flexiblefullpage - default
Currently Reading

Sign of the Times: The New American Home 2021

billboard - default
The New American Home

Sign of the Times: The New American Home 2021

See how The New American Home 2021 highlights and serves a growing market of luxury urban living

By Michele Lerner; photography by Jeffrey A. Davis February 5, 2021
Living and dining space in The New American Home 2021
The “upside-down” floor plan for The New American Home 2021 places the entertainment hub on the top floor—a wide-open space anchored by the kitchen, bar, dining area, and great room supplemented by more intimate yet casual seating setups and a music niche. | All photos: Jeffrey A. Davis
This article first appeared in the February 2021 issue of Pro Builder.

Architects, builders, and designers, like every insider in every industry, are pondering the long-term impact of the pandemic on the way people live, work, and play. Yet, while his plans for The New American Home 2021 were in place long before the pandemic hit, Phil Kean, the home’s designer/builder, needed to make a few tweaks to adapt to new buyer priorities.

Each iteration of The New American Home, the annual official showhouse of the International Builders’ Show since 1984, includes numerous design and technological innovations. But, perhaps fittingly for this year of change, the 2021 version is a departure from the more typical model of a single-family home on a large lot with space for resort-style outdoor living. 


While this year’s New American Home boasts 4,390 square feet of conditioned living space, outdoor spaces in the form of terraces on its two above-grade levels, and a three-car garage, it is a vertical urban residence on a 1,969-square-foot lot. Even so, it shares the emphasis on indoor-outdoor living, open floor plans, natural light, and energy efficiency seen in past editions of the annual program.

“Our goal was to showcase a new urban home that reflects its location and the role of technology to provide a more comfortable life,” says Keri Ferguson, an interior designer at Phil Kean Design Group. “We chose a sophisticated palette of neutral and warm colors as well as rich textures to show you can have a high-tech house without it feeling cold.”

The New American Home 2021 living space on the third floor
The New American Home 2021 living space on the third floor.  With 14-foot ceilings and expansive windows and doors to two terraces, the home’s top-floor great room and adjacent music niche, dining room, and kitchen/bar deliver a loft-like feel that suits the home’s urban setting and vibe.



Project Details

Location: Winter Park, Fla.

Builder, architect, and interior designer: Phil Kean Design Group, Winter Park

Lot size: 1,969 square feet

Total built area: 5,536 square feet

Total living area: 4,390 square feet


Bathrooms: 4 1/2

Anticipated sales price: $4.25 million

Wow Factors

A key characteristic of TNAH 2021 is its “upside-down” floor plan: the kitchen, dining, and living areas, configured in a U-shaped, loft-like space, are on the topmost floor rather than a lower level. The ceilings in that space are 14 feet high and it features two terraces that overlook the treetops and beyond.

Kean says he debated whether the flipped floor plan may be too unconventional. “You see this type of floor plan more in Europe and in places like Park City, [Utah], where you want to get more light and views,” he says. “We ultimately decided that this would be a good fit for The New American Home and for this urban setting.” He points out that TNAH 2021 is the only house within the seven-home, infill-lot enclave that uses the flipped-plan concept.

The New American Home 2021 floor plans
Floor plans for The New American Home 2021

The home’s 5,536-square-foot, three-level footprint (see plans, above) places the main living space on the top floor to take advantage of natural light and unobstructed views enhanced by 14-foot ceilings and ample fenestration. The ground-floor entry [1] opens to an art gallery, while the rear-loaded garage provides convenient access to a home office [2] and a dog room [3], the latter with a dog door to a fenced outdoor area. The second floor is all about the owners, including a comfortable private lounge [4], an exercise room [5] with a sauna [6], a generous terrace, and a primary suite with a steam shower in the bathroom [7]. Upstairs is an entertainer’s dream, featuring a music niche [8] big enough for a baby grand piano or small live band, a full bar [9], and a pair of terraces, one of which includes an outdoor kitchen and dining space [10]. All floors are served by the dramatic staircase [11] and an elevator [12].


The project started about two years ago, when Kean purchased a parking lot with an unused office building and began designing a new, walkable community. “Pre-COVID, the trend was to stay off the highway and walk to services, shops, and restaurants,” Kean says. “Post-COVID, I think it will still be a priority for people to be able to walk to everything.” The location has a Walk Score of 87, which means nearly all errands can be accomplished on foot. 

“Initially, we designed 11 luxury townhouses for the lot, but some buyers wanted single-family homes and began asking us to combine townhouse units,” Kean says. The final lot plan features three single-family homes and four attached townhomes. The two smallest townhouses were combined to create The New American Home.


Our goal was to showcase a new urban home that reflects its location and the role of technology to provide a more comfortable life. — Keri Ferguson, interior designer, Phil Kean Design Group


“We know buyers want a lock-and-leave lifestyle without giving up too much space or privacy,” Kean says. “I’m tempted to move in myself because this is walking distance to my office, plus there’s light rail to the airport and plans for a bullet train to Miami within walking distance.”

Most of the new enclave is already sold, primarily to downsizing empty nesters from the Orlando area, Kean says. To suit that buyer profile, TNAH 2021 includes an elevator for conveniently getting stuff (and people) from the three-car garage to the top-floor living spaces.


For additional coverage of the house, its partners and products, and to take a virtual tour, visit tnah.com. Coverage of the home’s construction was published in the January 2021 issue of Pro Builder, and its kitchens and bathrooms will be featured in the March/April 2021 issue. An online-only article about the home’s impressive energy and water efficiencies will appear on probuilder.com in March, 2021.


Another priority for many buyers today is space and amenities for pets. “Phil and Brad [Grosberg, Phil Kean’s husband and principal at the firm] have a basset hound, so Phil definitely understands the importance of designing a dog-friendly house,” Ferguson says. “He designed a little dog room [photo, right] off the garage that’s dedicated to grooming and has pull-out space for dog food and leashes.” In fact, each level has a dog door to access the outdoor spaces, including the lower-level yard, middle-level balcony, and the two upper-level terraces.

Pet room in The New American Home 2021

Art and Architecture

Kean’s second career as an artist informs his architecture, including artistic touches and space to display an art collection. 

For example, the entry gallery includes metal screens that separate the front foyer and elevator from a gallery space with casual seating at the staircase landing (itself a work of art). In addition, Ferguson took the pattern of those screens and incorporated it in the door to the morning room and some of the light fixtures to create a common (if subtle) stylistic thread throughout the house (see below).

The open-riser, underlit stairway was a serendipitous addition to the design. “The company that was supposed to supply the staircase had to pull out because of the pandemic, but this actually turned out to be a positive change,” Kean says. “We splurged on a staircase built by hand.”


Feature staircase in The New American Home 2021
A custom-built “floating” staircase, enhanced with lighting under each tread and clear glass balusters, is a signature wow factor that serves all three levels of the home.


Wine storage by VintageView in The New American Home 2021



Wine storage by VintageView in The New American Home



Underneath the staircase on the gallery level is a niche for a full-size sculpture, Ferguson says, noting that there are other niches throughout the house designed for various collections. “Even the wine bottle display [by project partner VintageView, above and left] is like artwork,” she says, “with these gorgeous brass pins holding the bottles in a space the size of a canvas. Everything in the house is functional and yet aesthetically pleasing.” 




Looking down the open staircase at The New American Home 2021


Gallery space in The New American Home 2021
Entry area and gallery space with custom metal screens.


Metal screen detail in The New American Home 2021
The patterned metal screen provides a stylistic thread that runs through the house.


For Entertaining and New Realities

In addition to places for art, Kean wanted space for music in the home, so the upper level includes a generous all-glass niche for a grand piano that can be seen from the outside. “Phil wanted to create a space for live music when the owners entertain,” Ferguson says.

Music niche in The New American Home 2021


“The floor plan has a nice scale to it,” she adds. “You don’t feel overwhelmed with too much space if you’re home alone, and yet it has a great indoor-outdoor flow that feels cohesive and comfortable when entertaining.” 

In theory, the home has four bedrooms, but once the pandemic started and people shifted to working and exercising at home, Kean and his team converted one bedroom on the second level near the primary suite into a private gym with a steam spa and turned a bedroom on the lower level into an office or studio space. 

Prior to construction in early 2020, the house was valued at $3.7 million, but Kean says the Florida housing market took off later in the year and estimates the home could currently sell for $525,000 more. For now, though, he intends to keep it as a model to showcase his work. 

Lounge on the second floor of The New American Home 2021
The home’s second (or middle) level is dedicated to the owners, presumably a well-off, empty-nester couple looking to age gracefully in place. In addition to a generous primary suite (below), the floor plan features a lounge (above) and an exercise room (below), the latter easily converted to other uses as lifestyle needs demand.


Home gym in The New American Home 2021


We chose a sophisticated palette of neutral and warm colors as well as rich textures to show you can have a high-tech  house without it feeling cold. — Keri Ferguson, interior designer


Primary suite in The New American Home 2021
The primary suite’s bedroom (above) is designed for comfort and convenience, with ample space to get around, views to the unobstructed side of the property, and a handy office niche. The adjacent bathroom (below) features a steam shower to complement the freestanding tub. An expansive walk-in closet beyond the bath offers floor-to-ceiling storage and plenty of dressing space. 


Primary suite bathroom in The New American Home 2021


Cooking and Dining Options Indoors and Out

The relatively modest yet well-appointed kitchen keeps things simple and tight, relying on built-ins both fore and aft and access to and from the bar and a powder room. Warm and complementary colors for the contemporary surfaces help maintain interest and comfort.

A closeup of the kitchen in The New American Home 2021


The kitchen in The New American Home 2021


Everything in the house is functional and yet aesthetically pleasing. —Keri Ferguson, interior designer 


Wetbar in The New American Home 2021
The wetbar and wine storage are easily accessible from the kitchen and dining area.


Built on an extremely tight lot, the home’s design places outdoor living on a trio of terraces on the second and third levels. The largest (below, top) offers a secondary kitchen, intimate dining, and even a place to sit and take in the birds-eye view. Retractable screens protect the terrace from pests and weather, allowing for all-day, year-round use (below, bottom).

Terrace grill and outdoor kitchen at The New American Home 2021


Motorized, retractable screens from Phantom Screens in The New American Home 2021



Exterior Elements


Rear elevation and garage of The New American Home 2021

Architect Phil Kean bought and developed an in-town infill lot to design and build seven attached and detached townhomes, two of which form The New American Home 2021 on the end lot of the parcel. With a decidedly modern form, the building’s front façade (below) contrasts the classic look of white stone veneer with the austerity of urban metal cladding, while a second-level terrace helps draw the eye upward and shelters the main entry. Along the alley drive, the rear façade (left) keeps it simple.



Front elevation of The New American Home 2021


Michele Lerner is an award-winning real estate journalist in the Washington, D.C., area.


Project Team

Builder, Architect, and Interior Designer: Phil Kean Design Group, Winter Park, Fla.

Landscape Design: Redmon Design Co., Orlando, Fla.

Energy/Green Consultant: Two Trails, Parrish, Fla.

Building Technology/Performance Consultant green building program: Home Innovation Research Labs, Upper Marlboro, Md.

Automated Technologies/ Systems Integrator: Five Smooth Stones Audio Video & More, Jacksonville, Fla.


The New American Home 2021 project team


Members of The New American Home 2021 project team from Phil Kean Design Group include: (standing, L-R): Todd Atkins, kitchen designer; Katie Kovac, construction coordinator; Phil Kean, AIA, president; Tal Shuford, project manager; Mitch Burden, design production manager; (sitting, L-R): Brad Grosberg, principal, and Keri Ferguson, interior designer. (Insets, L-R): Bill Owens, TNAH 2021 Task Force Chairman; Scott and Jeanie Redmon, Redmon Design Co.; Drew Smith, COO, Two Trails; Tucker Bernard, executive director, NAHB LSC/TNAH/TNAR; and Jamahl Gibbons, manager, IBS Show Homes. (Not pictured: from Phil Kean Design Group: Chris Kaba, VP of construction, Kelly Grove, interior design coordinator, and Laura Wales, graphics specialist; and from media partner SGC Horizon: Bill Black, director of sales, and Judy Brociek, director of events.)

Project Partners 

* Members of NAHB Leading Suppliers Council


*LG Electronics: TV displays

*LG Hausys: Countertops

*LG Laundry Appliances: Laundry equipment

*LG Solar: Photovoltaic system

*Signature Kitchen Suite: Appliances

*Mitsubishi Electric Trane US: HVAC system


*Kohler: Plumbing fixtures and fittings

*Panasonic Life Solutions Company of AmericaVentilation system


*Eaton: Electrical system

*Environmental StoneWorks: Stone veneer

*Garaventa Lift: Elevator

Halo Lighting: Lighting fixtures

*SharkBite: PEX plumbing system

*Wellborn Cabinet: Kitchen and bath cabinets


Brown Jordan Outdoor Kitchens: Outdoor cabinets

*Clopay: Garage doors

*ClosetMaid PRO: Closet storage systems

*Danver Outdoor Kitchens: Outdoor cabinets

*Fi-Foil Company: Reflective insulation

*LiftMaster: Garage door openers

*Omega Flex: Natural-gas piping

*Phantom Screens: Outdoor screens

Thermory USA: Heat-treated wood finishes

VintageView: Wine storage system

*Watergen: Drinking water system


NAHB Leading Suppliers Council Contributors


The New American Home 2021 Participants

leaderboard2 - default

Related Stories


5 Steps to Cracking the Code for a High-Performance Home

As a model of energy savings, water conservation, indoor comfort and health, and use of on-site renewable energy, The New American Home 2024 offers valuable lessons


The New American Home 2024: Modern Features, Timeless Comfort

Explore the design elements and unique, luxe details that combine to create a sense of comfort and relaxed indoor/outdoor living in The New American Home 2024


Explore the Building Products That Make This Year's New American Home Another Standout

The latest building products come together in The New American Home 2024 show house, offering luxury, energy efficiency, and solid performance to inspire any project

boombox1 -
native1 - default
halfpage2 -

More in Category

Home builders can maximize efficiencies gained through simplification and standardization by automating both on-site and back-office operations 

Delaware-based Schell Brothers, our 2023 Builder of the Year, brings a refreshing approach to delivering homes and measuring success with an overriding mission of happiness

NAHB Chairman's Message: In a challenging business environment for home builders, and with higher housing costs for families, the National Association of Home Builders is working to help home builders better meet the nation's housing needs

native2 - default
halfpage1 -

Create an account

By creating an account, you agree to Pro Builder's terms of service and privacy policy.

Daily Feed Newsletter

Get Pro Builder in your inbox

Each day, Pro Builder's editors assemble the latest breaking industry news, hottest trends, and most relevant research, delivered to your inbox.

Save the stories you care about

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet lorem ipsum dolor sit amet lorem ipsum dolor sit amet.

The bookmark icon allows you to save any story to your account to read it later
Tap it once to save, and tap it again to unsave

It looks like you’re using an ad-blocker!

Pro Builder is an advertisting supported site and we noticed you have ad-blocking enabled in your browser. There are two ways you can keep reading:

Disable your ad-blocker
Disable now
Subscribe to Pro Builder
Already a member? Sign in
Become a Member

Subscribe to Pro Builder for unlimited access

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipisicing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua.