Inside Show Homes

The Ultimate Vegas Party House

New American Home 2013 Loft

All of life can be a party. With great views and great spaces, the 2013 New American Home is made for entertaining.

While it would be accurate to dub this Vegas home a party house, it would by no means capture the almost endless— and flexible—entertaining options in this home.

Blue Heron principal Tyler Jones, builder of the home, says, “The whole house, actually the whole property, is geared toward entertaining.” He follows this with a list of areas custom made for entertaining, in ways both formal and casual, and it’s not just the usual suspects like the dining room, kitchen and great room, but also the sunken outdoor living room, the sky deck, the pool table loft room, the wine room…and the list goes on.

Functional and Fabulous

New American Home 2013 Great Room

Great Room/Kitchen

The combined kitchen/great room area is one of Jones’ favorite parts of the home, and a natural entertaining space because of its blend of sophistication and casualness, as well as its spaciousness, which lends nicely to entertaining. “The kitchen is really functional,” says Jones, “plus it’s absolutely gorgeous.” The main kitchen features two islands: the inner, lower profile island houses the sink, dishwasher and microwave; then there’s a high-top bar island that connects to the great room, which conceals the lower working area from view.

In addition to the main kitchen, there’s a butler’s pantry and a sub-kitchen/prep room, sometimes referred to as the “dirty kitchen.” This area allows for food preparation and catering to be out of sight from guests, but it’s only one step removed from the action. All of these areas are connected by a prep kitchen corridor, which leads to a serving area and wine bar that connects directly to the dining room.

Jones describes the dining room as “fantastic—over the top and a lot of fun,” and as the perfect spot for more formal gatherings. Lyndsay Janssen, lead Blue Heron interior designer on the project, is especially proud of the dining room, in particular a focal-point mural that adorns one wall and part of the ceiling. The dining room table she describes as “one of the best pieces” in the home. “It’s 15 feet of solid walnut that took about 30 men to bring in,” says Janssen. “It’s amazing.”

The Lower-Level Low Down

New American Home 2013 Basement Bar

Basement Bar

There seems to be consensus among anyone who’s been in this New American Home that the basement is also an amazing space, and one that’s ripe for entertaining. Although it’s the lower level, because of all of the interesting spaces here, everyone involved in the project is sure it will be a top choice for entertaining.

Architect of the home, Michael Gardner of Blue Heron, says the basement space is very dynamic and has a “nightclub-esque feel” to it. In his view, one of the most unique aspects of the basement is the wine room and wine tasting room. “We reinvented the wine room here,” says Gardner. “One of the ways we did this was to use cabinetry in a big way, and also uniquely.”

It’s so unique, in fact, it’s difficult to describe, but builder Jones says that the cabinetry really is the design—it’s functional, but also part of the design. “One wall of the wine room is completely open to the exterior courtyard, one wall is the entrance into the wine tasting room,” says Jones. “The other two walls are clad in cabinetry, used in an interesting architectural arrangement, with pop outs at varying distances from the wall.”

(See How The New American Home Went from Dream to Dream Home for more on the wine room.)

New American Home 2013 Media Room

Media Room

The media room is another highlight, which directly connects to the koi pond outside and several water walls; it also transforms into a fully functional media room that blacks out with drop-down screens.

Jones says that a lot of architectural design elements were used intentionally to bridge space that connects one area to the next, which is true of the lower level; all of the interior space opens up and relates directly to the exterior, including a subterranean courtyard replete with a full bar.

Gardner adds about the downstairs space, “You could fit at least 40 to 50 people there—you could literally host a whole party in the basement.”

Head Upstairs for Some Fun

Not all of the fun will be had on the main and lower levels; the upper portion of the home holds entertaining promise as well. Upstairs, there’s a loft area with a pool table and bar, and access to the outdoors through retractable windows in this room. There’s also a junior guest suite, which is a private space for overnight guests, and features two fireplaces and a kitchenette on the backside of the bathroom.

For an out-of-this-world, and out of this house, entertaining experience, the sky deck is the way to go. There’s intimate seating and a fire feature, as well as remarkable views of the house below, the golf course, the Strip, and mountain vistas.

The More the Merrier… or Not

With so many great potential party spaces, Jones conveys that this home can accommodate groups both big and small. And when he says big, he means big. “The home really comes alive when you put 200 to 300 of your closest friends in it,” he says with a laugh. In all seriousness, he points out that the home’s 8,000 square feet is deceiving. If you add up all of the outdoor living space, it’s probably close to 12,000 square feet of usable space. “While the home entertains well at a large scale,” says Jones, “we also created spaces that are simultaneously casual and serene for intimate gatherings, and comfortable for the end user who lives there.”

Architect Gardner says, “A lot of people can actually see themselves living here, but they also see the awesome entertaining potential. It’s a nice balance.”

What could be more entertaining? Perhaps a starstudded Vegas show. But when it comes to entertaining at home, this place gets rave reviews.

This article originally appeared in Volume 13, Issue 1 (January 2013) of Portfolio Magazine.
Portfolio Magazine is an award-winning showcase of exciting design ideas and industry insights.

Water is Everywhere at The New American Home

New American Home 2013 Front Entryway

Water is everywhere inside the New American Home 2013.

When you enter the 2013 New American Home, one of the first things you’ll notice is water. As you weave your way through the home, you’ll see water. On every level, still more water. That’s because water was an element extensively tied into the home to serve both aesthetic and functional purposes, and the result is spectacular.

New American Home 2013 Zero-Edge Pool

Zero-Edge Pool

It’s not just the pool that’s amazing—although it is— it’s all of the water features that separately are beautiful, but altogether, the sum effect is even greater than the individual parts. Those parts include a koi pond, tranquility pool, a trough water feature that runs from the front to the back of the home, and then there are water walls that wind through the house, and interact with all of the individual water features.

Water was one of the main elements use to connect the indoors with the outdoors, and according to Blue Heron principal, Tyler Jones, the water features relate strongly to the architectural design. “There are a lot of dynamic water connections,” says Jones, “that spill from the first floor to the basement and connect to the water elements at the subterranean level.”

The water features accomplish more than just giving the eye something beautiful to drink in; they also serve the purpose of adding moisture to the air, and help to keep temperatures within the home cooler and more comfortable, in an energy efficient manner.

New American Home 2013 Water Wall

Water Wall

New American Home 2013 Backyard Pool

Backyard Pool

Waterscaping and landscaping go hand-in-hand, and of course water conservation is a large part of sustainable design, which is at the core of how Blue Heron does business. Jones explains that desert smart landscaping is a strategy that his company employs in all of their homes. No grass was used (or harmed) in the making of the 2013 New American Home. “We achieved a great aesthetic using almost exclusively desert plants,” says Jones. “Our approach was a sculptural and architectural use of plants, mixed with the water features to create drama and interest.”

Blue Heron architect Michael Gardner says that the way elements like fire, water and plants were used in this home create a Zen feel. Many people associate Zen with Japanese—lush and tropical. Gardner explains that with this home, they’ve taken this concept, and applied it in a different way; yet they’ve still adhered to the simplistic nature of Zen principles. “It goes back to Zen design,” says Gardner. “Water and fire. Earth elements. You’re bringing them to the home, embracing them. Organizing them in a certain way. And that adds to the ability to have a Zen-like experience.”

This article originally appeared in Volume 13, Issue 1 (January 2013) of Portfolio Magazine.
Portfolio Magazine is an award-winning showcase of exciting design ideas and industry insights.

The Indoor-Outdoor Relationship

New American Home 2013 Outdoor Bedroom

The indoor-outdoor relationship is on full display at The New American Home 2013 in Henderson, Nevada.

From the time he first laid line to paper when designing this home, architect Michael Gardner of Blue Heron says he was thinking holistically, blurring the lines between indoors and out.

New American Home 2013 Outdoor Loft Bar

Outdoor Loft Bar

This is a common philosophy for Blue Heron, who built the 2013 New American Home, and whose specialty is desert contemporary. Blue Heron co-founder Tyler Jones says, “We focus on indoor and outdoor relationships, designing the in and the out at the same time.” Their approach is to treat the exterior of the home like the interior from the very start of planning, which means it’s an integrated team of architect, landscape architect and interior designer working closely together to bring the joint vision to fruition.

The blurring of lines that Gardner speaks of begins at the home’s main front exterior entrance between the two garages. In this area, you’re moving from public space to exterior private space; although it almost feels as though you’re inside, you’re not completely sure. Gardner explains that when you’re in the true front entrance, the northern part of the space is public, and the southern side is private, which allows you to leave that entry area completely open, while maintaining privacy and security. There are two sets of doors on each side that allow you to easily go back into conditioned space, which Gardner says makes the home “very livable.”

When Boundaries Disappear

New American Home 2013 Sunken Patio

Outdoor Living Space

Almost all of the rooms in the home have some direct access to outside, and architectural features are used to seamlessly blend outside and inside, such as pocket doors and sliding doors, which are all automated for easy use. “The purpose of these features,” says Gardner, “is to allow a line of sight and visual connection from inside to outside.” The kitchen/ great room area’s use of corner pocket doors allows for indoor/outdoor living possibly at its finest: when the doors are open you can experience this “wow” factor by literally sitting in the living room while dangling your feet in the pool.

The master bath is another area that highlights the seamless blending of indoor/outdoor. Cabinetry was suspended between two walls, so as you approach the sinks from the entrance of the master bath, you’re looking into a private master courtyard with an exterior shower. “Standing at the sink,” explains Jones, “you can look straight through to the courtyard because the mirrors are seamlessly integrated into the walls.” When needed, the mirrors swing out, and then can be tucked back in place so as not to disrupt the clean visual to outside.

Organic Materials Fit Right In

In plain view from the master bedroom is the outdoor bedroom, which includes an outdoor daybed with nightstands on both sides. Also in this area is a rejuvenation room, which opens to the outdoors on three sides like a spa.

New American Home 2013 Master Bedroom

Master Bedroom

New American Home 2013 Master Suite Hallway

Master Suite Hallway

Interior Designer on the home, Lyndsay Janssen of Blue Heron, says that the use of a lot of organic materials, such as stone and wood, helped to create the seamless indoor/outdoor experience. Gabions—manmade wire supports filled with rock—were used in both interior and exterior applications, including the master suite along interior and exterior walls. Stone was produced by Environmental Stoneworks in panels that replicate a dry river bed, its horizontal lines fitting well with the architecture. “The stone is unique and totally novel,” says Jones, “so it fits right in.”

Wood also played a large role in multiple areas of the home, primarily through the use of Resysta, which is a sustainable product made from recycled rice husks and polymers, but it looks like wood planking. This product was used inside and outside, and was a large part of the design, according to Jones and Gardner. They especially liked Resysta for its versatility because it could be sanded, stained and applied in ways to give them the clean look they wanted, and also because of its sustainable properties and wearability in exterior applications.

While the use of so much wood and stone could be harsh, designer Janssen explains the plan of warming it up through the color palette, which is also borrowed from nature. The majority of the color palette in the upper levels is warmer brown tones, with pops of color here and there “to add an element of surprise.” Downstairs, a gray/white/blonde palette is used, along with a silver limestone pattern. Janssen says of the entire house, “None of the spaces make you feel like you can’t touch anything. It’s warm, and it invites you to sit down and relax.”

She also notes that greenery is used in a big way, both inside and out. “Because you can see straight through the home, and from inside to outside in so many places, even the backdrop of the home ties into the interior spaces.” She says that the team likes it when someone in the home has to stop and think, “Am I inside or outside?”

A Peaceful, Easy Feeling

New American Home 2013 Dining Room

Dining Room

Far from leaving a visitor disoriented, this seamless blending of indoor/outdoor leaves one feeling peaceful, says architect Gardner. He explains this is accomplished by creating different focal points. “When you’re in any space within this home, and you turn 360 degrees, you see into different interior spaces, as well as outside, but we’ve designed it so that you always have one focal point up close, and then something farther away.” One example of this is in the dining room, where the intimate visual focal point is the wall mural, while pocket doors allow you to look across the courtyard and down into the Zen garden.

Gardner describes having this series of vignettes as a way for the architecture, the landscape—everything—to work together. Jones adds that there are “a lot of architectural design elements that bridge space and connect one area to the next,” describing the relationship of some of the elevations and the water elements from this standpoint. “The interior and exterior spaces of the basement are particularly dynamic. Three spaces relate to a very large exterior space. The subterranean courtyard relates strongly to the first and second floor as well.” Much of what ties this all together is the water features that actually “spill” from one level to the next. Fire features are used throughout—inside and out—as another key crossover element.

Gardner believes that the indoors and outdoors truly do work hand in hand, and this has to be taken into account throughout the whole process. “We notice the hierarchy of the plants and the landscape to the architecture. You can see this in the organization of the elements. It’s a series of views. It’s not chaotic. It’s soothing and calming.” By paying such close attention to the indoor/ outdoor relationships, and by approaching it as a total, integrated space, Gardner says it expands people’s vision of what indoor/outdoor can be, and it enhances the home’s livability. “What you end up with is a home that feels and lives like it’s a luscious estate.”

The Climate Is Right

Admittedly, Jones and Gardner say that indoor/outdoor relationships are easier to do in Las Vegas than in some other areas. But indoor/outdoor living is a trend that is being seen not only on the coasts or in warmer climates, and there has been more consumer awareness and demand for these features in recent years.

New American Home 2013 Casita


The part of this home in regard to indoor/outdoor that builders in other parts of the country can take away, says Jones, “is the integration of the design, the blending of interior and exterior materials.” Architect Gardner agrees that there are elements employed here that are translatable to other climates, and he says the trick is to approach it through “regionally responsive design.” In this home, he says they used tactics to get light in without exposing it to too much heat, such as placing linear slit windows on the south facing side. “Everywhere in the country you have to deal with south facing or west facing glass,” says Gardner. He recommends examining solar orientation, overhangs, and using doors versus smaller broken up windows to invite the outdoor space in. “Think of it holistically as part of the design process. You can do this anywhere, and it doesn’t cost more.”

This article originally appeared in Volume 13, Issue 1 (January 2013) of Portfolio Magazine.
Portfolio Magazine is an award-winning showcase of exciting design ideas and industry insights.

The Hottest Night in the Industry

Guests mingle in the great room at the Timberlake Cabinetry VIP Event at the 2013 New American Home in Henderson, Nevada  on Tuesday, January 22, 2013.

Last night, over 150 people joined us at the New American Home 2013 for an exclusive look at this year’s International Builders’ Show (IBS) showcase home for building industry innovation in Henderson, Nevada.  Our invitation-only event brought together builders, architects, designers and media from across the country for an experience they will not soon forget – it was the hottest night in the industry.

Guests dined on hors d’oeuvres by At Your Service Catering, danced to the sounds of acclaimed singer Dian Diaz, participated in video interviews about the night and the home, which will be posted soon so check back, and had an opportunity to walk room-to-room to truly experience all that the New American Home 2013 has to offer.

Completed in just 9 months (!) the 6,721-square-foot home features, sixteen rooms of Timberlake Cabinetry, a touchpad system for total control of the home, a rejuvenation room, an indoor-outdoor master bedroom, a koi pond, water features that run throughout the home, a sky deck with views of the Las Vegas Strip, and the home has attained National Green Building Standard “Emerald” Level.

Talk about a jam packed tour! If you weren’t able to join us last night or visit the home during IBS this year, be sure to visit our New American Home 2013 project page, the latest issue of Portfolio Magazine, and check out the highlight video on our YouTube Channel and images from the event on our Timberlake Facebook Page.

Highlights of the Night


Snapshots of the Night

Be sure to visit the Timberlake Facebook Page to view and download your group pictures from the night, and check-out candid images from the festivities.

Dian Diaz and her band rocked through the night

The Party Doesn’t Stop

Just because last night’s event has come to close, it doesn’t mean the party has to stop.  Just as you have seen earlier in the week, we will continue to post articles from our latest issue of Portfolio Magazine, and share Tweets and Facebook posts with you about the International Builders’ Show here in Las Vegas. Make sure to keep coming back to our blog as we’ll have video interviews and more features on our event in the weeks to come.

The Greater Than Great Room

New American Home 2013 Great Room

New American Home 2013 Great Room

All together. Different. That’s the very idea of a great room. Redefining space to accommodate all the different moments of a lifestyle, yet create a sense of connectedness for the people who live it.

The New American Home succeeds in a big way. Literally and figuratively. It brings the great room and kitchen together to comprise a 1,150-square-foot area that feels even larger, with an immense sense of space, light and openness.

Look more closely, and you see that the checklist of vital spaces is also complete. The kitchen features a cozy dining space and a high bar for hors d’oeuvres or casual drinks. (We won’t even go in to all the kitchen’s stunning amenities here.) Next, amble over to the great room’s gathering area. Here, you can enjoy a quiet evening by the fireplace, watch the game with friends on the big-screen TV, or throw open the glass wall of pocket doors and you’re poolside.

What’s the secret for shaping so many elements into a cohesive—and impressive—living space? It takes a crystal clear vision for the big picture and a precise attention to detail to achieve it. That’s exactly the approach of the Blue Heron team, from blueprint to interior design.

Go With the Flow

New American Home 2013 Great Room Fireplace

Great Room Fireplace

Tyler Jones, owner of the company, sets the stage. “The kitchen and great room, how they’re connected, that’s an example of how we design homes.”

“Look at space different from the norm,” advises Michael Gardner, Blue Heron’s architect on The New American Home. “Take a little bit of a chance, not every kitchen is L-shaped.”

The footprint is dramatically elongated, which gives the room incredible drama. The dimensions also pick up the sleek horizontals of desert contemporary architecture, further accenting the impact.

Design elements add the next layer of continuity. “Cabinetry is part of the flow,” notes Blue Heron interior designer Lyndsay Janssen. Her reference point is the 47.5-foot run of warm wood Lausanne cabinets linking the kitchen and great room. “We used the cabinets through the kitchen to the great room to the pantry as an architectural element to join the rooms.”

Jones points out another unique way he used standard cabinet elements to create custom-look design. “Cabinetry makes up the fireplace surround and the media center, too. It’s one continuous wall that bleeds and connects.”

Tracey Burrell-Combs, the Timberlake designer for the project, echoes the explanation. “The intention of that wall was to make the entire area feel connected and flow nicely from the great room to the kitchen.”

Designing With Light

Architect Gardner picks up the story. “Cabinetry drove the design of the window and the south wall,” he adds. He refers to a pattern of slender ribbons of glass that pull the eye across the expanse like arrows of light. The largest and longest lengths dominate the south wall and were the most complex to execute. They span the space between upper and lower cabinets, edge to edge, requiring precision to the merest fraction of an inch. Smaller matching windows extend the motif, appearing at ceiling height and finishing in a towering grid of glass, a visual cap on the media wall.

The wash of natural light streaming through the windows is picked up in the color palette as the final unifying element. “The main floor color palette is warm earth tones,” explains Janssen. That applies from floor to ceiling, including travertine floor tiles, furnishings, countertops and fireplace surrounds.

The ultimate effect is unmistakable. As Jones himself says, “It’s absolutely gorgeous.” This great room is one grand space.

This article originally appeared in Volume 13, Issue 1 (January 2013) of Portfolio Magazine.
Portfolio Magazine is an award-winning showcase of exciting design ideas and industry insights.

How The New American Home Went from Dream to Dream Home

New American Home 2013 Wine Room

Inspired by a California wine shop, the 2013 New American Home wine room, and all it’s originality, is the result of a sound partnership between Blue Heron and Timberlake Cabinetry.

The goal of The New American Home is simple: amaze people. The process? Not so simple. To transform an idea—scores of them—into impressive reality is a year-long journey. And by the way, it’s made on a superaccelerated schedule, with no chance of moving the finish date, and everything has to be absolutely perfect when the doors open to thousands of guests.

For Timberlake and Blue Heron, that meant planning, designing, manufacturing, delivering, and installing 16 rooms of custom-look cabinetry. What did it take to pull it all together? Ingenuity, planning, teamwork, focus, flexibility, organization, and hustle. For this job, the faint of heart need not apply. Let’s take a look back at the process and meet the people who made it happen.

The starting point is the Blue Heron vision. Architecture, building and interior design are all handled by the in-house team, working as one. With a reputation for extraordinary homes, they set the bar high. Blue Heron principal, Tyler Jones, says “Working with Blue Heron can be hard. We have a precise vision we’re trying to achieve.” Fortunately, he already had a high level of confidence in Timberlake from the 2009 New American Home. “Timberlake is one of our star partners.”

The Power of Collaboration

As the design process began, Blue Heron’s architect Michael Gardner took the lead and reiterates the demanding standards they’re working to attain. “We think about what would be better every single time. It’s not about being different for the sake of being different, but for extending the industry.”

Blue Heron relied on the design and collaborative skills of Tracey Burrell-Combs to achieve their goals. Burrell-Combs, certified as an Associate Kitchen and Bath Designer, brings an extra level of expertise to the show home from her year-round experience as the lead on projects with homebuilders and homebuyers. “Typically, we get blueprints and I do preliminary drawings before meeting with builder, designer, or architect,” she says. “I want to bring something to the process.”

She also shares the Blue Heron philosophy of creating a totally unified theme in a home by taking a comprehensive view of all the elements. “I study the architecture of the home. I like to include the exterior architecture with the interior design in the way I use our cabinets… I like there to be a connection.”

The ultimate design objective for The New American Home is always breakthrough ideas. The expectations are high to create fresh custom looks with standard cabinetry that any builder could adapt and use. “It’s almost product development,” recalls Michael Gardner, Blue Heron architect. “We took the traditional kit of parts and used them in innovative and unique ways to showcase the possibilities.”

A Meeting of Minds

That kind of creativity can start with a spark, but takes time and drive to bring to life. “We must have had 20 meetings to achieve the end result we were looking for,” Gardner admits. Burrell-Combs concurs. “We probably had four or five face-to-face meetings and 15 conference calls.” Blue Heron’s interior designer, Lyndsay Janssen, appreciates the commitment Timberlake brings to the process. “They get more involved than other New American Home vendors. They go above and beyond.”

Gardner points to the wine room as an example of the kind of exceptional thinking the Timberlake-Blue Heron partnership unleashes. “When we sat down to look at that room, we looked at traditional wine rooms. They’re just racks of cabinetry. How do we change it? Make it more unique?”

Burrell-Combs picks up the story. “I got the inspiration when I was on a trip to California. I was in a wine store where they had used wine cases to create a dimensional effect.” “We had our vision for redefining a wine room,” declares Gardner. “These cubular elements, made with cabinetry, are a whole different approach.”

Dream to Dream Home

With concepts in place, transforming them into reality began. Running the show for Blue Heron was Kris Oesterling. The Project Manager is a construction veteran who joined the company for the 2009 New American Home build. With that background, he knew exactly what to expect. “The challenge is to build a two-and-a-half-year build in two months,” he says. “It’s a one-of-a-kind home with things we’ve never done before—that no builder has ever done before.”

Ron Jolly, a Timberlake Lead Field Supervisor, is Oesterling’s counterpart in every way. He’s spent a lifetime in construction, ten years with Timberlake and has two New American Homes to his credit. His biggest concern? Scheduling. “There were a hundred guys in that house on any given day. You just have to be flexible, adjust.”

Oesterling counted on that Timberlake attitude. “They’re absolutely excellent. I didn’t have to hold their hands. We had 15 or 20 trades at one time that might normally be months apart. Plus there were the logistics of 110 guys working. Timberlake was professional and understanding of that dynamic.”

“Communication is important,” adds Jolly, and Oesterling concurs. “We had to keep the information highway moving, so we could keep going fast, doing things correctly.”

Instant access to information made all the difference, according to Jolly. “Our service is very detailed and in depth. I’ve got a notebook computer with a pen. That’s all I need to measure a house, pull up the layout, look up orders. I can see what we ordered, what day. You may find a half-dozen notes from discussions with the builder in the file.”

Thanks to a year of work, late nights, long weekends, big ideas, enduring vision and untold hours of commitment, the dream has become a dream home. As The New American Home opens to glowing reviews, it’s good to know the Timberlake team gets raves, too. “It was just an A+ experience,” says Tyler Jones. “A pleasure.”

This article originally appeared in Volume 13, Issue 1 (January 2013) of Portfolio Magazine.
Portfolio Magazine is an award-winning showcase of exciting design ideas and industry insights.

Secrets Behind The New American Home 2013

New American Home 2013 Tranquility Pool

Unified Vision, Singular Living. The tranquility room and pool at the 2013 New American Home summarize the unique story of this stunning desert contemporary show home and the builder, Blue Heron.

A holistic approach that creates lifestyles, not just homes.

One Idea. One Very Big Idea.

New American Home 2013 Foyer

New American Home 2013 Foyer

That’s the secret of The New American Home 2013. Is it the spectacular wine room? The five water features? The zen use of organic materials and color schemes? A surprising detail, like the towering sky deck, entertainment essentials, fire features, walls of glass?

Yes. Confused? Don’t be. The big idea—and secret of success—behind this stunning show home is the sense that every element works in complete harmony to create a single lifestyle statement. That’s because it’s the only way Blue Heron, this year’s all-in-one architect, builder and interior design firm, works. Period.

Tyler Jones, Blue Heron’s co-founder, is the builder. Michael Gardner is the Blue Heron architect, and Lyndsay Janssen is their senior interior designer. A single team under one roof worked together to envision, design and create one complete entity. The result? This is a home that takes chances, surprises you with the unique and unexpected, and shows a thousand details that will make you stop and smile. And yet, every piece of the puzzle comes together to create a powerful—and inviting—whole.

Ask Tyler Jones about his company’s approach to homebuilding, and he’ll tell you that their guiding principal is to reinvent personal living spaces. And he’s quick to add that Blue Heron’s process of seeing all the parts of the project as a single whole is key. “The way Blue Heron works is with all of it together,” says Jones. “The vision is cohesive, original and grounded.”

Architect Michael Gardner concurs, “The whole project is the whole design solution. When I put that first pen to paper I’m already thinking of sitting across from an interior designer and a builder,” he adds. “And because of that I’m trying to make the right decisions as I go.”

The 2013 New American Home is a hallmark of Blue Heron’s acclaimed style of desert contemporary. High above the Mojave in Marquis Seven Hills, a master plan community in Henderson, Nevada, its silhouette reflects the landscape and wide open outdoor spaces overlooking a championship golf course and the foothills beyond. While some of the specifics of architecture and design are best suited for Las Vegas and the West, the Blue Heron holistic approach to homebuilding translates to any geography.

Making a Connection

New American Home 2013 Great Room

Great Room: Lausanne Cherry Java and Spice

Throughout this 6,721-square-foot gem (which opens to 12,000 square feet when you include all the outdoor living space), you can see Blue Heron’s unified thought process brought to life. The most striking example is the complete connectedness of indoor and outdoor spaces. “We’re designing the indoors and outdoors at the same time,” confirms Jones. The ingenious use of glass pocket doors in virtually every room brings them together both visually and literally, aesthetically enlarging the home.

Another example of architecture and design working together is in the way the kitchen and great room become one. They’re designed—from the footprint to the window placement, from the color palette to the amenities—as a single striking space. Yet, seamlessly within it are the necessities for the many activities of a contemporary lifestyle. Eating areas and a kitchen worthy of a TV chef, join seamlessly with an inviting gathering space with fireplace. The unifying idea? A river of warm wood cabinetry and sunny horizontal windows visually link the space under the canopy of the soaring two-story ceiling. “There are a lot of architectural design elements that bridge space and connect one area to the next,” Jones says of the home.

Every Corner Reveals a View

The results of this brain trust of three disciplines working together can be seen around every corner—literally. “In any space, if you turn 360°, there’s a terminus focal point in the distance,” reveals architect Gardner. “It’s one of the things that people will see when they walk through the house a second or third time. They’ll understand the deliberateness of these view corridors and layers we’ve created.”

New American Home 2013 Library

Library: Lausanne Maple Espresso

The first example greets you as soon as you step into the house. Inside the front entry, you’re still standing under the blue Las Vegas sky. Look one way and the lower level’s water feature swims into view. As you glance the other way, a spiral staircase appears. Beyond a shimmering pool the great room beckons. “We tried to create in this home a level of surprise,” quips Gardner. “The whole house is a series of reveals.”

Gardner offers up the library as another example of architecture and design bringing a special synergy of experience. “We carefully figured out the design so a view would open up as you come down the stairs to the room.” For added depth and interest, the team used Timberlake cabinetry elements to create floor-to-ceiling floating shelves. Walls of intriguing artwork and collectibles catch the eye. “When you come toward the library, you can see some of it, but you have to go in to truly experience it,” explains Gardner. “It’s retro and chic.”

Interior designer Janssen picks up the story of unified thinking. “It’s not easy to make a house look like it flows, but also keep changing it up,” she explains. Key to the effect is the use of color. “The color palette is neutral and all the materials are very organic,” she notes. The lower level features a grey, white and silver, while the main and upper levels are warmer bronze shades.

Designed for Real Life

New American Home 2013 Master Bedroom

Master Bedroom: Lausanne Maple Espresso

Form meets function, color meets view, life meets design in the master bedroom, too. The Blue Heron single-minded approach blends quiet haven with personal play space as well as merging indoor and outdoor living. Says Janssen, “As you stand in the master bedroom, you look to the back yard and see an outdoor bedroom that’s part of the master.” Two bedrooms? In a desert contemporary nod to Las Vegas’ inviting climate, the homeowners can choose their sleeping environment.

Yet, this space is for so much more than sleeping. Both bedrooms have a seating area and large-screen TV. Inside, a fireplace glows. And all the areas are physically joined by Gardner’s design of connecting courtyards and views. Janssen’s interior design completes the effect. “The room looks out on water and the view. We used a lot of organic materials, wood and stone.” The overall effect? “It has clean lines, but it’s still warm because of the soft colors.”

New American Home 2013 Master Bath

Master Bath: Lausanne Maple Espresso

New American Home 2013 Coffee Bar

Coffee Bar: Lausanne Maple Espresso

And the master bath? Another stroke of singular genius. Glass-enclosed, the sleek, sophisticated lines mirror those of the home, while the cool colors blend with the surrounding desert. And, a sumptuous tub on a bed of smooth dark stones brings the feel of a zen garden into the sunny glassed-in interior.

As its name would suggest, the rejuvenation spa spans two worlds—and it’s thanks to thoughtful design. While its simple travertine planes and sun-warmed shades of upholstery echo the home design, the room’s low, spare silhouette floats at the water’s edge, a haven apart.

Lifestyle meets luxurious functionality, as well, when architect, builder and interior designer are of a single mind. Consider these features that are an integral—and fully integrated—part of The New American Home. The junior suite includes a coffee bar so visitors can have a cup of java or snack on their own. You’ll also find a mini-kitchen serving the pool table in the loft bar, a laundry that includes a dog-wash sink, and touchscreens throughout the home to control audio, video and lighting. Life is beautiful, and the living is easy.

So many ideas. So many aspects. So many details. All brought together precisely, completely, masterfully. And the one paramount effect? Jones says it well. “We want to create something that feels relaxing, that feels serene to come home to.” Gardner finishes the thought, “It’s a state of mind, and we’re getting people there with design.”

This article originally appeared in Volume 13, Issue 1 (January 2013) of Portfolio Magazine.
Portfolio Magazine is an award-winning showcase of exciting design ideas and industry insights.