As it had throughout its history, the New American Home introduced new terms to the mainstream housing lexicon in 1997, namely universal design. The suburban house put all 3,587 square feet on one level to ensure complete access by the empty-nester couple and their family members and guests, providing an at-grade entry and covering the majority of that footprint inside with a plank-wood (read: hard-surface) flooring. The wide-open floor plan also helps; upon entering, there’s little definition (besides the use of furniture) to demarcate the plan, while passages to secondary rooms are wider than standard dimensions and often employ double or pocket doors—many of them glass— to enable easier access. The house also upped the ante on outdoor spaces with a built-in grill (the precursor to an outdoor kitchen) and a fireplace within a covered, tiled patio. Back inside, a library/parlor featured an ample office alcove separated by glass pocket doors, while the garage bay closest to the house was staged as a possible home office, as well.
The home also followed the lead of its predecessors with what was becoming standard performance features, including insulated ductwork and housewrap and the airspace of the insulated windows. However, the project team specified a relatively new technology called argon gas in the window airspace to further retard thermal transfer. The house also featured a new entry door material—fiberglass—to address the problems with steel and wood.
Builder/Designer: Dave Presnell Builder, The Woodlands, Tex.; Designer: Clothier/Sullivan & Stevens Associates, Houston; Landscape Architect: Oasis Landscaping, The Woodlands; Interior Designer: Michael Foster Design, New York.
Did you know?
A bump-out window in the Great Room was created out of frameless, butted glass, creating a near-seamless view to the back yard.