Clothes hounds love clothes. Gearheads love gear. Pretty much everyone has something they live to shop for. But for residential architects, shopping amounts to a professional imperative. Residential design may begin in a realm of pure form, free from the banality of brand names and manufacturers’ warranties, but before even the finest idea finds its expression in bricks and mortar, someone has to specify the brick. And which brick—or window or ceramic tile or lighting fixture—can make the difference between a project that merely serves and one that truly sings.

So it is with some anticipation each year that we compile our Architects’ Choice issue, for which we put together a list of architects we admire and ask them to dish about their favorite products and materials. We always learn about great items that we were unaware of before, as well as familiar standbys rediscovered or used in a new way. And for the architects who share their favorites in the following pages, this is no idle matter. Their enthusiasm for these bits and pieces is sincere and contagious; their recommendations—backed by experience—are something you can take to the bank.

Each set of selections, while small in number, stands in for a larger palette: the kit of parts with which each of these architects produces his or her buildings. And because no such kit of parts is ever complete, this year we asked them also to identify products they’re keeping an eye on and planning to use in the future. We trust that you’ll find here some worthy candidates for your own must-try list. Happy shopping.

See all the entries in Architects' Choice 2013.