Nearly 200 people attended the 13th annual LightHouse Awards gala to learn who judges picked as the Lowcountry's most talented builders. The awards gala, which is hosted by the Hilton Head Area Home Builders Association and presented by SunTrust Mortgage, took place Friday at The Westin Hilton Head Island Resort & Spa.
The Hilton Head Area Home Builders Association is one of the few associations throughout the country that recognizes the quality work and craftsmanship of the builder members in the organization, said Dan Monroe, chairman of the LightHouse Awards program since its inception. Monroe said that even in the midst of a difficult economy, this year proved to be a strong year for entries of newly constructed and remodeled homes
First held in 1999, the LightHouse Awards are presented annually to builder members of the Hilton Head Area Home Builders Association for the demonstration of quality craftsmanship and design excellence in the construction of homes throughout the Lowcountry.
Twenty-two builders, including remodelers, custom builders and semi-custom builders submitted 64 entries and competed for four construction awards: best bath, best kitchen, best exterior and best overall new home, remodel or special feature. Entry submissions were up more than 16 percent from 2011.
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The construction cost of each remodeled or newly built home entered ranged from $85,000 to more than $3.2 million. Each award was subdivided into categories so that homes in similar price ranges and construction types competed against one another.
Nine judges were brought to Hilton Head Island to physically judge the construction quality of each home entered. The 2012 LightHouse Awards judging panel included builders, remodelers, architects and other industry professionals from Florida, Georgia, North Carolina and South Carolina. Split into three teams, the judges spent two full days visiting the entries. In many instances, the separation between runner-up and winner was a fraction of a point.
Master of ceremonies Monty Jett announced award winners as attendees followed along with a visual presentation of entry homes and features. The many skilled subcontractors and suppliers who participated in the design and construction of each competing home also were recognized at the gala. Winners received marble obelisk trophies representing lighthouses.
"The exhibition of quality, character, vision and talent among the local builders again this year was excellent and demonstrates the dedication and focus of our local builders to constructing quality homes in the toughest of times while maintaining and concentrating on remarkable craftsmanship," Monroe said.
Led by Monroe, the 2012 LightHouse Awards Committee included Chris Cleland, Cleland Site Prep; Shirley Frampton, Peacock Cabinetry; Deborah Karambelas, Karambelas Enterprises; Deborah Monroe, LowCountry Home Magazine; Bryan Mudrak, More Space Place; Ed Pitoniak, SunTrust Mortgage; Scott Pleimann, Sea Island Kitchens; Anna Ruby, J. Banks Design; and Robert Ryan, SunTrust Mortgage.
In addition to title sponsor SunTrust Mortgage, other sponsors included Essroc Ready Mix Corp., J. Banks Design, LowCountry Home Magazine, Palmetto Electric Cooperative, StoneWorks and The Island Packet/Beaufort Gazette. Special thanks also went to Click Event Productions, Custom Audio Video, Hilton Head Automotive, Monty Jett, Show Services and Sunshine Hardscape, Landscape & Nursery.