3 BALA Winners Showcase Great Design

rio estancia

Rio Estancia, Boerne, Texas. Photo credit:
Dror Baldinger-Mark Menjivar-Craig McMahon

Three top winners in the 2014 Best in American Living Awards (BALA) showcase the beautiful products, materials and finishes available to residential design professionals today – and the gorgeous results.

Rio Estancia in Boerne, Texas, was selected as the BALA Home of the Year.

On 350 acres along the Guadalupe River in the rolling hills of the Texas Hill Country, the home takes its cues from its panoramic vistas. The main home, bedrooms and guest quarters are organized in the South American estancia fashion, using pavilion-living components to frame the main courtyard around the pool and edging up to the river.

Correct building orientation, electronically controlled window and mechanical systems, geothermal heating and cooling systems, tankless water heaters, expanded foam insulation, reclaimed water systems and solar collection add to the home’s energy and water efficiency.

“The home feels as though it has been an integral part of the landscape from the beginning of time,” said 2014 BALA Chairman Stephen C. Moore, senior partner – marketing at BSB Design Inc. in Des Moines, Iowa. “Beautifully designed, rugged yet luxurious, this home brings the outside indoors.”

Rio Estancia was designed by Craig McMahon Architects Inc, of Bulverde, Texas, and builder Studio Industrielle in San Antonio. The land planner was Pete Hinton with Rialto Studio in San Antonio and Anna Meyers Interiors in Chicago was the interior designer.


The Book house in Seattle. Photo by Ben Benschneider.

The Book House in Seattle was selected as the Remodel of the Year.

The project goal: Update the original, inefficient mechanical and electrical systems as well as the small, dark interior spaces. The owner wished to respect the original architecture while seeking a fresher, more accessible residence with a detached two-car garage topped by a studio or caregiver space reached by an exterior spiral stair.

The new materials are blackened, structural and architectural steel beams, columns and staircase coupled with rift white-oak flooring, casework, interior doors and minimalistic trim. With a now straight and flat building, super-smooth, level-five drywall became the canvas for bookshelves, art and the unique skylight-illuminated word wall.

The elevator-accessed, upper-floor master suite has sophisticated, contemporary finishes and fixtures, and space planning maximized the suite’s exceptional lake and mountain views.

“To remodel a home and have the finished product look as though that’s how it as has always been isn’t the easiest of feats,” said Moore. “The design and construction team has done just that with this elegant and charming home.”

The home owners worked with DeForest Architects and Prestige Residential Construction, both in Seattle, to renovate and restore their 1920s Tudor home. NB Design Group in Seattle served as the interior designer and merchandiser.


The Village of Providence in Huntsville, Ala.

The Village of Providence in Huntsville, Ala., has been selected as Community of the Year. It’s a large-scale, pedestrian-oriented traditional neighborhood development conveniently built near many of the landmarks that constitute Huntsville’s major employers and amenities.

The development gives residents and visitors a neighborhood that provides the timeless charm of Southern life with the conveniences of a thriving, modern city.

Providence includes housing and amenities to suit every lifestyle, from estate homes, cottages and town houses to flats, lofts and rental units in locations throughout the community.

The development was built by BT Neely Construction, Jimmy Bryan Homes and VTS Homes, all of Huntsville. The team also included developer Duany Plater-Zyberk & Company in Miami and interior designer Placemakers North America LLC in Huntsville.

“The neotraditional environment that this development creates is very welcoming and fits into the community as though it has been there for many years,” said Moore. “The residents have a tremendous selection of amenities to suit their individual needs.”

Award winners were announced at the 2015 NAHB International Builders’ Show in Las Vegas. Additional information about the program is at nahb.org/BALA, including the 2014 BALA portfolio, featuring a review of design trends and project photographs.


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