James F. Wilson

You see its interior before you even enter the house. In a clever contemporary twist on a distinctly Southern vernacular, visitors walk the length of a deep, covered lanai to the front door, passing full views of the family room, kitchen, and dining room through floor-to-ceiling sliding glass doors akin to the display windows of a downtown department store.

Except that these full-height windows slide wide open on most Central Florida days, blurring the lines of indoors and outdoors and providing alternative routes into the house so that the actual front door—a checkerboard of warm, rich wood that deliberately contrasts with the predominant gray stone and glass of the house—serves as an art element as much as a point of entry.

Welcome to The New American Home 2012, celebrating a 29-year collaboration between Builder and the Leading Suppliers Council of the NAHB in conjunction with the annual International Builders’ Show (IBS).

The home’s public face to the street is no less impressive and certainly more exposed than a traditional porch approach. Derived from the classic White Box model of modern design in the mid-20th century by architect-builder Phil Kean, the front of the approximately 4,200-square-foot house features several expansive windows, one framing an open-riser stone staircase with a clear glass balustrade that almost disappears during the day but is dramatically displayed at night.

“I tend to lean toward modern design, but it’s more challenging than traditional styles,” says Kean. “If you miss, it really looks bad. There’s nowhere to hide your mistakes.”

Floor Plan Unlike a lot of residential architects, Phil Kean works from the inside out, crafting spaces best suited to the lot conditions and orientation instead of conjuring a front façade and working inward. That approach is reflected in how this plan blocks the western sun with the back wall of the gallery (1) and the three-car garage (2) and puts the hub of activity in an interior, north-facing courtyard to keep it private and cool. The main level is mostly public space, save for a guest suite (3) and secluded office (4). Upstairs is all for the owners, including a trio of balconies and a cleverly concealed laundry room (5) within the master bathroom.
Floor Plan Unlike a lot of residential architects, Phil Kean works from the inside out, crafting spaces best suited to the lot conditions and orientation instead of conjuring a front façade and working inward. That approach is reflected in how this plan blocks the western sun with the back wall of the gallery (1) and the three-car garage (2) and puts the hub of activity in an interior, north-facing courtyard to keep it private and cool. The main level is mostly public space, save for a guest suite (3) and secluded office (4). Upstairs is all for the owners, including a trio of balconies and a cleverly concealed laundry room (5) within the master bathroom.

The floor plan and interior finishes follow the modern moves of the exterior and are equally exposed and flawless. Straight, clean lines and hard, geometric surfaces create the perfect canvas for colorful art elements, area rugs, and soft furnishings. A stone floor that appears at first glance to be bleached wood planks extends into every space of the main level, including the covered courtyard entry.

And yet the house is far from cold or impersonal. Flush, dark-wood cabinets add a measure of warmth and provide welcome contrast. But the abundance of windows reflecting daylight off the white surfaces from multiple angles, throwing it deep into each room, makes the home comfortable and livable.

For times when solar heat gain is a concern or, more likely, privacy is a priority, sheer fabric screens and darker solar shades roll down behind and in front of the windows, respectively, to compensate. “It’s a very open plan, but it lives very privately,” says Kean, noting the clever entry courtyard that is a main hub of activity and yet completely shielded from public view. “It was an ideal solution for this lot and location.”

But will it sell? Modern single-family isn’t exactly mainstream, and a buyer who can afford the $3.5 million price tag of this house represents a relatively small pool to the majority of builders.

Yet the home’s walkable proximity to downtown Winter Park (a historic community just north of the IBS 2012 host city of Orlando, Fla.), its perfect proportions and similar scale among its neighbors, and its high level of finish, as well as its higher level of energy and resource efficiencies, enhance its sales potential.

James F. Wilson

In his market, in fact, Kean and his team have carved a successful if not high-volume niche with mostly modern homes. They expect that an empty-nester or other childless couple, perhaps from overseas or seeking a seasonal retreat, will find their way to this one.

“The design reflects a segment of the market that appreciates what this house offers and has the lifestyle for it,” says project manager Alex Hannigan. “I don’t think there will be a lack of buyers for this house.”

Staircase The home’s open-riser stone staircase is a signature element, appreciated from inside and out. A transparent glass balustrade makes it appear to float in space, while the stair’s location at the edge of the family room keeps it from intruding on the open floor plan and traffic patterns. It’s also an iconic and ironic counterpart to an adjacent elevator, a contemporary must-have for aging owners. A series of niches at the base of the stairs, which are reminiscent of the front-door design, display colorful art elements.
James F. Wilson Staircase The home’s open-riser stone staircase is a signature element, appreciated from inside and out. A transparent glass balustrade makes it appear to float in space, while the stair’s location at the edge of the family room keeps it from intruding on the open floor plan and traffic patterns. It’s also an iconic and ironic counterpart to an adjacent elevator, a contemporary must-have for aging owners. A series of niches at the base of the stairs, which are reminiscent of the front-door design, display colorful art elements.
James F. Wilson

Product Spotlight Flooring

Originally intended for terrazzo tiles, the floor of the main level—extending from the “false” entry of the front elevation through the lanai and into every interior space—is made up of 4-inch-wide, vein-cut natural limestone “planks” that perfectly suit the clean, straight lines of the home’s modern design. The stone sections are installed to duplicate the look of wood, with slight variations along the surface and seams, while their natural veining and marbling deliver subtle color variations and piece-to-piece and linear movement across the floor expanse. Specs: Manufacturer: Daltile; Model: Chenille White Vein-Cut Natural Limestone; Dimensions: 4” x 36” x ?”.

Gallery Confronted with a west-facing elevation that must deal with harsh afternoon sun and a four-story condo across the alley, Kean recalled a client who wanted an art gallery designed into his house and used that idea to inspire this space. “It’s cool without being too cool,” he says. “It’s not trying too hard to be anything more than what it is.” An atypical first impression as you enter the front door, the gallery also offers a wet bar and powder room at its far end.
James F. Wilson Gallery Confronted with a west-facing elevation that must deal with harsh afternoon sun and a four-story condo across the alley, Kean recalled a client who wanted an art gallery designed into his house and used that idea to inspire this space. “It’s cool without being too cool,” he says. “It’s not trying too hard to be anything more than what it is.” An atypical first impression as you enter the front door, the gallery also offers a wet bar and powder room at its far end.

Product Spotlight Stone

Even behind $300,000 worth of donated artwork, the stone veneer of the gallery walls stands out. Recalling mid-century Prairie-home design, the custom-fabricated cut and color of the stone was developed specifically for this house. While most prominent on the walls of the gallery, it’s also featured on the exterior façade to effectively break up the white-and-glass mass and identify the entry to the lanai. The summer kitchen, privacy walls, and a few interior walls also benefit from its dimensional feel among the otherwise smooth-finish surfaces of the house. Specs: Manufacturer/Installer: Environmental Stoneworks; Model: Osceola Prairie Stone.

James F. Wilson

Product Spotlight Solar Array

An innovative thin-film system to generate solar electricity adheres directly to the EverGuard TPO roof from GAF (circle no. 14), which eliminated bulky metal frames and fastener penetrations through the roof deck. But renewable energy, including flat-panel solar thermal collectors from HTP (circle no. 15) on the home’s top-most roof, is just the icing on a superior building envelope. The main level is built using insulated concrete forms from Logix (circle no. 16), while engineered structural framing by Nordic Engineered Wood (circle no. 17) frames the upper level. Metal connectors from Simpson Strong-Tie (circle no. 18) create a continuous load path through the frame, while Icynene’s (circle no. 19) open-cell spray-foam insulation delivers air-sealing and thermal resistance. Solar array specs: Manufacturer: United Solar; Model: PVL-68; Dimensions: 2849mm long x 394mm wide x 3.3mm thick; Rating: 68 watts per section, 80% power output.


Loft What may appear to be wasted—or at least gratuitous—living space (above) actually serves a very practical purpose in the grand scheme. At the head of the stairs, the loft buffers the master bedroom from the public spaces below. And its adjacent balcony shields the array of thin-film solar collectors on the south-facing roof from street view while providing easy access for their occasional maintenance.
James F. Wilson Loft What may appear to be wasted—or at least gratuitous—living space (above) actually serves a very practical purpose in the grand scheme. At the head of the stairs, the loft buffers the master bedroom from the public spaces below. And its adjacent balcony shields the array of thin-film solar collectors on the south-facing roof from street view while providing easy access for their occasional maintenance.
Owners’ Retreat The entire upstairs is devoted to the owners. The stair/elevator landing leads to a workout room (complete with a full bath) and a comfortable private loft, which serves as a transition to the master bedroom beyond (left). Engineered hardwood floors from Mohawk Industries (circle no. 13), formulated to eliminate emissions from urea formaldehyde adhesives and finished with a Scotchgard coating, replace the stone “planks” of the main level, delivering a similarly sleek but slightly warmer, natural walnut surface.
James F. Wilson Owners’ Retreat The entire upstairs is devoted to the owners. The stair/elevator landing leads to a workout room (complete with a full bath) and a comfortable private loft, which serves as a transition to the master bedroom beyond (left). Engineered hardwood floors from Mohawk Industries (circle no. 13), formulated to eliminate emissions from urea formaldehyde adhesives and finished with a Scotchgard coating, replace the stone “planks” of the main level, delivering a similarly sleek but slightly warmer, natural walnut surface.


Product Spotlight Glass Doors

Inside Out The key to Kean’s design was a seamless transition between indoors and outdoors, especially on the main level where public spaces could easily expand and flow into the lanai and beyond. He found what he wanted with the 10-foot-tall sliding glass doors with telescoping panels that create wide-open expanses and unobstructed views. The dining room, shown above, also showcases Kean’s ability to create well-defined uses within an open floor plan.
James F. Wilson Inside Out The key to Kean’s design was a seamless transition between indoors and outdoors, especially on the main level where public spaces could easily expand and flow into the lanai and beyond. He found what he wanted with the 10-foot-tall sliding glass doors with telescoping panels that create wide-open expanses and unobstructed views. The dining room, shown above, also showcases Kean’s ability to create well-defined uses within an open floor plan.

Almost everywhere you look along the lanai, you’ll see these doors. Standing floor-to-ceiling and fitted into flush-mounted floor tracks, they almost disappear. And even more so when they’re open, as the 4-foot-wide panels telescope into each other to create openings of almost 20 feet across. The perpendicular panels of the corner unit enclosing the dining room (left) securely lock into each other, and their metal frames and impact-resistant insulated glass can withstand the elements. Specs: Manufacturer: WinDoor Inc.; Model: Series 8100, 90-degree pocket bypass sliding glass door; Dimensions: 4’x10’.


The summer kitchen provides a full range of appliances, headlined by a barbecue grill with nearly 800 square inches of grilling surface from the Fire Magic line by R.H. Peterson. The view back toward the lanai shows the balconies serving the master bedroom (above the lanai) and the workout room (left, above the studio). Their north- and east-facing elevations help keep them comfortable year-round.
James F. Wilson The summer kitchen provides a full range of appliances, headlined by a barbecue grill with nearly 800 square inches of grilling surface from the Fire Magic line by R.H. Peterson. The view back toward the lanai shows the balconies serving the master bedroom (above the lanai) and the workout room (left, above the studio). Their north- and east-facing elevations help keep them comfortable year-round.
Separate Spaces Outside the main floor plan, Kean created a studio designed to contain an artist’s mess or keep the clients of an at-home business from intruding on the main house. Its full bath also can be accessed from the pool.
James F. Wilson Separate Spaces Outside the main floor plan, Kean created a studio designed to contain an artist’s mess or keep the clients of an at-home business from intruding on the main house. Its full bath also can be accessed from the pool.

Product Spotlight Split-System HVAC

Drawing duct work to the studio from a conventional central forced-air system proved problematic, so Kean’s team turned to a self-contained, mini-split system to condition and ventilate the indoor air. Usually specified to allow tenants of high-rise buildings to manage their own indoor climates (and costs), the sleek, ceiling-mounted unit relies on a small, quiet outdoor compressor concealed behind a wall on the far side of the studio. It delivers a high level of pollutant filtration, dehumidification, and both fast-acting and energy-efficient cooling. Specs: Manufacturer: LG; Model: VRF Air Conditioner; Dimensions: 1200mm square; Capacity: 5500 BTU/hr cooling, 6100 BTU/hr heating.

Mechanical Room Normally, a home’s mechanical “room” is a tight closet in the garage or a humid attic, but this one earns mention not just for its size (176 square feet) and finish, but because it’s the home’s nerve center. A conditioned space accessed through the master bath, it contains the bulk of the key components to the efficient operation of the house while giving service techs ample space to work.
James F. Wilson Mechanical Room Normally, a home’s mechanical “room” is a tight closet in the garage or a humid attic, but this one earns mention not just for its size (176 square feet) and finish, but because it’s the home’s nerve center. A conditioned space accessed through the master bath, it contains the bulk of the key components to the efficient operation of the house while giving service techs ample space to work.
Master Bath This space is deceptively narrow. At both ends of the bath, a custom closet system from Closet Factory reveals a wealth of storage space that expands the capacity of the Timberlake cabinets. One set of closet doors leads to a full-size laundry room. A narrow band of south-facing clerestory windows above the dual vanity delivers daylight to mitigate lighting energy demand (albeit from efficient LEDs), while the tub and shower operate entirely from electronic touchpads from Kohler, featuring programmable light scenes and music.
James F. Wilson Master Bath This space is deceptively narrow. At both ends of the bath, a custom closet system from Closet Factory reveals a wealth of storage space that expands the capacity of the Timberlake cabinets. One set of closet doors leads to a full-size laundry room. A narrow band of south-facing clerestory windows above the dual vanity delivers daylight to mitigate lighting energy demand (albeit from efficient LEDs), while the tub and shower operate entirely from electronic touchpads from Kohler, featuring programmable light scenes and music.

Product Spotlight Mechanicals

Thanks in large part to an airtight and insulated building envelope, including a rainscreen barrier from Pactiv behind the stucco to shed incidental moisture and ventilate vapor (circle no. 27), the home’s mechanical systems are able to optimize their intended efficiencies. The centralized system, contained in a conditioned space, features a pair of Lennox high-performance forced-air furnaces supplemented by the company’s energy recovery ventilator and PureAir air filters (circle no. 28). The space also contains a high-voltage load center and structured wiring control hub from Eaton (circle no. 29) and an impressive tower of components for the myriad electronics that help run the house, among other gear.

Poolside Dining While motorized solar screens can be drawn down to preserve the comfort of the lanai and the gallery during extreme conditions, the deck—planks formed from a heat- and water-resistant rice husk composite by RESYSTA (circle no. 30)—remains cool enough for an outdoor eating experience served by the summer kitchen (see page 81). Propane-fired heating towers from Napoleon (circle no. 31) also provide light to create an attractive ambience in the evening hours.
James F. Wilson Poolside Dining While motorized solar screens can be drawn down to preserve the comfort of the lanai and the gallery during extreme conditions, the deck—planks formed from a heat- and water-resistant rice husk composite by RESYSTA (circle no. 30)—remains cool enough for an outdoor eating experience served by the summer kitchen (see page 81). Propane-fired heating towers from Napoleon (circle no. 31) also provide light to create an attractive ambience in the evening hours.

Product Spotlight Solar Screens

There are times of the year (or day) when the north-facing lanai needs a break from the heat and humidity. Motorized rolldown solar screens, fitted into each bay of the lanai and in front of the gallery windows, block up to 41 percent of the daylight and UV light and fully enclose the insulated lanai to maintain its comfort level as a usable living space. What’s really cool is that, from the inside, the screens enable nearly 60 percent visibility through the mesh to maintain the view of the pool. Specs: Manufacturer: Phantom Screens; Models: Executive series Twitchell SuperScreen 17/17 and E-Screen 7510 Mesh. Circle no. 32.

The New American Home 2012 Sponsors and Contributors

Front row (seated; l-r): Phil Kean, president, Phil Kean Designs, Winter Park, Fla.; Brad Grosberg, vice president, Phil Kean Designs. Back row (l-r): Marc Krebs, site manager, Phil Kean Designs; Rob Turner, president, CRT Studio, Winter Park; Jeff Bankert, executive producer, NAHB Digital, Washington, D.C.; Mark Pursell, senior vice president, Exhibitions, Marketing & Sales, NAHB, Washington; Tucker Bernard, director, NAHB Leading Suppliers Council and The New American Home, Washington; Bill Nolan, TNAH 2012 task force vice chairman; Alex Hannigan, construction manager, Phil Kean Designs; not pictured: Chuck Edwards, TNAH 2012 task force chairman.
James F. Wilson Front row (seated; l-r): Phil Kean, president, Phil Kean Designs, Winter Park, Fla.; Brad Grosberg, vice president, Phil Kean Designs. Back row (l-r): Marc Krebs, site manager, Phil Kean Designs; Rob Turner, president, CRT Studio, Winter Park; Jeff Bankert, executive producer, NAHB Digital, Washington, D.C.; Mark Pursell, senior vice president, Exhibitions, Marketing & Sales, NAHB, Washington; Tucker Bernard, director, NAHB Leading Suppliers Council and The New American Home, Washington; Bill Nolan, TNAH 2012 task force vice chairman; Alex Hannigan, construction manager, Phil Kean Designs; not pictured: Chuck Edwards, TNAH 2012 task force chairman.

Leading Suppliers CouncilProducts supplied by members of the Leading Suppliers Council of NAHB are selected by the project team to reflect the latest in technology and style.

American Gas Association (natural gas services/support)

Broan-NuTone (ventilation, central vacuum, ironing center)

BSH Home Appliances (built-in coffee maker)

Closet Factory (custom closets)

CMHC International

DuPont Building Innovations (solid surfaces)

Eaton Corp. (load centers and circuit breakers, high-voltage and structured wiring, A/C disconnects, standby generator, spa panel, surge protection, energy management system, electric vehicle charging station)

Environmental Stoneworks (stone veneer and installation)

GAF Corp. (TPO roofing)

HPBA

Icynene (spray-foam insulation)

InSinkErator (waste disposers, hot water dispensers, water chiller)

JELD-WEN (interior doors)

Kohler (plumbing fixtures)

Lennox (solar-powered and conventional HVAC equipment)

Lubrizol Corp. (CPVC plumbing system, fire sprinkler piping)

Lutron Electronics (lighting controls)

Mohawk Industries (flooring)

  • Daltile (natural stone and porcelain tile)

Overhead Door Corp. (garage doors and openers)

Pactiv (rainscreen/air barrier, window and door flashing, synthetic roofing felt)

Phantom Screens (pest/solar screens)

PrintComm (printed material)

Progress Lighting (interior and exterior lighting)

Rinnai (tankless water heater)

Schneider Electric/Renewable Energies Business (solar PV inverter)

Sherwin-Williams Co. (interior and exterior paint)

Simpson Strong-Tie (metal framing connectors)

Timberlake Cabinetry (cabinets, built-ins)

Tyco Fire Suppression & Building Products (fire suppression system)

Whirlpool (appliances)

Local Contributors

The New American Home would not be possible without the support and hard work of local suppliers, installers, and consultants.

Acme Glass

Aggressive Appliances

A&L Craftsmen

All Star Concrete & Masonry

American Door & Millwork/American Builders Supply

Architectural Elegance

Atlona Technologies

Bluworld

Brad’s Painting Plus

Capri Cork

CEDIA

Charlotte Pipe & Foundry

Clare Controls

Collis Roofing

DEDON

Digital Projection

Doors in Motion

Draper

Dynamic Epoxy Coatings

East-West Pavers

EcoSmart Fire

Elevator Solutions

Elk Products

Emtek Products

Energy Technology Services

Fiberstars

Firefly Design Group

FireRock Fireplace

Florida Association of Native Nurseries

Florida Home Carpet

Florida Native Plant Society

ForeverLawn

Four Seasons Gas

Garner Window & Door Sales

Gary’s Quality Mirrors & Glass

General Motors

Girem Tile Work

Gunite Works

Gutter King

Hanson Hardscapes

Harmar

Hart & Cooley

Heat Transfer Products

Holloway Plumbing Co.

iPort

Keller Outdoor

Kleen Sweep

Krown Lab

Logix Insulated Concrete Forms

Maschmeyer Concrete/Block/Steel

Massey Services

MC Construction Resource Group

Milestone AV Technologies

Millenia Bath

Mobotix AG

Orange County Environmental

Orlando Pools By Design

Pentair Pool Products

Premier Roofing

R.K. Edwards

Regency Fireplace Products

Residential Building Supply

Residential Renovations

RESYSTA North America

Robin Wade Furniture

Schluter Systems

Signature Art Glass

Simplex/Grinnell

Sonance

South Central Pool Products

Southern Window Design

Speakercraft

SportsArt Fitness

Stark Construction

Stewart Filmscreen

Stone Crazy

StrucSure Risk Management Group

SurgeX

Tecno-Glass Corp.

TECO Peoples Gas

Thomas Lumber

Triad Speakers

Trinity Tile Group

Two Trails Inc.

United Solar

Universal Engineering Services

Universal Limited Art Editions

Walk on Wood

WatersEdge

WinDoor Inc

Ziegler Air Conditioning Sales & Service


Learn more about markets featured in this article: Orlando, FL, Los Angeles, CA.