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Qualified Design Success


Qualified Design Success

It's easier than ever to learn from the winners of the Best in American Living Award

By Paul Deffenbaugh, Editorial Director January 31, 2009
This article first appeared in the PB February 2009 issue of Pro Builder.

In today's market, builders are looking for any edge they can get. Without exception, the best edge is delivering the home experience the customer wants. We all know builders spend millions determining how to meet those needs, but often that marketing effort falls short. Ultimately, expending the serious capital necessary to develop and create a community desirable to home buyers carries such huge risks that you have to mitigate it.

What better way to mitigate that risk than to research and identify the most successful home building projects in the country. For the last 25 years, Professional Builder and the NAHB Design Committee have done just that through the Best in American Living Award. These design awards are unlike any residential design program because they require success in the marketplace as one of the judging criteria. It doesn't serve our audience at all for us to spotlight homes, communities and interior designs that are just pie-in-the-sky ideas without any real-world demand.

This year, we showcase the latest winners of the BALA awards both in print and at You can browse all the winners, collect ideas and make changes to the homes you're selling right now.

Without fail, BALA has been a predictor of the trends that are emerging in the marketplace right now. Checking out the winners can help you identify those trends, but if you'd like even more help, drop in online for a Webcast Feb. 26 at 3 p.m. EST to hear three of the judges talk about the trends from this year's judging. For more information, go to These judges gave the same presentation at the International Builders' Show in January, but now we're making it available to everyone.

When the forward-thinking members of the Design Committee founded BALA 25 years ago, they insisted that it carry a heavy educational component and not just be pretty pictures of pretty houses. The Webcast is only one portion of that effort. Members of the design committee and NAHB staff have compiled a history of the last 25 years of design in a digital book that you can access at

Finally, I should note that this is an awards program, and the winners should be recognized and extolled for their achievements. In honor of the 25th anniversary of BALA, we created a Hall of Fame that notes those people and companies that have delivered extraordinary design, design service and execution of the design to the industry. Please check out the 10 members of the inaugural Hall of Fame at We will add new members every year. 

Want to hear more of what Paul Deffenbaugh has to say? Check out his blog!


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