Grand - Outdoor Spaces

Project: 2013 New American Home, Henderson, Nev. | Entrant: Studio G Architecture, Henderson | Architect: Blue Heron Architecture, Las Vegas | Builder: Blue Heron Construction, Las Vegas | Interior designer: Blue Heron Interiors, Las Vegas l Landscape Architect: Sage Ecological Landscapes, Los Osos, Calif. | Construction Cost: $500 per square foot | Photographer: Trent Bell

The judges were wowed by the outdoor spaces surrounding this desert demonstration home—toured by thousands of visitors during the 2013 International Builders' Show—saying it represents the epitome of seamless indoor/outdoor living. Almost every room in the multilevel mansion has a view to outdoor spaces, from Southwest- and Asian-inspired courtyards to water features, landscaping, and private and public entertainment areas. Beyond the master suite's patio, a glass door gives way to a trellised outdoor shower that, in turn, opens to an indoor shower and the rest of the master bath and generous walk-in closet.

To make the outdoor amenities usable year-round, project planners integrated and alternated outdoor spaces with protected and shady interiors, a step that provides protection from windy as well as sweltering conditions. The project includes nearly 3,000 square feet of water features interwoven among covered and uncovered porches, patios, terraces, and a striking sunken living room.

"Selecting appropriate materials that can handle extreme temperature changes is vital in this climate," says architect Michael Gardner. These include tile floors; stucco; and a rice-husk, salt, and mineral-oil material from Resysta for the wall siding.

The jury compared the home's luxurious outdoor spaces to the amenities at upscale resorts on the nearby Las Vegas Strip. "They totally nailed it," one judge raved.

On Site Project planners blurred the line between indoors and out with the clever use of disappearing doors that slide into wall pockets to open up entire corners of the house. Only the stainless steel track caps in the ceiling and floor remain visible.