2014 Master Design Awards Rules and Regulations

The 36th Master Design Awards competition honors outstanding remodeling projects completed between Jan. 1, 2013, and May 23, 2014.

  • Register by May 23, 2014, and receive a discount on each entry.
  • Final deadline to register is June 20, 2014.
  • Once you register, an email will be sent to whatever email address you used in registration with full details and forms.
  • Completed binders must be received by July 7, 2014.


Competition and Entry Information

The Qualified Remodeler Master Design Awards competition was initiated 36 years ago to recognize remodelers, architects, builders, kitchen and bath specialists and other professionals for outstanding project design and construction. Download a printable PDF of our rules and regulations.


  • Projects considered for QR Master Design Awards in 2014 must have been completed by a professional contracting firm between Jan. 1, 2013, and May 24, 2014.
  • Previous QR Master Design entries may not be re-entered.
  • Entry of a single project under more than one category is permitted as long as each entry meets each of the category standards. (For example, you may enter a whole house remodel in the whole house category and then enter the kitchen in the kitchen category as well.)


Register by May 23, 2014: $145 per entry

Register between May 24, 2014, and June 20, 2014: $150 per entry

We will not accept faxed or mailed payments. All payments must be made via credit card through our secure website.


The 23 award categories in 2014 are:

1) Whole House less than $300,000* 
Project to affect an extensive amount of the home. May include but is not limited to the following: Interior remodeling of more than one room, exterior remodeling in conjunction with interior remodeling of at least one room, structural improvements, etc. Total project cost must be less than $300,000.

2) Whole House $300,000-$700,000* 
Same as #1. Total project cost must be between $300,000 and $700,000.

3) Whole House more than $700,000* 
Same as #1. Total project cost must be more than $700,000.

4) Addition less than $250,000* 
An addition, add-a-level or attic build-out that increased the livable space of the home. Total project cost must be less than $250,000.

5) Addition more than $250,000* 
Same as #4. Total project cost must be more than $250,000.

6) Kitchen less than $75,000* 
Total project cost – including appliances – must be less than $75,000.

7) Kitchen $75,000-$150,000* 
Total project cost – including appliances – must be between $75,000 and $150,000.

8) Kitchen more than $150,000* 
Total project cost – including appliances – must be more than $150,000.

9) Bathroom less than $50,000* 
Total project cost must be less than $50,000.

10) Bathroom $50,000-$75,000* 
Total project cost must be between $50,000 and $75,000.

11) Bathroom more than $75,000* 
Total project cost must be more than $75,000.

12) Room Remodel 
An interior remodel that does not involve an addition or work done to a kitchen, bathroom or basement.

13) Basement 
A remodel of existing livable basement space, or the finishing of existing unfinished basement space.

14) Outdoor Living (deck/porch/sunroom)
Includes decks, porches, patios, sunrooms and outdoor areas that extend the living area beyond the interior of the home, including pools and landscaping areas that incorporate decks and porches.

15) Specialty Room/Niche Space 
Can include but is not limited to a children's playroom, exercise room, gaming room, meditation room, library, home office, trophy/display area, etc.

16) Architectural Element 
Can include but is not limited to custom windows/doors, archways, lighting fixtures, ceiling treatments, stairways, detailed millwork, custom cabinetry, masonry work, railings, glass block, fireplaces, etc. Does not include off-the-shelf products such as faucets, appliances, etc. 

17) Exterior Facelift 
Remodels of a home’s exterior only, including but not limited to siding, window replacement, door replacement, roofing, trim, etc.

18) Detached Structure 
Can include but is not limited to free-standing garages, sheds, offices, pool buildings, gazebos, etc. A detached structure may not be connected to the home in any way. For example, a covered porch or covered patio does not qualify as a detached structure.

19) Historic Renovation 
Any project in which work was done on an historic home.

20) Light Commercial less than 5,000 square feet
Structure must be less than 5,000 square feet in size and can include a residential/mixed-use facility.

21) Light Commercial more than 5,000 square feet
Structure must be more than 5,000 square feet in size and can include a residential/mixed-use facility.

22) Universal Design 
Any remodeling project with strong aesthetics designed and built to enhance the functionality of those of all ages and abilities living within it.

23) Energy-efficiency Retrofit 
Any project that enhanced a home’s energy efficiency and can prove it with documentation of performance. Include all documentation that supports any testing or certifications, including photos, charts/graphs, before/after performance statistics, etc.

*Projects submitted into a category with a dollar volume must be entered into the correct dollar range. If a judge deems a project to be worth more than what is indicated on the entry, the judge has the right to disqualify that project or transfer it to an appropriate category.

Entries will be judged upon all of the following factors:

  1. Aesthetic Appeal
  2. Construction Techniques
  3. Handling of Unusual Situations
  4. Attention to Detail
  5. Functionality of Space
  6. Financial Success
  7. Overall Impression


Deadline for registration is June 20, 2014.

Deadline for completed binders to arrive in our office is July 7, 2014.

There will be no deadline extensions. We will not confirm receipt of binders.

Please note: We will not return binders after judging. No exceptions.

Please send completed binders to:

QR Master Design Awards
Attn.: Laurie Banyay
3030 W. Salt Creek Lane - Ste. 300
Arlington Heights, IL 60005
Phone: (800) 547-7377 ext. 2709 

Questions about the competition or entries should be directed to Laurie Banyay, Managing Editor at (800) 547-7377, ext. 2709 (Laurie.Banyay@cygnus.com). If you have any technical errors, please take a screenshot of it and email to Laurie.Banyay@cygnus.com.

Awards and Recognition

Winning entries will be selected by a panel of experts. Awards are to be made for Gold, Silver, Bronze and Honorable Mention winners in each of the 23 award categories. Judges may elect to award fewer than four awards in a category. They may also make special merit awards. The decisions of the judges are final. 

Winning entries will be featured in the October 2014 issue of QR. Gold award winners in the kitchen and bath categories may also be featured in Kitchen & Bath Design News (a sister publication of QR). All award winners will be recognized with a plaque and a news release, and featured on the QR website (ForResidentialPros.com). Awards will be presented at a special reception Oct. 22 in Baltimore, the evening before the Remodeling Show. All entries are also evaluated for possible use in QR editorial features.

Create winning entries

Entering an outstanding project is the most important part of winning a QR Master Design Award, but so is presenting that project in its best light. Here are some suggestions to help you make sure your entry meets competition requirements and improves your chances of winning:

1.    Provide complete information.
Make sure you have completed all sections, provided photos and floor/site plans, and that you and the photographer have dated and signed the release forms. Important: Do not put your name or company name on photos, plans or project descriptions to ensure the judges remain impartial when judging entries. Double-check the entry has been entered under the proper competition category. Each entry must have its own entry sheet even if you are submitting the same project in multiple categories. Any entry missing any information will immediately be disqualified.

2.    Think like a judge.
QR Master Design Award judges review many entries, so make it easy for them by keeping descriptions brief and concise. Your answers for each question should not exceed 200 words. Focus on the best points in your project. Type or clearly print all information. 

3.    Put a proper value on the project.
Projects placed in a category based on the dollar volume must be valued completely. The project cost must include all your labor and materials, the value of all products and services supplied by the customer or other contractors, materials supplied by the homeowner, and the value of work done by the homeowner. Please note any special circumstances or factors affecting the project value. If the judges deem that the project appears to be more expensive than what is indicated on the entry form, they have the right to disqualify that project.

4.    Include “before” photos.
A big part of the judging is the transformation achieved by the remodel. If at all possible, take photos of what the project looked like before remodeling started. Before photos do not have to be of professional quality, but they should show enough details to help the judges evaluate your accomplishments.

5.    Use professional-quality photos.
Professional-quality photos, in vertical and horizontal shots, of the finished project improves an entry’s chances of winning. If possible, have the finished project photos taken from the same perspective as some of the “before” photos. Before you hire a professional photographer, make sure he or she understands the photos are to be used in a professional competition and that a signed photographer release is mandatory for all entries (even if you took the photos yourself). If you cannot afford a professional photographer, consider hiring a student photographer from a local college. You may submit up to 15 photographs.

6.    Include floor plans and site plans.
If the project involved changes in room layout(s) or configurations, or an addition to the home was made, include before-and-after floor plans to help the judges easily see what changes have been made. Site plans are especially beneficial for categories such as additions, detached structure and whole house. Make sure the plans are no bigger than standard 8 1/2 x 11 paper. Simplify them by eliminating unnecessary details. You may submit up t