I have seen the future of the American family’s home, and words like “beautiful”, “Zen”, “one-of-a-kind” and “high-tech” are jostling for position in my mind. But there’s one word that keeps pushing its way to the forefront when I see the recently-released pictures of the BUILDER Chōwa Concept Home: “balance”.
I recently wrote about this unique project after learning about how Sekisui House, Woodside Homes, and BUILDER Online had joined forces to introduce the ancient Japanese philosophy of chōwa - “the spirit of partnership and life balance” - to the American home building market. Construction was on-going, so I could only show you blueprints. Now it’s finished, and was unveiled during the CES 2020 show earlier this month.
That means I can take you on a tour!
The home is in the Howard Hughes Corp.’s master planned community of Summerlin, just outside Las Vegas. BUILDER Online Editor-in-Chief John McManus describes it as “...a home - designed and built differently - where life, work, play, eating, restfulness, joy, and health flourish in harmony.”
I encourage you to read John’s interview with the project’s two architectural team leaders, Hirokazu Miyachi with Sekisui House, and William Ramsey, a principal at KTGY Architecture + Planning. They provide a fascinating account of the project’s planning, process, and building phases.
“It’s East-meets-West in a real world of high-stakes, high-anxiety, and high expectations for new solutions to a host of new stresses and challenges of our technologically warp-speed lives,” John writes. “(It realizes) the notion of attainable aspiration—where intention, hopes, aims, ambitions, and achievement coalesce—emerging, not as a garish, flamboyant, attention-grabbing phenomenon, but rather, in a quieter, more Zen, understated form, whose aesthetic, power, and engineering performance speak for themselves.”
Now, on with the tour!
The entry sets an immediate and striking tone of simplicity, elegance, and discriminating taste that is carried throughout the entire home.
A Halo Wi-Fi Enabled Smart Lock with the Kwikset App enables you to remotely access the lock from anywhere with an internet connection. The door is unlocked for us, so let’s open it and step inside!
As soon as you walk in, you notice how the design emphasizes the living room as the heart of the house to create connections between the internal and external spaces with fluid connection to the outdoors, openness on both sides, and a flood of natural lighting.
The great room brings together friends and family in a welcoming, elegant setting that is both simple and striking in its balance of inside and outside. That indoor/outdoor connection is made possible with the dramatic window design.
We are going to move to the kitchen, but please note the dining room on the left that serves as a formal family and friends dining area. The exterior Sekisui House Bellburn cladding along the interior wall again adds to the connection between inside and outside.
Enter the kitchen, which serves as a family hub to facilitate connections between family and friends. It’s a cook’s kitchen, but with simplicity, and minimalist elegance as prevailing traits.
The focal point of the kitchen is the Design Craft Cabinetry Slab front cabinets in a warm black finish feature woodgrain, and efficient contemporary design for a home with a keen focus on clean lines and balance. The cabinets are from ACIProducts, Inc. (acpi), the largest independent manufacturer and distributor of cabinets in the US.
Storage and “conceal and reveal” engineering gives the kitchen a clean design with a place for everything, even hiding away the GE Monogram appliances. The kitchen is also equipped with Sensate with KOHLER Konnect Description-Kitchen faucet with KOHLER® Konnect™ and voice-activated technology to make daily kitchen tasks easier.
Walk around the accessory space flanking the kitchen, and you will see a half bath, an additional “messy kitchen” staging area, drop-zone, laundry area, as well as access to the back yard outdoor dining space.
Walk to the other side of the home to find the first-floor suite, coined by Woodside Homes as Home+ Suite (Home Plus). It can serve as living quarters for any guest, family member or elderly parents during the years one or more of them may require daily care and tending.. The suite lends full privacy for sleeping, bathing, and daily activities. The suite has direct access to outdoors, and to a one-car garage, giving it privacy and independence.
Research shows that people are staying longer in their homes, so this home is designed to adapt as the occupants move through their life stages.
As we head out of the suite area, you have the option of using the stairs or elevator to ascend to the second floor suite.
Once upstairs, you see another perspective of the great room, which can be enjoyed from the secondary family relaxing space that can take on a variety of functions. The balcony that wraps around the entire home provides every room with striking views of the Vegas strip and the desert landscape dominated by the Spring Mountains and Red Rock Canyon.
The master bedroom suite features a buffered entry that creates a true sanctuary center, as free of complexity, clutter, and distraction as design can accommodate. It’s all about ensuring peace of mind and connection to the basics—one another and the world.
There are walk-in closets with products from Organized Living like Classica, a built-in luxury system that combines beauty and strength to give home buyers the fine details of custom solutions. Organized Living also offers freedomRail, a truly adjustable storage solution designed for active families that can be used throughout the entire home.
The bath area includes both home spa and toilet essentials and the KOHLER Konnect shower that uses voice-enabled technology to deliver a customizable showering experience without ever lifting a finger. The KOHLER Numi comfort height one-piece intelligent toilet combines unmatched design and technology to bring you the finest in personal comfort and cleansing.
Our last stop requires us to head back downstairs and outside to the water terrace that is a place of sanctuary and privacy. The traditional Japanese arbor, or Azumaya, appears to float on the water, and the reflections of the diffused light reflect off the pool to create a location of peace and revitalization, but also of change.
This concludes our “tour” of the BUILDER Chōwa Concept Home. If you happen to be in the Las Vegas area, you can see everything up-close.
Follow this link to read the collection of articles about the project, learn about the project’s many partners and sponsors, and register to be notified when a virtual tour of the entire home will be ready.