For two days in June, six judges — award winners themselves — scrutinized the merits of 245 projects from around the nation in this year’s Remodeling Design Awards. They discussed and debated each project’s creativity, originality, and power of presentation. Judges considered the flexibility of floor plans as well as the relationship between each structure’s exterior and interior design.

Concepts including simplicity, craftsmanship, livability, and connection to the outdoors played their part in the judges’ assessment of the projects, as well as more technical attributes such as scale, balance, and transitions. The jury panel pointed out some projects where entrants “missed opportunities” to elevate the design, but overall, they were impressed with the entries.

Sustainability was an overarching theme in the entries submitted. However, for the judges, even in the green remodeling category, quality of design was the focus. “Green is not a permission slip for bad design,” one judge commented.

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. As expected, kitchens, baths, and whole-house remodels dominated the entries. This year, a new category, basement remodeling, brought in six strong entries. The 2010 Design Awards also brought us more strong commercial projects, including two Grand Award winners.

In the end, our judges selected 20 projects for distinction: one Best of the Year, five Grand Awards, and 14 Merit Awards.

—Stacey Freed and Nina Patel, senior editors, REMODELING.

The Judges

Jonathan Feldman, principal, Feldman Architecture, San Francisco

Ali R. Hornarker, principal, Division1 Architects, Washington, D.C.

Alan Kanner, co-founder, Added Dimensions, Takoma Park, Md.

Ethan Landis, principal, Landis Construction, Washington, D.C.

Rob Morris, owner, Morris-Day Designers and Builders, Arlington, Va.

Susan Pierce, co-owner, Commonwealth Home Remodelers, Vienna, Va.