We’re constantly amazed by the amount of talent in our little state, but never more than when it’s time for our annual Design Awards.
For twenty-eight years, we’ve dug into the best of what local architects, designers and builders are crafting in homes and businesses throughout Rhode Island, and the results are always stunning. This year, we received thirty-one submissions carefully critiqued by three accomplished judges: New Haven, Connecticut-based architect Robert Orr; Barbara Elza Hirsch, owner of Elza B. Design in Concord, Massachusetts; and Paula M. Bodah, a writer and editor (and former Rhode Island Monthly editor) who divides her time between North Kingstown and Sedona, Arizona.
You’ll find plenty of inspo for your own abode or business in the following pages, and we hope that you’ll be just as impressed with the offerings as we are. So without further ado, here are the winners of the 2023 Design Awards.
JUDGES: Robert Orr, Barbara Elza Hirsh, Paula M. Bodah
RESIDENTIAL NEW CONSTRUCTION
GOLD | Lion Rock Farm, Gale Goff Architect
Architect Gale Goff describes this Little Compton house, perched over the Atlantic Ocean and Lion Rock, as an indoor-outdoor collection of volumes organized along a spine, punctuated with outdoor showers at each end. Orr praised the home’s “beautiful detailing and juxtaposition of forms and use of materials,” while Hirsch liked the coffered ceilings, “extraordinary” bronze-accented staircase and the walnut pocket doors. The spacious abode accommodates an active family, with plenty of storage for surfboards, kayaks and bikes, guest rooms galore — one even has multiple bunks — and an owners’ suite and balcony. Architect: Gale Goff Architect. Builder: Jacob Talbot Fine Homebuilding. Landscape Architect: Martha Moore Landscape Architect. Interior Design: C&J Katz Studio. Masonry: Kevin Baker Stonework. Metalwork: Make Architectural Metalworking. Photography: Warren Jagger Photography; Anthony Crisafulli Photography.
SILVER | Locust Valley Lodge, Gale Goff Architect
Transplants — and avid Nordic skiers — from Vancouver commissioned this chapel-like ski lodge that doubles as a summer patio area from architect Gale Goff. It complements Dogwood, an Exeter hunting retreat built for industrialists in 1916. Judges loved the use of natural materials and vast windows that blur the line between the indoors and out. The juxtaposition of the stone chimney, horizontal wood cladding and metal roof appealed to Bodah, and the simplicity and organization of the design was a clear winner to Orr, who also praised its “clear, functional use” and indoor-outdoor connection. Goff purposefully kept the interior minimal and natural, instead letting the natural views shine through. “It’s very special,” says Hirsch. “I love the unique idea of this glass chapel overlooking everywhere.” Architect: Gale Goff Architect. Builder: Ed Lacross. Landscape Architect: Martha Moore Landscape Architect. Interior Design: Kirby Goff Interior Design. Photography: Anthony Crisafulli Photography.
BRONZE | Cove House, Estes Twombly & Titrington
This modern beauty, nestled into a two-acre parcel framed by Mackerel Cove and a neighboring cedar grove, received high marks all around. “I like how the house relates to the contours of the site, how the rooms open and close to each other and how you move through the project,” Orr says. Every primary room in this Jamestown stunner has water views, and a glass-enclosed living room cantilevers over the yard. Simple, spare detailing — think maple woodwork, lots of white and exposed steel — keeps the focus on the real star: the home’s amazing water views. Architects: Peter Twombly, Ryan Peden-Spear, Estes Twombly & Titrington. Landscape Architects: Estes Twomby & Titrington; Robyn Reed, Studio Cosmo; Katie Adams. Structural Engineer: Yoder & Tidwell. Builder: DBR Builders. Masonry: Kevin Baker Stonework. Photography: Warren Jagger Photography.
NEW OR RENOVATED KITCHEN
SILVER | Family Fun House, Taste Design
The judges fawned over the thoughtful kitchen details in this multigenerational home in Jamestown. But the clear winner was the accordion windows that open to spectacular water views, the porch and grill area. “I love the inside-outside effect — the way the windows fold back so that it feels transparent,” Orr says, while Hirsch admired the soft colors and exposed beams. “It feels open, inviting, luminous,” Hirsch says. They also praised the clean, organized space that features multiple work zones for an easy flow. Architect: Herkworks. Builder: WKP Construction. Interior Design: Taste Design. Photography: Nat Rea.
BRONZE | Matunuck Kitchen, Digs Design
When designer Jocelyn Chiappone and her husband first saw their Matunuck home, she knew the family room would become the kitchen. The well-thought-out design and thoughtful touches like a fireplace and custom drawers for things like liquor and silverware impressed the judges. “I was intrigued by the drawers,” says Orr. “She thought about all the different things that go into them and really customized them.” Hirsch was a fan of the cozy fireplace: “It’s very classical.” Architect: Christopher Arner. Interior Design: Jocelyn Chiappone, Digs Design. Photography: Greg Premru.
HONORABLE MENTION | The Spartina Cove Project, Blakely Interior Design
A busy family of four needed a kitchen space that would work for them in their South Kingstown home. Judges liked how the use of color — here pops of cornflower blue — energized the “cheery” space and noted that the durable materials and hardware still let family members’ personalities shine through. A spacious pantry is attached to the functional, open room, allowing for easy mealtimes. Builder: Meridian Custom Homes. Interior Design: Janelle Photopoulos, Blakely Interior Design. Photography: Greg Premru.
GOLD | Chestnut Street Loft, Jack Ryan Architect
Architect Jack Ryan “was able to take the clients’ personalities and their wishes to create this cozy, inviting space,” says Hirsch, creating a sleek loft that melded the original bricks and timber beams of the former manufacturing building in Providence’s Jewelry District with high-end conveniences and modern comforts. “It was the most astonishing transformation.” Minimalist walnut room dividers provide privacy within the open spaces, with small niches strategically located throughout the space to display the couple’s collection of Japanese Buddha statues and scrolls. It all combined to make for a modern, Zen-like home. “I would love to live in it,” says Bodah. Architect and Interior Design: Jack Ryan Architect. Project Team: Jack Ryan (project leader), Michael Clouse, Rachel Stopka, Min Jin Kook. Lighting Design Consultant: Evelyn Audet Lighting Design. General Contractor: DiStefano Brothers Construction. Cabinetry and Millwork: Cabinet Gallery. Photography: Jack Ryan Architect.
SILVER | Kit Cottage, Gale Goff Architect
In her third Design Award-winning entry (!), Gale Goff turned a dilapidated and dark Little Compton cottage into an airy confection of a getaway, complete with a master bedroom and bath on the first floor that leads to an outdoor shower and a large, screened porch off the kitchen and dining area. “She gave it such a lift and so much brightness and color, and yet still really respected that traditional cottage design,” says Bodah. Orr agreed, pointing to the burnt-orange front door that pops. “I like how she used color to guide people toward the entrance.” Architect: Gale Goff Architect. Builder: Mason Thurston. Landscape Architect: Martha Moore Landscape Architect. Photography: Anthony Crisafulli Photography.
BRONZE | Meadowmere, Taste Design
Another Little Compton beauty, this one a beloved summer home owned by an active family of seven. Judges loved the revamped brick-and-timber entryway and a children’s bedroom filled with whimsical touches like a bunk bed with a hanging rope ladder. What child wouldn’t enjoy feeling like a pirate making their way to bed? Builder: WKP Construction. Interior Design: Taste Design. Photography: Nat Rea.
NEW OR RENOVATED BATHROOM
SILVER | Meadowmere, Taste Design
Judges loved Meadowmere’s design so much they gave it two awards, including a bronze for residential redesign. They enjoyed the small details like the wall-mounted glass shelves, double country sink and the soft, modern blue and white palette in the Little Compton home. Builder: WKP Construction. Interior Design: Taste Design. Photography: Nat Rea.
HONORABLE MENTION i Tranquil Spa Retreat, Northeast Design & Build
During this renovation, Northeast Design & Build transformed a dated, dim bathroom — with a whirlpool tub smack in the middle of the room — into an elegant, light-filled sanctuary. Orr called it “different and fun — I can almost see somebody taking a long soak in the tub and having a conversation with a glass of Champagne.” The judges also liked the addition of a cedar sauna. “It was a nice transformation from what was there before,” Bodah says. Interior Design: Northeast Design & Build. Photography: Grace Lentini.
COMMERCIAL NEW CONSTRUCTION/RENOVATION
GOLD | LitArts RI Center, CBH Architect
The creative force behind the new LitArts RI Center (formerly the What Cheer Writers Club) was tasked with a formidable feat: Transforming an open, 2,860-square-foot space in Providence’s Valley neighborhood into a vibrant hub where members could gather to write, brainstorm, conduct interviews and record podcasts. (The center moved from its downtown digs, which had the same square footage, when the lease was up in 2022.) Bodah appreciated the well-thought-out design, as did Hirsch, who loved details like a skylight in the classroom, sound-dampening features in the podcasting studio, and the happy, artsy vibe. Apparently, the new center was a hit with members as well. The most overheard comment during the grand opening was, “It’s so much bigger than the old space!” Architect: CBH Architect. Builder: Stem Contracting & Design. Developer: 189 Development. Photography: Elaine Fredrick Photography.
SILVER | Park View Apartments, Jack Ryan Architect
Judges were impressed with architect Jack Ryan’s designs to renovate an existing rowhouse building on Providence’s West Side — the first home of Miriam Hospital — and build an addition that, when finished, would hold twelve two-bedroom apartments in total. Orr called the addition’s design “ingenious” and praised the angular bay windows, and Bodah appreciated how Ryan preserved and improved historical details like wooden pocket doors and copper-clad windows. Hirsch agreed. “I felt he really respected the beauty of that building and all its architectural details.” (Congrats to Ryan for racking up two Design Awards this year!) Architect: Jack Ryan Architect. Project Team: Jack Ryan (project leader), Michael Clouse, Rachel Stopka, Min Jin Kook. Structural Engineer: Sansoucy Cheng and Associates. Landscape Architect: Verde Design & Horticulture. Civil Engineer: Land Development Engineering & Consulting. Historic Consultant: Ryan LLC. Developer and Owner: Armory Management Company and RCG. General Contractor: Stand Corporation. Photography: Jack Ryan Architect (exteriors); Nat Rea Photography (interiors).
BRONZE | Studio 29, Olivia Beauregard
The task: Take a blighted, condemned industrial building in Providence and turn it into an inviting and bright live/work space. Apparently, it was successful because the impressed judges gave designer Olivia Beauregard a bronze for her efforts. “What a miracle makeover of a sow’s ear,” says Orr. “Given what she was working with, the transformation was pretty amazing.” In a nod to the building’s evolution, the original graffitied front door now serves as a barn door in the living area. Interior Design: Olivia Beauregard, Studio 29. Materials: L. Sweet Lumber. Custom Cabinetry: Dillon Knight Woodworking. Photography: Olivia Beauregard, Emma Lawson, Destiny Irby-Whitford.
HONORABLE MENTION | The Bellini Rooftop, ZDS Architecture & Interior Design
This “jewel box of a bar” got high marks from judges, who were smitten with the peach accents that wink at the color of the famed cocktail, the dramatic terrazzo flooring and swaths of velvet, and the sense of community fostered with in-the-round seating. Architect: ZDS Architecture & Interior Design. Project Team: Eric N. Zuena, founding principal; Eric Schall, project manager; Ainsley Lawson, project manager of interiors. Developer: Paolino Properties. Structural Engineer: Structures Engineering & Design. MEP: Building Engineering Resources. Photography: Tonia De Ambra, De Ambra Photo.
COMMERCIAL INTERIOR DESIGN
GOLD | Basil & Bunny, Libby Slader Design
When the owners of Basil & Bunny wanted to expand their food truck into a brick-and-mortar space, they turned to Libby Slader. What she managed to create — a tropical, colorful and whimsical oasis inside a raw and crumbling industrial space — wowed all three of our judges. Hirsch praised the “fresh, energetic and beautiful” details and the juxtaposition of warm and cold materials. “There is a lot of whimsy,” she says. “The spirit of the store was really well communicated through the design.” Bodah agreed, saying the use of fun bunny touches and greenery really suited the restaurant’s vibe. And, of course, let’s not forget that Instagrammable restroom, complete with bunny wallpaper, retro pink tiles and mosaic floor. Architect: JHL Tecture. Interior Design: Libby Slader Design. Photography: Elaine Fredrick Photography.