by architects, designers, builders, landscape planners, interior designers, carpenters and many other professionals resulting from collaboration.
I ’ve also learned that the number of projects submitted to the competition increased by 20 percent this year, which is noteworthy because it breaks the trend of a declining number of entries we’ve seen for the past few years. While not a “stop the presses” kind of story, I interpret it as a good sign. Even better, it’s clear to the judges and me that the quality of homes in this year’s competition has risen from previous years. This, to me, means those opportunists who jumped into a very deep client pool years ago while custom home construction was experiencing peak activity have gone away. Their inability to negatively influence the overall reputation of those who remain committed to their businesses and clients is good news, too.
Beginning on page 12, you can read about the 17 custom homes and 14 design and construction firms that won a combined 22 Design Excellence Awards this year. For those of you who want to see more photos, floor plans, site plans and a list of the manufacturers used in each project, you can do so by following the links to exclusive online content listed under the tiny computer screens you’ll see within each article. You can also see longer articles by visiting our awards section at ForResidentialPros.com.