We’re excited to share the winning design projects chosen by our expert judges for the 2023 Your Modern Cottage Design Awards Competition.

The 2023 YMC Design Awards recognizes the best custom residential home designs within the United States of America that reflect our three principles of great residential design: Homes designed for the uniqueness of the clients; Homes built for today and the future; and Homes that are a retreat from the complexities of our world. In addition, we believe that modern is not a design style, but a lifestyle. As a result, we welcomed designs of all styles. 

Our three judges — Joe Herrin, AIA, principal of Heliotrope Architects; Brian Korte, FAIA, principal of Clayton Korte; and Mahdad Saniee, AIA, founder and principal of Saniee Architects LLC granted winners in the three categories (New Modern Cottages, Additions and Renovations, and Small Modern Cottages) below. Upcoming posts will take a closer look at all winning designs, including our Merit Award winner.

1. New Modern Cottages

Houses designed to take us away from the modern rush. These homes provide a retreat for the families that gather there and provide a place where they can reconnect with each other. Size of homes can range but should be no more than 4,800 square feet.

Winner: Retreat on a Pond’s Edge by Elliott Architects 

“Amazing site, incredible approach, and a very well curated insertion between the boulders and trees that feels very light on its toes. Interior spaces and finishes are clean and simple, rooms feel well-proportioned and so well connected to the environment that it must be wonderful to live in. This is such an incredible site! I appreciated the clean and limited exterior materials used and the fact that they are resilient and over time will blend in with the trees as they weather.” ~ Brian Korte, Clayton Korte

Photography Credit  (Above & Featured Image) – Trent Bell Photography

2. Modern Cottage Additions and Renovations

Houses specifically altered, adapted, and renovated for the families living within them. These designs transform a mundane house and turn it into something special.

Winner: Phinney Mini by Best Practice Architecture

“A very difficult task realized beautifully. The old and the new blend together very well and the planning is very clever. A wonderful outcome!” ~ Mahdad Saniee, Saniee Architects LLC

Photography Credit (Above and Below) – Rafael Soldi

3. Small Modern Cottages

This category celebrates new modern cottages that are small and efficient, but still accommodate a very comfortable, modern lifestyle. Cottages in this category were capped at 1,600 square feet.

Winner: All-Wood, All the Time by OPAL Architecture

“The entries in this category were all quite strong, with relatively generous budgets, however only one incorporated meaningful sustainability strategies. ‘All-Wood, All the Time’ incorporates new-ish technologies such as CLT wood construction, Tesla roof tiles, and power-wall to meaningfully reduce its carbon footprint. The thoughtful choice of exterior materials and detailing is clearly intended to stand the test of time – another important aspect of sustainability.” ~ Joe Herrin, Heliotrope Architects 

Photography Credit: (Below and Right) Trent Bell Photography

Merit Award Winner 

Boathouse by Prentiss + Balance + Wickline Architects 

“This project’s interior space, straightforward material palate and level of finish is very pretty. It’s connection to its environment is extremely well done.” ~ Brian Korte, Clayton Korte

Photography Credit (Above and Right) – Andrew Pogue