When kitchen and bath designers want to impress with their design prowess, surely making people “green with envy” – or better yet, “green with luxury” – is a great place to start. This was precisely the idea for the New American Home 2007, the green-certified model home shown here as part of the 2007 International Builders’ Show official Showcase Homes.
Designed by Ron Nowfel, IDS, design consultant Jessica Iaconis and Ed Binkley, AIA, the home not only features the latest in residential automation and home control for all low-voltage systems, but has a contemporary, 372-sq.-ft. main kitchen, complete with cutting-edge products from Canac, Kohler, Sub-Zero/Wolf and others.
Designer Nowfel explains: “I would credit the energy efficiency of our appliances and fluorescent lighting choices as helping most in this regard. The whole sales point behind the New American Home is that it’s so green friendly. That is what the New American Home is all about, in my opinion.”
Meeting Design Challenges
Working in conjunction with builder Carmen Dominguez, owner/manager of Orlando, FL-based Homes by Carmen Dominguez, the design team created a main kitchen based on a specific vision.
“One of the visions of our architect was to create a kitchen where you could have cooking classes. It was an interesting idea of his that we integrated into the design,” says Iaconis, design consultant for Altamonte Springs, FL-based Robb & Stucky Interiors.
The kitchen’s location, the third floor of the upside down, urban loft home, caused some design challenges from the start.
“For instance, stairs are typically one of the last things put into a house, so we were climbing ladders [to gain access]. It wasn’t very easy to get into the kitchen for quite a while,” Iaconis describes.
In addition, the original plan called for a small refrigerator, but the designers wanted to use a 48" Wolf refrigerator. “We were able to take away the drywall that was there [to accommodate it],” she reports.
The home’s concrete walls meant specifications were literally set in stone. “The challenge with any house made with concrete is making sure you don’t make any errors on electrical outlets in the walls,” stresses Nowfel. “Once concrete walls are poured, there is no digging back into them, so we had to know exactly where our electrical outlets were to be installed.”
The desired look for the kitchen was influenced by its location in the home. “When you are in the kitchen, you get to enjoy the rest of the living space on the third floor,” Nowfel explains. “Not only do you see a beautiful living room and dining room, but you are also looking outside at a patio and 30 feet of oak trees. There are doors that go outside to a roof deck, making it an indoor/outdoor living space. It is the total surroundings that make this kitchen. There is such an openness to it.”
The kitchen itself fits seamlessly into the overall layout of the 973-sq.-ft. third floor, while it maintains a very distinctive presence, according to Binkley, national design director for Oviedo, FL-based BSB Design.
“The kitchen is the focal point of the open living area, and it accommodates daily use as well as gourmet cooking,” he says.
To that end, it also enables guest chefs to conduct cooking classes, and can accommodate wine tasting and wine pairing seminars.
“Our vision for the kitchen was to make it user friendly for the lifestyle that we perceived the person who buys the house will enjoy,” Nowfel describes.
In keeping with this idea, the designers added an office area to the room, though there is a primary office located on the first floor. “This way, when you are on the third floor, there is a space for a laptop,” she states.