There's rarely clear consensus in the selection of the Best of the Year Award, but this year's discussion went far beyond the usual debate. A radical departure or a deferential nod to preservation? An argument for context — for blending seamlessly with the existing architecture and neighborhood — or for iconoclasm? A provocative big idea or a collection of small ideas? An architecturally driven masterstroke or a restorative intervention intended to extend the home's life by another century?

In the end, the six judges of the 2007 REMODELING Design Awards decided that such benchmarks don't have to be mutually exclusive. After a day and a half of reviewing entries, they agreed to split their decision, giving the Best of the Year award to both the “quiet elegance” of a 1920s bungalow as well as to the more “exotic” expansion of a 1950s split-level.

Their job, the judges concluded, “is to acknowledge the solutions as well as the design.” Showcasing two very different projects “broadens the whole discussion of what is good.” Does award-winning design have to be dramatic — or stylistically modern, for that matter? The group ultimately decided: No. Instead, award-winning projects must solve the client's problem in ways that are tasteful, confident, proportionate, and well-crafted, and that enhance the way people live in and around them.

The discussion isn't over. We invite you to contribute to the dialog about design, and to see more project images in the Web Exclusive slideshows.


The 2007 REMODELING Design Awards drew 237 entries and resulted in 19 awards: 2 Best of the Year, 4 Grand, 12 Merit and 1 Honorable Mention. Three of those awards went to projects in the new Green Remodeling category.

Many thanks to this year's judges: James Estes, Estes/Twombly Architects, Newport, R.I.; C. Mason Hearn, HomeMasons, Inc., Manakin-Sabot, Va.; Michael McCutcheon, McCutcheon Construction, Berkeley, Calif., Debra Moore, Custom Design Build, Ann Arbor, Mich.; Susan Pierce, Commonwealth Home Remodelers, Vienna, Va.; and Ben White, Benvenuti & Stein, Evanston, Ill.

To learn more about the 2008 REMODELING Design Awards, please e-mail your name, company, and address to


Best of the Year

Whole-House Remodeling: "Spinal Fusion"
Driven by the clients' passion for gardening and art, this home is the dazzling synthesis of a big idea and a modest slice of mid-century architecture.

Design/Build: "Shedding New Light"
It was a "gutsy move" to replace a gabled roof with a shed roof, said the judges of this "beautiful" renovation of a 1920s bungalow. "But they made it work."

Grand Awards

Whole-House Remodeling: "Now Worth The Drive"
It all began when an interior designer friend asked architect Stephen Muse whether an interior wall could be moved to increase the size of a wet bar in this 1970s home.

Kitchen Remodeling: "Everything In Its Place"
Storage is often problematic in old homes, but solutions are rarely as innovative as those in this 1920s home.

Whole-House Remodeling: "A Modern Classic"
The front porch is an enduring icon of the American Craftsman style, but the porch in this 1920s bungalow was buried by a dark mass of shingles encasing a sculpture gallery when its owners bought it in 1994.

Small Project/Details: "Detailed Steps"
Part of a larger remodeling project, these simple stairs belie the attention to detail and care that went into their creation.

Merit Awards

Design/Build: "Sport. Utility."

Kitchen Remodeling: "Balance of Power"

Kitchen Remodeling: "A Surgical Re-Rendering"

Additions: "Carriage House Whimsy"

Additions: "East Meets West"

Old House Renovation: "Fortifying the Foursquare"

Green Remodeling: "Salvage Beauty"

Whole-House Remodeling: "Letting There Be Light"

Old House Renovation: "Mile-High Mediterranean"

Design/Build: "Backyard Embrace"

Old-House Renovation: "Foursquare Rescue"

Green Remodeling: "Open Plan Octagon"

Honorable Mention

Green Remodeling: "Elegant and Efficient"