Picturesque Outdoor Living Space Helps Arizona Home Win Room of the Year Honors in National Design Competition

Contacts: Elizabeth Thompson
AVP, Media Relations
(202) 266-8495

Stephanie Pagan
Director, Media Relations
(202) 266-8254

“Tonal Harmony,” a tranquil retreat built in Paradise Valley, Ariz., featuring impressive outdoor views and spaces, earned it the Room of the Year title in the 2020 Best in American Living™ Awards (BALA) by the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB). The Best in American Living Awards are sponsored by Monogram Luxury Appliances.

The home’s public and outdoor spaces are composed of stone-clad massing elements that open via pocketing glass doors and convert into a desert pavilion. Every room opens to exterior spaces, dramatically embracing the natural environment.

From the casita, guests look back across the architecture and absorb the indoor-outdoor entertaining spaces, which include outdoor dining and kitchen. The pool, which incorporated the home owners’ desires for both lap swimming and play space, includes an integrated fire pit, providing activity and enjoyment for the entire family.

The project was not without challenges. The site included washes that traversed the lot. The pool played a large role in containment, and the guest house cantilevers over one of the washes. The guest house also has a lower volume, providing a distinct communal and intimate sense. Additionally, an owner request for a covered upper terrace created great challenges due to local codes and ordinances. But the resulting space, visible from the front of the home, is warm and welcoming and a favorite spot to watch the sun set.

“The home is very well tied together with its seamless transition between the interior and exterior spaces,” said the 2020 BALA judging panel. “The fire and water features of the pool and the luxurious outdoor living space really impressed the judges.”

The architect/designer of the home is Drewett Works and was built by Argue Custom Homes. The interior designer is Ownby Design and landscape architect/designer is Refined Gardens. Photography was done by Dino Tonn.

In its 37th year, BALA recognize outstanding achievement by builders and design professionals in all sectors of the residential housing industry including single-family production, custom, rental, affordable, interiors, remodeling and community. Award winners were announced during an online ceremony held Feb. 25, 2021.

Additional information about the 2020 BALA winners, including photographs of the projects, can be found at