At an invitation-only gala at Flourish in Atlanta on the evening of April 20, ADAC (Atlanta Decorative Arts Center) and Veranda presented the 2023 Southeast Designers and Architect of the Year Awards. Celebrating individuals and firms from across the region for creative excellence in architecture, contract design and residential design, this year’s awards acknowledged both long-established talents and exciting new entrants to the field. “We had 111 submissions and 27 finalists, 13 [of which] were first-time finalists,” said Katie Miner, ADAC general manager. Hailing from three historic cities, the winners represented the full geographic and stylistic range of the region.

“Being honored with such a respected award is the highlight of my career,” said Chris Reebals of Christopher Architecture & Interiors in Birmingham, Alabama, a first-time winner in the architecture category (after having frequently been a finalist in years past) for his luminous, inventively scaled homes. It was a sentiment shared by repeat Southeast Contract Designer of the Year recipient Square Feet Studio of Atlanta, which last claimed the prize in 2014. A tranquil, textural monochromatic spa was among its winning projects. “We’re hugging each other, we’re high-fiving,” said firm principal John Bencich. “It’s a great chance to come out and celebrate with our peers.” The honoree in the residential design category, for interiors that seamlessly integrated the architectural framework and surrounding landscape, Bronwyn Ford of Pursley Dixon Ford Interior Design in Charlotte, North Carolina, welcomed her company’s win with humility. “There are so many designers in the Southeast I admire. I can’t believe I’ve been invited to the table,” she said.

Reflecting on the ceremony, which concluded ADAC’s spring market, Design ADAC, Veranda editor in chief Steele Marcoux spoke to the strength of the region’s design scene: “The need for fabulous and beautiful houses continues to grow, and it’s amazing to see what ADAC does to serve regions from Alabama to Virginia,” she said. “It’s such a rich and vibrant design community.” For a recap of the festivities and a look at the winning projects, watch here:

This story is a paid promotion and was created in partnership with the Atlanta Decorative Arts Center.

Homepage image: One of the winning projects in the architecture category by Chris Reebals of Christopher Architecture & Interiors in Birmingham, Alabama | Photography by 99 Natives

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