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Contest Winners

Contest Winners, Professional, Residential Home Design

The Walnut Cottage- A Charming, 1st Place Design

Walnut Cottage water color rendering

By Kendra Dorosh

The team at Lake + Land Studio, LLC, has won first place in the Chief Architect Residential Design Contest with their charming Walnut Cottage. The home’s quaint features like a wrap-around porch, exposed rafters, and exterior trim details conjure thoughts of rest and relaxation.

Located in South Mississippi, and operating since 2015, Lake + Land Studio focuses primarily on designing lake houses, boathouses, and retreats. They operate as a small business and take great pride in each project they design. They believe in designing spaces that are inspiring, resonate with their clients, and evoke a sense of calmness.

We pride ourselves in creating unique, one of a kind designs for every client we work with.”

Lake + Land Studio, LLC

“Every time we are able to walk our clients through their future home or project with Chief Architect 3D Software, it’s a success.  Many of our clients are not visual. Chief Architect helps bridge the gap between the 2D floor plan and grasping what the finished project will look like.  We hear constant feedback on how impressive the capabilities of being able to see the scale of the spaces, customize materials, try different cabinet configurations, etc.  We are able to save them so much headache and heartache in the design phase vs. going through a change-order process in the field.  Being able to offer the 3D aspect for our projects has truly set us apart from our peers.”

“We’ve been designing with Chief Architect software since 2010. We do high-end residential design, and we felt this software best optimized our needs for a program to design residential structures.

“Our Partners Luke Sippel and Bill Holloway were already using Chief Architect from their previous employer. Luke Sippel originally starting using Chief Architect in 2010 and trained exclusively through online training videos, Chief Talk Professional Forum, and the Reference Manual. We now employ 5 staff who all utilize Chief Architect daily.”

Winning Design

See more renderings of the Walnut Cottage plan below.

We’re inspired by the feelings of harmony with Lake + Land Studio’s designs. It’s an honor to share their story and we’ll look forward to seeing more of their work!

Team photo of the designers at Lake + Land Studio, LLC.
Lake + Land Studio, LLC Design Team

Lake + Land Studio, LLC is based out of Hattiesburg, MS. They’ve been operating since 2015 and have multiple custom homes featured in publications such as Southern Living Magazine, Art Food Home, Coastal Living, and Hattiesburg American. You can even see their work on HGTV’s hit series “Home Town”. They’ve been using Chief Architect software since 2010.

Connect with Lake + Land Studio on Facebook, Instagram and Pinterest.

Email: lakeandlandstudio@gmail.com

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More Renderings of the Walnut Cottage Plan

This plan was designed exclusively for Southern Living Magazine. You’ll find the full plan here.

Photography and 3D images by Lake and Land Studio, LLC
Color rendering by Adam Trest

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Contest Winners, Design Contest, Remodel-Addition

Award-Winning Condominium Remodel from The Queen of Colour, Gabriele Pizzale

Portrait of Gabriele Pizzale of Pizzale Design Inc.

By: Kerry Hansen

Gabriele Pizzale designs spaces that reflect the people who enjoy them, perfectly tailored down to the last detail.

“Gabriele Pizzale is the founder and principal designer of Pizzale Design Inc. in Oakville, Canada. She graduated with a degree in Fashion Design from Ryerson University in Toronto and then started her firm 25 years ago. Gabriele is known for creating spaces that are, above all, fashionable. Her love of fabrics and meticulous detail is always evident in her designs, as is her talent for mixing colors and patterns to create perfectly curated spaces. In the realm of interior design, she is known as the Queen of Colour.”

“Gabriele is always eager to learn new things. She purchased Chief Architect software over 18 years ago and taught herself how to use it. One day she hit the camera button by accident and it changed her life!  The 3D option was a revelation. Now that this feature was revealed, she took the online tutorials and live course. This has quite literally changed her business. Showing clients what their space will look like before it is built is a magical tool!”

Chief Architect has quite literally changed my business. Showing clients what their space will look like before it is built is a magical tool!

Gabriele Pizzale, Pizzale Design Inc.

Gabriele recently placed first in the August 2019, Chief Architect Remodel and Addition Contest with her Oakville, Ontario condominium remodel. “The wishlist from the client was to upgrade their existing space with a transitional style and offer more space to socialize. Utilizing their large windows and fireplace, along with an addition to expand their existing space, we focused on maximizing their current space with an open concept layout between the kitchen and living room setting. It was also important to focus on the small details by incorporating custom pieces such as the pillows, drapery, and millwork with an integrated built-in bench under the window.” 

Winning Design

We are thrilled to be a part of Gabriele’s design process. Thank you to Gabriele and her team for sharing your story with the Chief Architect community. View more elegant interior designs from Gabriele of Pizzale Design Inc. below.

A bathroom design that incorporates clean lines, uncluttered counter spaces and geometric shapes with African inspired artwork.
The Fern Bathroom Design
A bathroom design that incorporates clean lines, uncluttered counter spaces and geometric shapes with African inspired artwork.
The Fern Bathroom Design
Open concept kitchen and dining room with a modern feel.
The Modern Streb Kitchen Design
A welcoming kitchen that mixes rich fabrics with clean white cabinetry and sleek counter tops.
The Crase Kitchen Design
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Contest Winners, Professional, Residential Home Design

MODERN LAKE HOUSE DESIGN PLACES 1ST BY BRENT JULIUS

Modern two story home with rooftop balcony, and lots of natural light.

By Kendra Dorosh

Brent Julius’ 1st place modern lake house in the Chief Architect Residential Design Contest is a stunning example of turning clients dreams into reality.

Brent Julius with 306 Drafting and Design.

“I started designing while in college as an architectural student. Shortly after, I worked at an architectural firm learning a lot about the construction and design industry. A few years later, I transitioned to a job specializing in residential design. It was there that I started using Chief Architect. Fast forward a few more years. I now own a residential design firm, 605 Drafting + Design

“I have been using Chief Architect for 8 years. Influenced by the user-friendliness and capability to help clients visualize their homes, it was a no-brainer to use Chief Architect over other design software.”

Chief Architect has helped me successfully assist in the new construction, remodel, and renovation projects for over 200 clients.

Winning Design

Brent is a very talented designer and we’re grateful to have him in the Chief community! You can see more from 605 Drafting + Design on their website here.

Kitchen Design Options image

If you’d like to learn how to create design options for your clients, like Brent has demonstrated below, check out our training video on the process…

More from Brent

Exterior Options

Kitchen Design Options

Additional Designs

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Contest Winners, Professional, Residential Home Design

Award Winning New England Coastal Inspired Home, by Joey Martin

New England coastal style home, complete with multiple decks and patios, stonework and shake siding.

By Kerry Hansen

New England Coastal Inspired Home by Joey Martin of Martin Design and Planning, places second in the Chief Architect Residential Design Contest.

Portrait of Joey R. Martin, 2nd place winner in the Chief Architect Residential Design Contest.
Joey R. Martin of Martin Design and Planning

“Born and raised in Elwood, Indiana, just north of Indianapolis, I knew from a young age that residential architecture and construction were what I wanted to do.

My first design project, to layout a new home for my family, took place in an advanced drafting class at Elwood High School. Working with the drafting instructor, and a local architect, that I ended up interning with, I created a set of plans and we built the home the next summer.

“I was fortunate enough to attend the University of South Florida for architecture school and to work in the greater Tampa Bay area for a while before returning to Indiana. Martin Design & Planning was started in 2004.

“During downturns in the building industry, I have kept busy teaching algebra in high school, and also worked in the engineering department for Chrysler. I am always drawn back to design and creating construction documents.” 

I have two American Residential Design Awards on my resume, both won using Chief Architect Software.

“I have two American Residential Design Awards on my resume, both won using Chief Architect Software, and hope to add another this year! One of the winning designs is currently featured on the Chief Architect Samples Gallery. With one son at Ball State University, one in High School, and one entering Jr. High School, I will need to keep designing for many years to come!

East Elevation of the New England Style Home that won 2nd place in the Chief Architect residential Design Contest.
East Elevation of New England Style Home

“This project, I love!” The client wanted the look and feel of a New England coastal home, complete with multiple decks and patios. You can find homes like these all along the Eastern coast. The only catch was that this is Indiana. The client didn’t want an overdone kitchen or extravagant baths. They wanted to invest in the details that made their home feel exactly the way that they wanted it to feel. The design includes lots of stonework, shake siding, plenty of outdoor spaces, and a functional floor plan with convertible flex spaces that allow them to change as their needs change.

“I love the results, and so does the client!”

Thank you, Joey, for sharing your stunning New England Coastal style home design. For more information about Joey Martin and his design and planning firm, find them on Facebook at Martin Design & Planning.

Winning Design

Take a closer look here at the full plan set for this home.

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Contest Winners, Featured Customers, Professional, Residential Home Design

Modern Mountain Rustic- An Award-Winning Design by Todd Wilderman

Modern mountain rustic home with timber framed accents and cooperating materials.

By: Kendra Dorosh

With a long history of experience in construction, Todd Wilderman creates a top design in Chief Architect’s Residential Design Contest.

Todd Wilderman hiking in the mountains.

“I started doing residential drafting at about the age of 12. My father was an industrial arts teacher at the local high school but drew plans on the side to supplement a meager teacher’s salary. I walked by his drawing table one day and said: “I could do that, doesn’t look that hard”. The next day, there was another drawing table in the room and I had a garage plan to draw.

“After that, I eventually went on to do many other things… construction trades, sign-making, welding, and carpentry. I also managed to get a BA in Art with studies in Math and Physics, a Construction Management certificate, a diploma in Surveying, and a Masters in Architecture. 

“I started my own design company, Wilderman Designs, LLC in 1990. I started out drawing everything by hand, then I ‘graduated to CAD’. 

“I was always frustrated with the CAD because it was limited in 3D designing. Also, I felt like software should be able to do the more mundane things (like dimensioning) in a more automated fashion.

“I had experience with DataCAD, AutoCAD, Revit, Rhino, etc. but it seemed to me that Chief Architect was a better solution for me since I focus on residential design. I find the software relatively easy to learn and usually very user-friendly. I say this from of perspective of NOT being a computer-type guy.” 

…Chief helps me get it done faster. I think it probably has reduced my drafting time to about 30% of what it used to take.

“I like that I can do everything 3D, all the time. The fact that I can send clients the 3D model to browse on their own time, helps me find more time to do other things and the designs get communicated more clearly and more quickly. Changes are usually quick and easy, and the client is generally more satisfied with the direction of the design from the first rendition.

“I have a pretty steady workflow of about 15-25 jobs at a time and Chief helps me get it done faster. I think it probably has reduced my drafting time to about 30% of what it used to take.”

Winning Design

More from Todd

We’d like to thank Todd for taking the time to share his journey with us and our community!

We were happy to learn about how he’s leveraging the use of the Chief Architect 3D Viewer! If you’re interested in sending your clients 3D models to browse on their own time, like Todd has mentioned he’s doing, you can learn more about sharing Chief Architect 3D Viewer models here.

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Contest Winners, Featured Customers, Professional, Remodel-Addition

Jerry Heckendorn Places First with His Craftsman Style Addition

Layout sheet of a residential second story addition and interior remodel.

By Emily Black

Jerry wins 1st place in the Chief Architect Remodel/Addition Design Contest. His level of detail and craftsmanship show his passion and experience.

Jerry Heckendorn
Jerry Heckendorn

“Soon to be 63 years old, I was born and raised in the Detroit Metropolitan area.  After high school, I attended the University of Michigan, graduating in 1980 from the School of Architecture with my Bachelor of Science in Architecture.  Shortly after graduation, I married my beautiful and brilliant high school sweetheart, Debbie, who often helps me when I’m struggling with project designs… and is also my best critic (soon to be celebrating our 39th anniversary!). 

“Debbie and I bought our first home right after getting married, a fixer-upper, where I completed my very first residential reno design.  When I submitted my plans to the St. Clair Shores Building Department for the building permit, the Building Inspector called me and asked who prepared the documents and shared how impressed he was (you may not remember or know that this was before the advent of Computer Aided Design for Architecture, so everything was drawn by hand back then).  Shortly after, I was contacted by several of what became my first ‘paying’ clients.

“Several years later, knowing that a graduate degree would be required if I was to become a registered architect, I was accepted and enrolled in Lawrence Technological University’s unique, graduate-level ‘BArch’ architectural degree program recognized by the American Institute of Architecture (AIA) (at the time, LTU’s BArch degree program was the only non-Masters program accepted by the AIA to meet the licensing requirement).  I completed my graduate thesis on the “Design and Development of Comprehensive Health Care Facilities.”

“Graduating with my BArch degree in 1983, I took a job with a local architectural firm where I spent most of my time as a ‘go-for’ for the owner and principal architect.  I was charged with taking a lot of as-built dimensions of existing residential and small commercial structures along with providing a number of as-built drawings for the firm but never was permitted to work on any ‘design’ projects.  Staying in touch with a friend I made in my thesis class, we decided to give it a go together and formed an architectural design firm called Hensel & Heckendorn (my partner won the straw draw, so his last name went first)!  We worked on several projects together before succumbing to an economy that had taken a turn for the worse.  We chose to go our separate ways and I ended up taking a job as an Engineer with General Motors Corporation.

A residential second story addition and interior remodel.
“I was quickly blown away with everything Chief Architect software and customer support had to offer!”

“As architecture, particularly residential architecture, has been and will always be my absolute passion, I’ve had the fortune of a very successful, albeit moonlighting, a career spanning over 38 years.  Everything from residential additions, renovations, new single-family residence projects ranging from small to large (largest to date has been a 4,800 square foot 2-story with, believe it or not, a 2-lane bowling alley located under a 5-car garage, complete with gutters and pinsetters), as well as several small to large commercial projects.  Ironically, at the time I was to lose my father to cancer, I was actually commissioned to design a rather large Funeral Home.  Unfortunately, the timing was such that we lost my father before the project was completed, however, the clients who then became friends took very good care of my family through the process of saying ‘goodbye’.  One of the very unique and wonderful outcomes of the ‘residential’ design profession is the amazing opportunity to meet, and often become friends of the clients we work with!  Though I am currently not a registered architect, when necessary, I will collaborate with one of my college professors as well as my old business partner who are both licensed to practice architecture in Michigan.

“Somewhere in the middle of my moonlight business, Computer Aided Architectural Design (CAAD) software programs began to pop up and caught my intrigue.  As a family-proclaimed tech geek, I saw the potential CAAD had for my architectural work.  AutoCAD was the first program I purchased and taught myself.  Shortly after becoming awkwardly proficient, AutoCAD came out with a 3rd party Architectural add-on.  I thought that was ‘awesome’!  I buried myself into the program and was professing the need for my architect friends to embrace the change.  They were very reluctant to abandon the historically rich and romantic craft of ‘hand-drawn’ designs and construction documents.  But I saw the bright light and believed that CAD would definitely be the way of the future for all architectural practices. 

“For a number of my friends, all I had to do was show them how I could flip a completed plan over by drawing a simple line down the middle and all annotation presented itself as if it was always drawn that way, they were hooked.  I can’t tell you how many times that request was presented by a client when I had invested hours in annotating the documents, only to bring out the eraser and get to work removing all of that text only to re-draw it on the backside of the sheet, all the while hoping I did not bore a hole through the sheet… which also happened more than once!  Thank goodness for the ‘power’ erasers we had to work with back then… I still have mine!

Though I saw ads for the Chief Architect program, I did not think it would be advanced enough to use in my business… boy was I wrong.

“Over the years I’ve watched a number of architectural CAD programs hit the marketplace, becoming more and more useful and user-friendly.  In the early nineties, I even had the opportunity to teach CAAD at a local community college for several years using AutoCAD and a new (at that time,) 3rd party add-on called ASG.  Though I saw ads for the Chief Architect program, I did not think it would be advanced enough to use in my business… boy was I wrong.  I started using what I believed to be a high-end architectural software program but was seriously struggling, trying to come up with macros and shortcuts to help speed up my productivity.  I began to dig deeper into researching programs that were geared more to residential work as that is where my true passion lies.”

Large covered entryway with a patio area for outdoor living.

“It was in late 2014, to early 2015 that I thought I would give Chief Architect a try… I believe it was with Version 6.  I was quickly blown away with everything the program and the company (customer support) had to offer!  The very expensive, very difficult and unyielding ‘high-end’ program that had taken me several years to learn and become proficient, paled in comparison to what I could do with Chief Architect!!!  I quickly and literally cut my turn-around time on projects by more than half what it was taking me before and I was able to do things, provide additional types of information, and bring much of the lost, what I like to call, ‘romance’, of the ‘hand drawing’ era of construction documents.

“I continue to be hugely impressed with the updates and additional tools and routines, new functions, and improvements Chief Architect regularly does with their program.  The ‘User Center’ is incredible, and the customer support, who I seem to challenge often as I am always seeming to try something out of the ordinary, is outstanding.  I’ve yet to stump them, and I promise I’m not trying to do that, I just seem to have clients that ask me to do some unique or different from normal-type things.  Chief Architect always seems to come through.”

Dollhouse view of a residential home design that features a large kitchen, family room and library.

“Years have gone by using Chief Architect now.  I’ve completed numerous fun projects and I seem to be getting much better at using many of the program’s productivity and fun functions.  I have even received a collection of outstanding compliments from contractors, builders, but most importantly, several municipalities Building Department Chiefs & Inspectors complimenting me as much about my ‘design’ as the look and content of the working drawings I produce using Chief Architect.  I absolutely give all the credit to the program. 

“As I get ready to retire from my day job working for a large company, I am very excited to dive back into my architectural business full-time.  I mean this sincerely when I say that Chief Architect has provided me the ability and desire to do so.  Thank you to everyone at Chief for what you have and continue to create… and thanks to those of you who ‘liked’ my project entry.”

Winning Design

Thank you for sharing your journey with us and including Chief Architect in your work! For more of Jerry’s wonderful designs, see the projects listed below.

Rumble Design


Osiecki Design


Babisz Remodel


Wyklige Design


Beaulac Addition


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Contest Winners, Featured Customers, Professional, Remodel-Addition

Modern Remodel Design by Eric Hoff

Modern home design with metal and brick siding, roof top patio, and two car garage.

By Emily Black

Eric, an Idaho native, places third in the Chief Architect Remodel/Addition Design Contest. His artistic talents were a perfect fit for a career in home design.

Picture of Eric Hoff
Eric Hoff

“I was born in Pocatello, Idaho and then moved to Idaho Falls and lived on the family farm and worked with my father who flew airplanes and was a metal fabricator. I took on a job as a laborer that placed me in the building industry framing houses and building cabinets. I was very intrigued by the plans that we worked from. I am an artist and planned to go to college in Boise, Idaho to study Art, Advertising and Design. To pay my way through college, I worked construction at various levels including building houses.

“I eventually started my own company and found myself enjoying the designing process and started hand drafting our projects. Clients would often rely on me to help explain what they were looking at when we were studying the floor plans and elevations. I realized that most people I worked with had a difficult time understanding what they were looking at when viewing 2D plans and elevations. I started trying to hand draw in 3D but the time involved was prohibitive.”

Front elevation view and renderings of a single story home design.

” I discovered Chief Architect’s 3D Home Architect product in the early ’90s… which later became Home Designer. At first, learning the program seemed daunting, but as time and practice moved forward, so did the skill set. It was amazing to see clients understand what they were looking at. I HAD to master 3D design – visual graphics. I started creating my own textures and objects so that I could better portray what I wanted our clients to see. Chief Architect is nearly the perfect platform to do this.  We now know that if clients can see it…they will do it once you align design with a budget.

Because he could see, because he could visualize it, he changed his mind from a no, to a yes.

“When I worked with Strite Construction in Boise, Idaho, I spent nearly 3 months on an 18,000sf project and we were very close to presenting the final design and proposing the numbers to sell the job… just before the proposal I received a call that my father died unexpectedly… I had to leave and could not be there for the meeting.  My colleague said that the client did not like the cost and decided not to move forward.  The client stood up and noticed my plans sitting on a table behind him (which they did not use in the meeting).  They were in the corner, 20+ sheets printed 36” x 48” just sitting there.  I had them printed before I left town.  The client opened the plans and slowly reviewed every single page…everyone sat quietly, waiting…watching.  Finally, after an eternity the client said, “you have really spent a lot of time on this, it is very detailed… you guys are serious about this project.” Everyone nodded.  Then he said, “What the heck, let’s do it!” Because he could see, because he could visualize it, he changed his mind from a no, to a yes.”

Winning Design

Eric’s work is truly outstanding. Make sure to connect with him at Hoff Design Build and view more of his designs below.

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Contest Winners

July’s Residential Design Contest Winners

Technical Illustration of modern home design.

Congratulations to our three Chief Architect Residential Design Contest Winners!

Thank you all for sharing your designs with us and our community.


1st Place

Design by Brent Julius with 605 Drafting + Design using Chief Architect Premier X10. 

2nd Place

Design by Joey R. Martin of Martin Design & Planning using Chief Architect X8.

3rd Place

Design by Todd Wilderman of Wilderman Designs LLC using Chief Architect Premier X11. 

August’s Contest is Remodel / Addition Design. Submit your design!

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Contest Winners, Featured Customers, Interior Design, Kitchen Design, Professional

Eclectic Bungalow – An Award-Winning Design by Brenna Sibson

This crafstman-style bungalow home incorporates eclectic style ideas with hardwood floors, custom cabinetry and designer lighting.

By Kendra Dorosh

Brenna Sibson places 3rd in the Chief Architect Kitchen/ Bath & Interior design contest. Brenna is skilled in the art of transforming homes into beautiful spaces that suit her clients’ unique tastes.

Brenna Sibson with AMS Building Systems in Vermillion, SD- profile image.
Brenna Sibson

“My name is Brenna Sibson. I am from Vermillion, SD. My interest in the construction industry began by watching my dad on job sites and drawing plans growing up.

“After high school, I attended two tech schools. One of which gave me my background in AutoCAD, the other I partook in the construction of two homes to really gain an understanding of how a house is built! From there I worked at a lumberyard for a few years and have since made it back home to work for my dad and his business partner at AMS Building Systems.

“I have been here for a little over a year using Chief Architect and can honestly say I would never choose to use any other program!”

The 3D capabilities are remarkable and really give us an edge in selling homes and remodels.

Winning Design

More from Brenna

Thank you for sharing your projects with us and our community, Brenna. Keep up the great work!

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