The New American Home crossed the halfway point to its Silver anniversary in a big way; true to form (and a harbinger of homes to come a decade later), the 7,385-square-foot luxury home dove into the possibilities afforded by an affluent, mature couple without kids who like to entertain and need dedicated work-at-home spaces. That plan manifested from the front, where a stately façade, marked by a dramatic entry and covered balcony above and flanked on both sides by a wide elevation, welcomed guests with a trio of arched openings and a wide stair from a stamped concrete motor court. Inside, the columns repeated in the living room and cropped up elsewhere on the plan, but soon gave way to spaces not yet seen in the mainstream in one house: a dedicated wine room; an upstairs pub room (complete with a bar and ample room for games) adjacent to a home theater; a pair of stairs, neither of which intrude on the foyer; an outside, covered loggia and exercise area; a hobby space and service quarters over the garage; a two-cook kitchen; a pair of office alcoves—one in the main-level master suite, the other carved out near the family room—supplemented by a study just inside the front door; and three secondary bedroom suites upstairs for overnight guests or returning adult children.
Built in a flood zone, the house required some creative construction techniques—at least in the eyes of builders unfamiliar with such site conditions. The foundation was a reinforced concrete pier-and-beam design that left a code-mandated 48-inch clearance under the house. The team also employed a hybrid steel-and-wood framing scheme, including steel joists to carry the second floor load, in part to gain experience with the lumber alternative. Behind the finishes, the house features insulated ductwork to reduce heat loss and a home automation network run with the addition of structured wiring.
Builder/Designer: Carmichael/Dame Builders, Houston; Landscape Architect: Foresman & Associates, Houston; Interior Designer: Michael Foster Design, New York.
Did you know?
The home’s $1.6 million price tag nearly doubled the previous high water mark for the program, set in 1992. The house is also the only one to be built by a design-build firm.