Winners of the 2021 Design of the Year Contest

Collage of the winner's designs

Profile image of Danielle Schroeder By Danielle Schroeder

Congratulations to the Chief Architect Design of the Year Winners!

Each year Chief Architect holds monthly design contests for customers to showcase their work. Designers with various styles and backgrounds compete head to head in the following categories: Kitchen/Bath and Interiors, Residential, and Remodel/Additions.

Each month the designs are voted on through Chief Architect’s Facebook page. The winners are entered in the Design of the Year Contest at the end of the year. Voting was open until January 12th, and the results are in!

Grand Prize Winners

Design of the Year Video Announcement

Kitchen/Bath and Interior Design Category

Grand Prize Winner – Chris De Martino of Elite 3D

Profile image of Chris De Martino

This year’s Kitchen/Bath and Interior design winner was a beautiful kitchen space that included a spacious island with seating for five people. It has a full backsplash, two sinks, a large cooking range, and wine refrigerators. The design also includes a glass door cabinet, a tray ceiling with beams, and a bold range hood.

Chris is based in New York and is the owner of Elite 3D, a 3D visualization studio. He specializes in high-quality architectural 3D renderings and is a published 3D designer.

Modern Kitchen Space

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Residential Design Category

Grand Prize Winner – Aaron Swearengin of Oak River Design Group

Aaron’s winning residential design consists of a covered front porch, a white exterior, and a gable roof. Aaron likes to bring homes to life by blending the client’s desires and ideas with functional and livable designs. He has been using Chief Architect for many years and uses Chief Architect Premier within his business, Oak River Design Group.

Traditional 2 story home with white siding and gable roofs

Remodel/Addition Design Category

Grand Prize Winner – Javier Montenegro of d.SGN SMITH Studio

Profile image of Javier Montenegro.

Javier calls his winning design the “Jocel House”. He created the design for a family who lives in Lima, Peru. They requested a three-story home with space for relaxation, a gym area, and a functional work-from-home space. The design consists of seven bedrooms and six bathrooms.

Javier is a Licensed Architect with over 25 years of working knowledge in Peruvian, Canadian, and the United States construction and design industry. He works and shares his expertise on various residential, commercial, and institutional building projects and has a special interest in urbanistic architecture. Javier is the owner of d.SGN SMITH Studio and uses Chief Architect Premier.

Modern three-story home with clean white lines and a second-floor outdoor seating area

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Thank you to everyone who shared designs with us in 2021. We are excited about a new year of design contests beginning in February. Learn how to share your designs and enter our upcoming contest.


Congratulations to all of the winners. Some really great ideas here.

Annual competitions are fantastic at driving innovation and excellent within any industry and design is no exception.

Joe Rogan

Nobody believes your software was used to create these 3D models. How about publishing the specific product and version numbers of your product used to create the examples you publish… or would that be too close to opening yourselves up to a potential suit for misrepresentation?

Kerry Hansen

Hello Joe, The specific product and version numbers are listed in the entries on Facebook where the voting occurs. This is more of an announcement of the winners, but the first paragraph has links that will take you directly to each category album on Facebook where you can find the information you are looking for. We also had a Takeover Tuesday event on our Instagram page with Chris from Elite 3D where he shows live how he created the rendering for his entry in the Kitchen, Bath, & Interiors contest. If you are interested in seeing the live rendering, here is a link to his takeover replay. It is around the 10:20 mark in the video that he demonstrates this.

I’m not as big a cynic as Joe R. and I’m totally in awe of Chris’s design skills. Most of what I see in the renderings I can also do (18 years of experience). I can see why someone might wonder at the final product as it is clearly amazing. I wonder if the final rendering was done in Lumion? Don’t hate– I’m just asking! I don’t have Lumion, and small details like the flames under the tea pot absolutely dazzled me. I love that level of detail, and am curious if Chris just has a next-level skills in tweaking the ray-trace. Finally, I wanted to congratulate Chris on a stunning design.


Is there a floor plan for the residential design winner? If so, I’d really love to see it!

Kerry Hansen

Hi Annalea, Thank you for reaching out! Floor plans are not submitted with entries into the design contests, but you are welcome to reach out directly to Aaron. His website is and lists all of their contact info.

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