November 01, 2011 10:55 ET

Small Builder Wins Big at Regional GALA Awards

OPaL Outshines Larger Builders, Walking Away With Home of the Year, Best Website and Best Architecture Awards

LANHAM, MD--(Marketwire - Nov 1, 2011) - Last night in Tysons Corner, Virginia, the area's largest homebuilders, dressed in black tie and accompanied by their advertising agencies, interior merchandisers and architects, sat on the edge of their seats waiting for their names to be called. They were all gathered for the Great American Living Awards (GALAs) hoping to receive recognition for being the best in one or more of the 46 categories judged in the competition.

But three notable times last night, big builders ended up empty handed as local boutique builder, OPaL, walked away with the honors of:

  • Best Local Builder Website
  • Award of Merit, Best Architecture of Detached Homes Priced over $1 million
  • Award of Merit, Home of the Year for the Clara Barton at Cabin John Crossing

OPaL is an artisanal builder based in Lanham, MD whose design team consists of Seattle-based architect Gregory Sparhawk and Los Angeles-based Advertising Agency One Eighteen. OPaL bested public and private builders from Maryland, Virginia, West Virginia, Delaware and DC in three of the most coveted categories -- Best Website, Best Architecture and Home of the Year.

"Nothing feels better than acceptance and approval from those you admire and last night OPaL was honored with approval by some of the most respected people in the home building industry," says Principal Sean Ruppert. "With the discerning tastes of homebuyers in the Mid-Atlantic and the strength of the marketplace, this is one of the most competitive homebuilding regions in the country. It's such an honor to be singled out amongst such a distinguished group of builders."

In the Home of the Year and Architecture categories, OPaL was singled out as the sole Award of Merit winner in their categories. Merit Awards are not given in every category, just those where the judges feel added recognition was due. This year, that made up just 19 of the 46 categories. And OPaL won top honors in two of them.

"We are so thrilled to have both our architecture and finished home recognized in the most coveted category of Home of the Year. Our Cabin John Crossing community has been well received not only by homebuyers, neighborhood associations and the press, but now we have been awarded by our peers as well," says Ruppert. "To have our Clara Barton model singled out as Home of the Year is truly a distinct honor."

The GALA Awards are presented by the Washington Metropolitan Sales & Marketing Council, Northern Virginia Building Industry Association and the Maryland National Capital Building Industry Association.

About OPaL
Based in Lanham, MD, OPaL is a local builder specializing in developing small, well-located, close-in communities. With over 15 years of experience in the homebuilding industry and numerous awards, OPaL's extraordinary vision brings a whole new dimension to the Washington, DC and Baltimore areas. The company builds only a handful of new townhomes and single-family homes each year, preferring quality, individuality and location over cookie-cutter appeal. All of the more than 120 homes built by OPaL since its inception are characterized by truly unique architecture, impeccable details and deep thought for the lifestyles of their owners. To learn more and to see the region's best website for a local builder, visit

To learn more about the Great American Living Awards, visit

Contact Sean Ruppert at 301-577-3887 for more information about this release.

Contact Information

  • Sean Ruppert