Syncline House

Boulder, Colo.
Raul Garcia Syncline House Boulder, Colo.

Several years ago we added “green design” to the list of categories builders and architects could enter in our annual kitchen and bath competition. This year’s winning projects suggest that this special focus category has transcended its original usefulness. Many of the culinary zones and bath spaces that received props this time around offer ample evidence that environmental stewardship has become standard practice, and that diverting old materials from the landfill has become downright de rigueur. Some use reclaimed goods or recycled material in ingenious ways. Others salvage entire buildings and the materials inside them. The 2011 Project of the Year—a house that took the top spot for its kitchen, but also garnered additional awards for two of its baths—actually applied for LEED certification as an afterthought and came away with the organization’s gold award (it has a ground loop geothermal system, photovoltaics, and a solar hot water system, although these features are overshadowed by the home’s sheer beauty). Is green design old news? Only in the sense that it’s become commonplace. And that’s a good thing. But green kitchens or baths don’t have to look the same. And that’s a good thing, too.

See all the Watermark Awards winners on ourWatermark Awards page.