The Wow Factor

If it didn’t make the judges say “wow,” it won’t be in the next 23 pages. The 35th annual Master Design Awards honor the best of the best in this industry. QR’s team of six judges evaluated and narrowed down more than 200 entries from across the U.S. and Canada. The result is 54 stellar projects.

Recognition levels are gold, silver, bronze and honorable mention. Although all winning projects are mentioned in this issue, only the highest award winning project in each category is pictured and includes a written description. Not all categories have winners at each level and not all categories have gold as the highest honor.

In addition to the four recognition levels, the judges gave special recognition to Best in Show and Judges’ Vision. Best in Show was selected from the list of winners. The Judges’ Vision award encompasses what the judges deemed to be the best of the best. Its design, execution, response to challenges and aesthetics exemplified what the judges believe an award-winning project should be.

Judge Michael Menn, AIA, CGR, CGP, CAPS, NCARB, architect and principal, Michael Menn Ltd., Northbrook, Ill., noted this year was, “Another great year of professional submittals and accompanying photography. Light and airy seems to be a common theme.”

 

WHOLE HOUSE MORE THAN $500,000

Judges’ Vision

My House Design/Build/Team, Surrey, British Columbia, Canada, myhousedesignbuild.com
Project goals for this late-1970s home included adding a second story to take advantage of the view from a second-story master suite. Layout and use of space in the home to incorporate smoother transitions to make the home more functional also was vital. A key challenge was accommodating the floor space ratios regulations to add the second story while maintaining a prescribed ratio and not exceeding the home’s existing height. The design team converted a portion of the existing basement space into a crawl space to allow for the addition while keeping the overall square footage. Existing attic space and a portion of the vaulted ceiling was used creatively to keep the home’s roof height the same. The expanded and re-oriented kitchen yields more entertaining and food preparation space. The reconfigured front entry flows into the greatroom, which presents the good views the clients wanted. A glass skylight, Glulam beams and a contemporary staircase with glass railings and custom-stained wood contribute to the open feel.

Gold and Best in Show

Allen Associates, Santa Barbara, Calif., dennisallenassociates.com
The remodel on a 1950s home aimed to add square footage, contemporary finishes and make the home more comfortable and energy efficient. Located at the top of a bluff with fantastic ocean views, the remodel created ocean views from indoor and outdoor spaces, opened the inside of the house to connect indoor and outdoor spaces and added usable space, such as a new bedroom, bath and second-story addition. The original design had very few right angles, which the owners embraced in the remodel so trapezoids are throughout; the hallway floors, ceiling and walls; the corners in the grand room; base of the art niches in the hallway; and entry pillars all form trapezoids. A 5kW solar photovoltaic system on the south-facing section and pool solar water heating system in the second story achieve the clients’ solar goals. The remodel merged the living room, dining area and kitchen to create a grand room. Carefully thought through engineering eliminated a center post in that space, instead using a laminate wood beam, which met the client’s concerns and reduced the structural budget. Other project features include an elegant entry into the home, an outdoor shower made with Ipe, connecting the home to the previously detached garage, adequate outdoor living space and several green elements, including tankless water heaters, an energy-efficient exterior shell and a cistern to collect surface water and rainwater from the roof.

Gold

Phil Kean Designs Inc., Winter Park, Fla.
Located on a lakefront lot in an exclusive gold community, the owner wanted to improve the 1980’s home’s flow, maximize the lake views and create large, comfortable living spaces to accommodate a growing family. Interior walls were removed and room placement adjusted. A second floor addition includes a master suite with exercise room, office, private den and media room, and a balcony. Children’s rooms, a guest room and family living areas are on the first floor. Space for a future elevator is incorporated in the foyer’s stone column as a coat closet covered by a barn door. All lakeside rooms boast panoramic lake views. A spacious lanai with summer kitchen, outdoor dining area, a “firetainment” sitting area and retractable screens connects to the family room, dining room and kitchen via pocketing sliding glass panels. This outdoor area expands the home’s living and entertaining area by 605 sq. ft. The home achieved LEED for Homes Gold certification, Energy Star certification an EPA Indoor airPlus certification and HERS index of 63.

Silver

Realty Restoration, Austin, Texas, realtyrestoration.com

WHOLE HOUSE $200,000 - $500,000

Gold

Rossington Architecture, San Francisco, rossingtonarchitecture.com
Creating a more functional kitchen and creating easy indoor/outdoor living were key objectives. Other components included a welcoming entry, efficient heating system, new powder room, new laundry room and general modernization of the entire house. The project added 8 ft. to the living/dining room and took out the interior walls of the public portion of the house to create an open space that showcases the kitchen. A large island separates the kitchen from the living/dining room and is anchored by a wood screen that helps define the entry and visually separates the kitchen from the bedroom wing and entry. A 16-ft.-wide sliding door connects the living space to the exterior where an Ipe deck and painted steel and wood trellis create a comfortable outdoor dining experience. Operable transom windows have a chimney effect to usher warm air up and out of the house; a skylight with a large canted shaft provides a similar effect in the kitchen and balances the natural light.

Silver

Allen Associates, Santa Barbara, Calif., dennisallenassociates.com

Bronze

CG&S Design-Build, Austin, Texas, cgsdb.com

Bronze

Custom Design & Construction, El Segundo, Calif., remodelwithus.com

WHOLE HOUSE LESS THAN $200,000

Gold

Jackson & LeRoy Remodeling, Salt Lake City, jacksonandleroy.com
Rather than relocate to a different neighborhood for a bigger home, the family chose to remodel their existing space. The design combined the existing kitchen with the adjacent living room to create a large, light space. The bearing wall between the kitchen and living room was replaced with a new beam and posts concealed in finish carpentry. The stairway was relocated to allow the conversation and traffic to flow better. In addition, the Salt Lake Valley panoramic views from the living room are more easily enjoyed. An oversized center kitchen island includes adequate seating and preparation space. The old, dark office space was opened up to the entry foyer with glass French doors and furnished with wall-to-wall custom cabinets. That efficiency allows for a grand piano and formal chairs to complete the transformation from a cluttered office to an elegant, formal living room. Wide select hickory flooring runs throughout the kitchen, dining room, living room and entry to create unity between the spaces.

Silver

Pedigo Design, Lexington, Ky., pedigodesign.com

Bronze

Rochman Design-Build, Ann Arbor, Mich., rochmandesignbuild.com

ROOM ADDITIONS MORE THAN $100,000

Gold

My House Design/Build/Team, Surrey, British Columbia, Canada, myhousedesignbuild.com
The 535-sq.-ft. second-story addition required creative thinking and design to add the space without increasing the home’s square footage or raising the roof line above its current height. To achieve this, the team converted a portion of the basement from a storage room into a 4-ft., 11-in.-high crawl space and moved all mechanical into the space. By using that allotted space and the addition of a third level, the overall allowable floor space ratio was maintained. That third level creatively integrated additional floor into the existing structure while keeping within the approved height restrictions. The new upper floor includes a private master suite with a master bedroom and ensuite bathroom that features a soaker tub, oversized shower, 9-ft. vanity, double sinks and radiantly heated floors. An open walkway offers views of the city and beyond.

Silver

Architectural Resource, Ann Arbor, Mich., architecturalresource.com

Honorable Mention

Sockeye Homes, Kent, Wash., sockeyehomes.com

 

ROOM REMODEL

Gold

The Wills Co., Nashville, Tenn., willscompany.com
Originally built as an open-air porch, this room later was enclosed to create and felt like an afterthought that didn’t mesh well with the rest of the house. The sunroom was accessed through the living room; the remodel blew the wall open to join the two spaces more seamlessly and also introduce natural light to the living room. The paneled, cased opening is deep to conceal storage space, allow the TV to be placed nearer the seating area for better visibility and enable the transformation of the room to an octagon shape. The reworked ceiling structure resulted in a ceiling vault that corresponds with the octagon shape of the walls. A separate HVAC system for the space is hidden in one corner of the octagon and accessed through the paneling of the cased opening.

Silver

Stan Better Construction Co., Cincinnati, stanbetter.com

Bronze

Wentworth Inc., Chevy Chase, Md., wentworthstudio.com

RESIDENTIAL SPECIALTY

Gold

Architectural Resource, Ann Arbor, Mich., architecturalresource.com
The existing stairway leading to the Craftsman bungalow’s lower level violated codes and posed danger. It was too narrow, didn’t have sufficient head height clearance at the bottom, the kitchen entry door swung across the stair flight, among other problems. The design provided a more centrally located, readily accessible, open and architecturally appealing feature stairway to the lower level while paying homage to the home’s historic architectural style. The design opened up to the balance of the home with an interior half-height wall opening to the adjacent dining room and an offset foundation wall creates a display shelf. The design approach also resulted in less square footage use while improving the functionality and aesthetics of the home.

Silver

Silent Rivers Design + Build, Clive, Iowa, silentrivers.com

Bronze

The Wills Co., Nashville, Tenn., willscompany.com

KITCHENS MORE THAN $100,000

Gold

Landis Construction, Washington, D.C., landisconstruction.com
The owners of an existing 1930s brick colonial wanted a large kitchen with a dining area that would accentuate their vistas of Archibald Glover Park behind the house. Within the first-floor suite of rooms, the design team created one new great room/kitchen that connects with the back deck and woods beyond. This necessitated removing a structural wall and installing a 20-ft. steel beam to create the 400-sq.-ft. eat-in kitchen. The previous family room window was replaced with a double-glazed system and exterior walls and ceilings were insulated with spray foam. Rigid foam was installed below the new slab to improve energy efficiency and comfort. Different floor elevations were brought to one level in plane with the existing first floor. The new slab is floored in 2 1/4-in. white oak flooring. Interior mouldings and three custom-milled arches were fabricated to match the home’s existing woodwork.

Silver

TreHus Builders, Minneapolis, trehus.biz

Bronze

Melton Design Build, Boulder, Colo., meltondesignbuild.com

Honorable Mention

Realty Restoration, Austin, Texas, realtyrestoration.com

KITCHENS $50,000 - $100,000

Gold

CG&S Design-Build, Austin, Texas, cgsdb.com
The existing kitchen was separated from the two-story living room by a solid wall. It also was closed off from views to the spacious backyard. The separating wall was removed and replaced with a large, freestanding island with countertop height seating and a new cooktop. For the central vent hood, ducting was routed between the second-story ceiling joists above the light coves in the kitchen and breakfast room to the outside wall. A large, rectangular light cover drops from the ceiling. Spanning the kitchen and jutting slightly into the living room, the double-sided light cover is the defining element. Iridescent glass tiles in the kitchen backsplash cover the entire wall and extend around the corner to the pantry/drop off area. Espresso-stained alder cabinets contrast with the clear-coated MDF paneled walls of the adjacent foyer, where the panels alternate with illuminated recessed art niches.

Silver

Bruen Design Build, Morristown, N.J., bruendesignbuild.com

Bronze

Donatelli Builders, Wayne, Ill., donatellibuilders.com

Honorable Mention

Normandy Remodeling, Hinsdale, Ill., normandyremodeling.com

KITCHENS LESS THAN $50,000

Gold

RisherMartin Fine Homes, Austin, Texas, rishermartin.com
The existing narrow galley kitchen didn’t accommodate more than one person. A basement directly below presented moisture problems. To open the space, the design team used the formal dining room space and turned the kitchen to face the living area. New appliances with floating glass faces add a sharp, clean feel. A marble backsplash adds a textured element to the sleek room. A Hanstone-topped island increased counter space and white barstools yield an inviting common space. Birchwood floors replace the laminate. To combat the moisture problem, a team of specialists created an air gap between the existing cinderblock walls and the interior stucco finished walls. Space was left in the subfloor. All of that led to a common drain that leads water out of the home. The utility closet was transformed into a large dehumidifier to remove remaining moisture from the room.

Silver

Progressive Builders Northwest, Portland, Ore., pbnw.net

UNIVERSAL DESIGN

Honorable Mention

Case Design/Remodeling Inc., Bethesda, Md., casedesign.com
Completed in conjunction with Home for Our Troops, this one-level home features wide hallways and door openings, hard-surfaced floors and a roll-in shower to accommodate the homeowner, who wears a prosthetic leg and uses a wheelchair. Other features include low countertops, accessible custom cabinets and closets, and roll up counter space in areas such as the bathroom.

DETACHED STRUCTURE

Gold

TR Building & Remodeling Inc., New Canaan, Conn., trbuilt.com
This two-story, 1,300-sq.-ft. structure is a shrine to the client’s love of cars, wine and music. Three carriage-style doors open to reveal four parking spaces on the ground level; the center space is equipped with a car lift. It also features radiant heating elements, chargers for the electric cars and a soapstone farm sink with an etched Ferrari logo. The second entrance leads into a wine cellar with room for up to a dozen people and also has a subterranean parking space. The other side of the building has an outdoor entertaining area with a stone fireplace. The mezzanine level includes a reading nook, efficiency kitchen and a bathroom that has a remote-controlled washlet toilet, urinal, slate shower stall, pebbled stone floor and a mirror that houses a built-in vanishing LCD television. Other space features include Savant Apple-based lighting and sound control, hidden speakers throughout the interior and exterior, hydro heating and air conditioning and an air purification system.

Silver

Stephen C. Gidley Inc., Darien, Conn., scgabc.com

BATHROOMS MORE THAN $50,000

Gold

CG&S Design-Build, Austin, Texas, cgsdb.com
The owners of this bathroom wanted to achieve a country club ambiance with updated finishes, improved lighting and more closet storage. The bath size was reduced from 224 sq. ft. to 150 sq. ft. while the closet increased from 190 sq. ft. to 224 sq. ft. The reconfigured space features a transition area between the bedroom and bath containing custom cherry cabinets and a wardrobe. The bath has a vaulted ceiling with cove lighting, vanity lights and puck lights. A new window in the shower and above the tub provides natural light and warm cabinetry contrasts with a glass tile blend in the tub surround and glass shower wall. To create the bench alcove in the shower and tub bays, the remodel team sistered floor joists onto the existing joints. New space cantilever over the sloped back yard. The original flat ceiling was opened to the existing attic and polyurethane spray foam insulation sprayed into the small space between the framing and roof decking. The bench alcove in the dressing area required new concrete to be dowelled into the existing slab below grade for additional integrity.

Silver

Hanson Carlen Construction Inc., Spokane, Wash., hansoncarlen.com

Honorable Mention

Reed Design Build, Naples, Fla., reeddesignbuild.com

BATHROOMS $30,000 - $50,000

Silver

Jackson Design & Remodeling, San Diego, jacksondesignandremodeling.com
The couple wanted to express their affinity for Asian-inspired design in a guest bath large enough to comfortably accommodate more than one person. Located under the main level, the space has no windows or natural light. Harmonizing tranquil colors, visuals of flowing waterfalls and clean lines lightened the space. A custom-designed Shoji screen-style door with obscure glass travels on a track buried in the floor and provides privacy between the shower and sink/toilet areas. Streamlined bamboo cabinetry with simple horizontal fixtures provides organized storage and floating cabinetry and the mirror’s setback position contribute to the room’s openness. Vanity lights resemble string paper lanterns. Waterfall themes are reinforced with the faucets and shower tile. The clients wanted to transition from a tub to a shower but a main retaining wall occupied the space where the shower should go. The design team worked around that, as well as reconfiguring plumbing lines.

Silver

Landis Construction, Washington, D.C., landisconstruction.com
The existing bathroom had a pedestal sink and standalone claw foot tub. The clients yearned for a larger space with a walk-in shower, additional storage and a contemporary design. Original dimensions were 6 by 6 1/2 ft. The remodel removed two closets to create space for a 4- by 4-ft. shower pan. The pedestal sink was removed and replaced with a sink with a floating custom walnut cabinet below. The banjo-shaped Calacatta Gold marble countertop around the sink extends behind the toilet for more surface storage. To further enhance storage, the shower has a bench and a niche for toiletries. Better lighting and ventilation techniques were employed, as well. The 100-year-old mosaic floor was retained to save on costs and preserve the history of the building. Colors from the floor, such as rust and floor, serve as color inspiration for the bathroom. Because of the high-rise location, existing plumbing and waste lines had to be used and the remodel team also had to fish electrical lines from one side of the apartment to the other.

Bronze

Jackson Design & Remodeling, jacksondesignandremodeling.com

Honorable Mention

Normandy Remodeling, Hinsdale, Ill., normandyremodeling.com

BATHROOMS LESS THAN $30,000

Gold

RTP Builders LLC, Warrington, Pa.
Goals included expanding the townhouse’s bathroom from 92 sq. ft. to 95 sq. ft. without losing closet space, a curbless, ADA-accessible shower, a heated floor and a higher ceiling to make the area feel larger. The extra square footage was next to the old shower. By removing the 3/4-in. subfloor, installing steel angle irons, recessing it flush with the top of the floor trusses and adding another layer plus the concrete underlayment, the space gained a 2-in. recess for a concrete shower pan. Simultaneously, the team installed electric heat floor cables within the underlayment thickness rather than above it. The vanity and mirror were relocated opposite the door to reflect daylight into the space. A small motorized carousel was installed in the closet to keep the same hanging space while allowing the wall to be moved 3 in.

Silver

Jackson Design & Remodeling, San Diego, jacksondesignandremodeling.com

FINISHED BASEMENT

Gold

TreHus Builders, Minneapolis, trehus.biz
This finished basement includes a family room, bath, laundry room, artist’s studio/guest bedroom and a new stairway to replace the previous 29-in.-wide one. The remodel used as much existing structural and mechanical work as possible. A sitting room half a flight down was opened and used to create a generous stair downstairs. The existing plumbing stack was kept in place and bathroom built around it. The studio and guestroom was built adjacent to the bath to take advantage of the lower grade to install an egress window to let northern light in. A non-bearing wall was removed to create storage space, a mechanical room built around the existing furnace and boiler, and the existing nook was enlarged to transform into the laundry room. A barn door offers privacy or can be opened so the studio space and family room are open. The door was custom-built on site from two layers of MDF plywood.

Silver

Finished Basement Co., Maple Grove, Minn., finishedbasement.com

OUTDOOR LIVING

Silver

Silent Rivers Design + Build, Clive, Iowa, silentrivers.com
A free-standing structure surrounded by a series of tree-mounted platforms on multiple levels met the requirements of the clients for a play structure catering to children and adults that incorporates play, exercise and relaxation. It includes a rope bridge, cargo net, rope climb, chin-up bar, two ladders, trap door, drawbridge, swings and an 80-ft. catwalk to connect the structure back to the house. The structure’s geometry was influenced by personal ties; the edges of the platforms align with headings to locations of bridges the client’s company has built, places the family vacations and locations of Olympics Games they have attended. The design and landscaping resemble a ship at dock, an idea reinforced by wood and rope. An existing walking path was used as a border to expand a bed of pea gravel from the original play set. The new area flows beneath the structure and an additional concrete walkway meanders through the bed of gravel. Few beams and joists meet at right angles; rather, they are skewed to be reminiscent of tree branches and trunks. Architectural and structural computer models helped the team better understand the forms being built.

Bronze

Donatelli Builders, Wayne, Ill., donatellibuilders.com

EXTERIOR FACELIFT

Gold

Golden Edge Construction, Huntington Beach, Calif., goldenedgeconstruction.com
The scope of work involved a new front entry door, horizontal, staggered shingle siding, exterior paint, hardscaping, landscaping with native Californian drought-tolerant plants and an exterior lighting package. The driveway was widened to accommodate two cars. Front and side yard walkways also were widened. A stained glass front door with matching sidelights allows light into the home and acts as a focal point. Stacked stone is installed at the front of the house and real stone at the front steps to give the entry a natural appeal. The garage door and side gate were custom-built to match each other and exterior lighting illuminates the front entry, garage face and side yard. Several colors adorn the home and are accentuated with white trim.

Silver

Donatelli Builders, Wayne, Ill., donatellibuilders.com

HISTORIC RENOVATION

Gold

Architectural Resource, Ann Arbor, Mich., architecturalresource.com
This Craftsman bungalow residence objectives included reconnecting the isolated first-floor TV room den to the balance of the home, especially the kitchen area. Creating a more functional, dedicated kitchen space also was important. A rear porch creates a pleasant connection to the urban garden backyard. The reimagined floor plan reduced the square footage from1,876 sq. ft. to 1,833 sq. ft. while making the space more functional. Custom pendant fixtures were salvaged, restored and fitted with custom-made, tulip-shaped, art glass lampshades. The countertop was crafted from 3-in. pine slabs salvaged decades earlier by the client’s late carpenter father. New exterior brick masonry salvaged from a 1920s home slated for demolition matches the existing home exactly. The exterior stair was designed in a stylistically similar manner to the existing home’s front porch stair with articulated masonry piers finished with limestone caps. Green design and construction techniques improve energy performance. Other project elements include remodeling a dangerous staircase, eliminating duplicated dining spaces and creating a more gracious entry.

Honorable Mention

Silent Rivers Design + Build, Clive, Iowa, silentrivers.com

LIGHT COMMERCIAL

Gold

Scott Wilson Architect LLC, Franklin, Tenn., scottwilsonarchitect.com
This project involved the renovation of an existing retail space into a visitor center for a historic small town and the surrounding county. Objectives included private space for administrative and storage needs, private nooks for visitors to plan their trips, interactive areas for iPad tours, video loop viewing, a musical picking corner and a retail area to help fund the organization. Historical decal wrapping concealed the non-functional elevator that was too expensive to repair or remove. Privacy nooks, interactive areas and retail space were built using salvaged barn and tin roofing. Clothing racks, storage area and shelving were furnished by repurposing material from the previous space, which created a historical feel comparable to other buildings in the town. The existing concrete floor was artistically stained and local crafts and other decor give visitors a sense of the area’s rural history.

Silver

Emmett Phair Construction, Portland, Ore., emmettphair.com

ENERGY-EFFICIENCY RETROFIT

Honorable Mention

E&E Enterprises/Arch Design, Albuquerque, N.M., archdesignnm.com
After suffering flood damage, the homeowners decided to remodel their home employing energy-efficient techniques. By following NAHB green standards, this 1989-code-built home has a HERS rating of 57 and now performs 43 percent better than a new home built to 2006 IRC standards. Sustainable elements include dual 95 percent efficient HVAC systems, 98 percent tankless hot water system, an automatic air handling equipment to improve IAQ, Energy Star appliances, low-E windows, low or no VOC finishes, blown cellulose insulation at exterior walls and exposed areas, low-flow fixtures and a passive radon system. The home is a Certified Gold Standard Green Built Home and was included in the USGBC 2012 Greenbuilt Tour of Albuquerque. The upstairs kitchen and master bath received the biggest redesign while downstairs the existing wet bar was converted to an entertainment/media area.

CONSERVATORY/SUNROOM

Silver

Scott Wilson Architect LLC, Franklin, Tenn., scottwilsonarchitect.com
The homeowners wanted an addition that would provide them with a space to relax and enjoy their wooded property while providing ample natural light and preserving the existing landscaping. The sunroom opens onto a terrace that provides a physical connection to the outdoor space. Three walls of glass and a cupola provide a strong visual connection and adequate light. Due to the sloped terrain, the room feels like a tree house, resulting in a stellar view from the balcony. A masonry fireplace and dining area add warmth and versatility to the space.

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