Contest Winners, Featured Customers, Professional, Residential Home Design

Edgar Pena Places Third with His Spanish Style Texas Home

Layout page featuring Edgar's winning spanish style residental design

By Jake Murray

Edgar places third in the Chief Architect Residential Design Contest! Edgar’s achievements have led to his own business, Pena’s Drafting & Design, located in his hometown.

“I am from McAllen, a small town in south Texas, where I started technical drafting in High School. I obtained my Architectural Drafting Associates Degree at South Texas Community College and have designed homes since 2003. After months of planning and researching, I decided to go with Chief Architect. I have been using Chief Architect since 2013, and am glad I made the right choice. Besides customers being amazed to see their home in 3D, I love being able to do a preliminary floor plan in just hours instead of days. Now I can complete a full set of construction drawings in two to three days.”

Chief Architect has changed my life completely.

Winning Design

Thank you, Edgar, for sharing your design with us in the Residential Design Contest. We look forward to seeing more of your work in the future!  If you want to learn how to use Chief Architect to complete a full set of construction documents, like Edgar, check out this training video: Creating Layouts and Construction Documents.

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Contest Winners, Featured Customers, Kitchen Design, Student

Alexis McDaniel places 2nd with her contemporary kitchen

Interior rendering of a contemporary kitchen with a waterfall island and white cabinetry.

By Kendra Dorosh

Alexis places 2nd in the Chief Architect Kitchen, Bath, and Interior Design Contest! She is a Chief Architect Certified Apprentice who has found her passion in interior design.

Alexis McDaniel, Chief Architect Certified Apprentice

Alexis McDaniel, Chief Architect Certified Apprentice

“I’m a senior at Klein Collins High School in Spring Texas, who at a young age fell in love with interior design. My high school has a class where we can design living and commercial spaces using Chief Architect software. It has truly ignited the flame in me to design. I gain so much joy and pleasure from what I do. I have been using Chief Architect for around 3 years, and plan to continue using it. I prefer Chief Architect over other software products because it’s easy to use, and the renderings make a design really come to life.

“I, along with my fellow classmates Mary and Krystina, became a Chief Architect Certified Apprentice last year, which is a huge accomplishment to me. I would also like to mention my teacher Mrs. Mock, who has pushed us to be our best in what we do and has helped in my realization that this is what I want to do for the rest of my life.”


Winning Design

Exterior rendering of a house built on piers. Interior living room overview rendering with a L-shaped couch.

Exterior Rendering and Living Room Overview

We want to congratulate Alexis on finding her passion in life and look forward to seeing where it takes her!

Did you know that you too can become certified in Chief Architect Software? Learn more about the process for both students and professionals here.

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Contest Winners, Featured Customers, Kitchen Design, Professional

Paul Machado Wins 3rd with His Open Concept Kitchen Design!

I had free reigns on this design. Done with a few hours of Ray Trace.

By Emily Black

Paul placed third in the Chief Architect Kitchen/Bath & Interiors Design Contest. He has been using CAD programs since his architectural drafting shop days at the local vocational school.


Chief Architect customer, Paul Machado., standing in front of his finished kitchen design

Paul Machado, Design Manager at Southcoast Kitchen Designs

“I have been in the kitchen industry for just over six years using the same software all my other competitors were using. I started my career in 2012 at a big box store as a kitchen design salesperson, then got more into the technical end of it in the more recent years.

“I currently transitioned to a team with similar long-term aspirations to become a premier Massachusetts Design Build Firm. I knew that making the switch of software to Chief Architect would be essential for our growth. Not just because the scope of the work we were about to take on required much more detailed plans to achieve smooth project flow, but also to separate ourselves from any competitors.

“I’ve been using the software full time now for about five months. Chief Architect seemed to be quite the hybrid of the other software (i.e. 2020 design and Auto-CAD) from my professional experience. Along with a greater ease of use.

“I watched a few Chief Architect webinars that have been very helpful and started using it a lot sooner than I thought thanks to the ease of use of the program in general.”


Winning Design


Congratulations to Paul for his success in our Kitchen, Bath & Interiors Design Contest! We enjoyed hearing about your kitchen design journey and learning about the role Chief Architect has played in your latest designs.

Connect with Paul at Southcoast Kitchen Designs and view the full winning design below.


Layout page including a rendering of an open kitchen with an eat at island, white cabinets and hardwood floors.


If you’d like to learn more about how Chief Architect can help you streamline your kitchen design process and separate you from the competition, download a trial version and attend one of our webinars.

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Contest Winners, Featured Customers, Residential Home Design

Thomas Kretz Wins Second Place with His Custom Home Design, BrückenHaus, Featuring Bridges and Cantilevers.

By Jake Murray

Thomas placed 2nd in the Chief Architect Residential Design Contest! After retiring as a Production Art Manager, Thomas continues to showcase his design abilities through a remodel and custom home design.

Thomas pictured on his recent wedding day.

“I grew up on the farm my family settled in 1852 in the small town of Cedar Lake, Indiana. I had always gravitated towards art and drafting in high-school, but it was a field trip to Chicago that truly inspired my fascination with architecture. So much so, I broke with family tradition and spent the summers of my Junior and Senior year working as an artist for a graphics company. I then attended Ball State University for the first year of their Architecture program.

“Financial difficulty led me to a transitional job with an upstart graphics firm that had been founded by two salesmen also from that same previous employer. That “short-term” position turned into a 30-year career as their Production Art Manager. Over the years, I discovered that even though the design capabilities were limited, the CAD systems I had procured for cutting large-format graphics could be adapted for drawing scale floor plans. More so just a hobby at this point, I would spend my downtime (and occasionally work time) searching for challenging properties for sale and then designing spec-houses for them.

“I finally got my chance to prove myself in 2002 after purchasing a one-acre hill-side lot, there I designed and built my first residence. After about a year of design work, I took my CAD floor plans to a local architect, who was able to download them and convert them to blueprinted construction drawings. Another year and a half (February 2004) of construction produced a 5,700sqft, Contemporary Prairie, constructed 75 feet up off the main road, into the side of a 19-degree slope. I loved every minute of it.

“Fast forward to July 2017. Early retirement at 49 and a new girlfriend I had met on a property scouting trip to Lake Tahoe, brought me to Indianapolis.  I had long been researching architecture software, looking for that perfect blend of technical features, professional work-product appearance, and a manageable learning curve. Chief Architect Premier highly complemented all of those requirements and has far exceeded my expectations. So in August, I purchased X9, as a 50th birthday present to myself. After reading through the reference manual and watching about 50 or so of the online training videos, (I now find Scott Harris’s voice extremely soothing), my first “trial” project was a remodel/addition to my fiancée’s home.

BrückenHaus is a complicated structure that features bridges, cantilevers, and many custom design elements.

“We had purchased the property at 1945 Northwood through an estate sale a few months earlier, but I was still sketching and developing the concept at this point. Once I felt I had the conceptual work where it needed to be, and the topography survey was completed, I began the design process for BrückenHaus. I added a second monitor so that I could properly utilize the 3D applications. Having the ability to prove spacial requirements in real-time, and render conceptual ideas to others from a 2D environment is absolutely brilliant.  Chief Architect X10 is the tool that brought my concept to life. I have begun the process of exporting the plans to layout, and will then submit them for engineering approval. We are hoping to break ground in the summer of 2019, with its completion in the fall of 2020.”

Winning Design

Thank you, Thomas, for sharing your custom home design with us!  We want to wish you the best of luck on the next steps of your project and can’t wait to see the final product. To see more renderings of BrückenHaus, check out the design gallery below.



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Design Contest, Professional

Chief Architect Design of the Year Contest 2018

Modern home design with a shed roof, balcony, and large windows.

Throughout the year, Chief Architect holds a monthly design contest for our customers to showcase their work. This year, we had over 175 renderings submitted for our Kitchen/Bath/Interiors, Residential, and Remodeling Design Contests.

These inspiring designs have been shared on the Chief Architect Facebook page and we are excited to combine the winning designs into our Design of the Year Contest. Discover more about the contestants through our Featured Contest Winner stories.


Each winner (1st, 2nd, & 3rd) of our monthly design contests have automatically been entered into the corresponding category (Kitchen/Bath & InteriorsResidential, & Remodel/Addition).


Design of the Year – Kitchen/Bath & Interiors

Cast your vote on Facebook

Vote for Kitchen, Bath and Interior Design Contest


Design of the Year – Residential

Cast your vote on Facebook

Vote for Residential Design Contest


Design of the Year – Remodel/Addition

Cast your vote on Facebook

Vote for Remodeling Design Contest



  • There will be one Design of the Year Winner per category (Kitchen/Bath & InteriorsResidential, & Remodel/Addition).
  • Fans of Chief Architect will be asked to “Like” their favorite entry. The entry with the most “Likes” and other reactions will be declared the Grand Winner.
  • The winner will be announced January 9, 2019.



  • Design of the Year Award Plaque
  • Chief Architect Jacket
  • Design of the Year Winner graphic
  • Featured Facebook Album
  • Featured on Chief Architect’s websites


Vote for Kitchen, Bath and Interior Design Contest   Vote for Residential Design Contest   Vote for Remodeling Design Contest


**Purchasing “Likes” or “Shares” is not permitted.**

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