Launch Slideshow

CHDA-winning projects that use colorful accents to enliven exterior elevations

Click through these past Custom Home Design Award winners and see how they successfully added pizzazz to exteriors throgh the use of bold color.

CHDA-winning projects that use colorful accents to enliven exterior elevations

Click through these past Custom Home Design Award winners and see how they successfully added pizzazz to exteriors throgh the use of bold color.

  • The neatly composed street elevation barely hints at what lies within.

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    The neatly composed street elevation barely hints at what lies within.

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    Bill Timmerman Photography

    CHDA 2012 Custom Home of the Year
    Barrio Historico House, Tucson, Ariz.

    Entrant/Architect: HK Associates, Tucson, Ariz.; Builder: Saavy, Tucson; Structural engineer: Harris Engineering Services, Tucson; Living space: 2,100 square feet; Site: 0.12 acre; Construction cost: $200 per square foot; Photographer: Bill Timmerman Photography.

    This brilliant update of a historic courtyard house enlivens the streetscape with it's bright white exterior. Dark wood window and door trim contrasts and thus highlights the vivid plaster walls.
  • The houses side courtyard is shielded from view by the building and a high garden wall.

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    The houses side courtyard is shielded from view by the building and a high garden wall.

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    Bill Timmerman Photography

    The house's side courtyard is shielded from view by the building and a high garden wall.

  • Deep glass soffits cast watery reflections overhead.

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    Deep glass soffits cast watery reflections overhead.

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    Bill Timmerman Photography

    Deep glass soffits cast watery reflections overhead.

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  • Kiwi House, +one design and construction, Baton Rouge, La.

    This neo-shotgun house replaces a damaged dwelling on a deep, narrow lot unsuitable for a conventional tract house--at an unsubsidized cost of less than $100 per square foot.

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    This neo-shotgun house replaces a damaged dwelling on a deep, narrow lot unsuitable for a conventional tract house--at an unsubsidized cost of less than $100 per square foot.

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    Devin Duffy

    Kiwi House, Baton Rouge, La. - Front and Side Elevations
    Merit Award - Custom Home / Less Than 3,000 Square Feet
    Entrant/Architect/Builder: +one design and construction, Baton Rouge, La.
    Living space: 1,300 square feet
    Site: 0.22 acre
    Construction cost: $96 per square foot
    Photographer: Devin Duffy.

    This neo-shotgun house replaces a damaged dwelling on a deep, narrow lot unsuitable for a conventional tract house--at an unsubsidized cost of less than $100 per square foot.
  • Kiwi House - +one design and construction, Baton Rouge, La.

    A privacy screen shades the long side porch.

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    A privacy screen shades the long side porch.

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    Devin Duffy

    Metal and cement board cladding materials are durable and require little maintenance.
  • Kiwi House, +one design and construction, Baton Rouge, La.

    The master bedroom opens onto a private rear porch. High windows provide natural ventilation while protecting privacy.

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    The master bedroom opens onto a private rear porch. High windows provide natural ventilation while protecting privacy.

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    Devin Duffy

    The master bedroom opens onto a private rear porch. High windows provide natural ventilation while protecting privacy.
  • Kiwi House, +one design and construction, Baton Rouge, La.

    Metal and cement board cladding materials are durable and require little maintenance.

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    Metal and cement board cladding materials are durable and require little maintenance.

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    Devin Duffy

    Metal and cement board cladding materials are durable and require little maintenance.

  • Peaks View Residence - Carney Logan Burke Architects, Jackson, Wyo.

    The Peaks View residence's two gabled roofs come together at a 90-degree angle.

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    The Peaks View residence's two gabled roofs come together at a 90-degree angle.

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    Matthew Millman

    Peaks View Residence, Jackson, Wyo. - Front Entry
    Merit Award - Custom Home / More Than 5,000 Square Feet
    Entrant/Architect: Carney Logan Burke Architects, Jackson, Wyo.
    Builder: Dembergh Construction, Wilson, Wyo.
    Landscape architect: Hershberger Design, Jackson
    Living space: 6,700 square feet
    Site: 3 acres
    Construction cost: Withheld
    Photographer: Matthew Millman.

    The Peaks View residence's two gabled roofs come together at a 90-degree angle.

  • Peaks View Residence - Carney Logan Burke Architects, Jackson, Wyo.

    By placing the gabled roofs at the front of the house, Carney Logan Burke Architects helped the project fit into its traditionally-styled neighborhood.

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    By placing the gabled roofs at the front of the house, Carney Logan Burke Architects helped the project fit into its traditionally-styled neighborhood.

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    Matthew Millman

    By placing the gabled roofs at the front of the house, Carney Logan Burke Architects helped the project fit into its traditionally-styled neighborhood.

  • Peaks View Residence - Carney Logan Burke Architects, Jackson, Wyo.

    The flat-roofed, glass-walled living pavilion extends into the backyard.

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    The flat-roofed, glass-walled living pavilion extends into the backyard.

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    Matthew Millman

    The flat-roofed, glass-walled living pavilion extends into the backyard.

  • Peaks View Residence - Carney Logan Burke Architects, Jackson, Wyo.

    The architects placed the more modern living pavilion on the rear of the house, where it won't disrupt the neighborhood context.

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    The architects placed the more modern living pavilion on the rear of the house, where it won't disrupt the neighborhood context.

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    Matthew Millman

    The architects placed the more modern living pavilion on the rear of the house, where it won't disrupt the neighborhood context.

  • OS House, Racine, Wis. - Rear and Side Views - Johnsen Schmaling Architects, Milwaukee

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    John J. Macaulay

    OS House, Racine, Wis. - Rear and Side Views
    Merit Award - Custom Home / Less Than 3,000 Square Feet
    Entrant/Architect: Johnsen Schmaling Architects, Milwaukee
    Builder: Beggi General Contractors, Racine, Wis.
    Landscape architect: Milaeger's Landscape Design, Racine
    Interior designer: Johnsen Schmaling Architects, Milwaukee
    Living space: 1,940 square feet
    Site: 0.3 acre
    Construction cost: $290 per square foot
    Photographer: John J. Macaulay.

    The home operates off the grid most of the year thanks to unseen photovoltaic laminates adhered to the roofing membrane.

  • OS House, Racine, Wis. - Rear and Side Views - Johnsen Schmaling Architects, Milwaukee

    http://www.residentialarchitect.com/Images/0311b_ra_rada129a_2_tcm48-951601.jpg

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    John J. Macaulay

    Seen from the rear, the colored frames of the home's apertures glow in the light.

  • OS House, Racine, Wis. - Rear and Side Views - Johnsen Schmaling Architects, Milwaukee

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  • Sweetwater Farm Winery, Glen Mills, Pa. - Rear and Side Views - Peter Zimmerman Architects, Berwyn, Pa.

    The architects kept as much of the 1743 barn's original stone walls as they could. The new portions are red-painted board-and-batten siding.

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    The architects kept as much of the 1743 barn's original stone walls as they could. The new portions are red-painted board-and-batten siding.

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    Tom Crane

    Sweetwater Farm Winery, Glen Mills, Pa. - Rear and Side Views
    Grand Award - Accessory Building
    Entrant/Architect: Peter Zimmerman Architects, Berwyn, Pa.
    Builder: E.B. Mahoney Builders, Bryn Mawr, Pa.
    Living space: 8,100 square feet
    Site: 300-plus acres
    Construction cost: Withheld
    Photographer: Tom Crane.

     The architects kept as much of the 1743 barn's original stone walls as they could. The new portions are red-painted board-and-batten siding.

  • Sweetwater Farm Winery, Glen Mills, Pa. - Rear and Side Views - Peter Zimmerman Architects, Berwyn, Pa.

    A newly added cupola acts as a beacon when the barn is occupied at night.

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    A newly added cupola acts as a beacon when the barn is occupied at night.

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    Tom Crane

    A newly added cupola acts as a beacon when the barn is occupied at night.

  • Sweetwater Farm Winery, Glen Mills, Pa. - Rear and Side Views - Peter Zimmerman Architects, Berwyn, Pa.

    The barn before renovation.

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    The barn before renovation.

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    courtesy Peter Zimmerman Architects

    The barn before renovation.

  • Peterson Residence, Chevy Chase, Md. - Front Elevation - Robert M. Gurney, FAIA, Alexandria, Va.

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    Maxwell MacKenzie

    Peterson Residence, Chevy Chase, Md. - Front Elevation
    Grand Award: Renovation
    Entrant/Architect: Robert M. Gurney, FAIA, Alexandria, Va.
    Builder: Peterson and Collins, Washington, D.C.
    Interior designer: Baron Gurney Interiors, Washington, D.C.
    Living space: 5,300 square feet
    Site: 0.17 acre
    Construction cost: Withheld
    Photographer: Maxwell MacKenzie

    An extensive remodel sharpens the focus of this once unassuming Colonial, yet retains visual ties to its neighbors.

  • Peterson Residence, Chevy Chase, Md. - Front Elevation - Robert M. Gurney, FAIA, Alexandria, Va.

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    Maxwell MacKenzie

  • Camouflage House, Green Lake, Wis., - Front and Side Views - Johnsen Schmaling Architects, Milwaukee

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    Kevin J. Miyazaki

    Camouflage House, Green Lake, Wis., - Front and Side Views
    Custom Home of the Year
    Entrant/Architect: Johnsen Schmaling Architects, Milwaukee
    Builder: Gale Burg Construction, Malone, Wis.
    Living space: 2,700 square feet
    Site: 2.5 acres
    Construction cost: $260 a square foot
    Photographer: Kevin J. Miyazaki

    In an effect inspired by the forest that surrounds it, views through this new lakeside home shift with one’s perspective. Its unfinished red cedar siding will gray to blend with the tree trunks.

  • Camouflage House, Green Lake, Wis., - Front and Side Views - Johnsen Schmaling Architects, Milwaukee

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  • Bethesda, Md., Residence - Front Elevation - Cunningham l Quill Architects, Washington, D.C.

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    Bethesda, Md., Residence - Front Elevation
    Grand Award - Custom Renovation
    Entrant/Architect: Cunningham l Quill Architects, Washington, D.C.; Builder: Potomac Valley Builders, Poolesville, Md.; Living space: 2,500 square feet; Site: .21 acre; Construction cost: $250 a square foot; Photographer: Hoachlander Davis Photography.

  • Bethesda, Md., Residence - Front Elevation - Cunningham l Quill Architects, Washington, D.C.

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  • Parts House Pavilion, Milwaukee - Johnsen Schmaling Architects, Milwaukee

    Parts House Pavilion, Milwaukee - Johnsen Schmaling Architects, Milwaukee

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    Parts House Pavilion, Milwaukee - Johnsen Schmaling Architects, Milwaukee

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    Parts House Pavilion, Milwaukee
    2007 Grand Award - Custom Outdoor Spaces
    Entrant/Architect: Johnsen Schmaling Architects, Milwaukee; Builder: Kotze Construction, Milwaukee; Project size: 1,500 square feet; Construction cost: $34 a square foot; Photographer: Johnsen Schmaling Architects.007 Outdoor Spaces' Winners


    A curtain of colored plastic panels hung from a steel trellis creates a movable feast of color when the terrace lighting system is turned on.

  • Parts House Pavilion, Milwaukee - Johnsen Schmaling Architects, Milwaukee

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    Johnsen Schmaling Architects designed the grid of the steel trellis to extend the logic of the warehouse structural system to the outside. The trellis defines the rooftop terrace of the client's loft living space.

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    But the real drama is in the image the terrace sends out to the city. When the lights go on, the plastic panels create a colorful glowing beacon for the gritty industrial neighborhood and the freeway beyond.

The winning projects chosen each year for the Custom Home Design Awards (CHDA) survive round after round of scrutiny from the judges, so something about their design and execution keeps them in the running as others fall away. For several past CHDA winners, one such quality is a thoughtfully placed touch of bold color that enlivens elevations. Used judiciously, color is an eye-catching option to spice up traditional or contemporary exteriors. Eric Logan, principal at Jackson Hole, Wyo.-based Carney Logan Burke Architects, suggests that "it's a small move that has a great impact."

"In Jackson Hole it's very difficult to get something built—especially in a subdivision—that doesn't look like everything else," Logan says. "And color is one way to give a strictly controlled exterior pizzazz." For example, he selected a deep red finish to outline the glazing for the Peaks View Residence, which won a 2011 Merit Award in the Custom Home, More Than 5,000 Square Feet category. Peaks View sits in a neighborhood with rigid design restrictions, so the use of color gives it individuality. Designing a house that fit cookie-cutter regulations and satisfied the owners' strong desire for something different was challenging, explains the architect. The red trim creates contrast in an otherwise earthy material palette and adds a graphic element to the clean, conservative facade. "It was an opportunity to do something daring given the neighborhood," Logan says, "and it gives the owners a sense of rebellion."

Fritz Embaugh, co-founder and CEO of +one design and construction in Baton Rouge, La., likes to include a punch of color to most of the firms' projects. For him and partner David Baird, bold accents allow them to temper sleek contemporary forms and muted materials with warmth and personality. "The vibrant colors brighten projects and add a touch of whimsy," Embaugh says. Sometimes it takes a little convincing with clients because the shades they select are so strong, he adds, but with the Kiwi House— winner of a 2011 Merit Award for Custom Home / Less Than 3,000 Square Feet—the clients were excited at the suggestion. Electric green paint on front and rear elevations as well as the interior trim for those same views makes the simple shotgun form pop. Inside, everything is a shade of gray, explains Embaugh, so "we made a statement using the exterior." How they chose the statement-making color wasn't a normal part of their process, however: "This house is a little more gritty then our typical work, so we compared it to a kiwi fruit with a rough, rustic exterior but smooth and elegant inside, so the vivid green accent was a given once we named the house."

See how successful the addition of color is at energizing Kiwi House, Peaks View Residence, and other past CHDA winners in the accompanying slideshow. Then take a look through your portfolio and submit your most colorful projects (by June 3) into the combined and revamped 2013 Builder's Choice and Custom Home Design Awards.