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    And the Winner Is…

    JimOn Wednesday, October 16, I had the honor of being one of the hosts and presenters at the design and remodeling awards event known as the REMMIES. The REMMIES are awarded each year by the three local chapters of NARI (National Association of the Remodeling Industry, to recognize excellence and leadership in the industry as exemplified by the projects submitted by the participating design professionals and contractors. The local NARI chapters are comprised of companies located in San Francisco, the East Bay, Contra Costa County and the North Bay from Marin to Santa Rosa—a total of 238 companies in all.

    The REMMIES are presented to winners in a variety of categories and budget ranges including Kitchen, Bathroom, Home Theatre, Residential Interior, Residential Exterior, Entire House, Green Building and Historical Preservation. Judging was completed in August by a three-person panel representing the interior design, architecture and construction fields. The awards were given at a festive event held at the Pavilion at Jack London Square, overlooking the Oakland estuary.

    All of the winning projects are worthy of mention but there are three that illustrate the high standards of this prestigious award.

    Residental building project.

    In the category of kitchen design and construction, Building Lab Inc. ( in Oakland transformed the kitchen of a Piedmont home into a light-filled space that is fully integrated with the adjacent family room. The large island centerpiece straddles and accentuates the transition from the intimate eight-foot kitchen ceiling to the airy vaulted height of the family room. The use of natural wood cabinets with a white quartz counter top and white tile backsplash lends the space a modern look that is warm and inviting.

    Leff Construction Design/Build ( in Sonoma County won first prize in the category of Green Building, for a new home that combines lodge-style aesthetics with highly advanced technology to achieve zero net energy consumption and zero carbon fuel usage. This high-tech house includes a photovoltaic system with battery back-up, hydronic forced air system that heats the house with warm water, and an LED interior and exterior lighting system. All lighting and mechanical systems are monitored and controlled remotely via the owner’s iPad. This house delivers the perfect combination of rustic charm and modern efficiency to meet the homeowner’s needs.

    The grand prize was awarded to McCutcheon Construction ( in Berkeley for an incredible basement remodel that expanded the space from 175 square feet to 955 square feet. The newly remodeled basement includes a guest suite and a modern media room with access to the garden outside. The excavation of the enlarged space extended beyond the original footprint of the home, which opened the downstairs’ spaces to natural light and created a private outdoor living space. The space was completed with a combination of simple finishes and Asian antiques that create an environment that is casual with an air of sophistication.

    Learn more about NARI and the REMMIES at San Francisco Bay Area NARI, (

    Jim Tibbs is the creative director of HDR Remodeling. If you would like to learn more, please read his blog at or follow him on Twitter @HDRremodeling1.