While the quality of this year’s 218 entries was high, the judges felt that the commercial projects showed “the most energy, had more character, and were more innovative in terms of adaptive reuse and use of reclaimed materials and renewable energy strategies.” No surprise then that the Best of the Year winner came from the commercial remodeling category.

Craftsmanship, budget, sustainability, design objectives, and aesthetics were considered for each project. Whole-house (52), kitchen (47), and bath (24) remodels dominated the entries. Though there were strong entries in each category, the judges saw many “stereotypical” projects — “the same kitchen in every house in the neighborhood” — and entries with unprofessional photography that detracted from the work. What they found appealing were projects that “used dollars effectively,” improved livability, and had increased light and space.

The Awards

Awards entries are organized into 10 categories, with an additional 31 subcategories based on price. Judges are not required to award a winner in each category, and they have leeway in determining which projects show the highest degree of design expertise and craftsmanship. In the end, our judges selected 19 projects for distinction: one Best of the Year, four Grand Awards, and 14 Merit Awards.

The Judges

Joe Eisner EisnerDesign, New York

Amy Gardner Gardner Mohr Architects, Chevy Chase, Md.

Alan Kanner Added Dimensions Custom Construction, Takoma Park, Md.

Hans Kuhn Studio27 Architecture, Washington, D.C.

Rob Morris Morris-Day Designers and Builders, McLean Va.

Judy Mozen Handcrafted Homes, Roswell, Ga.