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What I Learned From Judging the Master Design Awards

There were many great projects submitted this year that displayed many creative ideas that were well thought through, well-detailed and not necessarily expensive. The winners had several things in common. First and foremost, excellent packets with concise descriptions and high-quality photography really helped the judges understand the challenges and see the execution of the work. Craftsmanship and innovative ideas and solutions were at the top of my list of high-scoring entries.

The trend to bring more light into a home by adding windows, especially in kitchens and baths, the spaces lived in the most, was prominent. Expanding the living area around and in the kitchen continues to be the dominant theme when remodeling the American home. The major dining space is open to the kitchen and family room while living rooms and separate dining rooms continue to shrink or disappear or are reappropriated for other uses like libraries, home offices, etc.

In baths, larger showers and lots of light were common and there seemed to be a trend toward simple Zen-like finishes with natural materials and Earth tones where perhaps a beautifully grained piece of wood spoke volumes in creating the mood for the space.

There also seemed to be a significant interest in lower levels as that space is a great way to use an existing footprint to expand usable living and entertaining space. Here, if natural light was not an option, use of primary colors and creative forms, geometric patterns and shapes really transformed basements into fun energized living spaces.

In conclusion, a winning project had to inspire, either with material selections, color composition, or creative use of space. Each contributed a crucial part to the formula for success. Simply redoing or updating a space, whether a kitchen, bath, lower level, etc., without some combination of the aforementioned elements would not catch the judges attention. The winners succeeded in doing a great job of demonstrating their commitment to the highest standards of our industry and deserve the acknowledgement they have received though Qualified Remodeler’s recognition program.

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