Accessibility, “Pod Living,” and Net-Zero Energy Design Define The 2017 New American Home
From its spectacular roof terrace, the 2017 edition of The New American Home (TNAH) looks out on breathtaking sunset views of Orlando’s Lake Nona and surrounding golf courses. The centerpiece of the annual International Builders Show (IBS), the expansive multi-million-dollar five-bedroom contemporary home sits on 8,245 square feet of space in the private Lake Nona Golf and Country Club Community.
Designed and built by the Phil Kean Design Group, an architectural firm based in Winter Park, Florida, the single-level 34th New American Home combines a number of modernistic and unique style elements that set it apart from its predecessors. But similar to the other homes in the TNAH series, the 2017 edition highlights a “variety of innovative products and construction techniques that can be implemented within homes built in nearly any region and price range.”
An aerial shot of The New American Home 2017 during constrution and the entire property shows views of the golf courses.
A Touch of the Mid-Century Modern Design
Architect Phil Kean, who brought clean and sleek lines into Winter Park neighborhoods dominated by Mediterranean style homes, introduced touches of the mid-century modern style to the design of The New American Home. The classic flat roof, open floor plan, glass and steel, doors and large windows connecting indoor and outdoor spaces, and unadorned surfaces – reminiscent of residences built in the mid-century modern style – are flawlessly integrated with the thoroughly modern, sophisticated, state-of-the-art, energy-efficient, eco-friendly features of the 2017 home.
The magnificent home has a Great Room highlighted by an incredible 10-foot-wide see-through fireplace, a luxurious master suite with a spa-like bath, a 2,000-square-foot roof terrace, and a patio/courtyard entry with a putting green.
Here’s a closer look at the amazing The New American Home 2017 and several of its stunning design elements that can be modified and adapted anywhere.
1. Landscaped Courtyards and Water Features
From the outset, Kean wanted – and envisioned – a different design for The New American Home 2017 – “something that hadn’t been done before.”
In contrast to earlier multi-story The New American Homes that were “built up” because of their smaller sites, Kean was working with a huge property for the 2017 edition. With views of a pond and lush greenery, the concept was to construct a sprawling one-story home with courtyards, living pods, resort-style amenities, and aging-in-place features.
A rendering of The New American Home's front courtyard shows a putting green – perfect in a golf community site.
If you have all that acreage and live in a fabulous golf community, why not build a putting green instead of a regular courtyard? The first modification Kean and his team made to the design was to replace a “normal” courtyard with a putting green. The second courtyard is a huge pool that opens to the rear of the property and has the effect of bringing the outdoors into the indoor living space.
2. Superb Use of Glass
Similar to The New American Home 2012 – also designed by the Kean Group – the 2017 home is made of walls of sliding glass panels that allow abundant natural light to filter into the home and make the spacious interior look even bigger. There are motorized screens and drapes that ensure privacy – but do not detract from the overall concept of a bright and airy space.
Like most modern homes with open floor plans, The New American Home 2017, with its white walls and one-story living design, allows indoor and outdoor spaces to flow seamlessly into one another.
Floor-to-ceiling glass walls are signature features of The New American Home 2017. From the Great Room, one has a clear view of the putting green; slide one of the movable walls and you can walk out onto the “green.” And from the outside looking in, there’s a great view of the 10-foot “see-through” fireplace.
3. Pod-Living Design
Another unique element of The New American Home 2017 is a twist to the pod-living trend in the small house industry. While there are no pod-shaped spaces in the residence, the rooms are custom-designed according to needs and preferences. So there are various configurations of entertaining/living areas and bedrooms that are linked to the main living space by enclosed breezeways.
There are guest-suite pods tailored specifically for family members and friends who plan extended visits. A separate pod can be designated for a nanny, in-laws, elderly relatives, or adult children who have returned to the family home.
The Pod House design allows these rooms – spa, game room, and apartment – to be closed off when not in use. This system makes the luxury home water-smart and energy-efficient.
4. Net-Zero Energy Design
Designed as a “net-zero” house, the 2017 New American Home is a showcase for sustainability and energy-efficiency. Its flat roofs enable the installation of a large number solar panels to generate optimum power. The overhangs, motorized screens, and drapes all help to manage heat from the glass walls. With its energy-saving devices, the home uses no more energy than it creates.
Its green building elements include
• Photovoltaic panels
• Open-cell spray-foam insulation that also reduces sound transmission through plumbing walls
• A weather-sensitive irrigation system that automatically adjusts usage relative to the immediate climate
• Tankless water heaters and water-efficient fixtures and appliances
• Hydronic air handlers
• Sustainable building materials.
Walls of tall glass windows are the eye-catching features of this 1-story, 2-bedroom passive-solar house plan. An energy-efficient wood stove warms the Great Room (The Plan Collection Home Plan # 146-2710).
5. Resort-Style Amenities
From its natural lush surroundings to the landscaped areas and dramatic roof terrace, TNAH 2017 provides a number of resort-style amenities. To start with, there’s the spacious front patio with comfortable seats that greets visitors before they step into the front entrance. A putting green/courtyard that may be the envy of the neighborhood adjoins the patio.
Walk to the rear of the house or go through its Great Room to get to the huge pool with a Jacuzzi. Relax on the lounge chairs and enjoy poolside views of the gorgeous home. Flanking the pool are more luxurious conveniences: steam room, spa pod, and powder room on one side; a game room, summer kitchen, and TV room on the other.
And if you want to further hone your golf game, step inside the house into the golf simulator room. Talk about bringing the resort into the comfort of your home!
You don’t have to live in The New American Home to revel in resort-style life. Just take a look at this attractive 1-story, 2-bedroom Contemporary-style home plan. Pick up a book, and sit back on the lounge chair – or refresh yourself in the pool (The Plan Collection House Plan #158-1281).
6. Aging-in-Place Accommodations
Not only is The New American Home 2017 a stylistic one-of-a-kind creation, it is also built to be a “forever” home for the family. The single-story design and easy access to every part of the house make it suitable for all ages. It is ideal for the elderly who are not inclined to navigate stairs at this stage of their lives.
The Pod-style living spaces give residents their independence – and at the same time, allow them to socialize with family members when they choose to gather.
And to further accommodate elderly family members, there is a private elevator that can take them to the roof terrace. For the younger and more active generation, spiral staircases also lead up to the terrace.
As architects, builders, and designers get ready for the International Builders Show in Orlando, the buzz is all about The New American Home 2017. The excitement is building to a crescendo – with everyone waiting for the one-of-a-kind home to be unveiled. Get ready for a lot of surprises – and other trendy designs!