The New American Home 2016, designed and built by Element Building Company, is the 33rd edition of this cutting-edge concept home. Built in the foothills of Henderson, Nev., the 5,200 square foot home offers rugged desert mountain vistas, as well as stunning views of the shimmering lights of Las Vegas. Though it’s a show home that’s packed with innovative products and inspiring design ideas, this edition of The New American Home is design to harmonize with site and the surroundings.
Josh Moser, Project Manager and Architectural Designer for the New American Home, notes that one distinguishing factor of this year’s show home is that it’s, well, less showy. “There’s a lot of functionality in this house and a lot of efficient design,” he says. "The home is designed in such a way that it can be used by a wide range of occupants such as a family, empty nesters, and even a couple or group of friends that like to entertain." Spaces in this show home are safe for children. Features like a Jack-and-Jill bath adjoining two upstairs bedroom confirm that the house was designed with kids in mind.
The mountainside site has access on both ends, with a 20-foot drop from one end to the other. "It was important for the house to step down with the topography, instead of raising it up and creating unsightly retaining walls," says Moser. The house is clad in stone that echoes the color and texture of the surrounding topography.
Sustainability drove the entire project, with flat roof space for best use of a solar array, new high-performance windows by Sierra Pacific (final tests to double-check R-values were still in progress the first week in October), and generous roof overhangs to manage solar gain. Most full height glass walls are located on the northwest and northeast elevations. There’s an energy-efficient HVAC system by Trane as well as design that promotes natural ventilation. A wall assembly by Owens Corning features exterior and interior insulation to manage both blazing heat and freezing temperatures that are common to the Nevada desert. “The exterior wall assembly is completely innovative in stopping the exterior climate from penetrating the walls,” Moser says.
The house is a smart home: Climate control, lights, sound, electronics, and even the fire features will be connected via Savant Systems
, enabling a homeowner to set up scenes to set mood and ambiance. When it's time to go to sleep, one touch of a button will turn off interior lights, illuminate exterior lights will turn on, and adjust the HVAC.
“The home design breaks down the barrier between interior and exterior,” notes Sage Design Studios
principal Jonathan Spear, who conceived of the landscape program, an impressive array of desert plants that are as beautiful as they are water-wise, providing color, texture, and movement. “There are ways to provide lushness in the desert without planting like it’s an English garden,” he says.
“I love the functional design of this home,” says Moser. “We’re taking advantage of the beautiful views; responding to the surroundings and maximizing them.” Moser’s excitement about actual showtime is palpable when he talks about the house and the way it dovetails with its site. “We want people touch, feel, and experience the home in its multiple facets--inside and out.”