Qualified Remodeler Magazine

SEP 2018

Qualified Remodeler helps independent remodeling firms to survive, become more professional and more profitable by providing must-have business information, namely best business practices, new product information and timely design ideas.

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We caught up with the judges after they finished their scoring to ask them about what they saw during the design competition. Here are their responses: WHAT WERE THE TOP TRENDS IN THE WINNING DESIGNS? Sten: Glass railings, shiplap interior wall treatments, black windows, mixing old and new, multifamily living (in all regions), dark exteriors, the "year of the screened porch," shade/screen combinations for flexibility, illu- minated bathroom mirrors (no need for sconces), wood countertops and open staircases. Millholland: Design played a critical role: creative solutions to problems, organizing circulation patterns, creating more functional space, or just making better use of existing space. Roberts: Clean and crisp designs, uncluttered spac- es, natural light and quality lighting design, and vessel bathtubs. Black: I was drawn to projects with color amongst the many projects dominated with white, gray and beige tones. A mix of materials was also a trend we saw (woods, glass and metals). WHAT CONSTITUTES A GREAT WINNING PRESENTATION? Millholland: A winning presentation graphically il- lustrates the existing condition and what was done to improve it. Before and after photos from the same angle, floor plans to help understand the space, and a concise description of the work all help judges to understand the project and see how the space was improved. Black: ere's a fine line between providing not enough information and too much. Long narrative stories tend to get overlooked, but a brief description and notes helped a lot. Keep things simple—not overly fancy or cute with formatting. Millsap: A well-worded, succinct description. Clearly defined challenges. Before and after pictures taken from the same vantage point. Top notch photography that tells the story. Roberts: A memorable title that connects with the sub- mittal, telling a story (why was this remodeling important to this client), bullet points instead of lengthy narratives, and before and after photos presented side-by-side for quick comprehension. WHAT EXACTLY DID THE NON-WINNING ENTRIES LACK? Black: From a project standpoint, many of them lacked originality even though they looked like great projects and rooms/houses to live in. Some projects were very "stan- dard" and didn't seem to have unique design elements that allowed them to stand out. Roberts: Professional photography—snap shots won't demonstrate a submittal's quality, especially in compari- son to a similar submittal with professional photos. Spaces that have been fully decorated, furnished, staged, art on the walls—end of construction photos are not the same as fully finished. Donahue: Not enough information to judge the entry, obvious design flaws in the layout, or the entry was in the wrong category. Millholland: Aside from aesthetics, non-winning proj- ects often lacked the information to make them award winners. Additions with lots of interior photography, but few exterior photos showing how new tied into existing. Kitchens with great photography, but lacking the draw- ings required to understand exactly what had changed. WHAT ARE THE BENEFITS FOR COMPANIES WHO SUBMIT? Black: ey get a chance to be stacked up against other industry professionals—to be able to measure themselves on a national scale. If they win, they're able to use the award(s) to provide additional credibility to their custom- ers and potential customers for their design capabilities. ey also get more notoriety on a national scale to po- tentially have a project story featured in a publication. Roberts: Celebrating a remodeling project done well with the client and the entire remodeling team, whether or not the submittal wins. Millholland: A submission makes the team feel great and builds morale—the business is so proud of the project that it will invest in an awards submission. A carefully developed submission can be used "in the home" as a sales tool, even if the project doesn't win an award. WHAT INSIGHTS WILL YOU TAKE BACK TO YOUR COMPANY? Millholland: After being a judge, I've gained a new appreciation for how many highly skilled firms there are across the country. We need to continue to focus on being better tomorrow than we are today if we are going to thrive in such a competitive environment. Black: I've taken back a better idea of what types of projects we do that could be worth submitting for an award, along with a better idea of how to create the sub- mission itself. Donahue: I was inspired by the quality and difficulty of some of the projects. I certainly felt like the focus on the client experience and their needs should be top of mind, and all the other aspects of the project will fall into place. Millsap: Enter next year. Look for cutting-edge trends to help the client be better than average. Help set them apart from the masses. Steer people away from gray if at all possible. Continue to see this year's award-winning projects QualifiedRemodeler.com QR September 2018 25

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