Custom Home of the Year Winners, 2003 - 2012

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

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

The main living space observes a visual boundary that includes the courtyard and pool.

What appears to be a high window is, in fact, a periscope that projects a roof-top view of the Tucson Mountains onto a mirror mounted above the kitchen cabinets.

Deep glass soffits cast watery reflections overhead.

The master suite opens onto a more private rear courtyard.

The master bath

The rear courtyard

The master bath, with its windowed shower, relies on the garden wall for privacy.

This building section shows the profile of the periscope.

The floor plan

2011 CUSTOM HOME OF THE YEAR House in an Olive Grove, Geyserville, Calif. Cooper Joseph Studio, New York

Strong geometrical forms and soft, muted colors give this new house an assertive yet respectful presence in its rural landscape.

The entry elevation presents a bold composition of rectilinear forms.

The house opens up on its downhill side.

The building fans out in both plan and section.

Interior and exterior living spaces take in long views over an olive grove.

The kitchen overlooks the living area. A sliding screen beyond opens a window into the bedroom.

A view of the living room from the kitchen.

The concrete wall that slices through the building opens for a windowed seating nook in the living room.

The interior palette follows the same grayscale theme as the exterior.

The bedroom. All interior millwork is oak with translucent acrylic inserts.

The master bath. The mirror reflects the view through the glass-walled shower.

The site plan.

The floor plan.

Building sections.

2010 CHDA Custom Home of the Year Connors House, Westwood Mass. Entrant/Architect: Estes/Twombly Architects; Builder: Old Grove Partners, Needham, Mass. The entry courtyard of this house is sheltered by stone walls, landscaping, and the building itself.

The house occupies a ridge with a clearing and view to the south.

A granite fireplace and chimney anchors the west wall of the kitchen great room.

The kitchen cabinets, like all the millwork in the house, are mahogany. The floor and counters are limestone. Read more here.

A new system of wood-and-steel roof trusses opens the interior to a full-length clerestory.


Contrasting interior finishes delineate the circulation core, which includes the entryway, kitchen, and rooftop addition.

A rooftop-level addition contains this getaway space, aptly dubbed "The Observatory."

2008 CHDA Custom Home of the Year Walden, Colo., Residence Entrant/Architect: Turnbull Griffin Haesloop Architects, San Francisco Builder: Byron Miller Construction, Arvada, Colo. Our Custom Home of the Year employs familiar Western forms to create something that feels completely new yet perfectly at home in its Rocky Mountain setting.

Two white-painted "cubes" at the center of the plan organize the building's interior without creating fully enclosed rooms.

The broad, sheltering roof that marks this house from a distance also defines its living spaces.

The interior deploys archetypal Western imagery in service of Modernist design principles.

With views that stretch for miles and nary a neighbor in sight, one does not need a porch railing for privacy. Read more here.

2007 CHDA Custom Home of the Year Green Lake, Wis., Residence Entrant/Architect: Johnsen Schmaling Architects, Milwaukee Builder: Gale Burg Construction, Malone, Wis. 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.

Stained siding panels reflect the colors of fall foliage. The linear, open-plan interior wears a simple palette of pigmented concrete floors, clear-finish MDF wall and ceiling panels, and laminated fir structural beams.

Read more here.

Simple building forms and a strictly ordered geometry heighten the drama of the hilltop site.

2005 CHDA Custom Home of the Year Sonoma County, Calif., Residence  Entrant/Architect: Aidlin Darling Design, San Francisco Builder: Cello & Maudru Construction Co., Napa, Calif. Sliding glass doors open up the corner of the master bedroom to views of the vineyard and mountains beyond. Ample terraces establish a close connection between house and site.

The client's plan was to build a main house on this vineyard property and turn this rammed-earth gem into a caretaker's residence.

A clear sealer applied to the rammed-earth walls, both interior and exterior, protects them from damage.

Custom blocks of cabinetry define the house's public spaces. Read more here.

2004 CHDA Custom Home of the Year McLean, Va., Residence Entrant/Architect: McInturff Architects, Bethesda, Md. Builder: LifeCraft, Washington, D.C. Masterful control of form, material, and stylistic reference made this house the prime head turner among an outstanding crop of entries.


Pinpoint siting, earthy materials, and walls that seem to disappear fully engage this suburban home in the outdoors.

Painstakingly detailed yet relying on simple forms, the interior emphasizes natural materials and natural light.

Read more about this project here.

2003 CHDA Custom Home of the Year Jamestown, R.I., Residence Entrant/Architect: Lerner/Ladds Bartels, Providence, R.I. Builder: Ray Construction Company, West Greenwich, R.I. Three traditional building forms—a gable-roofed main house, a shedlike studio, and a saltbox-style loft—come together in an unexpected fashion.

Three traditional building forms—a gable-roofed main house, a shedlike studio, and a saltbox-style loft—come together in an unexpected fashion.

For the client's garage and artist's studio, architect Chris Ladds fashioned a 2,000-square-foot building with a curved shed roof that sits at an angle to the 2,900-square-foot main house; the east ends of both structures almost touch.

The curved south wall of the main house exactly follows the sun's path throughout the day. Read more about this project here.

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