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.