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

The honors acknowledge the superior installation of tile or stone and how that skillfulness impacts the level of aesthetics and contributes to the interpretation of a distinctive design vision.

The top awards in this competition 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.

El Andaluz courtyard bench, Santa Barbara, California

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.

El Andaluz courtyard night, Santa Barbara, California

Centerpiece of the site is an open courtyard where the tile is fashioned into an exquisite mélange of decoration. Eye candy at every turn, the installation includes pillars and archways, stair risers and treads, benches and fountain. Contrasting colors and patterns create the visual dynamic that is irresistible.

Grand Prize: Rosenthal/RJH, Walled Lake, Michigan

Grand Prize: Rosenthal/RJH, Walled Lake, Michigan

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 re-design, and ultimately large measures of tile, stone and wow factor were incorporated throughout, including unexpected use in the master bedroom and a great room.

Also Winning Big

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 that iced this extraordinary treat.

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:

Winner: Atrium Flooring, Miami Florida  Winner: Atrium Flooring, Miami Florida

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


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


Winner: Turck/Motawi, Decatur, Michigan  Winner: Turck/Motawi, Decatur, Michigan

Installer: Harry Underdah Tile Co.

Designer: Colleen Crawley, Motawi Tileworks

Project: Turck Residence, Decatur, MI

Category: Residential/Tile


Winner: Bella Leoni, Grand Rapids, Michigan  Winner: Bella Leoni, Grand Rapids, Michigan

Installer: Ernest Grof, Inspired installations

Designer: Jason Haywood,

Signature Outdoor Concepts

Project: Bella Leoni, Grand Rapids, MI

Category: Residential/Mosaic


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



To learn more about the Coverings Installation & Design Awards winners and their work, visit www.coverings.com or www.facebook.com/CoveringsShow.

About Coverings

Coverings is the premier international trade fair and expo dedicated exclusively to showcasing the newest in ceramic tile and natural stone. It has grown to be the largest and most important show of its kind in the U.S., featuring exhibitors from more than 50 countries and attracting thousands of distributors, retailers, fabricators, contractors and specifiers, architectural and design professionals, builders and real estate developers, plus the press and journalists who cover this vital and dynamic industry.

Coverings is the stage for introducing some of the most innovative tile and stone products in the world. The exposition also serves as a valuable resource for continuing education for all categories of attendees, with informative, accredited seminars and live demonstration sessions conducted throughout the four days and all free of charge.

Coverings 2013 is set for April 29-May 2, at Georgia World Congress Center, Atlanta, GA. For more information visit www.coverings.com or contact National Trade Productions, Coverings Show Management, 703-683-8500.