Kitchens and baths are intensely personal spaces that say a lot about their owners. And during a time when consumers are ratcheting in their expenses and spending more time at home, one could argue that these comfort zones are more important than ever. They are oases of peace, warmth, sustenance, and fun in troubled times.

Clean lines and earth-friendly choices continued to dominate this year’s contest (think full-overlay cabinets, frameless showers, and sustainable finishes), and a majority of the winners were remodels. Bathrooms in particular made a prominent appearance, representing half of all honored projects. That includes the top prize winner—a first since the competition’s inception six years ago.

It should be noted also that, out of a couple hundred entries, one architecture firm walked off with five of only 10 awards this year’s discerning judges saw fit to bestow. Simple, playful, eco-­conscious, and original, its work somehow manages to do it all—with less.

2009 Watermark Award Winners

2009 Watermark Awards: Tub Living
Bath of the Year and Grand: best master bath in a remodeled home.

2009 Watermark Awards: Center Stage
Grand: best master bath in a custom home.

2009 Watermark Awards: Clayton Kitchen
Merit: best kitchen in a single-family detached remodeled home—2,000 to 3,000 square feet.

2009 Watermark Awards: Miller Renovation
Merit: best master bath in a remodeled home.

2009 Watermark Awards: Camelot
Merit: best kitchen in a single-family detached remodeled home—over 5,000 square feet.

2009 Watermark Awards: Greenfield Living
Grand: best kitchen in a single-family detached remodeled home-2,000 to 3,000 square feet; Special focus: energy efficiency.

2009 Watermark Awards: Evergreen Kitchen
Special focus: green design.

2009 Watermark Awards: Lava Living
Special focus: lighting.