The New American Home is a showhouse built each year in conjunction with the International Builders’ Show to demonstrate the latest innovations in technology, energy efficiency and design trends — and this multimillion-dollar property is also way over the top with plenty of wow factors. While that makes it a fun place to visit, the house also provides a glimpse of future building techniques and styles that could eventually make their way into other new homes.
The 2019 home, built on a mountainside lot in the private gated Ascaya community in Henderson, Nevada, overlooks the Las Vegas valley and the Las Vegas Strip. An important goal of the house, which was designed and built by Sun West Custom Homes of Las Vegas, is to optimize energy efficiency, says Dan Coletti, owner of Sun West Custom Homes.
The single-story, 8,200-square-foot house wraps around a central great room that opens onto an expansive patio with a swimming pool overlooking the valley. The house has five bedrooms and five bathrooms. The expansive great room, which has 14-foot-high ceilings with a tongue-and-groove ceiling design, includes more than a dozen open-cage light fixtures overhead, a “floating TV” suspended on a glass wall and plenty of extra seating at a wet bar and two kitchen islands. A dining room just off the great room includes two walls of glass wine racks for storage and decoration.
The variety of features in the New American Home includes seven key design trends that you’re likely to see incorporated into newly built homes in the future:
1. Extreme Energy Efficiency
The New American Home was built to Emerald-level status, the highest efficiency rating of the National Green Build Standard, says Drew Smith, an energy and green building consultant with Two Trails Inc. in Sarasota, Florida.
“The house has a 45 HERS rating, which means it’s 55 percent more energy-efficient than the average new home,” Smith says. “That’s remarkable for a house this size and one that doesn’t have solar panels on the roof.”
The house is wrapped in walls of glass, including pocket walls that can open completely. The high level of energy efficiency is achieved in part because of the abundance of insulation, including spray-foam insulation; energy-efficient appliances; and a “mini-split” air conditioning system that allows for flexibility and multiple cooling zones. Sun West used the AeroBarrier system to seal the house, which Smith says works like “fix-a-flat” for houses, filling in the smallest spaces that could leak conditioned air.
2. Maximizing Indoor-Outdoor Living
The desire for living outdoors as much as possible means that builders increasingly include spaces such as the glass-walled great room that can be entirely opened. A DaVinci gas fireplace with colorful crystals extends through the indoor and outdoor space, allowing for 16 feet of fire when the glass wall is open, says Bridgette Slater, director of design and preconstruction with Sun West Custom Homes.
“The glass pocket doors allow for the wet bar in the great room to be an indoor and outdoor space and even the kitchen becomes an indoor-outdoor kitchen when the glass door is opened,” Slater says. “We use the same flooring for the whole space for a seamless transition.”
3. Colorful Interiors
While neutral grey and white palettes are still popular, the New American Home adds pops of color with a red bar and bar stools in the game room and colorful yellow walls in the kitchen and in the “ladies lounge,” as Slater terms the space that has a steam shower, a massage shower, massage chairs and exercise equipment.
4. Fire Indoors and Out
The indoor gas fireplaces in the great room and master bedroom provide color but very little heat, Slater says. Open flames are found outside only, in fire pits in multiple locations visible from the glass walls of the house and on the patio adjacent to the swimming pool. Regulations prohibit wood-burning fireplaces in many locations, but builders have found a variety of ways to add the warmth of flame for homeowners.
Today’s buyers want their homes to reflect their personalities, which in the New American Home means a glass-enclosed garage where a car enthusiast can park a Ferrari or Lamborghini adjacent to the billiard table and bar. Across the covered courtyard is a study surrounded by glass pocket doors that can be entirely opened for working “outdoors.”
The master bedroom features a “floating” king-size bed that faces two walls of glass pocket doors and is adjacent to an L-shaped gas fireplace. “It was Dan’s idea to have a cantilevered bed that maximizes the view across the valley, so we had to figure out how to build it,” Slater says.
6. Drama in the Bathrooms
Freestanding tubs are nearly essential in large master bathrooms, typically set either in their own niche or within a glass “wet room” that includes a shower as well as the tub. At the New American Home, the freestanding tub in the master bathroom rests in front of a window overlooking a side patio with a fire pit. At the center of the master bathroom is a room-sized glass-enclosed shower with showerheads on two sides.
7. Maximum Storage Everywhere
In an 8,200-square-foot house with plenty of bedrooms and closets, you might think storage would be extensive enough without any special planning. But each hallway, the walk-in pantry and the laundry room have additional built-in storage.
The New American Home demonstrates trends that are applicable to buyers who want anything from an 820-square-foot home to an 8,200-square-foot mansion. View videos of the New American Home to see how these trends come together — and gather ideas for what you’d like your new home to include!
Michele Lerner is an award-winning freelance writer, editor and author who has been writing about real estate, personal finance and business topics for more than two decades.