Design Trends on Display at The New American Home 2017

The beautiful design of the outside of a nicely built, white-themed house, showing a cemented pathway, green grass, flower vases, a flower bed and two tall trees.

The New American Home 2017 at the Nona Golf & Country Club in Orlando showcases contemporary architecture that also provides aging-in-place features, as well as features for entertaining. All photos by Jeff Davis Photography.

Contemporary architecture, green building techniques and the newest residential building products were on display at the 34th New American Home, a show house designed and built by Phil Kean, architect and principal of the Phil Kean Design Group in Winter Park, Fla., at the National Association of Home Builders’ 2017 International Builders Show in Orlando.

The New American Home program, a collaboration between the NAHB Leading Suppliers Council and Professional Builder magazine, teams an architect and builder, product suppliers and consultants with expertise in smart home technology and green building to demonstrate ideas that can be used by some of the thousands of builders who attend the show each year.

Kean, who also built the 2012 New American Home, had a vision of a resort-style home modeled on mid-century modern houses in Palm Springs, Calif., for the lakeside lot at the Lake Nona Golf & Country Club in Orlando.

Lake Nona, a gated community popular with professional tennis players and golfers including Annika Sörenstam, Graeme McDowell, Justin Rose and Henrik Stenson, includes multimillion dollar custom homes set among lakes, a golf course and professional-level sports facilities. At 8,245 square feet, the New American Home is actually one of the smaller houses in Lake Nona, says Kean. The house is on the market for $5.929 million.

Kean chose to design a one-level house to echo Palm Springs-type homes, as well as to showcase contemporary architecture that also provides 
aging-in-place features.

“It’s perfect for a ‘Rat Pack’ kind of evening with Frank Sinatra on the sound system and martinis, but it also works well for a young golfer and his family, a vacation home for international buyers and even as a place where a caregiver can live and take care of an older resident,” says Kean. “The house is designed with wide hallways and no steps to make it easier to age gracefully. There’s a no-barrier shower in the master bathroom, too.”

A private suite of rooms at the front of the house can be used for long-term guests, a nanny or a caregiver. The suite includes a living area with a kitchenette, a bedroom, a luxurious bathroom, a laundry room and a private outdoor patio. 

Indoor-Outdoor Living Trend Showcased

Blurring the lines between indoor and outdoor living spaces is a hallmark of new residential design that is particularly emphasized by Kean’s house, in which nearly every room has a glass wall that can be completely opened. A high-level of energy-efficiency is achieved in spite of the open-air design.

“This project demonstrates how important it is to work together on energy-efficiency from the very beginning,” says Drew Smith, chief operating officer of Two Trails, a green building consulting firm in Sarasota, Fla. “We were able to play around with different overhangs and configurations, as well as with different windows to achieve the most efficiency while keeping the house as open as possible.”

Kean’s design features covered walkways and glass-enclosed breezeways that connect an open courtyard, a courtyard with a swimming pool and hot tub and both indoor and outdoor spaces for entertaining with the home’s five bedrooms. The glass walls can be opened or shut for intimate evenings or large gatherings and include screens that descend from a pocket above each door with a push of a button.

“The pod design makes it easier to use less energy because you can simply put one or more of the four zones of air conditioning into maintenance mode just to control the humidity,” says Smith. 

Three guest bedrooms, each with a private full bathroom, have glass walls facing an interior courtyard configured as a putting green.

Additional outdoor entertaining spaces include a beach-entry swimming pool with a hot tub in the center and a view of the lake and golf course, an outdoor kitchen and dining area, an outdoor sitting room adjacent to the master suite and a rooftop with a kitchen, bar and two seating areas, each with a fire pit. 

“When we were doing the photo shoot for this house we were sitting on the roof terraces and saw the flash in the sky from a rocket launch at the Kennedy Space Center,” says Kean. “It would be great to host launch parties here.”

Even the indoor entertaining spaces can easily feel as if they are outdoors when the glass walls are opened, allowing guests to walk from the front door past the putting green and central great room to the swimming pool without needing to pass through any doors.

The house also has a golf simulator room with a bar, a game room, an exercise room and a spa with a steam room and space for a massage table.

“None of the rooms are huge, which gives them a sense of coziness when the glass doors are all closed,” says Kean. 

Cutting-edge Design Elements

Among the interior design trends demonstrated by this house are:

• Two-tone kitchen with rustic touch. While the multitude of cabinets and even a walk-in pantry are hidden behind glossy white doors, the center island has a sleek charcoal gray engineered quartz counter top with an adjacent dining table constructed of a single, enormous piece of reclaimed wood.

“It’s nice to add warmth to the clean kitchen and the juxtaposition of the crisp surfaces and a ratty piece of wood gives you a sense of being grounded,” says Kean. 

Fireplace-w1024-h680.jpg• Contemporary gas fireplaces. The great room features a four-sided, glass-enclosed gas fireplace with crystals across the bottom that have programmable lights. 

“It’s great to have a glass fireplace so you can see the view right through the fireplace and yet also have the warmth and view of the flames,” says Kean.

Glass-enclosed fireplaces are also located in the master bedroom and in the outdoor master suite sitting room.

• Freestanding tubs. The expansive master bathroom has an architecturally interesting freestanding bathtub, as well as a “wet room”-style open shower with multiple showerheads that can be programmed for each user.

• Wine storage. In addition to indoor and outdoor bars in several locations, this house has glass-enclosed wine storage and a wine room off the great room.

• Energy-efficiency. Built to achieve Emerald status, the highest possible level of green building standards recognized by the National Green Building Standard, the house is also expected to be certified by Energy Star, Net Zero Energy Home, EPA Indoor airPlus, the Build America Program and Wellness Within Your Walls.

While not everyone can afford a nearly $6 million showcase, elements of the New American Home can be incorporated into nearly every home.

Michele Lerner is an award-winning freelance writer, editor and author who has been writing about real estate, personal finance and business topics for more than two decades. You can find her on Google+.

Related Articles

Sign up for the Home of the Week

New Home 101
New eBook Available

Expert Advice on Buying & Building a New Home

The eBook will be delivered to your inbox. We will not share your email address.