Winners! 2002 custom home design awards

Winners! 2002 custom home design awards – Cover Story

Best Overall Custom Home of the Year

Virginia Beach, Va., Residence

Of all the features that distinguish a truly custom home–thoughtful design, superior materials, fine craftsmanship–perhaps the most important is the simple intention to reconcile individual client needs with the unique natural environment of a site. This new home, on the wooded shore of a Chesapeake Bay inlet, interprets that mandate in the broadest terms and succeeds brilliantly, interweaving built elements with the landscape in a way that deeply enriches both.

The primary elements of the design program, says project architect Allison Ewing, were “to make the house about the views, arrange the functional needs around that, and extend the landscape through the house.” To those ends, the architectural team worked from the outset with landscape architect Warren Byrd. The collaboration shows in view corridors–a green walking path culminating in an oak grove, a watery axis that stretches past a freshwater pond and out into the bay–that engage visitors as they approach the house. Inside, the nature show continues with carefully composed views of the outdoors. “We sited the house to frame two specimen oaks that are quite tall,” Ewing says. “They frame the view of the water from the house.”

The building itself is organized in three sections. A two-story wing under a soaring half-vault roof serves the more public functions of living, dining, and guest accommodation; a second wing, slightly splayed from the first, contains bedrooms and family spaces. Bridging the two is a single-story element of distinctly different form. Gently curved in plan, the cast-concrete structure treats the kitchen and family room to wide views of water and woods. Clerestory windows open the space to the sky. Ewing describes the link as “this void in between, where the landscape kind of swipes through the house.”

And while the project takes full advantage of the natural environment, it works hard to return the favor. The building uses energy-efficient geothermal heat pumps for heating and cooling and makes extensive use of natural day lighting and ventilation. Its metal roofs are oriented for future photovoltaic panels. The wood siding is sustainably harvested Spanish cedar; the stone flooring, reclaimed blue limestone. New landscaping added only native plants. Responding to its location in the Chesapeake Bay watershed, the house handles storm runoff with special care, channeling rain water from the roof to a small pool on the stone patio, then down a narrow channel to the freshwater pond. The system enlarges and enhances the site’s existing wetlands, increasing their capacity to filter runoff before it reaches the bay.

Perhaps the most dramatically green feature of the house is the sod roof over the kitchen link, which slowly releases rainwater to the atmosphere, reducing runoff and lessening the building’s air conditioning load. “The idea,” says principal architect Bill McDonough, “is that the roof is photosynthetic. It’s either making energy or it’s making oxygen.” Such advanced thinking is evident everywhere in this house, and as the judges noted, it always serves the purpose of creating a great place to live. “The way it’s connected to the landscape is really strong,” noted one. “You feel like you’re halfway outdoors.”–Bruce D. Snider

Entrant/Architect: William McDonough + Partners, Charlottesville, Va.; Builder: James M. Sykes Construction, Virginia Beach, Va.; Landscape architect: Nelson-Byrd Landscape Architects, Charlottesville; Interior designer: Studio Sofield, New York City; Living space: Withheld; Site size: Withheld; Construction cost: Withheld; Photographer: Prakash Patel. * For product information see page 124.

Grand Award

Custom Renovation

Jamestown, R.I., Residence

The judges applauded architect James Estes’ answer to the question of how to make a summer cottage larger without removing its charm. Rather than add directly on to the existing 1,060-square-foot residence, he designed a separate guest suite and connected it to the main house with a covered boardwalk. “There’s a nice balance between making a larger house and maintaining that smaller house feel,” said one juror. The addition brings the home’s total square footage up to 1,660 square feet, which keeps it in the same league as the other cottages in the neighborhood.

Along with enlarging the house, the owners also asked Estes to improve the interior of the existing structure. He knocked down the walls of the old guest room, since it was no longer needed, and transformed it into part of an open great room. An added column and a structural ridge were all the extra support the new configuration needed.

These maneuverings allowed a previously underutilized old chimney to serve as the great room’s centerpiece. Next to it stands a curve-topped, freestanding cabinet that holds the refrigerator–Estes’ way of turning lemons into lemonade. “There was no place for the refrigerator in the kitchen,” he says. “So we put it in the cabinet. The purpose of the curve is just to have some fun.” The cabinet also lends a sense of separation between the living and dining areas without blocking light. Just about everything in the main house, in fact, has been altered to maximize the amount of natural light entering and reflecting in the room. Estes opted to tear out the old, flat ceiling and let it follow its natural pitch. White-painted beadboard paneling now covers it and the walls, giving the interiors a brightness that the original house lacked.

The judges also thought the renovation helped the home’s reshingled exterior relate better to its site. The covered walkway provides the owners and their guests with a place to enjoy the backyard and the street while retaining a level of privacy. As befits a summer house, the detailing throughout the project never gets too fussy. “The restraint shown here is quite nice to see,” a judge said.–Meghan Drueding

Entrant/Architect: Estes/Twombly Architects, Newport, R.I.; Builder: Darlington Home Builders, Providence, R.I.; Living space: 1,660 square feet; Site size: 0.22 acre; Construction cost: Withheld; Photographer: Warren Jagger. * For product information see page 124.

Merit Award

Custom Home Under 3,000 Square Feet

Jamestown, R.I., Residence

Floor plans that contain a kitchen, living room, and dining room in one large space are winning big points with homeowners these days. The one in James Estes’ house in Jamestown, R.I., also won over the judges. “It’s a beautiful room,” said one judge of the single-story, pitched-ceiling living area in Estes’ 2,200-square-foot house. “It doesn’t look like it’s trying too hard.”

Estes and his wife and daughter wanted a house that would provide them with places to gather and places for privacy. The main room, with its scored concrete and slate floors, simple furnishings, and glass-door-lined back wall, accomplishes the first task. “He took a taller space and filled it with light,” said a judge. The need for privacy is satisfied with a couple of towers spliced into the plan, containing a second- and a third-floor bedroom.

Sustainability was another concern. “Probably the greenest thing about this house is its size,” says Estes. “It’s not excessive.” In addition to its modest square footage, the home is sited to maximize solar gain, thus keeping heating costs down. The heating system itself is a radiant-floor system, which tends to use energy more efficiently than forced air does. Carefully placed, operable clerestory and second-floor windows allow the home to stay cool without air conditioning.

Estes chose materials, too, with an eye toward environmental impact. Most of them were locally obtained. In fact, some of the pine exterior siding comes from trees cut down on the home’s site. His use of local materials didn’t just contribute to the project’s sustainability–it also helped him take advantage of the rich vocabulary present in the simple farm buildings of New England. Corrugated steel roofs, pine siding, and straightforward, unembellished forms clearly establish the home’s relationship with its rural predecessors. But the floor plan they envelop represents a full-fledged solution to the needs of a modem-day family.–M.D.

Entrant/Architect: Estes/Twombly Architects, Newport, R.I.; Builder: Darlington Home Builders, Providence, R.I.; Living space: 2,860 square feet; Site size: 4 acres; Construction cost: Withheld; Photographer: Michael Mathers, except where noted. * For product information see page 124.

Merit Award

Custom Detail

McLean, Va. Residence

Less-than-ideal site conditions brought about the idea for this cozy reading nook in an 11,000-square-foot house outside Washington, D.C. The home sits on a steeply sloped lot, with the grade dropping off 50 feet between the front door and the back yard. Architect Stephen Vanze tucked bedrooms for the owners’ four children into a lower level, about 30 feet above grade. He, interior designer Barry Dixon, and the clients decided that a comfortable reading spot would help dress up that part of the house. “It’s a way of trying to make the space a little grander,” he says, “so it doesn’t feel like you’re going into a basement.”

He can rest assured that that’s not the case. The nook is a luxurious place of quiet in an active household, graced with a faux-painted, crackle-glazed reading bench. Handy bookcases under the seat keep reading material close at hand. A rustic light fixture and wrought-iron stair spindles continue the Arts & Crafts design motif that appears throughout the rest of the house. And sunlight filtering in through the large staircase window brightens the space during the day. The judges noted all these qualities, but what impressed them the most about this detail was the way the architect created a desirable element out of a throwaway space. “The question is always, what do you do with that space beneath the stair?” said a judge. “This turns it into something. It’s a place to go.”–M.D.

Entrant/Architect: Barnes Vanze Architects, Washington, D.C.; Builder: Horizon Builders, Crofton, Md.; Interior designer: Barry Dixon, Washington, D.C.; Construction cost: Withheld; Photographer: Richard Robinson. * For product information see page 124.

Grand Award

Custom Home More Than 5,000 Square Feet

Woodside, Calif., Residence

Wooded, multi-acre lots on the San Francisco peninsula are so rare, and come at such rarified prices, that over-building one is virtually impossible. Construction budgets have gone stratospheric just keeping pace with land values. “We do primarily unaffordable housing,” jokes architect Greg Warner. All kidding aside, however, such plum projects are a true test of an architect’s craft. With a prime site and a budget to match, the results had better be outstanding. This new custom home, which marries the Arts and Crafts style with the outdoor living of a classic California ranch, delivers the goods.

Working with landscape architect Ron Lutsko, Warner located the project’s four buildings–gate house, guesthouse, main house, and pool cabana–to make the most of their lush surroundings. Occupying one corner of the lot, the compound acts as a gateway to the site, three gently sloping acres that border a creek. A garden wall and the buildings themselves define a number of discrete outdoor living spaces, “which are enormously beneficial here in California,” Warner says. “It feels much less suburban on account of that.”

For the structures themselves, Warner drew inspiration from 19th-century English architect C.F.A. Voysey and from flora found on the site. “The exterior materials were inspired by one particular oak tree on the property,” Warner says. The plaster walls, heavy timber roof framing and lintels, and copper roofing at bay windows reflect this subtle, earthy palette. The massing of the main building–an “L” shape deeply interlocked with the outdoors–delivers this substantial house as a series of invitingly intimate experiences. “It’s not a show-me house,” Warner says. “It’s revealed incrementally.”

The judges admired the architect’s ability to “shape spaces on the site” and establish “vignette-like views of the house.” As difficult as it is to do justice to this caliber of site, they noted, “This house does it well.”–B.D.S.

Entrant/Architect: Walker Warner Architects, San Francisco; Builder: Forde Mazzola Associates, San Francisco; Landscape architect; Lutsko Associates, San Francisco; Living space: 6,700 square feet; Site size: 3 acres; Construction cost: Withheld; Photographer: John Sutton. * For product information see page 124.

Merit Award

Custom Home Under 3,000 Square Feet

Jamestown, R.I., Residence

Architect James Estes’ inspiration for a Jamestown, R.I., residence came from a very local source. This island community boasts three historic lighthouses, and the home’s waterfront site lies halfway between two of them. The clients are avid sailors. And they intended the two-bedroom house to be relatively small, much like the minimal living quarters attached to the lighthouses. Taking all of these factors into account, Estes decided to loosely base his design on these old nautical structures.

The resulting plan features three different building forms–a gabled main house; a four-sided, copper-roofed tower; and a flat-roofed portion connecting those two. Estes grouped the living spaces on the waterfront side so that each room has a bay view. “The house is a nice collection of forms that seem very comfortable together,” noted one judge. “It frames the views really well.”

Hallways, stairs, and closets line the opposite, viewless side. Estes placed the tower, which holds the kitchen on the first floor and a sitting room/home office on the second, at a southeastern angle to best capture sunlight. The tower’s location also allows it to become the focal point of the home’s composition. Inside, fir and slate floors give the home an organic feel, as do cost-effective kitchen and bathroom counters made from fir stair treads laminated together. “You have to be careful which treads you pick,” cautions Estes. “The grain on each one should match up pretty closely with the one next to it.”

The site slopes down to the water, necessitating a fieldstone retaining wall on the building’s lower side. The wall marks the transition from the landscaped, built section of the site to the wilder area below it. And it helps to visually anchor the home–without it, the waterfront elevation would appear from a distance to be floating. Instead, any sailor can see that the new addition to Jamestown’s lighthouse collection is solid and reliable, just like its venerable forebears.–M.D.

Entrant/Architect: Estes/Twombly Architects, Newport, R.I.; Builder: Allan Randall, Jamestown, R.I.; Living space: 1,550 square feet; Site size: 12.2 acres; Construction cost: Withheld; Photographer: Warren Jagger. * For product information see page 124.

Merit Award

Custom Renovation

New York City Residence

The early work of young architecture firms often suffers from a certain overheated quality, as if a lifetime of pent-up creativity had burst forth at the first opportunity. As the first major commission for Manhattan architects Tina Manis and Blake Goble, this gut remodel of a Greenwich Village brownstone might have gone that route. “It was basically our launching project,” says Manis. But while it showcases an abundance of fresh thinking, this Modernist makeover is a model of restraint and control.

Designed to house a large art collection, the remodel responds to two seemingly contradictory imperatives. “They wanted just open white space,” Manis says of her clients, “but they had a huge storage need.” Manis and Goble’s approach was to clear out every existing partition and then reintroduce necessary elements–on the first floor, a kitchen and powder room; on the second, two full baths and clothes closets–as independent objects in the resulting open space. Sliding partitions permit a variety of floor plan configurations. Storage is handled compactly at the margins, leaving unobstructed views from the front of the building to the rear, where a frosted glass deck extends the floor plane into the outdoors. Subtle manipulations of the ceiling plane and color scheme help to define function areas.

“They did a lot with very minimal means and made the house feel very spacious,” said one judge. “They turned this thing into a loft, which was a smart move.”–B.D.S.

Entrant/Architect: Collaborative Office, New York City; Builder: DHE Company, New York City; Living space: 2,500 square feet; Site size: .04 acre; Construction cost: $200 a square foot; Photographer: Bjorg Arnarsdottir. * For product information see page 126.

Merit Award

Custom Renovation/Bath

Washington, D.C., Residence

Transforming the 300-square-foot third story of a 19th-century rowhouse into this sumptuous master suite posed several challenges for architect David Jameson. One was an existing 27-inch-wide stairway that couldn’t be altered, which complicated getting supplies and tools up the stairs. Scheduling subcontractors so each had enough space to work also required extra planning. But Jameson thoughtfully worked his way around these problems.

Fixtures, such as the massive, athletic-style steel tub were carefully measured before selection to make sure they’d pass through the staircase. He designed a floor-to-ceiling glass shower so that its sizeable panels would fit up the narrow stair. And Jameson distilled the design down so that only a few trades would be needed. The jury commended his efforts by noting the “carefully thought-out floor plan with great attention to detail.”

Fitting this sleek, modern aesthetic into a time-honored building also took substantial deliberation. Unfussy features show respect to the historic exterior and provide a clean backdrop for the owner’s colorful art collection. The primary starting point was a three-story bay window that became the renovated bath’s center where it cradles the stunning 6-foot tub. An angled vanity mirror honors the slant of the home’s mansard roof. Such an angle also allows the mirror to hang higher up the wall, proportionate with the 14-foot ceiling, yet still be usable.

Simplicity also found its way into the materials palette. Clear glass increases perceived space, brushed steel refracts natural light, and radiant-heated Pietra Cardosa files warm the room. The oval tub, a curved vanity, and concave bed canopy serve to offset sharp angles that pervade the space.

Spare design doesn’t necessarily mean easy execution, however. Plaster had to be floated out around the bay window to straighten seams, and the floor required leveling to accommodate a big flat tub. “When you do minimally detailed work any imperfection becomes obvious,” explains Jameson. “Good contractors are responsible for making everything look so polished and perfect.”–Shelley D. Hutchins

Entrant/Architect: David Jameson Architect, Alexandria, Va.; Builder: Stephen Rosenberg, A Hammer and A Nail, Takoma Park, Md. Renovated space: 300 square feet; Construction cost: Withheld; Photographer: Hoachlander Davis Photography. * For product information see page 126.

Merit Award

Accessory Building, Denver

“This elegant little building takes all of its details and materials and makes them work,” said one judge of an exuberant yet utilitarian pool house situated on the north end of a 3-acre site in Denver. Starting with an open steel pavilion, architect E.J. Meade selected materials that fit a waterside theme, were invincible, and blended with finishes on the main house. A Vermont slate roof with yellow cypress trusses floats above a steel, granite, and glass dressing room as well as the stone box that conceals the pool’s mechanical equipment. Yellow cypress, coated with a Sikkens clear finish to preserve the color, works well in wet areas. It’s also used for a slatted screen that lends extra privacy to the glass-walled shower and bath area. “The selection of glass was tough,” adds Meade, “we wanted translucent walls and we wanted glass that was watery and fluid.”

Exactly half of the steel-framed glass wall rolls along a track to provide the pool house’s entry. It glides easily enough that a 4-year-old boy can open and close the 700-pound door. A “prison-issue” stainless steel toilet, a handmade bronze basin (created by a bell-maker), and a built-in bench all attach directly to the North Dakota bluestone wall in order to perpetuate floating images. Some of the walls are also suspended just slightly off of the ground. The devil wasn’t anywhere near the fine details of this modem-day hut. “We wanted something that would make a great ruin in several hundred years,” explains Meade, “but would last until then.”–S.D.H.

Entrant/Architect: Arch 11, Boulder, Colo.; Builder: Hammerwell, Boulder; Living space: 185 square feet; Construction cost: $430 a square foot; Photographer: Arch 11. * For product information see page 126.

Grand Award

Custom Renovation

San Francisco Residence

This bright, loft-like remodel in San Francisco had a rather dismal beginning as an uninteresting duplex. A series of owners had added storage sheds to the small backyard of the 1911 rowhouse, to the point where there wasn’t much yard left. “The old house was a wreck,” says Steven House of House + House Architects. But the client, a young couple with careers as an artist and a furniture store owner, believed that lurking somewhere under this sorry shell was the house of their dreams. And they asked House + House to find it.

House and project architect Amena Hajjar began by ridding the backyard of the outbuildings it had accumulated. They also gutted the interiors and stripped off any exterior ornament. With the bare bones of the house intact, they went to work on the floor plan. The first-floor front bedroom became a garage, and its living room and kitchen, also formerly in the front of the house, were flipped to the rear. Instead of keeping them as separate spaces, House + House opened them up into a combination living room/kitchen, with a central dining room thrown in for good measure.

Not content to just rearrange the plan, the architects also added three stories onto the rear of the old two-story building. The first floor of the addition makes for a more graceful transition between inside and out; the living room’s French doors open onto a raised deck that leads down into the backyard. “We wanted the living room space to spill out onto the back deck,” says House.

Up on the second floor, the new rear portion made room for a home office and hallway that look out into the two-story living room and kitchen below. House and Hajjar also replaced that floor’s existing, choppy apartment layout with an expansive family room and a guest suite. They saved the barrel-vault-roofed third floor, with its views of the Golden Gate Bridge and San Francisco Bay, for a luxurious master bedroom and bath.

The project’s cost-effectiveness particularly impressed the judges. “The house uses very simple, fairly inexpensive materials, but it’s well and cleanly executed,” said one. “They accomplished a lot on the interiors with a limited amount of space.”

In addition to those savings, House and Hajjar worked with their clients to select attractive, sturdy materials that wouldn’t break their budget. “The whole idea from the beginning was to use standard materials in a fresh, creative way,” says House. Eco-conscious bamboo floors reflect light beautifully. Steel cable railings lend the home an industrial flavor, and hand-picked IKEA light fixtures convey a sense of fun. Because the couple wanted the house to serve as a backdrop for the wife’s paintings and for furniture from the husband’s eclectic store, the interior color palette is mostly neutral.

Another major change from the original building is the relocation of the entry. House + House moved the front door from the street elevation to the eastern side of the house. Visitors walk along a stone path to the steel canopy-covered entry, which opens into the dining area. “You enter in the middle of the house, and immediately you see the double-high space of the living room,” House says. Along with making the entry more appealing, this strategy permitted the old front walkway to be turned into a small garden. A new yellow stucco facade, punched-out window openings, and a wood garage door, fence, and gate complete the transformation from eyesore into asset. “They really developed the whole site,” said a judge. “Every move was made for a reason.”–M.D.

Entrant/Architect: House + House Architects, San Francisco; Builder: Paul White Construction, Santa Rosa, Calif.; Living space: 2,474 square feet; Site size: 0.05 acre; Construction cost: $194 a square foot; Photographer: David Duncan Livingston. * For product information see page 126.

Merit Award

Custom Renovation

Chevy Chase, Md., Residence

While most homeowners hunger for every square foot of living space they can find, the owners of this 1920s foursquare found themselves in the unlikely position of having more than they knew what to do with. To the rear of the main house a previous owner had added a single-story photography studio whose sheer volume left them at a loss. “It was almost as big as the whole house,” says architect Mark McInturff. “It was a very odd room, and very oddly connected to the house.” For McInturff, adapting this virtual airplane hangar for family use meant creating a room that would not dwarf the limited functions it would serve.

To humanize the scale of the interior, McInturff broke up its blank surface planes, “not by adding ribs or coffers, but by doing sort of the reverse.” Built-out panels separated by deep reveals wrap from wall to ceiling. A row of black steel columns, arranged in pairs bridged by frosted glass panels, turn the window wall into a three dimensional space (the columns anchor a cantilevered glass canopy over the porch, eliminating the need for porch posts). “In a way, we were kind of indulging ourselves by giving away space,” McInturff says.

A simple, counter-height room divider holding a television and fireplace separates a seating arrangement from the pool table. Each function area seems to float in the room, but in a way that makes the volume feel generous rather than simply oversized. The judges found the effect “refined and loft-like,” praising the project as “beautifully detailed, especially the canopy and doors to the backyard.”–B.D.S.

Entrant/Architect: McInturff Architects, Bethesda, Md.; Builder: Acadia Contractors, Bethesda; Living space: 1,040 square feet; Site size: .3 acre; Construction cost: $90 a square foot; Isometric illustration: Courtesy McInturff Architects; Photographer: Julia Heine. * For product information see page 126.

Merit Award

Custom Renovation

San Francisco Residence

In spite of a well-earned reputation for liberalism–and more–San Francisco also has its staid side. “The architecture is conservative, because it’s a tourist city,” says David Yama, project architect on the renovation of this 1906 home. City regulations strictly limited how he could change the exterior of the building, which houses two separate residences. Behind the front door, however, he was beyond the reach of the style police. And his clients, one of whom grew up in a Philip Johnson house back East, elected radical surgery. The result is an indoor environment as contemporary and integrated as the street scene outside is traditional and eclectic.

The project’s all-of-a-piece quality resulted from Yama’s close collaboration with interior designer Heather Robertson, who specified a stringently simple palette of materials and colors, and furniture maker Thomas Jameson, who produced built-in casework, windows, trim, and custom furniture. The owners did their part by offering the design team a broad and flexible scope of work. “We did a lot of furniture for them,” Yama says, “we did a rug for them; they just kind of let us go. We just kept designing more stuff.”

That stuff draws on materials–pale flamed limestone floors, the wood accents of casework, furniture, and trim–that give the house its own source of warmth and light, in a neighborhood that is often fog-bound and chilly. A Japanese-style walled terrace expands the main living area even when the weather is clammy. “The idea was to give them something that was a visual extension of the inside, rather than a sunny place to sit outside,” Yama says. Our judges admired the project’s precision and clarity. As one noted, “It’s all done with a purpose.”–B.D.S.

Entrant/Architect: Pfau Architecture, San Francisco; Builder: Matarozzi/Pelsinger Builders, San Francisco; Landscape architect: Blasen Landscape Architecture, Sausalito, Calif.; Interior designer: Heather Robertson Interiors, San Francisco; Living space: 5,000 square feet; Site size: .05 acres; Construction cost: Withheld; Photographer: Cesar Rubio. * For product information see page 126.

Merit Award

Accessory Building

Bainbridge Island, Wash., Guesthouse

Although totally new, this quaint guesthouse honors turn-of-the-century outbuildings that previously stood in its stead by replicating their shape and size. Architect, owner, and (for this project only) general contractor Bernie Baker decided that replacing the old water tower, shed, and outhouse with one building similar in organization would be more true to the site’s 1904 character than a main house addition. Committed to sustainable construction, Baker even recycled and reused a lot of materials from the original structures. Several of the primary home’s details are reflected in the miniature version including a front porch that is a mirror image of its counterpart. The guesthouse also conveniently screens the main house from the street forming a private courtyard. The jury complimented Baker’s consideration of context. “The best part of this [project],” lauded one judge, “is the way it relates to the main house.”

Composition and flow are also high on the jury’s list of accolades. Baker explains that no dimension was taken for granted, so doorjambs and closets were scaled down an inch or so to make the 350-square-foot space feel proportionate. The tower section was built at a lower grade in order to spatially detach an intimate sunken reading room and make the sleeping loft an easier climb up the adjustable and retractable ladder. Corresponding interior and exterior, 8-inch on center, board-and-batten wainscoting follows a line set by the bedroom windowsill. Three colors of acrylic paint add depth to concrete floors while an exposed roof structure increases vertical volume and natural light. Natural copper hardware and accents complete a long list of sweet elements. “I very much enjoy contemporary architecture,” says Baker, “but this property had a historical reference that we wanted to encompass with forward-thinking composition.”–S.D.H.

Entrant/Architect/Builder: Bernie Baker Architect, Bainbridge Island, Wash.; Living space: 350 square feet; Construction cost: $160 a square foot; Photographer: Steve Keating Photography. * For product information see page 126.

Merit Award

Custom Detail

New York City Residence

The centerpiece of a remodeled Manhattan brownstone, this stair succeeds as functional sculpture, spanning not only floors of a house, but eras in its history. “It has a very traditional rhythm,” says architect Tina Manis. “It’s a very traditional run.” But in keeping with the project’s minimalist style, Manis and partner Blake Goble abstracted the traditional form with a half-open run fabricated of mill-finish stainless steel. Drop-in treads of walnut match the flooring and rail cap. Railing balusters are stainless steel bars with a 90-degree twist to add lateral stability.–B.D.S.

Entrant/Architect: Collaborative Office, New York City; Builder: DHE Company, New York City; Construction cost: $200 a square foot; Photographer: Bjorg Arnarsdottir. * For product information see page 126.

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