Best of Design 2023: Vocon Judges Help Choose Award Winners

This article is originally from Pittsburgh Magazine, published on March 8, 2023.

Each year for the last five years, Pittsburgh Magazine HOME has held a “Best of Design” contest. This year, they left the blind judging process to a panel of Cleveland-based professionals in the design and architecture industry and two Vocon Team members, Crystal DeCastro Knapik, Associate Senior Project Designer and Katie Savakis, Project Designer, were chosen to be judges! Crystal and Katie judged all categories of this contest including: Best New Home, Best Renovated Home and Best Outdoor Space, Best New Kitchen, Best Renovated Kitchen, Best New Bathroom, Best Renovated Bathroom, and Best Room. Here’s what Crystal and Katie had to say about each winner:

Best New Home: Fox Chapel Home

  • “I appreciated the custom details that are executed throughout the home. The flow of the indoor/outdoor experience is phenomenal,” says Crystal DeCastro Knapik, a project designer at Vocon
      • “I like that this is Mid-Century Modern style, but it still felt very warm and inviting,” says judge Katie Savakis

      Best Renovated Home and Best Outdoor Space: 1890s-Era Farmhouse in Edgeworth

      • “I like that it doesn’t feel brand new,” adds judge Katie Savakis, “The whole thing is really timeless and elegant.”

      Best New Kitchen: Peters Township Home

      • “I think this is clean and simple but still a really strong, well-designed kitchen,” adds judge Katie Savakis

      Best Renovated Kitchen: Sewickley Home

      • “There’s something about the combination of colors that make the kitchen very comforting,” says Best of Design judge Crystal DeCastro Knapik

      Best New Bathroom: Hill District Home

      • Katie Savakis, a project designer at Vocon’s Cleveland office, admired the bathroom’s two-way, ethanol fireplace — which she said adds an earthy, organic element to the otherwise contemporary primary suite

      Best Renovated Bathroom: Primary Suite in Squirrel Hill

      • Judge Katie Savakis, a project designer with Vocon’s Cleveland office, praised the thoughtful design choices, including large, built-in wall niches that hold towels. “It’s a really strong design,” she says

      Best Room: Ben Avon Heights Home

      • “This is Belle’s library,” says Crystal DeCastro Knapik of Vocon, comparing it to the room Belle fell in love with in “Beauty and the Beast.”
      • “It’s a really great balance of calmness and color,” says judge Katie Savakis

      To read the full details about each winner visit: