Meet Our Judges

Yes, there was a pandemic going on, but life always finds a way. That was evident in this year’s Best of Design Contest. Despite COVID-19 restrictions and stay-at-home orders, Pittsburgh Magazine HOME received a record number of stunning entries from talented architects, interior designers and homeowners across the region. Picking the winners is no easy feat, which is why — to ensure fairness and neutrality — we left the blind judging process to a panel of out-of-state professionals in the design and architecture industries.


Crystal DeCastro Knapik

A project designer at Vocon, Crystal Knapik lends her combined passion for sustainability and technology to many of the firm’s most transformational projects, including corporate, residential, educational, commercial, civic and hospitality building and renovation projects. She has been influential in developing office-wide sustainable initiatives, both through design and in practice. Her affinity for the digital arts is reflected in her work at Vocon and has led her to become a firm leader and mentor in design technologies.

Schill SStephen M. Schill

With more than 25 years of experience, Stephen M. Schill of Schill Architecture, LLC, is a preeminent architect in northeast Ohio. Schill’s residential projects have a strong influence from his studies of architecture at Villa Schifanoia in Florence, Italy, where he developed his understanding of scale, proportion and details. Since Schill Architecture was established in 1991, Schill has designed luxury multimillion-dollar lakefront and estate homes throughout northern Ohio. His work has been featured in several regional publications.


Schill StephStephanie Schill Hayden

A graduate of Miami University and Kent State University, Stephanie Schill Hayden is a registered architect at Schill Architecture and a designer at House of L Interior Design. While she has known she wanted to be an architect in the family business since she was a girl, she appreciates the opportunity to work collectively on shared projects between both luxury residential firms. By completing both the architectural and interior drawings for residential projects, Schill Hayden can ensure the design intent is followed through from the foundation to the millwork details.

Carissa Smithcropped


Carissa Smith

A registered architect at AoDK and a member of the East Region Design Review Committee, Carissa Smith loves to use her design skills and attention to detail to push the boundaries on how users experience architecture. She lends her knowledge of materials and skills in digital technology to many groundbreaking projects, including residential, corporate, commercial, and educational. Smith has a bachelor’s degree in architecture from Miami University and a Master of Architecture from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago.

Categories: Best of Design