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House review: New American Home


20120624nahexterior The New American Home has a lot to like, but even as America ages and the built environment is being scrutinized for how well our homes and neighborhoods accommodate people of all ages and abilities, the 2012 New American Home isn't a universally designed house.

PhilKean Winter Park, Florida, architect and builder Phil Kean (right) envisioned the house, which was showcased at the 2012 International Builders Show, as "white box meets modernism" (think Le Corbusier in Florida).

As I said, there's a lot to like in the house -- and outdoors, where on three sides, the house wraps around a series of pools to provide outdoor living spaces along with privacy in a city lot. This is infill housing, and at 4,181 square feet, it's a lot smaller than most New American Homes showcased during recent Builders shows. (The view below, taken during a cocktail party to introduce the house during this year's International Builder's Show, demonstrates how the living areas open to the pool, which is enclosed in a high-fenched yard, so although everything is open, the setting is also screened from next-door neighbors. This is indoor-outdoor living at its best in a crowded neighborhood in a warm climate.)


I really loved the floating cabinetry, the sleek, unadorned lines (not a crown moulding in sight) and the light-filled spaces. I even liked the look of many of the features that make the house less than friendly for children, the frail, the elderly or the infirm. As I wandered through the house, I kept looking for details that worked as universal design -- and those features that might be tweaked to make the house more livable for those who are not physically able 18-year-olds.