DES PLAINES, IL—The 2014 Evening of Excellence reception took place March 28, during a three-day event for the National Association of the Remodeling Industry (NARI), which also included its Spring Business Meeting, held at the New Orleans Marriott, New Orleans.

For the second year, NARI brought the Evening of Excellence to the remodeling industry as a whole, via an online Webcast announcement that was also broadcast to those who were in attendance in person at the reception. The presentation highlighted both Regional and National winners totaling 126 projects in 25 categories ranging from kitchens, baths, additions, exteriors, whole house and commercial remodels. The Webcast will be available for 30 days at

NARI thanks its Evening of Excellence sponsors, Pella Corporation and The Home Depot.

Contractors from seven regions nationwide vie for the awards on an annual basis. All projects submitted for judging were an improvement or an addition to an existing structure, with the exception of one category, “Residential Exterior Specialty.” Otherwise, new construction projects were not eligible. 

In addition, the projects entered were completed between July 1, 2012, and November 30, 2013, and were not submitted in prior NARI National contests. An impartial panel of judges, who are experts within the industry and associated fields, selected winners based on each entrant’s binders, which include “before and after” photography and project descriptions. Judging focused on problem solving, functionality, aesthetics, craftsmanship, innovation, degree of difficulty and entry presentation.

Twenty-five national CotY winners were named at this year’s ceremony. Preliminary judging took place online in January, after which regional winners were announced in each of the categories. These regional winners advanced as finalists at the national level. Six projects were honored under the Universal Design Project Recognition program, and two projects were honored under the Green Project Recognition program. 

To be considered for a CotY Award, a company must be a NARI member in good standing. The entries of this year’s competition totaled over $72 million worth of remodeling projects. NARI members represent an elite group of the approximately 800,000 companies and individuals in the U.S. identifying themselves as remodelers.

The complete list of national CotY award winners for 2014 is as follows:

Residential Kitchen Under $40,000 
Kradzinski Remodeling
Warminster, Pa.

Kradzinski Remodeling’s clients host most family holidays and other assorted family get-togethers, and the small kitchen wasn’t the inviting space they wanted to be able to cook AND entertain. The couple’s wish list included moving the sink and range, and creating an island to serve as a prep area. Other contractors told them this couldn’t be done—the house was built on a slab so moving the plumbing would entail cutting through concrete. Kradzinski Remodeling won the job because not only did they say it could be done, but they had previously done projects that entailed these issues.

Residential Kitchen $40,000 to $80,000
Jackson Design & Remodeling
San Diego, Calif.

Jackson Design & Remodeling was tasked with creating a kitchen that expressed the clients’ sense of fun and appreciation for retro design. Borrowing space from an existing office provided more room and easier navigation for this kitchen. Retro-inspired appliances and playful positioning of contrasting tiles in a checkerboard pattern help recreate the sense of time. Jackson Design & Remodeling added fun details to this kitchen, including metal inserts into the upper cabinet doors for their client to display her vast magnet collection in a less cluttered manner.

Residential Kitchen $80,001 to $120,000
Jackson Design & Remodeling
San Diego, Calif.

This kitchen remodel took place in a home originally designed in the 60s by architect Dale Naegle. Jackson Design & Remodeling was tasked with creating a kitchen that was twice the size that shows influence of that time period with modern conveniences. The original galley kitchen had a narrow workspace and limited cabinetry. The new space changed the orientation of the room to make it feel more open and allow more natural light in. The backsplash of Italian Calacatta marble wraps around the kitchen, with a larger section with dramatic veining showcased above the cooktop. 

Residential Kitchen Over $120,000 
Jackson Design & Remodeling
San Diego, Calif.

The original layout to this kitchen was small, and it was separated by walls from the rest of the living space, making the home seem dark and cluttered. Jackson Design & Remodeling created an inviting, colorful kitchen where the homeowners could entertain large groups. The new layout includes a dining area, a kitchen with a bar area and an open living area. The tile floor is made of durable material that looks like wood, while notes of glamour are included, from the sparkling metallic tiles interspersed through the flooring, to the dramatic designer range hood. 

Residential Bath under $30,000 
Jackson Design & Remodeling
San Diego, Calif.

This dark powder room wasn’t making a memorable impression on the guests from this client’s professional circle. Jackson Design and Remodeling were asked to create an Asian-inspired powder room, which they did using a free-standing vanity with Shoji-styled doors and a tile wall using hues of ebony, gold and dark brown. Gold-leaf lighting—designed on a cable system—is activated by a sensor when someone enters the room. A curved mirror is framed with an Asian-themed wood frame. 

Residential Bath $30,000 to $60,000
BRY JO Roofing & Remodeling
Richardson, Texas

The homeowner came to Bry Jo Roofing & Remodeling wanting to turn her compartmentalized master bathroom into a relaxing space that was open and bright, using the bathtub, which she used daily, as a focal point. The company was able to brighten the space by taking out the two narrow vertical windows and replacing them with a large picture window. All new circuits had to be added in the master bath to the electrical panel because there were so many outlets and switches connected to one another, it was sometimes blowing out the breaker.

Residential Bath Over $60,000 
Foxcraft Design Group, Inc.
Falls Church, Va.

The original bathroom’s entrance was hampered by boxy walk-in closets to the right and left and a partition wall. The old vanities were short and there was no storage space. Foxcraft Design Group opened the entry by combining the closets on the left side and using Shoji screens to allow natural light to filter through from the skylight and window. The vanities were moved so they didn’t block access to the toilet and shower. The large curbless shower has controls at the entrance to allow for temperature adjustment before entering water. 

Residential Interior Under $100,000

DiFabion Remodeling, Inc.
Indian Trail, N.C.

This small room was originally an informal living room that was never used. The clients had long wanted a functional library and office space that made a dramatic statement as one entered the home. DiFabion Remodeling wrapped the entire room in solid cherry, installing bookcases and storage nooks on one side of the room. At the main arched entry, DiFabion Remodeling took up the challenge of creating a custom-built elliptical glass sliding door, which is the first feature you see when you walk in the room. 

Residential Interior $100,000 and Over
Buckeye Basements
Delaware, Ohio

Buckeye Basements was tasked with turning this 1,300-square-foot unfinished basement space into a media/family room, billiard area, wet bar, wine cellar, bedroom and bathroom with shower. The highlight of the space is a “Bourbon Barrel” wall, requiring the company to track down 12 authentic bourbon barrels of matching color. These barrels were then disassembled and used to create an intricate design on the wall in the billiard room area. In addition, the homeowners wanted to make the barrel head an actual alcohol dispenser, requiring input from a chemistry professor on the necessary components for that project. 

Residential Interior Element
DJ’s Home Improvements, Inc.
Franklin Square, N.Y.

DJ’s Home Improvements was asked to organize and hide the TV and audio components, as well as to create space for the family’s heavy artifacts. The company created built-in shelving to create more floor space and enhance traffic flow. Everything is hidden behind doors and controllable via remote control. Heavy-duty 3/8-inch safety glass was used as shelving for heavy objects. A glass heat shield protects the TV from the fireplace heat below it. All the work was completed while the homeowners were on vacation, allowing them to return to a cleaned home and completed project. 

Residential Addition Under $100,000
BRY JO Roofing & Remodeling
Richardson, Texas

The challenges to this master suite addition was caused by a previous remodel that was completed without permits 10 years before. Bry Jo Roofing & Remodeling had to fix many plumbing, electrical and structural issues that were not up to code. That original “addition” was removed and redone, including replacing the slab. The company was able to remove the door to the bedroom and seal the doorway at demo, accessing the entire project from the backyard—therefore not disturbing the rest of the home until the final 10 days of the project. 

Residential Addition $100,000 to $250,000
Sun Design Remodeling Specialists, Inc.
Burke, Va.

Sun Design Remodeling Specialist’s created this outdoor entertaining area, complete with a rear screened porch, pizza oven and dining area. This space—from the tile floor to the chandelier and pendant lighting—is designed to look like an interior room. The exterior of the space was challenging, tying not only the roof lines to the original home, but also matching the new soffits, gutters and downspouts. The free-standing pizza oven required additional support beams, metal framing and mesh materials to keep all the elements together during installation.

Residential Addition Over $250,000 
Anthony Wilder Design/Build, Inc.
Cabin John, Md.

The clients asked Anthony Wilder Design/Build to add living space and storage to their second-floor master suite and home office. Their wishlist included moving the bathroom entrance out of the sleeping area of the master bedroom, expanding the master bath to include a separate shower and tub with double sinks, reconfiguring the master closet for custom storage and his and her spaces, as well as converting an existing bedroom into a home office for two. Because the hardwood floors were from the original home built in 1916, the company salvaged the floor from the existing closet. 

Residential Exterior Under $100,000
Fick Bros. Roofing Company
Baltimore, Md.

Fick Bros. Roofing Company replaced this front portico. The original roof was a standing seam tin roof covered with a white membrane, which allowed for rot to the wood structure. The domed roof required not only superior carpentry skills, but also sheet metal skill and craftsmanship. Twenty ounce copper was used to replace the original galvanized steel on the dome. This project took place during Superstorm Sandy, and the homeowners were extremely anxious about water damage or damage caused by scaffolding. The house remained incident free during the storm, thanks to precautions taken by the company. 

Residential Exterior $100,000 and Over
Traver Construction, Inc.
Dallas, Texas
The mansard roof of this 1972 home was continually leaking and in need of repairs. The homeowners tasked Traver Construction with altering the roof design to make a bold statement. The new roof follows French eclectic style with a pitched roof design and details such as cast stone around casement windows, short overhands with wood corbels and cast stone quoins. One of the challenges of replacing a roof of this size is keeping the inside dry during inclement weather. This was accomplished by framing and decking the new roof configuration in six stages.

Residential Exterior Specialty
Realty Restoration
Austin, Texas

The object of this exterior project was to use water features to block out the sound from the road traffic. The first feature created by Realty Restoration is a small four-sided fountain made from limestone slabs pulled from a quarry on a ranch owned by the homeowner’s friends. The second water feature is a 3-foot wide negative edge spillway from the hot tub, which splashes into the pool below. The focal point is three water spouts originating from a stone/plaster screen wall near the rear of the property. The individually controlled spouts adjust water dispersion based on the white noise being created. 

Entire House Under $250,000

Legacy Design Build Remodeling, Inc.
Scottsdale, Ariz.

After purchasing a retirement home in Arizona, this Midwestern client hired Legacy Design Build Remodeling to create an open concept vacation home that had various focal points for their art. Natural materials were used throughout, in the flooring and countertop, to give the home a Southwest style. Removing the wall between the kitchen and dining area provided space for a longer island that provides more space cooking and prep, as well as a space for seating. The lighting in the kitchen and circulation zones are dimmable 6-inch recessed can lighting. The living areas are ventilated through variable controlled ceiling fans. 

Entire House $250,000 to $500,000 
Dave Fox Design Build Remodelers
Columbus, Ohio

Although the homeowners loved their house, they were prepared to move to a larger one to accommodate their growing family. However, Dave Fox Design Remodelers was able to show them how to convert their three-bedroom home into a five-bedroom home without a room addition, by reshaping the old master suite into two large bedrooms with a Jack and Jill bath. The first floor was reconfigured to include a master suite. The original kitchen was relocated to the back of the home to create a gourmet kitchen that took advantage of the view of the golf course on which the house was located.

Entire House $500,001 to $1,000,000
McCutcheon Construction, Inc.
Berkeley, Calif.

This 2,040-square-foot apartment, built in 1968, required a complete renovation because of asbestos coating the ceiling and barely functioning baseboard heaters and other utilities. Changes in the building code required McCutcheon Construction to replace the wood-burning fireplace with a gas insert, surrounded by a new curved wall covered with grass cloth wallpaper, an element that is repeated on many of the walls of the new apartment. The remodeled dining room and kitchen has high ceilings and a 3-D tile backsplash that brings to mind water and waves. 

Entire House Over $1,000,000 

David Wilkes Builders
Austin, Texas
With team member
Alan Heine Painting Contractors Inc.

This 6,000-square-foot space on the 29th floor of the Four Seasons Residences was designed to serve as a dramatic setting for entertaining and philanthropic activities. One of the challenges of this project was that David Wilkes Builders had to obtain access to the units above and below to take down ceilings, remove plumbing and make repairs. Another challenge was creating the office out of what was previously an elevator shaft. This required cutting a doorway into a 20-inch concrete wall, which entailed the installation of a temporary transformer on the building’s roof to run a high-powered saw. 

Residential Historical Renovation/Restoration 
JW Construction, Inc.
Cambridge, Mass.

This home was originally built in the 1890s, and the current homeowners understood the importance of maintaining the historical integrity during the renovation process. JW Construction carefully documented the existing moldings, casings, trims and millwork to ensure the detailing matched the style, staying true to the Queen Anne style of the home. The original staircase was moved from the center of the house to the rear, where the floating staircase is now a focal point, running from the basement to the third-floor living space. 

Commercial Interior
Greater Dayton Building & Remodeling
Beavercreek, Ohio

The goal of this project was to create an upscale, yet casual environment for the head chef and owner to create world fusion cuisine. The challenge Greater Dayton Building & Remodeling faced was to upgrade the facility to code and keep to the budget and scheduling constraints. This project was value engineered to maintain the owner’s desired level of finishes without exceeding the budget. Many of the built-in features were removed and adaptively reused to help the restaurant obtain a “certified green” business certificate. A “bubble” panel and water wall features create a distinctive dining experience. 

Commercial Exterior
Greater Dayton Building & Remodeling
Beavercreek, Ohio

Greater Dayton Building& Remodeling had to work not only with the clients, but with the city of Dayton, Ohio and the Historical Landmarks Commission to design and execute this exterior renovation plan. The goal of the project was to not only blend into the style of the neighborhood but also make it stand out as an inviting space for a new tenant. Architectural details were replicated using the 1-inch insulation board needed to complete the Exterior Insulated Finishing System. Though this caused challenges, it will be low maintenance and provide lasting quality to the structure. 

Commercial Specialty 
David Wilkes Builders
Austin, Texas

In the past, the non-profit STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) Center would use a mobile inflatable dome to bring astronomy to students, but that was cramped and impacted frequently by weather. This free-standing studio was renovated by David Wilkes Builders to enhance the experience of students attending summer camps. The new dome portion, which serves as a planetarium, was challenging to construct, requiring precision measurements. The numerous joints in the drywall required expert skill to tape and float for the finish out.

Home Theater & Media Rooms $150,000 and Over
J. Hettinger Interiors
Danville, Calif.
With team members
Windows & Beyond
LB Cabinetry
Northern Lights Electric, Inc.
Guaranteed Plumbing

This 1,500-square-foot man cave, carved out of separate attic spaces, added 22 percent more usable living space to the home. When J. Hettinger Interiors and team were removing surfaces, and it was discovered that the second floor bedroom ceilings protruded into the space. A carpeted built-in bench was incorporated over that raised ceiling. A baseball memorabilia gallery was created, complete with painted silhouettes of Yankee players and a salvaged UC Berkeley bench to enhance the baseball theme. A zebrawood entertainment center floats on the wall and is illuminated from below. A leather sectional and ottomans provide seating for 12 sports fans.

Visit NARI's Facebook page to see photos of the award-winning projects.


In addition to the CotY Awards, there were eight categories of Achievement Awards handed out in New Orleans. The Achievement Awards are bestowed on an annual basis, and in most cases, the recipient must be nominated. The categories are designed to recognize outstanding achievement by an individual, company or chapter that serves to promote and enhance the professional remodeling industry. 

The complete list of national Achievement Award winners for 2014 is as follows:

Chapter President Award
Presented to a local chapter president who has demonstrated outstanding leadership capability in the broad range of service to his or her chapter during his or her term of service.

Jeff Grundahl, CR of NARI of Madison

Chapter Community Project Award
Presented to a chapter for a community project to enhance the community and increase the awareness of NARI in the community, both locally and nationally.

Kansas City NARI
Milwaukee NARI/Home Improvement Council
NARI of Greater Cleveland
NARI of Greater Charlotte
NARI of Madison

Chapter Excellence Award
Presented to a chapter for work (other than a specific community project) which impacted the chapter’s local area or state in a positive manner, gave the association higher visibility within the community and enhanced the image and awareness of NARI through local activities, membership campaigns, awards programs, community service, etc.

NARI of Greater Charlotte

Distributor of the Year
Recognizes distributors who have demonstrated a strong commitment to NARI, the professional remodeling industry and the community or communities in which they do business.

American Contract Sales
Madison, WI

Professionalism Award
Presented to a non-paid NARI member who has shown exceptional leadership, devotion, dedication and accomplishment through his or her efforts to promote NARI as a professional organization at the local level.

Chris Egner, MCR, UDCP
Milwaukee/NARI Home Improvement Council

Harold Hammerman Spirit of Education Award
Established in 1978 by the late Harold Hammerman, this prestigious award recognizes excellence in training and education in the construction industry.

Anthony Tripp, CR, CKBR, CLC, UDCP 
NARI of Chicagoland

Government Affairs Award
The NARI Government Affairs Award is presented to a NARI member who has demonstrated active involvement in pursuing the legislative interests of the professional remodeling industry.

David Pekel, MCR, UDCP
Milwaukee NARI Home Improvement Council

John Quaregna Award for Young Remodeling Professionals 
The John Quaregna Award for Young Remodeling Professionals encourages young remodeling professionals –under the age of 40-to participate in NARI and to thank and reward their efforts in the hope they will continue to stay involved and boost the long-term vitality of the organization.

Tony Trapp, CR 
NARI of Madison

Lifetime Achievement Award
Recognizes accomplishments, awards, local community involvement and NARI National involvement in both appointed and elected offices.

Tom Weiher, MCR, CKBR 
Milwaukee/NARI Home Improvement Council

Dean Herriges, MCR, CKBR
Milwaukee/NARI Home Improvement Council

The President’s Awards
Bestowed upon individuals who, in the opinion of the president, have done the most to assist in reaching goals.

Robert Didier
Michael Hydeck, MCR, CKBR
Tom O’Grady, CR, CKBR
Dan Taddei, MS Ed. BCA
Ann Donnelly

Homeowners are estimated to spend a total of $150 billion on home improvements in the U.S. through 2014, according to the Joint Center for Housing Studies. 

NARI is a professional association whose members voluntarily subscribe to a strict code of ethics. According to results from the 2013 Member Profile Study, NARI members outpace the industry norm in sales, production and employees, when compared to professionals represented in the Home Improvement Research Institute’s (HIRI) 2013 Remodeling Professional Study.   - See more at:

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