Some people try to pretend like they’re not interested in real estate –– like  a home is simply about a roof over their heads, nothing more. But, put those same uninterested folks in the midst of a house well built, decorated, and maintained and you can see their energy shift. Their productivity shine. Their mood lifted. The fact is, the space you’re in matters –– and that’s why there are awards and recognitions galore for the spaces that inspire.  One of the most respected voices in the industry belongs to the American Institute of Architects (AIA), which gives prestigious awards out annually. Recently, the AIA noted their picks for 2018’s Housing Awards, acknowledging the most notable residential projects built in the last year.

Any US licensed architect was able to submit their work for consideration, as well as any owner of a structure or project; new construction, renovations, and restorations were eligible. There are four sub-categories included in the award, which are respectively  titled One-and Two-Family Custom Residences, One- and Two-Family Production Homes, Multifamily Housing, and Specialized Housing. Speaking to why the awards exist, the AIA website passionately pens:

“The 2018 Housing Awards, presented by the AIA Housing and Community Development Knowledge Community, emphasize the importance of good housing as a necessity of life, a sanctuary for the human spirit, and a valuable national resource.”

Not surprisingly, a quick scroll of the winners quickly had me spending money I don’t have on houses I can’t keep clean because above all, the AIA knows one thing: how to pick ‘em. Here’s a peek at a few of the envy-inducing winners:


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Underhill – Matinecock, New York

Category: One- and Two-family Custom Residences

Architect: Bates Masi + Architects

According to the AIA this home is “inspired by the history of the location, an early Quaker settlement,” meaning that “the Quaker values of simplicity and craft tie the new home to the community.” I never thought that Quaker style was my style, but after seeing this home…it’s up for debate. The house features stunning oak floors, an inner garden courtyard, iron ceiling details, and a warm and welcoming –– but modern –– design that really plays with the combination of indoor and outdoor space.

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The Bear Stand – Gooderham, Ontario

Category: One-and Two-family Custom Residences

Architect: Bohlin Cywinski Jackson

This remote hideaway is located three hours from Toronto next to Contau Lake in the midst of nearly 100 acres of practically untouched woodland. Inspiration for this home stemmed from clients approaching Jackson (the architect) with wishes to create “a place of reprieve for visiting families.” The home features living spaces that flow into the surrounding beauty outdoors, light- and view-filled windows, and plenty of places to enjoy outside, with a private network of trails dreamt up by the client as close as can be.

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Ghost Wash House – Paradise Valley, Arizona

Category: One-and Two- family Custom Residences

Architect: Architecture-Infrastructure-Research

Inspired by surrounding nature, the Wash House is truly “a house of the desert.” The structure has everything needed to shield itself from the intense environment, including refuge from the harsh sun. One comment from the jury who awarded this house with the accolade says:

“The response to the natural site context is excellent and the successful rendition of the clients’ different tastes is masterfully achieved in the architecture and the interior selectionism, furniture , and art.”

These hand-picked residences are only a small sampling of the best-of-the-best that exists in residential architecture. THE AIA gave out awards to 11 projects total this year, with others in locations such as Austin, Texas; Palm Springs, California; New Orleans, Louisiana; New York, New York; and more. To see them all, visit here:

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