This year, the Best in American Living Awards reflect the tension that exists in housing design today. On one side is a move toward greater modernity, simpler looks and cleaner lines. The other side pushes for full-throttle ornamentation with old-world influences. The judging panel had to consider those competing interests and judge each project on its own merits.
The result of such a remarkable effort is a selection of winners whose projects represent many schools of design as well as vernacular styles from all the regions of the country.
California's influence on home design is once again shown in the winners, as it has for decades; but this year, representation from other regions was strong and exciting, too.
Several themes emerged from the winners:
- Natural materials are rising in importance.
- Smaller houses have tighter detail. Homes smaller than 2,000 square feet, including the Home of the Year, represent some of the most exciting design.
- Bold colors dominate. The era of boring, builder beige is over.
- The connection between indoor space and the outdoors has become even more pronounced. In previous iterations, the great rooms flowed into the back yard. Now the back yard is the great room.
- Floor plans have flex rooms. Smaller houses have less space devoted to one task. Consequently, rooms become more multi-use.