The Crusader, which takes inspiration from an F8 Crusader plane, wings folded, on a carrier deck, was named Home of the Year in the 2020 Best in American Living Awards by the National Association of Home Builders as well as Best in Region – Pacific.

The home’s architect was C.P. Drewett, AIA, NCARB, founder and president of Drewett Works in Scottsdale; the builder was Peak Ventures; interiors and furnishings were by Ownby Design; and landscape design was by High Desert Designs. The project also was awarded a Platinum Award in the Detached Home Over 5,000 sq ft, Built for Sale category and a Silver Award in the Outdoor Room category.

With a mandate from the soon-to-be-retired builder to create a modernist piece of architecture as his swan song project, the architect set out to commemorate his father’s military service as a Marine Corps aviator and pilot of the F8 Crusader.  The roof form folds and angles were the genesis of the design.

A spinal column runs through providing circulation and illumination by sky lights and clerestories, penetrating the core of the house with natural light. The resulting roof forms open up to the Sonoran desert and southward toward local landmark Pinnacle Peak. The angularity of the house allowed freedom to capture views more effectively than an orthogonal piece of architecture.

The lot sits on a peninsula, highly exposed on three sides yet with tremendous views. The manner in which the roof lines converge, as well as the folding undulations of the glazing, created pockets of privacy, allowing the occupant to feel autonomous.  Cedar ceilings and overhangs, large-format porcelain panel cladding, and split-faced silver travertine provide a warm and textured material palette. A multi-sided, split-faced fireplace anchors the great room and kitchen. The Galapagos Quartzite kitchen counters and charcoal limestone flooring cool the space and showcase the view as art.

“There’s a big idea in the central spine,” judges commented. “They were looking to create something great. The plan of the house (and the roof plan), and how it sits on the site, just grabs you and is outstanding. It looks like a Frank Lloyd Wright prairie-style design.”

Tonal Harmony, a custom Paradise Valley residence where every room opens to exterior spaces and dramatically embraces the natural environment, was named Room of the Year in the 2020 Best in American Living Awards by the National Association of Home Builders.

The home’s architect was C.P. Drewett, AIA, NCARB, founder and president of Drewett Works in Scottsdale; the builder was Argue Custom Homes; interior design was by Ownby Design; and landscape design was by Refined Gardens. The project also was awarded a Platinum Award in the Outdoor Room category and a Platinum Award in the Owner Suite, Custom category.

With the goal of creating a tranquil retreat, the architect sought to embrace outdoor views and spaces. Public and outdoor spaces are composed of stone-clad massing elements that open via pocketing glass doors and convert into a desert pavilion.

A challenge of the site included washes that traversed the lot. The pool played a large role in containment. The guest house cantilevers over one of the washes. The guest house also has a lower volume, providing a distinct communal and intimate sense. From the casita, guests look back across the architecture and absorb the indoor-outdoor entertaining spaces, which include outdoor dining and kitchen. The pool, a compromise between her desire for a lap pool and his desire for a play pool, includes an integrated fire pit, providing activity and enjoyment for the entire family. The owner request for a covered upper terrace created great challenges due to local codes and ordinances. But the resulting space, visible from the front of the home, is warm and welcoming and a favorite spot to watch the sun set.

The judges praised the strong, linear shape that is connected to the entire house. “The landscape provides a seamless transition between the interior and exterior,” they commented. “The fire-and-water combination feature is cool. The outside is zoned and designed well as separates, yet still very well tied together.”

Drewett Works 2020 Best in American Living awards:

  • Home of the Year – The Crusader
  • Room of the Year – Tonal Harmony
  • Best in Region – Pacific – The Crusader
  • Platinum Award – Detached Home Over 5,000 sq ft, Built for Sale – The Crusader
  • Gold Award – Detached Home Over 5,000 sq ft, Built for Sale – Urban Modern
  • Platinum Award – On the Boards Single-Family Production/Spec Home – Tri-Angulate
  • Platinum Award – Owner Suite, Custom – Tonal Harmony
  • Platinum Award – Outdoor Room – Tonal Harmony
  • Silver Award – Outdoor Room – The Crusader

“This year’s BALA winners continue on the rich tradition of exceptional residential home design,” said David O’Sullivan, principal of O’Sullivan Architects in Reading, Mass., NAHB’s 2020 Judging Chair and 2020 Best in American Living Awards Subcommittee Chair. “These winners are truly forward-thinking and some of the most talented professionals in their respective fields.”

Now in its 37th year, BALA recognizes outstanding achievement by builders and design professionals in all sectors of the residential housing industry including single-family production, custom, multifamily, affordable, remodeling, community and interiors. BALA is built on the principle that all great homes start with great design, no matter cost or size.

Award winners were formally announced during an online ceremony on Feb. 25, 2021.

Additional Information about the BALA program can be found at bestinamericanliving.com.

This is the third year in a row for Drewett Works to take home a “Best Of” award. Read more about Drewett Works’ 2018 and 2019 BALA wins here.

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