A nod to the past and an eye on the future describes the approach of many of today’s designers when creating a new space. Tried-and-true architectural elements turn up in many of today’s homes, teamed with the latest technological gadgets and energy-efficient elements.
This year’s New American Home, showcased at the International Builders Show (IBS) in Orlando, FL, is no exception.
When Charlie and Judy Robertson, of the building firm Robertson Homes in St. Cloud, FL, were designing the home, their goal was to build a home that honored the centuries-old homes destroyed by Hurricane Katrina. The result is a 6,725-sq.-ft., plantation-style home with a columned portico and a two-story, H-shaped design.
Residential designer Dan Sater, AIBD, of the Sater Group in Bonita Springs, FL, translated the concept into a grand interior, with crown molding, wood columns and stairways, multiple fireplaces and period-style wallpaper.
The main level of the home includes a master retreat, a kitchen/nook/leisure room that opens to an outdoor entertainment area, a dining room, a grand salon, a library/study, a powder room and a family suite. The second story features a club room with theater-quality entertainment, a wet bar, games and activities, two guest suites, two full baths and a craft room.
This 25th anniversary New American Home, presented annually by the National Council of the Housing Industry in conjunction with IBS, is also the first showhouse certified by the National Association of Home Builders’ National Green Building Program. It is Energy Star rated and recognized as an environmentally friendly home under the standards given by the Florida Green Building Coalition.
Zoned for Casual Living
The L-shaped kitchen is part of a larger space that includes an eating nook, leisure room and butler’s pantry. The space also extends beyond the interior walls, opening onto an expansive patio with pool and outdoor kitchen.
“The openness of the space allows for views of the pool area and the lake to the rear of the home,” notes Sater. “We sometimes call this area a ‘casual living zone,’ as a place where the family can congregate; generally, it is designed to foster family time together while members participate in their own activities within the communal space.”
The “casual living zone” opens to the outdoor living space by retreating the cornerless, glass walls, adds Sater.
The perimeter walls feature maple cabinets in the Sierra Vista door style in Maple Cognac from Timberlake Cabinetry.
In one corner, tall finished panels and matching doors with the Cognac finish disguise a step-up butler’s pantry. The pantry mimics the whole layout, with the same cabinet shades and undercounter icemaker and wine cooler from KitchenAid and Jenn-Air.
Along the L-shaped wall, a baking center provides not only appliances but ample work and storage space. The center drawer in a drawer base was removed and replaced with a warming drawer from Jenn-Air. The drawer is flanked by two ovens, also by Jenn-Air, with all three sporting the company’s oiled-bronze finish.
Two islands provide optimal function for the space. “Creating two islands makes for two work zones: One allows for food prep, the other for dishwashing,” comments Sater.
The center prep island incorporates a Kohler sink that is located opposite a cooktop, dishwasher, refrigerator and microwave from KitchenAid and Jenn-Air. A lattice wine rack is flanked by spice drawer-based cabinets, and a dishwasher is concealed behind a cabinet panel for a seamless look.
“The island provides a central location for items to be used in cooking on the cooktop or baking in one of the ovens along the L-shaped wall,” remarks Sater. “That sink can be used for cleaning vegetables.”
A two-level island overlooks the Great Room, and features seating on the leisure-room side. On the opposite, lower side, two sinks provide cleanup convenience.
Complementing the perimeter cabinets, the islands, also from Timberlake, are Sierra Vista Maple finished in a Butterscotch Glaze.
The island hood, set back in the perimeter cabinets, is finished in the same cream-toned cabinet shade as the islands. The striking contrast makes it a focal point in the room. Tall, fluted columns edge the panels used on the hood, with an arched valence providing a distinctive touch. On opposite sides of the hood, ribbed glass door inserts provide a space for display.
Finishing touches in the room include natural quartz countertops from Formica Corp., a food waste disposer and hot water system from InSinkErator, flooring from Dal-Tile Corp. and pendant light fixtures from Progress Lighting.
The Tranquil Bath
The “wow” factor of The New American Home takes on special meaning when guests walk into the master bath area, a space designed for two people. Deep turquoise-papered walls, a natural stone tub surround in various shades of turquoise and a ceiling-to-floor waterfall immediately impress.
“The focal-point fountain gives the space a spa-like feel,” says Sater. “The step-up tub also has a small fireplace, which is a nice accent.”
Beyond the tub is a glass-and-wood enclosed shower with multiple spray heads that features Kohler’s DTV automated shower system, which can be programmed to the user’s desired temperature and spray configuration.
Along the left wall, his-and-hers vanities in Capistrano Cherry with a Chocolate Glaze from Timberlake flank the waterfall, with her vanity using a shaker valence below the countertop as a seating area.
All in the Family Suite
A distinct feature of The New American Home for 2008 was the inclusion of a family suite. The builders and designers of the home recognized the changing needs of today’s multi-generational families. Therefore, the suite offers a living area with kitchenette, as well as a guest bedroom with adjacent bath.
“One of the challenges was to address the needs of older guests, who may have handicap accessibility issues. Therefore, we allowed for possible future wheelchair access for the bathrooms,” explains Sater.
For a studio-type space, everyone typically likes a functional layout with ample storage, he adds. “The bedroom and bathroom are separated from the kitchen and sitting area with a partial wall, but not a door, to keep the space from feeling small,” he says.
The open kitchenette/seating area includes a plasma television housed in the back of the island – a space-saving solution for the compact living space. Also included in the space is a microwave drawer from Sharp Electronics, which provides easy access.
Cabinets in the kitchenette are from Timberlake and are Yellowstone Cherry with a Chocolate Glaze. The cabinets are repeated in the family suite bath for a seamless transition between areas.
A semi-circular countertop provides dual function as a prep/built-in seating area.
“Privacy was another challenge, which was addressed by placing the suite near the front of the home with quick exterior access, allowing occupants to come and go freely as well as receiving guests,” he adds. That access comes in the form of a secondary entrance to the home, which includes the family valet area – a drop-off zone between the garage and family suite.
“The family valet is a very elegant answer to the mudroom,” explains Sater, “because with great built-in cabinetry, everything has a place and the space doesn’t have to be closed off or hidden away. It was designed to help organize entryway activities, and acts as a place for the clutter of everyday living – cell phones, iPods, backpacks, purses, briefcases, cameras and laptops.
“One side of the room has a built-in locker with two oversized cubbies and closed storage – making it ideal for larger items like backpacks and sporting gear,” he says. “The other side has flip-open storage for keys and wallets, and a charging station to keep electronics ready for the family on the go.”