Pick a nice spot and offer beverages and dinner, show and describe each winning project, pass out a few plaques, and you have a Masonry Excellence Celebration.

The Residential Masonry Contractors Association, under the guidance of executive director Barb Headrick, put together just such a program to thank those involved in the honored projects. Association members were encouraged to invite builders, architects, designers, suppliers, and any others who had a hand in the masonry portion of the winning projects to this first-ever celebration.

RMCA recognized that the guests took the time to create work for our trade and companies. They, in turn, rely on the contractors' abilities to bring their visions to life. Trust is the bonding agent that helps the decision-makers with something besides numbers on a spreadsheet.

Celebrating their projects lets the attendees know that we, as contractors, respect what they have trusted us to carefully and skillfully bring into being. These individuals realize that our participation is essential to protect their vision, while adding our individual mark of craftsmanship to the equation.

Putting together a Masonry Excellence program is not only appropriate, rewarding, and fun, but could lead to more work as your relationships within the industry expand.

Winning project

The residence at Meydenbauer Bay was one of the projects honored. It typifies the beauty and everlasting quality of masonry.

The home is situated on a generous waterfront lot and includes the main house, detached carriage house, pool terrace, and auto court. Early in its design process, the owners stressed the importance of authenticity in the materials and an interest in using stone for its timeless appeal and durability. Silk Road sandstone, imported from China, was ultimately selected.

The challenge was to create a classic stone residence that honors historic European sources, yet provides for the comfort and technologies of contemporary living and incorporates a generous use of glass to capture the lake views. The concept of the house is rooted in the villas of Tuscany and the Italian Lake district. These sources were balanced with influences from 20th century American masters Bernard Maybeck and Frank Lloyd Wright.

The carved classical stone columns, moldings, and trim came directly from Palladio and Roman sources. The prominent wood-burning masonry chimneys are veneered in sandstone with dramatic carved stone caps. Stone elements derived from Byzantine architecture add an eclectic touch.

Exterior natural materials consist of sandstone, African mahogany, copper, and slate roof. The extensive glass doors, windows and soffits are framed in rich varnished mahogany to counterpoint the stone, and fitted with automated roll down sunscreens.

The paved areas around the house incorporate Italian marble and limestone tile, and the auto court is paved in authentic cobblestones. There are also many carved friezes, water tables, and corbels.

The contractor on the project was Western Masonry, the architect was Tom Kuniholm, AIA, and the supplier was Rhodes Architectural Stone.

Jamie Holliday has owned and operated Holliday Masonry in Washington State since 1980. He is a founding member of the Residential Masonry Contractors Association.