Skip to navigation Skip to main content Skip to footer

Residential Products Online content is now on! Same great products coverage, now all in one place!

This article first appeared in the PB January 2012 issue of Pro Builder.

Click here to submit your entry for PB Design Awards 2012

For more than 75 years, Professional Builder has been at the forefront of new-home design with its coverage of groundbreaking projects, leading trends, and transformative ideas in residential architecture.

Continuing this long legacy, we proudly present our first annual Professional Builder Design Awards. In the following pages, we feature 20 award-winning projects that represent the realities of today’s home-buyer market, from right-sized plans that live large to high-density, attached housing that provides all the comforts of single-family detached living. Each submission was evaluated by our panel of design experts (listed below) based on not only its design excellence, but also its sales and marketing success, construction quality, and cost efficiency.


    • Windail home at Summerhouse Cottages - Gold Award
    • Barnwell home at Saluda River Club - Gold Award
    • Franklin model - Silver Award
    • Kitty Hawk plan at Gibson's Grant - Bronze Award
    • Biscayne II at Starling at FishHawk Ranch - Merit Award
    • Residence 3 at the Villas at Pacific Shores - Platinum Award
    • Legacy Apartments at Dove Mountain - Gold Award
    • B Major Plan at Bancroft Green - Silver Award
    • Indigo Plan at the Grand Vista Collection of Brambleton - Merit Award
    • Secluded Canyon Residence - Platinum Award
    • Guest Pavilion - Gold Award
    • La Belle - Silver Award
    • Miwa - Silver Award
    • Beechwood house at Summerhouse Cottages - Bronze Award
    • Eagle Chain Timber - Merit Award
    • Giant Sequoia - Silver Award
    • Canyon Vista Residence - Bronze Award
    • 450 Betz Place - Merit Award
    • Winthrop plan at English Commons at Topsfield - Gold Award
    • The Village at Seven Springs - Silver Award

Larry W. Garnett, FAIBD, CNU-A
Larry Garnett Designs
Glen Rose, Texas

Donald F. Evans, AIA
Founder, President
The Evans Group
Orlando, Fla.

Jean Dufresne, AIA, NCARB, LEED AP ID+C
SPACE Architects + Planners



Windsail home at Summerhouse Cottages at The Pinehills
Plymouth, Mass.

During its decade of development and building, The Pinehills, located on 3,000 acres near the land entry to Cape Cad, has always featured homes with a connection to the seaside. Its administrative offices are located in a sprawling building, Summerhouse, which looks and feels like two massive farmhouses from an earlier century modified and joined together. Fittingly, the Windsail model by Whitman Homes is part of the Summerhouse collection, designed by the same architect of the administration building, Bob White.

Borrowing heavily from Cape and Martha’s Vineyard architecture, the 2,570-square-foot, three-bedroom Windsail feels as though it has been adapted over decades. First came the main house, later came a spacious wraparound porch topped with a standing-seam metal roof. In reality it was completed all at once in April 2010. Inside, a great room-kitchen combination benefits enormously from the light and multiple points of entry to the porch. It was designed to live like a summerhouse in all four seasons.

Submitter: Pinehills LLC (developer, land planner)
Builder: Whitman Homes
Designer/architect: Forest Studio, Whitman Homes
Interior designer: Brook House Design
Photographer: Eric Roth Photography

Size: 2,570 sf
Hard cost (excluding land): $150/sf
Sale price: $839,900
Completion: April 2010
Average sales per month: 3
No. of units: 32
Density: 8 units/acre


Barnwell home at Saluda River Club
Lexington, S.C.

Saluda River Club is a community targeted to Baby Boom move-down buyers located near South Carolina’s Hilton Head Island resort. What makes this project special is its flawless execution of New Urbanist planning principles. Featuring alleys, sidewalks, and traditional neighborhood design, new urbanism has been around for almost 20 years. And though it is costlier and more densely built than most single-family developments, new urbanism is now a viable land planning and building type.

Designed by Cooter Remsey of Allison Remsey Architects, Beaufort, S.C., this Gold Award-winning home fits nicely within a cluster of several homes that face one another around a green space. Built for under $90 per square foot, the home is designed in the Cape Cod style, with a porch in front and a driveway in back. Like all Cape Cods, the interior finishes are critical. Beautiful crown moldings and casements around doors and windows characterize every room. An authentic cottage feel is aided by the inclusion of hardwood floors and bead board ceilings in the dining room and other locations.

Submitter: Saluda River Club (community)
Builder/developer: Lifestone Residential
Architect/land planner: Allison Remsey Architects
Interior designer: InHaus Studio, LLC
Photographer: Bill Barley and Associates

Size: 1,608 sf
Hard cost (excluding land): $90/sf
Sale price: $279,900
Completion: April 2011
Average sales per month: 0.5
No. of units: 12
Density: 10.5 units/acre


Lancaster, Pa.

The PB Design Awards judges commended the building and design team for this space-efficient, economical first-time buyer model. “This is a good, right-sized house for today’s market,” said judge Donald Evans. The 1,536-square-foot plan can fit on a variety of lot sizes and configurations and it packs a lot of living and open spaces into its relatively small footprint.

The three-bedroom, two-and-a-half-bath home features a great room that combines the kitchen, dining, and family areas, as well as a separate study/den that can be converted to meet the family’s changing needs. The garage is detached and located at the rear of the home to allow the exterior architectural detailing and front porch to be the focal point of the home.

Submitter: Keystone Custom Homes (builder)
Photos: Keystone Custom Homes

Size: 1,536 sf
Hard cost (excluding land): $45.05/sf
Sale price: $161,500
Average sales per month: 1.6


Kitty Hawk plan at Gibson’s Grant
Stevensville, Md.

The Kitty Hawk model is designed for flexibility and modern livability, featuring two distinct plan options for tailoring the home to individual needs. The first level on both plans includes an expansive great room, kitchen, and dining area, as well as a full-width porch and large windows to let in natural light. The second level allows plenty of customization.

The Classic plan offers a three-bedroom second floor, including an owner’s suite across the front half of the home. The suite comprises an elegant master bedroom, deep walk-in closet, adjoining sitting room, and optional private balcony.

The Legacy design features two additional bedrooms and a library and retreat on the second floor, with the option of expanding the home with a larger retreat area. In awarding this home, the judges referenced its ideal proportions, which are spacious but well-planned.

Submitter: Covell Communities (builder)
Designer: Scott Coché
Photos: Covell Communities

Size: 2,470 - 2,590 sf
Hard cost (excluding land): $130/sf
Sale price: $459,900
Average sales per month: 2
No. of units: 280


Biscayne II at Starling at FishHawk Ranch
Lithia, Fla.

With its wraparound porch, open floor plan with 12-foot ceilings, over-sized kitchen island, green features, and flex spaces, the Biscayne II is a great example of a model that is designed for today’s market, according to the PB Design Awards judges. The model is designed for both move-up buyers who may need as many as five bedrooms and empty nesters who desire a larger home with flexibility and spaces for guests and entertaining.

Submitter: Homes by WestBay (builder)
Architect/designer: Sharp Design Studios
Interior designer: Masterpiece Design Group
Developer: Newland Communities
Land planner: EDSA
Photographer: Moorman Photographics, LLC

Size: 3,207 sf
Rooms: 4 bedrooms, 3 bathrooms (without optional second floor)
Hard cost (excluding land): $83/sf base price; model shown is $140/sf
Sale price: $337,490 (with land); model shown: $451,827
No. of units: 700
Density: 6 units/acre



Residence 3 at the Villas at Pacific Shores
Huntington Beach, Calif.

At a glance, the Villas at Pacific Shores appear to be detached housing, with highly stylized and individualized elevations, varying heights, and deep setbacks. Yet the development is an attached community that comfortably fits 10 spacious units to the acre. Inside, the similarities to detached living continue, with a traditional foyer leading to a spacious great room, kitchen with a large island and breakfast nook, and a covered patio and courtyard on the side of the unit.

In all, the Residence 3 model — the largest of three plans offered by the builder at 4,142 square feet — features four covered decks to enable residents to take in the community’s coastal setting, which is only three blocks from the beach. The unit offers five bedrooms, including a second-floor master suite with an adjacent laundry room, as well as five and a half baths, a three-car garage, and an optional loft in lieu of the third-floor bedroom. The builder also offers an optional elevator.

“This project is so leading edge and so much of what has to be happening in today’s market,” said PB Design Awards judge Donald Evans. “It feels like a custom home community, with every house having a different elevation, color, and flavor. You can look at it from the front elevation or the rear elevation and you cannot tell that they’re attached; they are so well done. And the beauty is this project can be built anywhere.”

Submitter: Christopher Homes (builder)
Architect: Scheurer Architects
Photographer: Christopher Mayer Photography

Size: 4,142 sf
Sale price: $1.23 million
Average sales per month: 2
Completion: June 2014
No. of units: 78
Density: 10 units/acre


Legacy Apartments at Dove Mountain
Marana, Ariz.

Determined to create a rental community that breaks the mold of the typical bland, big-box apartment complex, developers John Graham, Scott Lundberg, and Brian Peschel looked outside the rental design profession for inspiration and fresh ideas. They found their man in custom-home architect Ron Robinette, who had designed dozens of homes in and around Tucson, Ariz., during his 27-year design career, but never a multi-family rental complex.

Robinette answered the call with a design scheme that offers a resort-style setting and upscale amenities, while holding to a budget for market-rate apartments. Since the medium-density development could have only a limited amount of open space, the design team decided to focus the shared spaces in and around the single-story recreation center, which features a large pool, fire pit, spa, putting green, fitness center, business center, and lounge — all designed and detailed as eloquently as one of Robinette’s custom-home projects.

To minimize the scale of the taller apartment buildings and differentiate the 12 structures from one another, Robinette articulated the buildings with a two-tone color scheme, stone veneer accents, and regionally historic block masses that provide offsets for shade.

“Whereas the typical apartment building is stacked, with nearly identical balconies and floor layouts, we made them asymmetrical using different heights and massing,” says Robinette. “If you’re downstairs, you may get a covered porch, but those upstairs may have a partially covered porch.” One of the biggest investments, he says, was cladding the balconies and stairwells in stucco — “The developers didn’t want the typical steel, open-rail stairs that you would see around Tucson.”

The site plan situates the majority of the two-story rental buildings along the east and north perimeters to take advantage of the mountain and city views. This allows the developers to charge a premium for many of the perimeter units, as well as the poolside apartments.
Inside the apartments, the design team went with an off-white scheme that, while only subtly different from other apartments in the area, “is the kind of thing that makes it look much more residential than other units,” says Robinette.

Submitter: Robinette Architects, Inc. (architect,
interior designer)
Builder: W.E. O’Neil
Developer: Legacy Apartments at Dove
Mountain, LLC
Photos, plan: Courtesy of Robinette Architects

Size: 698 sf, 852 sf, 935 sf, 1,142 sf
No. of units: 168, plus recreation center and detached garages
Completion date: September 2011


B Major Plan at Bancroft Green

Designed and built to achieve LEED for Homes Platinum certification, this multi-family development in the heart of Philadelphia has a number of intriguing green and energy-efficiency features to attract urban buyers, including geothermal HVAC with dual zones for increased comfort and 100-percent reclaimed brick. The three-bedroom, two-and-a-half-bath plan offers four levels of living space (including a lower-level family room), plus a spacious rooftop patio with a partially vegetated roof. In honoring the project with a Silver Award, the PB Design Awards judges noted the team’s creative use of materials, application of green features, and rich architectural details.

Submitter: Simplex Homes (builder)
Photos: Simplex Homes

Size: 1,650 - 1,900 sf
Hard costs (excluding land): $154/sf
Sale price: $560,000
Completion: March 2011
Average sales per month: 0.63
No. of units: 11


Indigo plan at the Grand Vista Collection of Brambleton
Ashburn, Va.

The PB Design Awards judges recognized this spacious end-unit townhouse with a special Merit Award for its well-thought-out interior architecture, especially its dramatic great room. “This unit has a true great room,” said judge Larry Garnett, noting that the great room space not only ties the kitchen, dining, and living areas together, but also establishes an indoor-outdoor connection using multiple over-sized windows. As a result, the space is open and flooded with natural light and views of green space to the rear of the property. Large sliding glass doors provide easy access to a patio for indoor-outdoor living and entertaining.

Submitter: Miller and Smith (builder)
Architect: Creaser/O’Brien Architects
Interior designer: Carlyn and Company
Developer: Brambleton Group
Land planner: Parker Rodriguez
Photographer: Wolfram’s Architectural Photography

Size: 3,300 sf
Hard cost (excluding land): $69.50/sf
Sale price: $483,990
Completion: 2013
Average sales per month: 2
No. of units: 74
Density: 6 units/acre



Secluded Canyon Residence
Tucson, Ariz.

Architect Ron Robinette’s clients approached him with a serious case of buyer’s remorse after purchasing a secluded lot in the foothills of the Tortolita Mountains, outside of Tucson, Ariz. The retired couple fell in love with the overall setting, with its large rock outcroppings, expansive desert landscape, and desert wash nearby, but they were concerned that the lot sat too low to take advantage of the area’s breathtaking views.

“One of the first things I did was take them to the lot with a ladder, had them climb up, and asked them to look around,” says Robinette, who has specialized in Tucson-area residential architecture since 1984. “They said ‘Oh my gosh, we have the best lot in the neighborhood!’ That was a fun experience for them to find out that they hadn’t goofed.”

Robinette’s design solution was to raise the pad of the house approximately 6 feet so that the main living areas would have spectacular views of the surrounding landscape. He then arranged the plan into three wings — the living area, master wing, and garage/guest wing — to maximize openness and views from the public spaces while offering privacy in the bedroom areas. The centerpiece of the home is a 16-foot-tall, barrel-vaulted ceiling that “floats” above the main living area and is enclosed in glass walls and sliding glass doors to offer plenty of natural light, views of the desert scenery, and outdoor entertaining.

In honoring the project with a Platinum Award, the judges noted the home’s site placement and creative use of materials. Robinette says material choices like aged steel panels in the master wing and real stacked adobe throughout the main living areas were made with an eye toward the clients’ contemporary style while reflecting the conditions and qualities of the special site.

Submitter: Robinette Architects, Inc. (architect)
Builder: SK Builders
Interior designer: Lori Carroll and Associates
Photographer: William Lesch Photography

Size: 4,540 sf
Completion date: May 2011


Guest Pavilion
Sullivan’s Island, S.C.

The clients wanted to add a guest house and outdoor-living space to their existing property, but not in the traditional beach-house design of their main house. Architect Stephen Yablon responded with a modern interpretation of a typical Charleston, S.C., house that places a 1,500-square-foot, two-floor guest pavilion along side a 66-foot-long infinity pool. The narrow structure is elevated above hurricane floor level and finished beneath to provide shaded living and entertainment spaces.

The pavilion’s primary design focal point, the pool-side façade, is comprised of a low-e glass wall shaded with decorative wood louvers. The rear façade is clad in standing-seam metal, a popular roofing and siding material in the area.

Inside, an open plan design incorporates entertainment and work spaces on the first floor and guest bedrooms on the upper floor; living and dining spaces are on the pool deck level. Concealed pocket doors allow guests to divide the spaces for privacy. The interior design scheme uses a simple, minimal palette of colors and materials to emphasize the views and activities outside.

Submitter: Stephen Yablon Architect (architect, interior designer)
Builder: NBM Construction Co.
Landscape architect: Wertimer and Associates
Photographer: Michael Moran Photography

Size: 1,500 sf
Hard cost (excluding land): $655/sf (enclosed); $237/sf (outdoor living)
Completion: September 2010


La Belle
Winter Park, Fla.

Built on a lakefront lot for clients who operate their business out of the home, this project features two formal entrances off a front courtyard adorned with an inviting water feature. The architecture was inspired by French West Indies design, with contemporary interiors, views from nearly every living area, and indoor-outdoor connections throughout. The home features master suites on both levels, with elevator access, and an open-plan first floor that incorporates a dining area, kitchen, breakfast nook, hidden pantry, and lanai/pool area with an outdoor kitchen.

Submitter: Phil Kean Designs, Inc. (architect, builder)
Interior designer: CRT Studio
Photographer: Harvey Smith Photography

Size: 5,394 sf
Hard cost (excluding land): $376/sf
Sale price: $3.53 million
Completion: April 2011


Winter Park, Fla.

Designed for an empty-nester couple with long-term guests, this contemporary home artfully ties together the main home with an existing guest house on the property. The design solution was to create a center garden and illuminated step walkway that mimics the main home’s entrance. The garden features a fountain, fire pit, pool, and outdoor dining area to create an inviting outdoor living and entertaining space. Inside the main house, there are master suites on both levels and elevator access to accommodate aging in place. The judges commended the team for its clean, sleek design, grand outdoor-living scheme, and creative solution for connecting the two homes.

Submitter: Phil Kean Designs, Inc. (architect, builder)
Interior designer: CRT Studio
Photographer: Harvey Smith Photography

Size: 4,728 sf
Hard cost (excluding land): $427/sf
Sale price: $3.02 million
Completion: April 2011


Beechwood home at Summerhouse Cottages at The Pinehills
Plymouth, Mass.

Inspired by the summer cottages on Cape Cod and Martha’s Vineyard, this move-up home is designed to look and feel as if it had been added to over time, with various “additions” throughout — including a third-floor tower that houses private loft space and a large master bath that juts out from the rear of the home. The main living space is organized as an open plan, which unifies the kitchen, dining, and living areas with wood floors, a real fieldstone fireplace, and bead board ceilings. The wraparound porch extends to a patio and sliding barn doors that open to a custom-built grilling area with an outdoor kitchen for entertaining.

Submitter: Pinehills, LLC (developer)
Builder: MacKenzie Brothers
Architect/designer: Forest Studio, Yarosh Associates
Interior designer: TS Hudson Interiors
Photographer: Midcoast Studio

Size: 2,100 sf
Hard cost (excluding land): $256/sf
Sale price: $750,000
Completion: April 2010


Eagle Chain Timber Home
Eagle River, Wis.

In honoring the Eagle Chain Timber Home with a special Merit Award, the PB Design Awards judges specifically pointed out the builder’s exquisite detail in executing the mountain architecture desired by the clients, including the use of timber beams, columns, purlins, and splays. Other exterior details include fluted masonry columns, heavy textured cedar siding, stainless-steel railings, ipe decking and railings, and stone walkways. The judges also recognized the team for creating a structure that, while quite large at almost 5,500 square feet, blends seamlessly in size and scale with the site and surrounding environment.

Submitter: Design/Build by Visner (design-builder)
Interior designer: Victoria Dyer Interior Design
Photographer: Eyes For Your Interior

Size: 5,458 sf
Completion date: July 2011
Hard cost (excluding land): $1,950,000
Sales price: $2,100,000



Giant Sequoia
Available in 14 states

At about 2,500 square feet, the Giant Sequoia plan is one of the largest in the new Earnhardt Collection offered by Schumacher Homes in 14 of its markets. The two-story home features large open spaces and casual outdoor-living amenities, including a wraparound porch and two standard fireplaces (one indoor and one outdoor), where family and friends can gather. The massive stone fireplace is the centerpiece of the family room, which features expansive windows to maximize daylight and views.

Submitter: Schumacher Homes (builder)
Designer/architect: Dominick Tringali Architects
Rendering: Schumacher Homes

Size: 2,460 sf and up
Rooms: 3 bedrooms, 2.5 bathrooms
Hard cost (excluding land): $158,998
Sales price: $193,900


Canyon Vista Residence
Oro Valley, Ariz.

The judges recognized this planned custom home in Oro Valley, Ariz., for its creative site and floor plans, which were designed to maximize views of the steep hills, boulders, and lush riparian landscape of the Sonoran Desert. Designed for a retired couple in a private golf community, the plan is organized around a great room flanked on either side by a stone fireplace and an open kitchen. This central entertaining area separates two full guest suites from the master suite and includes an artist’s loft above with views out clerestory windows. Deeply cantilevered roof planes protect against the desert sun and provide a lattice structure for a translucent photovoltaic ramada.

Submitter: Robinette Architects, Inc. (architect)
Rendering: Robinette Architects, Inc.

Size: 4,600 sf
Completion: NA


450 Betz Place
Old Metairie, La.

The judges recognized this proposed design for the Old Metairie suburb of New Orleans for the architect’s tightly organized plan and authentic architecture. The design is a classical interpretation of the 11/2-story Creole cottage found throughout the French Quarter, but with a more rigorous, symmetrical plan, with rooms arranged like a small country house. The house and garage wrap around a private rear yard that includes a swimming pool. Inside, the plan includes three bedrooms and three bathrooms, as well as an open sitting room that can be converted into a fourth bedroom. The home’s exterior walls will be built using autoclaved aerated concrete block, providing a simple, energy-efficient wall solution.

Submitter: Michael Rouchell (architect, interior designer)
Builder: Clayton Homes, LLC
Rendering: Michael Rouchell

Size: 3,967 sf
Rooms: 3 bedrooms, 3 bathrooms



Winthrop plan at English Commons at Topsfield,
Topsfield, Mass.

The Winthrop is one of two plans offered at English Commons at Topsfield, a 68.5-acre, 55+ community 20 miles north of Boston. The spacious plan features a first-floor master suite with direct access to the laundry area, a large kitchen with an island and breakfast area, living room with a fireplace, and a 300-square-foot deck. The lower level offers an over-sized family room, half-bath, wet bar, storage room, and direct access to an outdoor brick patio. The second floor comes with a guest suite and loft overlooking the living room and foyer. An incredible 73 percent of the community space is being preserved in its natural state as protected open space, and it abuts the 454-acre Putnamville Reservoir watershed, which is open to hiking, fishing, and bird watching.

Submitter: C.P. Berry Homes (builder, developer)
Designer/architect: The MZO Group
Interior designer: Timeless Interiors
Land planner: Beals Associates
Photographer: Shelly Harrison Photography

Size: 3,900 sf
Hard cost (excluding land): $175/sf
Sale price: $950,000
Completion: June 2010
Average sales per month: 3
No. of units: 49


The Village at Seven Springs
Burlington, Mass.

Located just 13 miles from the state’s capital city and surrounded by retail, dining, and highway access, this medium-density community offers floor plans for a variety of buyers — including single-level condo units with attached garages and private decks/patios for younger buyers transitioning from apartment living, as well as townhouses with first-floor master suites and customizable lower levels for empty nesters. Nearly half the acreage is preserved as protected green space and includes bike paths, walking trails, and wooded areas. Community amenities include a 6,000-square-foot clubhouse with a fitness center and locker rooms, an over-sized heated pool with a barbeque area and lounge seating, and a caterer’s kitchen and bar room.

Submitter: Northland Residential Corp. (developer, builder)
Designer: BSB Design
Photographer: Rixon Photography

Size: 1,720 – 2,051 sf
Hard cost (excluding land): $130/sf
Sale price: $559,900 - $700,000
Average sales per month: 2
No. of units: 94
Density: 1.34 units/acre