Modern livability resonates throughout The New American Home and Show Village
Each year, the most anticipated highlights of the International Builders’ Show are the demonstration homes, on and off site, where builders, architects, manufacturers, and other industry players put the trends and tastes of today’s homebuyers on real-world display.
The Professional Builder Show Village, located just outside of the exhibit halls, will feature three houses in 2018. Each house targets buyers of different income levels and life stages. Also included will be a high-performance, disaster-durable demonstration trailer by BASF. This year at Show Village there are common design themes that reveal cross-generational trends, including the integration of outdoor space, the blending of modern and warm finishes, and the incorporation of creative storage and efficient functionality into open floor plans.
ATRIUM, by Palm Harbor Homes: At 1,233 square feet, Atrium is the smallest of the three homes. The design is aimed at the Millennial first-time buyer as well as empty nesters looking to downsize. Atrium’s T-shape plan centers on an open living area with connections to the outdoors at the front and rear.
“This is what I would consider for the Millennial buyer who wants to live in a loft downtown because they like apartment amenities,” says Margie Wright, VP of interior design at Palm Harbor. “There’s economy of space and design. We made sure every inch counts, so there’s no wasted space.”
A contemporary-yet-cozy feel comes through in softened metallics that blend with brick, wood, and muted grays and earthy pastels. In the kitchen, that approach draws from Whirlpool’s new Sunset Bronze finish, an alternative to stainless steel. White cabinets tie into this softer hue, accented with metal, black, and glass accents and an onyx faucet. The linear light fixture combines whitewashed wood with metal. “Every room speaks to you and has something interesting going on within,” Wright says.
NATIONWIDE MODERN, by Nationwide Homes: The home is aimed at upscale, sophisticated buyers, from affluent young professionals to Baby Boomers. It comprises three bedrooms and family space over its 1,803 square feet. The H-shape floor plan maximizes both entertaining and privacy, with bedrooms on both sides flanking an open space and a “center of the universe” kitchen. Multi pass-through doors connect to a 40-foot-wide deck.
In several rooms, black-and-white statement pieces comfortably blend with warm tones, such as the encaustic tile inlay in the marble dining room floor. Cabinet accents include gloss, matte, and wood grains, and brick details add an urban/industrial touch.
To maximize space in the master bedroom and maintain flow, the project team eliminated closet walls, instead creating an open wardrobe behind a floating wall that forms the headboard. The softened black-and-
white color scheme continues in the master bath with wave tiles highlighted by 2-by-4-inch charcoal beveled
accents, along with black and white penny rounds on the floor. Elsewhere, taupes and grays create a clean yet comfortable look.
LABELLE, by Palm Harbor Homes: The home, nicknamed the Transitionalist, targets buyers in a range of life stages, from established midlife buyers to empty nesters. It boasts fluid elements that promote relaxation and reflect a casual elegance. The floor plan immediately opens up at the entry, where the combined living room/dining room is only slightly separated from the family room and kitchen by means of a center core featuring a fireplace on each side. A 10-foot-long island highlights the large kitchen. Outdoor space is again prominent, with a front porch and a screened rear porch.
Timeless materials such as Calacatta marble will live comfortably for years to come, while storage blends modern trends such as open shelving and a server hidden behind barn doors. Wright uses lighting as a focal point throughout, including industrial-futuristic sconces assembled into wall art and a vintage-inspired vanity light. “What we really want people to do is not just float on by,” she says. “We want them to be surprised at each place they turn, that there’s something special to appreciate in each room.”
Though the three homes are each different, there is a cohesiveness about them, from the incorporation of outdoor areas to the softer approach to modern design elements. While buyers in different age groups and income brackets have differing needs, the homes illustrate how tastes often transcend and can be adapted to any market.
The New American Home
The New American Home offers the chance to see up-and-coming trends and manufacturers’ latest innovations come to life. This year’s home is in the waterfront golf course community of Bella Collina and was built by Legacy Custom Built Homes.
The project team created a house that is elegant and modern, yet family-oriented, warm, and livable. That mission began with the overall design itself. In keeping with the rest of the community, the 6,606-square-foot house is Tuscan in style, but it has been modernized for a twist on the traditional architecture, notes John Kolb, executive VP for Legacy Construction. Elements include ample windows, larger doors, flat roof tiles rather than the typical barrel style, and square openings instead of arches.
Modernizing extends inside. “My goal was to make it a welcoming environment and to also create elements that other builders could relate to,” says interior designer Kate Clarke, president of Homes Reimagined, in Orlando. “My priority was to make a home that people can live in.”
Clarke infused the home with warmth via selections such as warm gold and glass finishes in the powder room. Earthy elements and warm tones hew to the home’s Tuscan roots but blend with modern details such as slim-profile, dark-framed doors, new trends in plumbing fixtures, and large slabs of porcelain that are softened by an outline of wood-plank-style tile.
She also included features such as wall-hung toilets, floating vanities underlit with LEDs, and barn doors in multiple locations. “There are lots of unique design elements,” she says, “but they’re all easily replicable. It’s a house for living in.”
The open floor plan offers a flow ideal for entertaining yet cozy enough for everyday family life. The H-shape first-floor layout places gathering areas in the center, and bedrooms—including a master suite with its own outdoor sitting area and fireplace—to the sides. The second floor includes a laundry and a separate TV room with morning kitchen area. The lower-level game room connects to the outdoor kitchen and a sitting area with a fire pit. The outdoors is integral to the home’s overall design; sight lines draw the eye from the entry through to the opening glass walls that lead to the back patio. In the great room, a slim track for the lift-and-slide doors and cohesive flooring ensure a seamless transition from inside to out.
Small details are just as important. Kolb says the team put a lot of thought into how each space would be used, down to where to store items, such as brooms or golf clubs, and the inclusion of a washer and dryer in the master suite. Even the dual two-car garages offer increased functionality: one has drive-through accessibility, and each is finished, complete with cabinetry, refrigerators, sinks, and air conditioned storage.
Of course, technology permeates the space in everything from automated shades to central controls for lighting and music. It’s all part of creating a home that satisfies current buyer demands while appealing to the enduring need for livability and a sense of place.
Katy Tomasulo is a freelance writer based on Bainbridge Island, Wash.