At Home Magazine
November/December 2009

By Christy Marshall

Photography by
Alise O'Brien

At Home St. Louis Magazine Architect & Design Awards 2009

At a time when the housing industry slogs toward recovery, St. Louis' architects and designers shine bright with award-winning work.

For anyone in the building industry, the past year ranks as one to forget-fast. Architectural and design firms and contracting companies alike suffered through one painful downsizing after another. Planned projects hit the skids as banks tightened their fists and homeowners cinched their belts.

But for those who were out there transforming blueprints into buildings, designs into reality, the finished works were, well, lovely. In the following pages,you will see photos and descriptions of the first-place winners in the second At Home Architect & Design Awards, selected from 133 entries. To see the work entered by the second and third placers, please go to our website, They are all there, category by category, one stunning structure or room after another.

Our judges – designer Jonathan Adler, architect Marlon Blackwell, House Beautiful editor Stephen Drucker, Dwell editor Sam Grawe, designer Charlotte Moss, and architect Ron Radziner – were discerning, to say the very least. In their comments, they pulled no punches and careened toward brutally honest.

Our winners varied from one-man or -woman shops working out of home offices to well-established firms
in sleek skyscraper digs. Of the first-place winners in 2008, five showed up in the same circle this year. But
to all the brave souls who entered, we thank you and encourage you to do the same next year. And to all those lucky ones who placed, our heartiest congratulations. Great work. You make St. Louis proud.

FIRST-PLACE WINNER: LARGE REMODEL (greater than 1,000 square feet) and
LS Renovation view project

THE PROJECT: The house, which is organized around a central open-air atrium, had many quirky features, such as an indoor trellis and built-in bench in the living room and a number of "choke points" in the plan. The owner wanted the spaces to flow together better, in order to display her collection of contemporary furniture and artwork.

The living room was simplified, and interior windows were removed to create a large art wall; the shape of the atrium was altered to increase the width of the foyer, and a Japanese rock garden was designed for the space; the kitchen was reworked to eliminate a narrow island that divided it; and a large, frosted-glass barn door was added as the entrance to an enlarged master bathroom. The unfinished basement was completed to create a private entry sequence from the basement-level garage, and the second floor was simplified and renovated. A new wooden deck with a steel-and-frosted glass railing system was installed to provide access to a rear garden.

Tongue-in-groove hickory flooring with a black, low-gloss stain was also added. Cabinets are European steamed beech with honed black-granite and stainless-steel countertops. The open-air atrium was refinished with anodized aluminum-clad windows with aluminum trim and horizontal cypress siding installed in a rainscreen system.

LARGE REMODEL: "Super chic!" "Nice to see a project that creates more solid walls. The rock garden/atrium works well. The furnishings work well with the finishes."

BEST CONTEMPORARY DESIGN: "Good clean stuff. The atrium works. Good spatial relationships." "Sleek. Well edited." "Modernist with consistent narrative throughout."

THIRD-PLACE WINNER: SMALL REMODEL (less than 1,000 square feet)
V & BS Renovation view project

THE PROJECT: A family of five purchased a traditional Tudor-style brick home in Clayton. With the exception of the kitchen and a poorly built 1980s-era family room addition, most of the house was in good shape. The client requested a larger kitchen and a more usable family room.

The design solution involved creating a larger kitchen by combining what had been the original kitchen and a butler’s pantry. The family room was replanned to make it easier to furnish; its exterior doors were all eliminated or relocated and its built-ins were removed. Existing decayed windows were replaced with larger units with aluminum eyebrows to reduce heat gain.

Flooring is 9- by 18-inch limestone tiles. Custom cabinetry is walnut, with honed black granite and stainless-steel countertops. The exterior of the family room had vinyl siding, which was replaced with horizontal cypress siding installed in a rain-screen system. New windows are clad in anodized aluminum with aluminum trim.