Best Specialty Project



Tranquil Retreat

Paul Bentham and Lauren Levant (Pictured), Lauren Levant Interior, Pittsburgh, PA


For those who spend a lot of time on the road, a quiet and peaceful home sanctuary is a must – so when Paul Bentham and Lauren Levant designed this master bedroom suite for a couple of frequent travelers, calm and tranquility were the watchwords of the day. The clients also wanted privacy, aging-in-place features, plenty of storage and a sense of light and airiness. At the same time, the square footage could not be increased, which meant Levant and Bentham had to focus on better use of the existing space.

The design team began by creating compartmentalized storage spaces and functional areas of privacy while also opening up the floor plan. They rearranged the division of bedroom, dressing and bathroom spaces, mixing open and closed areas to keep the feeling bright and airy. In the bedroom, a zen-inspired platform bed made of rich ebony-toned hardwood with matching bedside storage immediately grabs the eye. The headboard is clad in braided leather, Japanese watercolors and natural seashell wallcoverings, creating a dramatic focal point. The space also features Crystal Cabinets built-in storage for clothing and media equipment.

The previous bathroom was small and poorly organized, with a little-used jetted tub and tiny shower. Bentham and Levant replaced these with large, barrier-free showering, bathing and water closet spaces separated only by modesty glass. The copper Japanese tub is set into a slate-clad seating platform that flows into the shower. Tall storage nearby conceals linens, an ironing center and a full-length mirror with built in sconces.

To increase storage, the designers installed vertical lift-up medicine cabinets, while Silestone Tigris Stone countertops, a Kohler sink and a Jaclo faucet add elements of style.

The combination of Japanese bathing, an open floorplan and the dry riverbed planting area recessed into the bathing and showering platform that brings the feeling of nature indoors completes the tranquil, peaceful retreat that the clients desired.




Outdoor Kitchen

James Athanasiou, S&W Kitchens, Longwood, FL


An outdoor kitchen was a natural addition for this Florida home, which features beautiful lakeside views that offer a perfect backdrop for outdoor entertaining. Designer James Athanasiou of S&W Kitchens was tasked with what he called a straightforward project to design an outdoor kitchen on the home’s deep porch. However, the space needed to integrate seamlessly into the pool design while also providing all the needed elements for a wonderful spot for entertaining in the great outdoors.

To help visually connect the kitchen to the pool area, Athanasiou took the tile that trimmed the pool and spa and used it on the kitchen from countertop to ceiling, setting the beachy tone for the space. The pool blue upholstered bench and chairs and brightly patterned green and blue chair cushions add colorful touches that also continue the beachy theme. Shaker Super White cabinets from NatureKast imbue the space with a light and bright feeling, while meeting the clients’ need for plenty of storage. Atlas Homewares brushed nickel hardware adds a touch of warmth, while Peacock Granite countertops provide aesthetic appeal and visual contrast, along with space for food prep.

The Alfresco grill and ventilation unit allow for high-powered cooking, while the bar refrigerator keeps cold drinks and condiments close by. A Pelican single-bowl sink and Brizo faucet complete the space.




Eastern Flair

Sarah Kraus, S&W Kitchens, Longwood, FL


Inconsistent angles created challenges for designer Sarah Kraus of S&W Kitchens when she was charged with designing an Asian-inspired living/dining room for a penthouse condo in downtown Orlando. The client also wanted Kraus to include display space and incorporate Asian-inspired products and materials to complement collectibles and furnishings from previous travels.

Kraus began by removing the arch at the foyer, building a column to the left of the entertainment center to mirror the right side, creating a more intimate and symmetrical entertainment space. Here, a new Asian-inspired built-in and stacked stone wall was placed to showcase collectibles. The entertainment wall was designed around the client’s furniture, television and collectibles, and a recessed corner built-in was added to provide more display storage, which required changing the footprint of the adjacent half bath. The designer notes that there was an existing recessed unit in the dining room, which she took advantage of to design a new display.

Since highlighting the client’s collectibles was a priority, lighting was designed to accent the white, textured Inspiration stone wall behind the wood shelves hung on black metal pipes, which creates a backdrop for the client’s art. Red oak wood-toned built-ins provide contrast to the lighter wood elements in the space.


See the rest of the winning projects:

Best Kitchen Over $225,000

Best Kitchen $150,000-$225,000

Best Kitchen $75,000-$150,000

Best Kitchen Under $75,000

Best Master Bath Over $100,000

Best Master Bath $50,000-$100,000

Best Master Bath Under $50,000

Best Powder Room

Best Showroom

Best Universal Design Kitchen or Bath