The courtyard of El Andaluz.

A dozen design projects from across the country were recognized recently with the first Coverings Installation & Design Awards. A total of $10,000 in prize money was handed out to winners.

The top awards went to Santa Barbara-based Dan Upton Construction and Jeff Shelton Architect, who each received the Grand Prize in the commercial category; and, in the residential division to RJH Tile and Stone of Holly, MI, and longtime collaborator and tile designer, David Ellison of St. Claire Shores, MI. A $1,000 cash prize was presented to each of the Grand Prize honorees.

The entry earning Upton and Shelton the award was El Andaluz, a three-story, seven-unit condominium complex that impresses with its tile artistry and resonates with Moroccan influences. Centerpiece of the site is an open courtyard where the tile is fashioned into an exquisite mélange of decoration. The installation includes pillars and archways, stair risers and treads, benches and fountain.

The project netting RJH and Ellison their win was a four-year undertaking in Walled Lake, MI. The 7,500-square-foot Rosenthal residence began for them as a call for help--the new construction rife with errors and poor workmanship, and the five bathrooms especially suffering. So the homeowner entrusted the team with a total overhaul and redesign, and ultimately large measures of tile and stone were incorporated throughout, including unexpected use in the master bedroom and a great room. Stock showroom stone was given a more elegant appearance with special cuts, mitered installation and epoxied finish. Ellison, known among artisan circles for his designs, produced hand-made tiles for the project.

Other winners
Six other projects were cited as standouts among the more than 50 entries from across the country, and the installers and designers credited with them went home from Coverings with $500 cash prizes. These winners included:

Installer: Tony Blanco, Gemini Tile Services
Designer: Inaki Muguruza, Insight Design
Project: Atrium Flooring Showroom, Miami, FL
Category: Commercial/Stone

Installer: Wirtz Quality Installation, Inc.
Designer: Anshen+Allen Architects and CO Architects
Project: Palomar Medical Center West, Escondido, CA
Category: Commercial/Tile

Installer: Tom Susino, The Ceiling and Floor Shop
Designer: Joel Bargmann, Bargmann Hendrie+Archetype
Project: Smith Aquatic & Fitness Center, Charlottesville, VA
Category: Commercial/Mosaic-Glass

Installer: Raj and Henri Girem, Girem Tile Work Inc.
Designer: Phil Kean Designs, Inc.
Project: NAHB 2012 New American Home, Winter Park, FL
Category: Residential/Stone

Installer: Harry Underdah Tile Co.
Designer: Colleen Crawley, Motawi Tileworks
Project: Turck Residence, Decatur, MI
Category: Residential/Tile

Installer: Ernest Grof, Inspired installations
Designer: Jason Haywood, Signature Outdoor Concepts
Project: Bella Leoni, Grand Rapids, MI
Category: Residential/Mosaic

The master bedroom of the Rosenthal residence.

Special Recognition
The Coverings Installation & Design Awards judges called out four other projects and their install/design teams because of the degree of craftsmanship and compelling results. These honorees received Special Recognition trophies:

Installer/Designer: Paul Pearman
Project: Mosaic Chandelier for Georgia Health Sciences, University/College of Dental Medicine, Augusta, GA
Award: Art in Public Space

Installer: David Castellucci, Kenneth Castellucci & Associates
Designer: David Mexico, Rockwell Group
Project: Mohegan Sun – Earth Expansion Winter Entrance, Uncasville, CT
Award: Extensive Use of Stone & Installation Excellence

Installer: Roberto Zorzi, Antony Architectural Stone
Designer: Mulvanny Architecture Group
Project: Hyatt at Olive 8, Seattle, WA
Award: Extensive Use of Tile & Installation Excellence

Installer: Gary Kundson
Designer: Holabird & Root
Project: The Monroe Building, Chicago, IL
Award: Historic Restoration

The awards aimed to acknowledge superior installations of tile or stone and how that skillfulness impacts the level of aesthetics and contributes to the interpretation of a distinctive design vision, according to show organizers.