Walk into this master bathroom retreat in Plano, Texas, and step into a room filled with warm, clean lines more reminiscent of a hotel spa than a typical bathroom. Split-tone quartzite covered walls are complemented by walnut-toned porcelain tile floors. Pebble flooring and glass partitions that flank the shower wall separates the curb-less shower from the rest of the space.
A free-standing tub made of volcanic limestone stands along the back wall and helps soften the quartzite walls. Symmetrical rift cut white oak his and her vanities are separated by double-doors that lead into the master bedroom closet. A window above the shower and a skylight provides natural light without losing privacy. Strategically positioned recessed lighting and wall sconces also help illuminate the space.
This bathroom is not only aesthetically pleasing, it incorporates universal design elements as well. One vanity has been modified for wheel chair access, and the shower is completely barrier free and accessible from two sides.
“[Remodeling projects] are not just about looks, they have to be highly functional,” said Botond Laszlo, CR, CKBR, GCP, and the owner and president of Marvelous Home Makeovers in Plano, Texas. “This project is a perfect example of that. We were trying to marry function with aesthetics. This is a universally designed bathroom but it looks like you’re in a hotel room.”
Marvelous Home Makeovers utilized a portion of an unused courtyard to expand the space and redesigned the room from the ground up. “Everything was completely redone, literally from the concrete and the framing on up,” explained Laszlo. “We re-plumbed the whole bathroom, reframed, added new electrical, new insulation, a new air conditioner – everything was updated.”
This bathroom’s superior design was recognized by NARI National—the only professional trade association dedicated solely to the remodeling industry—during its 2016 CotY Awards competition, and won the Residential Bathroom Over $100,000 national CotY award. Contractors from seven regions nationwide vie for these coveted awards annually. All projects submitted for judging are an improvement or an addition to an existing structure, with the exception of one category, “Residential Detached Structure.”
Laszlo has been a member of NARI’s Dallas chapter for about six years, and has been participating in NARI’s annual CotY Awards contest for the last five years. “It’s a healthy competition that challenges you to push yourself and push the boundaries of what you can do personally and what your company can provide as well,” he said.
Laszlo can determine which projects are CotY worthy during the initial consultations with a client. During that phase of the project, he learns the scope and challenges associated with the job and what category it will fall into for the NARI competition.
He advises that if a contractor believes a project has the potential to be award-winning, contractors should take some time and prepare for the competition during the entire scope of the project. “The whole process starts from the design stage, knowing that this project is CotY worthy,” he explained. “For projects like this, we try to make sure we capture the same angles, have more details, and if something stands out, we take time to talk about CotY, make notes and kind of prepare for it.”
This includes keeping daily logs of what’s happening on the project, and highlighting unique elements and challenges related to it. It’s also essential to take before, during and professional after pictures of the whole project to effectively capture the job done.
Being proactive in this manner during a remodeling project makes the CotY application process easier for remodelers down the road. In addition to the entry forms, contractors must submit presentations in PDF format. Judges use these PDFs to evaluate the remodelers’ projects.
“You’re presenting a whole project on that PDF and that’s all the judges have to see,” said Laszlo. “It’s important to have an easily understandable, easy to follow, easy to read PDF. You don’t want to have a two-page story because no one is going to read it. You need it to be simple and understandable.”
The work associated with highlighting a remodeler’s unique project for a remodeling competition has its benefits. Not only could a remodeler win at the regional and national level, but they can take that win one step further and use it to promote their company. Many remodelers tout their CotY awards on their web sites and through social media. Laszlo posted his award on the Marvelous Home Makeovers website, and on Houzz, Facebook, and LinkedIn. He’s also included snippets of the project on his digital newsletter and bi-weekly blog.
“The CotY Award is really a branding that sets you apart from others,” he said. “If someone goes on our web site and they see the different awards that we’ve won, it creates an impression about how we do things and who we are. … “You [also] attract other suppliers and other peers within the industry to you, which leads to more business relationships.”
More important, according to Laszlo is the pride he and his team have for winning the award. “This is something that makes what you’re doing worthwhile,” he said. “My team really enjoys what they are doing and something like this really enforces that, so it’s a huge morale booster.”
Enter NARI’s annual COTY awards competition today at http://www.nari.org/industry/recognition/coty/.