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Interior designers pick the best for 2003

Interiors ranging from a theater-turned-church in Rancho Bernardo to an opulent 14,000-square-foot home in Rancho Santa Fe earned top honors at the recent San Diego Chapter of the American Society of Interior Designers' (ASID) 2003 Interior Design Excellence Awards.

Regina Kurtz, ASID, of San Diego's Alpha Design Group, was awarded first place for the living room remodel in the 1960s custom home she shares with her husband Al Isenberg. The dramatic contemporary setting includes walls covered in a modular grid pattern of quarter sawn ash. One of the walls provides a staging area for their collection of art objects and includes a bar that has been integrated into the modular wood design. The furnishings were positioned at a 45-degree angle for visual impact and ease of conversation.

Kerry A. Nelson, ASID, and Natalia V. Trepchina, Allied Member ASID, of Nelson and Associates Design Studio of San Diego, were awarded first place in the Residence Smaller than 3,500 Square Feet category for the remodel of Nelson's 1926 Mediterranean-style house near Balboa Park. The home now blends antiques with custom-designed contemporary furniture. One-of-a-kind art and accessories from around the world are displayed, creating a complex harmony of color, materials and finishes.

Lorri Wittmack, ASID, Diana Salvatore and Joseph Orman of Lorri James Inc. of Del Mar were awarded first place in the Residence Larger than 3,500 Square Feet category for the design of a new 14,000-square-foot residence in Rancho Santa Fe (photo right). The elegant Mediterranean-style home was called "comfortable and romantic" by judges. The kitchen, designed to be the heart of the home, features handcrafted mahogany cabinetry with a burgundy walnut finish, a round breakfast nook and butcher-block surfaces inset into granite countertops. The family room design was inspired by the ski lodge feel of the family's Aspen home.

Lena Brion, ASID, of Brion Reilly Inc. of Solana Beach, earned first place in the Commercial Single Space category for the transformation of a movie theatre lobby into the reception area/hall for The Church @ Rancho Bernardo. The designer faced a number of challenges. The budget was dictated by member donations, the space had to satisfy a number of needs and ADA requirements, and the congregation had requested a "Tuscany" feel. The designer succeeded by shaping the walls, adding arches, art niches, custom metalwork and indirect lighting. The result is a warm, inviting space that reflects the character of the church body.

Tina Marie Koch, ASID, Tony Adamo and Ken Rudzinski of Design Perspectives of San Diego were awarded first place in the Commercial Space Smaller than 1,500 Square Feet category for the design of Taste of Italy, a new restaurant in Rancho San Diego. The design team created functional space with a rich, warm, residential atmosphere. The restaurant features a combination of booths and banquette seating to maximize flexibility and interior windows were used to increase visibility, while maintaining privacy. Because the restaurant's wine storage requirements included space for customer's private reserves, a custom cabinet in the dining area was designed to include wine display, privately owned wine lockers and storage below. The color palette of ochre, burgundy, golden yellow and moss green with cherry stained millwork add to the warm and homey atmosphere requested by the client.

Deborah Elliott, ASID, Bill Reizner, Ray Varela and Cindy Blair of Carrier Johnson Architects of San Diego earned first place in the Commercial Space Larger than 1,500 Square Feet category for the interior design of the Shiley Science & Technology Center at the University of San Diego (photo on 1B). The design of the 150,000-square-foot, multidisciplinary academic and research facility blends the university's 16th century Spanish Renaissance architecture with human scale interior detailing that celebrates scientific innovation and incorporates the latest technological advances. The two-story lobby exemplifies the fusing of architecture and science. Through the use of technology, a forest of two-story columns is enclosed by structural glass walls whose transparency allows a direct visual connection from the front plaza, through the lobby and across the bay to the historical Presidio Park, symbolically representing a window to scientific research. The judges praised the way-finding design that features floor tile patterns that reflect each academic discipline.

Laura Birns, ASID, of Laura Birns Design of Del Mar won first place in the Furniture Design category for her built-in wet bar in an Encinitas residence. The clients requested a built-in that resembled a freestanding piece of furniture with a strong sculptural look. The result is a functional and beautiful bar that invites guests to congregate as they lean, sit and stand around the bar. Designed with environmentally sustainable materials, the bar features glass, granite, solid maple, solid wengi, and bronzed metals. The exterior windows adjacent to the bar pop out, enabling the owners to create access when they are entertaining outdoors.

Matthew Gomes, student member ASID, attending the Design Institute of San Diego, received first place in the Student Design Project category for his conceptual design of a loft space for a professional couple who like to entertain and cook. Calling his design "open, Asian contemporary," Gomes incorporated elements of traditional Japanese design, such as a separate entry and an indoor Zen garden.

A number of special chapter citations and scholarships were also presented at the gala awards dinner at Wyndham San Diego at Emerald Plaza.

Robert Wright, ASID, of Bast/Wright Interiors of San Diego was presented the Ethel M. Siegelman Memorial Award for Meritorious Service to the San Diego chapter of ASID.

Art Ferber, industry partner ASID, of Dimensional Design Associates of Carlsbad, received the Don Marrell Industry Partner of the Year Award for Outstanding Service.

Gayle Schadendorf, student member ASID, from Mesa College received the Deborah L. Thomas Memorial Award for Outstanding Student Leader and Rachelle Bonine of San Diego State University received the Terry Goodrich-Sanders Memorial Scholarship.

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