"What becomes a legend most?" "Winning isn't everything, it's the only thing!" All kinds of expressions have been flowing through my mind since we announced our Innovation in Design Awards (now affectionately known as the "IDAs"). Since my January letter announcing the contest I have been nervous about the submissions: Will we get enough? Will we get any? Will they be good enough? Well, my fears were misplaced! Not only did we get a groundswell of entries, they were of the highest quality! And I guess I shouldn't be surprised. After all, month after month, we showcase the best this state has to offer. What confirmed the quality of the submissions was my capable panel of judges, to whom I am deeply grateful: Jamie Drake, Helen During, Alexander Julian, Jane Weitzman and Caroline Wharton.
So, what makes a winner? All of the winners showed a personal point of view, solved a problem and listened to their clients. Simple, you say? Not so fast. I think many people feel design professionals walk into a space (indoors or out) and wave their hand and—presto!—the job is done to everyone's liking. Let me be the first to tell you, "It ain't so!" Thinking, editing, refining—these are the skills that work best to present a winning design project. I have been in thousands of homes and attended hundreds of showhouses and the best of them have that indescribable, intangible quality about them. The winning entries of the first annual Connecticut Cottages & Gardens Innovation in Design Awards were good on paper and even better in person. These are designs that will stand the test of time. We have an entire issue devoted to the best of the best. So, back to what has been racing through my mind: Perhaps the best quote comes from Alfred Tennyson: Strength of heart / And might of limb, but mainly use and skill, / Are winners in this pastime. And the IDA goes to....
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