Think your home improvement project is intense? We know of an organization that might beg to differ.
Plenty of us have been building decks, painting walls, planting gardens and changing decor while we’re stuck at home during the coronavirus pandemic. But the folks competing for the 2021 Alabama Remodeling Excellence Awards are working on a whole other level.
They’re remodeling entire houses, top to bottom. They’re breaking down walls, building additions, gutting kitchens and designing lavish outdoor spaces. They’re also working with substantial budgets, sometimes as high as seven figures.
The Remodeling Excellence Awards, presented by the Home Builders Association of Alabama, honor outstanding craftsmanship, innovation and attention to detail in remodeling projects throughout the state. The competition expanded this year to include custom builds, as well.
To qualify for entry in the 2021 competition, projects had to be completed in Alabama between June 30, 2019, and December 31, 2020. A panel of judges — made up of builders and remodelers from around the state — reviewed and scored the entries.
Winners in 19 categories were announced at an April 10 event in Montgomery. The winner of a People’s Choice Award is set to be announced today.
Here are seven winning projects that caught our eye, from an outdoor entertaining area to a luxurious master bathroom. You’ll find a photo of each project, info on the winning builder and a description below.
More photos of each project are showcased in the gallery at the top of this post. We’ve also included “before” images that provide sharp contrasts to the finished products. (See the full list of winners and runners-up here.)
Winner: Connell Project, Frostholm Construction, Baldwin County Home Builders Association.
Description: “Having put in a new pool, these homeowners now wanted an outdoor entertaining area to create a resort-like atmosphere without having to leave home. A pool house was constructed with exterior finishes matching the existing house to make it look like the pool house had been built at the same time. A large louvered wall creates privacy from the neighbors and adds some color to the white painted brick veneer. Old Chicago pavers with an ivory mortar were used on the pool house floor and tie into the large Isokern wood burning fireplace. A half bathroom was installed with wood walls and a Kohler sink and toilet, while an outdoor shower area to the side of the pool house provides a place to clean off before taking a dip in the pool. The old outdoor cooking area was replaced with a new large outdoor kitchen with smoker, grill and burner, allowing the owners to cook for all their friends and family.”
Winner: TLC Design/Build, LLC (Collection Display Room), Lee County Home Builders Association.
Description: “This homeowner had had a small room built into the attic for storage of his personal collection of hunting items, but decided it was time for a larger, more adequate space to better display his collection. Since access to the space was limited by a tiny spiral staircase with no exterior entry, the home’s roof was opened up to accommodate bringing in construction equipment and materials. The existing porch roof was removed and a new lifted porch roof built with under decking installed to channel rain water. Gutters were installed along the main beams of the porch to resemble crown molding. Above the porch, a new deck was constructed just off the collection room. To create more clear span space in the collection display room, a custom designed and engineered inverted hip vaulted ceiling was constructed. Old heart pine beams were re-sawn to provide material for the custom cabinets, an island countertop, floor, walls and ceiling.”
Winner: Brookside Game Day Dream Home, J. Manifold Construction, Lee County Home Builders Association.
Description: “The owners of this single-story traditional game day home wanted it remodeled for constant use for business, sporting events, family gatherings and general fun. The existing first floor ceiling was raised and vaulted. A second story open foyer was constructed with grid windows to reflect natural light throughout the main floor living area. The kitchen was completely renovated with plenty of space for cooking and entertaining a large crowd, with additions to the main floor including an office space, master suite, laundry, pantry, half bath, and expanded living area. A wine cellar was designed with custom mahogany wine racks and ladder. A second floor was added with three additional bedrooms, two baths and a media room. Nine large TVs and an outdoor projector ensure that no one misses a minute of the game day action. The new screened porch features vaulted ceiling, brick pavers, a grilling station and a custom masonry fireplace. A masonry retainer wall and outdoor fire pit in the backyard complete the space.”
Winner: Cherokee Bend Master Bath, j. fante studio, Greater Birmingham Association of Home Builders.
Description: “Although this older home had a huge master bedroom, the master bath was tiny and covered in dated, baby blue tile. To give the owners a place to unwind and relax, walls were opened up and moved to add space to the bathroom. A freestanding tub was installed underneath a new picture window. An oversized shower was added with marble tile and a floating bench. Custom inset cabinet vanities were designed complete with honed marble countertops and a seated makeup vanity. Decorative lighting, custom mirrors and hardware were added, and new hardwood floors were installed to match the rest of the house.”
Winner: 1801 Kensington, River Brook Design & Construction, Greater Birmingham Association of Home Builders.
Description: “After being inhabited by hoarders, this dark, closed-off kitchen was in desperate need of an update for its new homeowner. The kitchen was fully gutted and relocated to the old porch, where it could be open to the living room. The ceilings were vaulted and new larger windows installed to flood the space with light. High end cabinets with quartz countertops were installed, along with all new stainless steel appliances. A center island features plenty of added storage and prep space. A built-in coffee station was added for an extra touch of luxury. Special antique architectural pieces, such as the reclaimed wood beams overhead, add the finishing touch to the design.”
Winner: 209 Euclid, River Brook Design Construction, Greater Birmingham Association of Home Builders.
Description: “With a penchant for entertaining guests and a soft spot for a fabulous screened-in porch, this homeowner wanted to add a wow factor to this dated home. The exterior was redesigned to change the low-sloped roofline, which didn’t have any visual appeal. Gables, a dormer and bay window were installed for added dimension. Details such as copper awning and gutters, custom shutters and recurring arches add architectural interest. At the rear of the house, a screened in-porch was added with a vaulted ceiling, creating the perfect airy retreat. A roomy deck and dining space below provide additional areas for entertaining. New hardscape and landscape come together in a look that marries Old World charm with refined modernity.”
Winner: 104 Pine Ridge Circle, River Brook Design & Construction, Greater Birmingham Association of Home Builders.
Description: “This 1950s-built home received a whole house transformation inside and out, including its unfinished basement space. With children and grandchildren living nearby, the homeowners decided to turn the basement into a second living space to accommodate guests and serve as a fun hangout spot. The new living area features plenty of comfortable seating for watching sports or movies, with an adjacent kitchenette to keep snacks within reach. A game area with pool table, ping pong table and coffee bar add to the fun atmosphere. In the guest room, built-in bunks were added to make the most of the sleeping space. A dark, modern bath was also created with custom casework, dramatic hex tile flooring and shower tile in an intricate herringbone pattern. The garage doors were removed and new custom bifold doors installed that can be fully opened for parties. Exterior paint ties the basement to the rest of the house.”