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The New American Home 2023: A Haven on the Hill

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The New American Home

The New American Home 2023: A Haven on the Hill

Rich with creative design ideas, luxury finishes, and innovative products, The New American Home 2023 presents a sanctuary for entertainment, recreation, and relaxation


By Layne Deakins, Associate Editor April 17, 2023
Front elevation of The New American Home 2023
The New American Home 2023 is perched on a mountainous 0.5-acre lot in the Ascaya luxury community in Henderson, Nev., overlooking the Las Vegas Strip and Red Rock Canyon. That uninterrupted view is one of the primary reasons why this site was selected, according to the home’s architect and builder Michael Gardner. | All images: Joel Gamble, Klassik Vizion Studios
This article first appeared in the March/April 2023 issue of Pro Builder.

If New York is home to the city that never sleeps, Las Vegas is the city of insomniacs, a dazzling playground of gambling, entertainment, fine dining, and nightlife that pushes any idea of rest onto the back burner. 

But in the mountains that surround the Las Vegas Valley, a quiet desert escape takes form where the ceaseless glow of the Sin City strip doesn’t reach. The McCullough Range—home to the luxury community of Ascaya—is pristine and peaceful, a high sentinel overlooking the city but taking no part in its bustling culture.

Design Inspiration for The New American Home 2023

On a half-acre lot nestled within the red rock landscape, The New American Home 2023, the 39th in a series of annual showcase homes built in the host city of the International Builders’ Show, achieves the best of both worlds.

Designed and built by Michael Gardner, AIA, principal of Luxus Design Build and founder of Studio g Architecture, the 8,200-square-foot, two-level, four-bedroom home, named "Byron Bay," is a perfect blend of fun and functional design. Its elevated location overlooking the valley inspired the home’s orientation and, ultimately, its one-of-a-kind floor plan, which bridges comfortable interior spaces with breezy outdoor living areas.

“The most interesting and unique features of the home started with the site selection and were brought to life through the floor plan,” Gardner says. That meant using the topography and natural materials as a guide for the home’s construction and design. For instance, the southeast side of the property features an impressive rock outcropping, while the north side delivers a panoramic view of the Las Vegas Strip. “We design from the outside in when it comes to materiality,” Gardner says, “so that even when you’re in the home, you feel like you’re outside.”


Project Specs: Byron Bay

Location: Ascaya Luxury Community, Henderson, Nev.

Builder: Luxus Design Build, Las Vegas

Architect: Studio g Architecture

Size: 8,200 square feet

Beds: Baths: 5.5 

Photos: Joel Gamble, Klassick Vizion Studios


Outdoor Spaces That Live Large

Nowhere is serenity better embraced in this year’s New American Home than in its expansive outdoor living areas, from a zen-like open-air courtyard at the home’s entry to a sprawling 2,000-square-foot deck and patio space along the back of the house. 

Providing opportunities for indoor/outdoor living was a must for Gardner, who designed the home’s floor plan to not only take advantage of the property’s prime location, but also its balmy weather. To seamlessly blend indoor and outdoor living spaces, he opted for 10-foot-tall sliding glass doors in multiple living areas that maximize the home’s stunning views and bring fresh air into the open-concept floor plan. Those floor-to-ceiling doors are best showcased in the great room, where a 45-foot run of glass opens into the covered pool deck encompassing a kitchen, dining area, and lounge. 

Rear elevation of TNAH 2023
The home’s infinity pool flows into a lap pool along the property’s lower perimeter—a functional solution that utilizes the lot’s gradual slope.

“When you’re in the great room, it feels like you’re outside because of how much light we brought in with the expansive use of glass,” he says. With those doors open, the indoor dining room and main kitchen open up to the outdoors entirely, blurring the line and making them part of the outdoor experience—an effect also seen in the game room and in the owner’s bedroom. “The interior pairs this very simple, clean design with a complexity in what those spaces can actually do,” Gardner adds.

Not only is the home’s interior design influenced by the property’s natural environment, but the outdoor spaces themselves required some creative engineering to work with the sloped lot. A two-tier, infinity-edge pool running along the lower perimeter of the backyard is the centerpiece of the home’s outdoor living spaces; it’s also a perfect example of site-specific design. 

Most infinity-edge pools require a big trough in which the water spills over before being cycled back into the pool basin, but the Luxus team flipped that traditional idea on its head and decided to make the trough a lap pool. “By doing so, we not only created a unique solution to the lot’s topography,” Gardner says, “but we also gave function to something that was needed.”

“We design from the outside in when it comes to materiality, so that even when you’re in the home, you feel like you’re outside.” —Michael Gardner, architect and builder

By adding spacious cooking functions and seating areas as well as access to a full outdoor bathroom to the poolside patio and an upper deck, Gardner increased year-round livability for homeowners even beyond the home’s conditioned square footage. But those aren’t the only outdoor additions that make the home live larger.

The side yard, Gardner says, is traditionally overlooked in the design process, but not in this home: All but one of the home’s four bedrooms have private access to covered patios and balconies running along the property’s western perimeter, each equipped with its own outdoor fireplace and seating area. 

“Outdoor living really just extends habitable spaces,” Gardner says, “and while a lot of people turn their back on side yards, we opted to highlight a couple of those locations to create really cool covered patio spaces the homeowners can actually use.” 


View of TNAH 2023 from lawn into pool deck
Outdoor living area on pool deck
Indoor/outdoor living was one of the most important considerations for the Luxus Design Build team, which is why they chose to allocate so much of the property’s square footage to spacious outdoor living areas, such as the covered pool deck (above). 

RELATED


TNAH floor plans

 

Floor Plan

The design/build team for The New American Home 2023 maximized a half-acre lot space in the Ascaya development with showstopping outdoor living areas such as a two-tiered infinity pool [1] and covered pool deck [2] overlooking the Las Vegas Strip. The home’s lower level is designed to both entertain guests and to provide a level of functionality for homeowners with fun spaces like the game room [3], and quieter areas such as a private bedroom [4] complete with its own laundry [5], another guest bedroom with access to a private patio [6], and a quiet home office [7].

The open-concept great room encompasses a cozy living area [8], an indoor/outdoor dining area [9], and a sleek, modern kitchen [10] that leads into a roomy four-car garage [11]. The centerpiece of the home’s second floor is the owner’s suite [12], which includes a private lounge space, a wet bar, and a wraparound deck with sweeping views of the valley below. Next door is a spa-like bathroom [13] that flows into the primary closet [14] and a large laundry room [15]. At the end of the upstairs hallway is another bright, spacious guest bedroom [16] tucked away from the home’s primary entertainment spaces. The rooftop deck [17] is one of the most noteworthy parts of the home’s layout. It offers some of the property’s best views and includes a seating area, a bar, and an outdoor kitchen. 


Fashion Meets Functionality

While the home pays homage to the lively culture surrounding it, it also offers a laid-back getaway for homeowners and their guests. 

That blend of recreation and practicality is another core tenet of the floor plan, which Gardner carefully crafted to make even large entertainment spaces feel homey and comfortable.

“From the house, you’re able to look down on the Strip and visually connect to this chaos that ensues in Las Vegas,” he says. But despite the home’s enviable view of the always-on lights of the Strip and connection to the city, Gardner says that tumultuous energy needs to be left in the valley below. “Your home is your sanctuary. It’s your place to decompress.” 


TNAH 2023 kitchen and dining room
From 23 feet up, the large windows surrounding the home’s great room admit an abundance of natural light, making the already spacious areas, such as the living room, dining room, and kitchen, feel even larger.

Nowhere is that sense of refuge and respite more evident than in the owner’s suite, where a bird’s eye view of the valley is framed by a corner wall of intersecting sliding glass doors, the same ones Gardner used as the centerpiece of the living room. The bedroom space is divided by an accent wall from an adjacent bar and lounge area that takes its design cues from flashier parts of the home, while offering a separate and private sense of peace and simplicity.

“The home’s design was framed around this feeling of comfort and a subdued, understated elegance,” Gardner says, in contrast with the world of nonstop entertainment in Vegas. “We designed the home so you can have multiple different microscopic or macroscopic catering locations, but so you can also create a level of functionality, depending on how you entertain.”

“The interior pairs this very simple, clean design with a complexity in what those spaces can actually do.” —Michael Gardner, architect and builder

That duality is achieved in areas like the game room, which pairs a wet bar and a billiards table with a cozy lounge area for low-key movie nights. Along with fun escapes, the lower level also includes a home office that’s removed from other activity, with a private, soundproof work space that has acoustic panels behind the walls. 

Up a staircase that wraps an elevator and is illuminated by a custom light display, the second floor is another prime example of stylish, practical design. A large landing overlooks the primary living space and leads into an interconnected laundry room, primary closet space, and primary suite bathroom, where relaxation takes priority, with a built-in aspen wood sauna, a two-person shower, and a soaking tub.

Creating a sense of home was paramount for Gardner, so much so that the property’s name, Byron Bay, takes inspiration from his own roots. “My family is from Australia, and Byron Bay is a prime destination to retreat from city life,” he says. “That’s what this house is really intended to do. You’re adjacent, but you’re not there. You’re close, and you can see the city, but you’re in your own private haven.”


View of TNAH kitchen from living room
With 45 feet of sliding glass doors along its rear elevation, the home’s spacious open floor plan is designed for entertaining. The living room includes a wet bar, a marbled quartz fireplace, and integrated speakers built into the surrounding walls. 

TNAH 2023 entryway courtyard
TNAH game room and billiards table
The game room is a playful getaway that pairs a wet bar and billiards table with a film screening area and private outdoor patio for the ideal mix of leisure and comfort.

Owner's bedroom TNAH 2023
Lounge area in owner's suite
In the owner’s suite, a backlit accent wall divides the space into two distinct living areas. On one side is a cozy lounge space equipped with a full wet bar and an entertainment center, and on the other is a peaceful, resort-like bedroom. 

Big House, Big Tech, Big Savings 

Throughout its 39-year history, The New American Home has served as both a model of inspiring architectural design and lifestyle ideas as well as a showcase for innovations in technology and energy efficiency. The 2023 exhibition home is no exception. 

On the tech side, the entire house is equipped with a smart home system that controls everything from the owner’s suite shower to the living room fireplace. “Pretty much the whole home can be monitored and controlled remotely,” says architect-builder Michael Gardner. Homeowners can adjust the fireplaces, TVs, speakers, and the thermostat to customize audio, lighting, and temperature from a mobile device, which also allows the owner to better understand all aspects of the home’s energy use. “Homes are becoming very technologically driven,” Gardner says. “That doesn’t just help with accessibility, it also gives homeowners a better understanding of how they’re using their utilities.”

While the owners of this $13.5 million home might not be overly concerned with their monthly utility bills, they may have an interest in sustainability. As such, Gardner’s team collaborated with Two Trails, a national green-building consultancy, to achieve impressive levels of energy, water, and other resource efficiencies to reduce the home’s carbon footprint. The structure’s climate-specific thermal shell not only significantly lowers the home’s energy load, but the right-sized, 20-kilowatt rooftop solar array helps achieve a net-zero energy-use balance and a Home Energy Rating Index of –15. 

The home also earned Emerald certification from the National Green Building Standard, and Platinum status from the U.S. Green Building Council’s Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) for Homes program, along with several other standards for indoor air quality, energy efficiency, and potable water use.

“A large home can still have a minimal impact on the environment,” Gardner says. “It’s a principle we follow in all of the homes we build. There are some huge upsides to striving for efficiency and sustainability in home building.” 

For more info on the home’s energy efficiency, visit our latest Webinar on Demand: The New American Home 2023, High-Performance Features


Meet the Project Team for The New American Home 2023

TNAH project team
Members of The New American Home 2023 project team include (L-R): Michael Gardner, owner and principal, Luxus Design Build; Travis Holden, project manager, Luxus Design Build; Donna Batilova, project manager, Luxus Design Build; Joseph Cosens, assistant superintendent, Luxus Design Build; Tucker Bernard, executive director, National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) Leading Suppliers Council and The New American Home (TNAH) program; Ted Mahoney, TNAH 2023 chairman; Bob Hanbury, TNAH 2023 vice chairman; Jamahl Gibbons, manager, IBS Show Homes; Blake Larson, assistant superintendent, Luxus Design Build; Alex Palmer, architectural drafter, Luxus Design Build; Ashley Gray, office manager, Luxus Design Build; and Xena Wellman, administrative coordinator, Luxus Design Build.

Project Partners 

* Members of NAHB Leading Suppliers Council

PLATINUM

*LG Air Conditioning Technologies: Air conditioning units

*LG Studio: Laundry equipment

*Signature Kitchen Suite: Appliances

*Simpson Strong-Tie: Fastening systems

GOLD

*Kohler: Plumbing fixtures and fittings

*Kohler Home Energy: Generator

SILVER

*Sherwin-Williams: Coatings

*StoneWorks: Exterior stone

 Thermory: Wood cladding; sauna

BRONZE

*Broan-NuTone: Ventilation systems

*Brown Jordan Outdoor Kitchens: Outdoor cabinets

 Clopay: Garage doors

 Crestron: Smart home system

*Fi-Foil Company: Reflective insulation

 Knauf Insulation: Fiberglass insulation; acoustic panels

*Liftmaster: Garage door opener; gate opener

*Omega Flex: Natural-gas piping

*Phantom Screens: Pest/sun screens

 Rinnai: Hot water systems

*Schneider Electric: Home energy system

*StruXure: Outdoor pergola

 VintageView: Wine racking systems

 Wood-Mode Fine Custom Cabinetry: Interior cabinets


More TNAH 2023: For additional coverage of the house, its partners and products, and to take a virtual tour, visit tnah.com


NAHB Leading Suppliers Council Contributors

Bosch Home Appliances

Circa Lighting

DuPont Performance Building Solutions

Garaventa Lift

Gladiator GarageWorks

Huntsman Building Solutions

Kidde

MBCI


PARTICIPANTS

AeroBarrier

American Fyre

Ambisonic Systems

Amina

AutoHot

Awake Window and Door Co.

Bang & Olufsen

Bedrock Wireless

Caesarstone

DaVinci Custom Fireplaces

Emtek Products

Environmental Water Systems

Euclid Chemical Co.

FF Systems

Fire Magic 

Häfele America

Home Team Pest Defense

Infratech

Kährs International

Kingspan

MAC Roofing

OldCastle APG

On Guard Fire Protection

Origin Acoustics

Red Rock Insulation

Solaria

Travis Industries

Walker & Zanger

Westcoat Specialty Coating Systems

Williams Sonoma

Wine Guardian

 

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Written By

Layne Deakins is the associate editor for Pro Builder, PRODUCTS, and Custom Builder. She writes feature articles, contributes HorizonTV videos, manages social media accounts, and produces e-newsletters for all three brands. Layne is a 2021 graduate of Pennsylvania State University.

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