Trent Bell

The 2014 New American Home, co-sponsored by the NAHB and BUILDER, is destined to be a one-of-a-kind crowd-pleaser for International Builders’ Show (IBS) attendees in February.

Rising out of the foothills of the exclusive Sky Terrace housing development in Henderson, Nev., the 6,700-square-foot showstopper will serve as a construction technology laboratory when it opens for tours during IBS. Although it’s a huge custom project undertaken with an insanely compressed construction schedule, the tour will offer lessons for builders of all types and sizes from across the country.

As builders and guests walk through the lavishly appointed home, they can imagine how it will make life easier for the home’s occupants, envisioned as a busy, extended family made up of children, parents, and grandparents. Design elements from architect Jeffrey Berkus and interior designer Marc Thee of Marc-Michaels Interior Design provide grand spaces for entertaining, areas for homework and schooling, quiet spots for meditation, and multiple outdoor living spaces.

In preparation for the tour, some of the home’s must-see features include:

The indoor/outdoor experience. The home’s open layout fuses the indoors with the outdoors and provides the owners with many spaces to live and work outdoors. These include an outside office space that doubles as a meditation center and a rooftop terrace.

Design for multigenerational living. The home will comfortably accommodate a three-generation family, with the option of locating the master suite either upstairs or downstairs. A carriage suite with separate access will connect to the house through an elevator. (One side of the elevator opens to the carriage suite; the other opens to the main home.)

Distance learning opportunities. In a nod to the growing trend of online learning platforms and home schooling, the house will accommodate distance learning. A double island in the kitchen offers space to cook on one side and an informal area on the other so that kids can work on schoolwork while still interacting with the family and being a part of the home’s social sphere.

Public and private spaces. The house is designed to be both dynamic and soothing, with high ceilings in public spaces, and lower ceilings to create a more intimate feel in the family areas, Berkus says. There’s also a long gallery that can be used either as a transition space or as a large entertaining space. Prime views are afforded from the dining room, first-floor master suite, and rooftop terrace.

Dramatic floor plan. Attendees will be awed by custom touches such as a water wall, a poolside meditation room, and a second-story circulation bridge connecting the core spaces. “This house is based around the idea of flow,” says Berkus, who took over the project’s design when his father, Barry Berkus, passed away in November 2012. “You’re going to see a lot of ‘memory points’ in the house, as dad would call it—where you walk through and turn a corner and say, ‘Wow.’”

The home is being constructed by Henderson-based Element Building Co. to the highest level of the National Green Building Standard with state-of the-art technology including a solar water heater, photovoltaic panels, closed-cell spray-foam insulation, and a weather-sensitive irrigation system that automatically adjusts usage relative to the immediate climate. The house also features tankless water heaters, hydronic air handlers, intelligent fireplaces, and sustainable building materials.

To keep occupants comfortable during Nevada’s blazing afternoons and cool nights, the project team is relying on the most effective type of air sealant on the market: spray polyurethane foam, which can provide an R-value per inch up to 6.5. With foamed-in-place insulation, the material fills wall and ceiling cavities completely.

Builder Josh Anderson and his crew are under a rock-solid deadline because the house soon will be toured by thousands of conference attendees as part of the show, happening Feb. 4 to 6 in Las Vegas. They are surviving each day by anticipating changes and staying flexible, says Anderson. For example, the design changed drastically from the early phase, and then work was delayed by one of the rainiest summers on record that waterlogged the building site and ruined 350 sheets of drywall.

“It’s a constant battle to make time up for a home like this with all the moving parts,” Anderson says. “We’ve always got a Plan B.”

Click here to take a virtual tour of the 2014 New American Home.

Learn more about markets featured in this article: Las Vegas, NV.