mcinturff architects, bethesda, md.

The judges admired this interior transformation of a formerly dark, chopped-up ranch house. "It's unique because it stays in its original footprint yet changes so dramatically," said one.

Architect Mark McInturff removed several interior walls to maximize the flow of natural light, and moved the kitchen to the house's rear corner. The slight reconfiguration opened up sight lines between rooms and gave him the chance to exploit those long views for all they're worth. "We used a different color of plaster for each room, so the eye is naturally drawn through the series of spaces," he says. "The dropped soffit that runs the length of the hallway does the same thing, skewering each room like a kebab."

Maple cabinetry and floors enhance the project's ethereal tone.

project architect: Mark McInturff, AIA, McInturff Architects
general contractor: Dreick Builders Group, Gaithersburg, Md. 
project size: 1,900 square feet
construction cost: $101 per square foot
photographer: Julia Heine, McInturff Architects