These Homes Won Best Architecture at the CT IDAs

The judges chose to recognize these homes at CTC&G's 2022 Innovation in Design Awards.


Winner: Nautilus Architects

Built by: Lankerd Carpentry Custom Builder


It’s easy to be hypnotized by the architectural rhythm established by this house on the banks of the Connecticut River. The architects conceived of the structure as a series of identically scaled, simply articulated gable-roofed elements linked by flat-roofed connectors. From the entrance driveway, the house appears almost as a village of individual granite residences. These two elements—gables and flat roofs—complement each other, establishing a dynamic of light and dark, smooth and rough, grounded and floating.

“The homeowners had some abstract spatial ideas,” architect Christopher Arelt recalls, “one of them being that perhaps the house could be seen through, to the cove beyond.” Arelt responded to this directive by incorporating large expanses of windows that allow one to literally look through the house from the front yard to sailboats bobbing on the water at the rear. “It’s critical to the ultimate success of a building that it be so well suited and connected to its context that it seems like it could not be anywhere else,” adds Arelt. “We positioned the house to capture this view and, in a way, imbue it with power.”

Finalist: Cardello Architects

Built by: Garrett Wilson Builders

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Photography by Peter Brown

Houses become dated. But with the right architectural team, a house from another era that no longer works for today’s family can be transformed to feel new, fresh and relevant. The 1950s-era house that occupied the site needed a dramatic transformation, inside and out. The architects began, not surprisingly, at the front door. The steep winding approach to the house was made more direct. Hard, constrictive steps leading to the front door were relaxed with gradual stone steps that meld so well with the front lawn they appear to grow in the grass. The roof was lifted and the second story expanded which allowed for extra bedrooms and a soaring entry foyer. The primary bedroom was relocated to the first floor, allowing for an intimate access to the yard.

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Photography by Peter Brown

The architects speak of fashioning a “collage” of accent materials that work to imbue the home with character. White oak beams course the kitchen, stone slabs work as outdoor staircases, brass shelves float in space, a rich metallic surface works as a fireplace surround. The house now welcomes a family of today.

Finalist: Beinfield Architecture

Built by: Milton Homes

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Photography by Meg Matyia

Although this Rowayton house is well anchored on its waterfront site on Long Island Sound, it feels as if you are aboard a steady ship when occupying any of its rooms, stacked on four levels. Despite an uncannily narrow site, the architects and builder were able to position the house as close to the shoreline as possible, while adhering to flood compliance stipulations that the house be raised 14 feet from the water’s edge.

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Photography by Meg Matyia

The resulting design is at once coastal-casual and urbanely sophisticated. Materials are melded in such a way that the raw steel and concrete elements are softened, even enhanced by expanses of woods, particular cedar used on the exterior. From every room in the house, views are afforded of the water, accomplished in part with large floor-to-ceiling windows. Architectural elements within are as striking as those on the exterior, notably an open tread staircase, all-wood ceilings and a minimalist concrete fireplace in the family room.

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Photography by Meg Matyia