The W&C staff decided this year to award contractors whose work deserves recognition with the first annual Excellence in Design Awards. The four categories awarded this year are drywall, metal framing, ceilings, and ornamental/plastering.

Congratulations to all the recipients. The outstanding craftsmanship of these projects is shown in the following pages. Look for entries for next year's awards early in 2005.

Excellent drywall

According to Jamal Harrell, owner of Jamshar Construction Consultants LLC, this project was actually born out of a brainstorm that stemmed from a previous Walls & Ceilings article that featured very inventive ideas in the use of Trim-Tex vinyl products.

"A homeowner who is also an interior decorator suggested using her newly built home as a fresh pallet for our drywall and ceiling designs," Harrell says. "Our paint and wallpaper specialist used a number of techniques, i.e. leathering, marbleizing and Venetian plaster to highlight our work."

The homeowner/interior decorator designed each room to have its own theme, yet still maintain a harmonious chord throughout the home. The large arched window centered in the 20-foot-high entryway became the design inspiration for Harrell's crew.

The entryway mirrors the large arched window by means of a double-layered drywall design, marbleized to give it the appearance of a real column.

"The opposing wall in the entryway presented our first opportunity to design a true archway," Harrell explains. "Conditions were optimal because of the spacious and open 4-foot-wide-by-9-foot-high opening."

Jamshar used the Trim-Tex Fast Cap in this application. The room has an oriental theme highlighted by the use of real bamboo wallpaper.

Heading into the kitchen through a connecting hallway, a double arch effect plays well against the contemporary-deco furniture.

"Entering the kitchen and turning left, our eye is led to the unobtrusive architectural wall in the mid-ground," Harrell adds. "Initially, it was only a single square column (left-side vertical leg) but we built it into an open-arched partition wall. All other members were added including the right-side vertical-leg and horizontal upper-member, which created a chase for the home entertainment speaker wire."

The family room also contains a double-layered drywall ceiling design. Jamshar installed a 4-foot-by-8-foot elongated ellipse and a proportionately smaller ellipse to add a dramatic centerpiece to the ceiling fan. The company used Trim-Tex Bull rail as an accent frame to the ellipses. This room employs four-color wash and a Venetian plaster technique.

"Our professional CAD program enabled us to minimize design cost, increase accuracy and catalog our designs for reproduction and/or modification," Harrell says. "More importantly, we can modify in 3-D space the final look and proportions of the drywall design, and get feedback from the client prior to construction, minimizing waste of time and materials."

Excellent ceiling

The winner in the ceiling category is for the Prairie Hills Elementary School, of Thornton, Colo. Architect Christiansen, Reece & Partners and General Contractor Rhoads Construction made up the construction team for the project, which included more than 50,000 square feet of acoustical ceilings, 4,000 square feet of specialty ceilings, acoustical wall panels and custom wall-mounted acoustical baffles.

"The major challenge on this project were the specialty cloud ceilings at the commons and cafeteria areas," according to Jason Gordon, president of Heartland Acoustics and Interiors, of Centennial, Colo., the ceiling contractor for the project. "The clouds were installed below a higher suspended acoustical ceiling that was custom colored sky blue to simulate an outdoor effect. The cloud ceilings were made using a standard 2-by-2 Armstrong Prelude XL ceiling system with Armstrong Axiom 6-inch perimeter trim."

The clouds were suspended at various heights, more than 22 feet above the floor using aerial lifts.

"This created a big challenge since the work had to be done so high off the ground using lifts and the project was near completion at the time the clouds were being installed," Gordon says. "We worked additional crews and hours to complete the clouds on time since the schedule would not allow for any delays in our work."

In addition to the large amounts of standard acoustical ceiling areas in classrooms and hallways typical of most schools, Heartland installed numerous acoustical wall panels and hanging acoustical baffles. The acoustical wall panels for the cafeteria area were made in various sizes and configurations for direct mount onto the walls while basic modular acoustical wall panels were hung at the gymnasium. Acoustical baffles were also installed in the commons and cafeteria areas. The baffles were made with custom hanger brackets that allowed the baffles be suspended off the wall and hang out into the room.

The manufacturers and suppliers used on this project were: Armstrong ceiling grid and tile from Gypsum Products for the acoustical ceiling areas; Chicago Metallic Corp. ceiling grid and Celotex ceiling tile from MGM Supply for the high blue acoustical ceiling area; and custom acoustical wall panels and baffles from Lamvin for the acoustical sound treatments.

Excellent metal framing

The project winning the metal framing award goes to B&B Interior Systems Inc., of Ft. Lauderdale, Fla., for the St. Bonaventure Catholic Church, of Davie, Fla. Jeffrey Evans & Associates was the architect and Herman Construction Services was the general contractor.

"The project was difficult due to the fact that most of the metal framing is 50 to 70 feet in the air over a sloped floor," explains Dennis Nusser, vice president of administration of B&B. "Overall square footage of the project was 24,000 square feet."

The high window details prior to the application of the gypsum board was challenging because the framing forms walls that are not parallel to each other. Instead, they are in the shape of a section of a pyramid on its side.

The walls over the entry doors feature angles on the side windows and detail in the conical section of the large stained glass window.

"The little details reflect excellence in design as well as excellence in execution," Nusser says.

Drywall, compound, tape and on the project incidentals were made by National Gypsum. Plywood was from Boise Cascade. Screws and fasteners were from Grabber and Hilti. Allsteel and Gypsum Co. supplied the studs, track, and other metal. The cornerbead was from American Bead.

Excellent ornamental/plastering

The award in the ornamental/plastering category is a residential project, the formal dining room of Mr. and Mrs. Chacko Kurian, of Orlando, Fla.

Paul Smith, master craftsman, founder and creator of Ceilings of Distinction, of Columbus, Ohio, was commissioned to design and sculpt handcrafted artwork to the dining room ceiling and several ceilings throughout this luxury home.

"After completion of the design phase, (of which National Gypsum Proform was used), the ceiling was sealed and top coated with Valspar paint," Smith explains.

The final application was a gold metallic to the contrasted areas using Modern Masters Metallics.

"Several factors are considered when designing a ceiling of this type," Smith continues. "The ceiling was 12 feet high, 16 feet wide by 25 feet long-so three border designs were incorporated with the center layout a look of fabric and the spider web medallion from my masterpiece collection."

Smith says that these old world sculptured textures can be applied to any style ceiling. In fact, Smith recently developed a method to teach new employees to carry on the work so others can enjoy this art form.