You can always count on the wet areas of a home to serve as laboratories for experimentation and as harbingers of what's hot in residential design. Clean lines and contemporary finishes continued to make inroads in this year's Watermark Awards, even in homes whose exteriors ring traditional. Pocket doors—valued both for their versatility and for their ability to instill ordinary spaces with a sense of surprise—are popping up often enough to be noteworthy. And more and more builders are viewing natural light as an essential ingredient in any respectable kitchen or bath. The projects that follow show how it's done.

Learn more about markets featured in this article: Washington, DC.