New American Home 2013: A pad for James Bond?
Wright-inspired builders' showcase home is a professionals' retreat, not a family house. Most families couldn't afford the $4 million price anyway.
Every year, the National Association of Home Builders showcases a concept home at its annual International Builders Show.
This year’s New American Home looks as if it were built not for the average American family but for James Bond, perhaps around the time of the first film but with technology that 1960s homeowners could only dream about.
The 6,712-square-foot home outside Las Vegas draws its inspiration from Frank Lloyd Wright and the midcentury modern style. You won’t find this style in your average new-home development.
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"The whole concept from the very beginning was this totally different style: the desert contemporary aesthetic," said Tyler Jones, as quoted by The Wall Street Journal. Jones is chief executive of Blue Heron, the company that built the home. "We’ve bet our whole company on some of the trends we’re showing here."
Blue Heron, which did the architecture, construction and interior design, is building the Marquis Seven Hills golf-course community in Henderson, a bedroom community of Las Vegas. This home will serve as a model home in the gated estate-homes development.
The New American Home, as built, is a bit out of the price range of the average American family. It would sell for about $4 million.
Its design probably would not suit the traditional American family with children, either. A pond next to the living room does not work if you have a toddler.
The house has three bedrooms and nine baths, though there appear to be several rooms that could be bedrooms, offices, sitting rooms or whatever function the occupants needed. You can see floor plans here and a gallery of photos here.
The WSJ asked several professionals to comment on the house. Melanie S. Taylor, a Connecticut architect who designed the New American Home in Atlanta in 2002, didn’t like it much.
"While Fallingwater gestures outwards, embracing the surrounding woodland like a reverent lover, TNAH 2013 looks inward to its overriding element, a huge, manmade holding pond, and the heavy forms of the house look as if they were designed by a defense contractor," she told The WSJ. "Any building where such a high proportion of space is dedicated to water and entertainment is intrinsically nonresidential. This house functions better as a party pavilion than as a safe and comfortable home for children or the elderly."
The home has a sophisticated wireless network that extends to the outdoor living spaces, including the front and back yards. Occupants can use their phones to operate the security system, raise and lower the shades, control the lights and adjust the thermostat. There are also state-of-the art energy-efficiency features.
Michael Gardner, the architect who designed the space, acknowledged that he didn’t intend to design a family home. James Bond might just be the target market. He told The WSJ:
The client is a professional of some sort who has a high-powered, maybe stressful, all-day kind of job where they’re going all day and coming home to a kind of calm, Zen-like, relaxing type environment. It’s definitely not set up for families. It’s for a professional single, or a married couple that’s very social.
About Teresa Mears
Teresa Mears is a veteran journalist who has been interested in houses since her father took her to tax auctions to carry the cash at age 10. A former editor of The Miami Herald's Home & Design section, she lives in South Florida where, in addition to writing about real estate, she publishes Miami on the Cheap to help her neighbors adjust to the loss of 60% of their property value.