Panoramic desert views from your perch in the infinity pool—with a built-in hot tub. A smart toilet that warms up the seat when you enter the bathroom. A state-of-the-art kitchen with gleaming appliances that looks like a Pinterest board come to life. Welcome to The New American Home, 2019 edition.
The National Association of Home Builders unveiled its 36th showcase house this week during its annual convention in Las Vegas. The 8,226-square-foot property in Henderson, NV, was built to highlight the latest innovations in design, efficiency, technology, and an array of luxe amenities. If you’re sufficiently wowed, the home is for sale for a cool $6.5 million.
We took the opportunity to tour the one-story home and get an inside peek at what the future holds. But while there’s a lot to love in the five-bed, 4.5-bath contemporary home, there were a few things that didn’t quite hit the mark.
So what did we love? Here are our faves:
1. Views, views, views
It doesn’t matter if you’re a desert devotee, beach bum, or fan of forest life. The panoramic views from the home, perched high above Las Vegas, are breathtaking.
Cuddle up next to one of the (several) outdoor fire pits on a cool desert night, or take a dip in the infinity pool and gaze down on the bright lights of the Las Vegas Strip. (I’ll be honest—I was extremely tempted to set aside social graces and jump in. It was that alluring.)
And we can’t forget the fully loaded outdoor kitchen featuring state-of-the-art appliances.
2. The outdoor-indoor flow
For the past several years, homeowners have been making seamless transitions between outdoor and indoor living spaces. But this home takes the concept to a new level, with an elaborate living space in the back and a courtyard in the front.
“No one’s done [outdoor-indoor flow] to this extent before,” says Bridgette Slater, director of design and preconstruction for Sun West Custom Homes, the Nevada company that built and designed the house. “We wanted to show everyone that it’s functional on the front of the house as much as the back.”
The courtyard is surrounded by glass pocket doors, so you can open them and be outdoors and indoors at the same time. In fact, everywhere you turn, you’re enveloped by the desert scene outside—50% of the house is glass (the rest of the exterior is porcelain and stucco).
Wondering how a glass house fares in the stifling heat of Las Vegas? Well, they accounted for that, too.
“There are shade pockets everywhere,” Slater says. “Energy efficiency in this home is insane. Your utility bills aren’t crazy.”
3. The master bathroom
According to 2019 design forecasts, luxe master bathrooms have risen to the top of home buyers’ wish lists. This bathroom reinforces all those desires and turns up the volume. It’s seamless with the master bedroom—one fluid space that allows you to take in vistas of the Las Vegas skyline while you relax in the steam shower.
And then there’s the toilet. This $2,000 throne has a bidet feature that “sprays everywhere,” Slater says. It actually sings to you. And it heats up automatically for ultimate backside comfort.
My colleague didn’t know that, however; so she was in for a nice surprise when she took this toilet for a test drive.
“As soon as I walked in, it knew I was there and heated up before I even sat on it,” she explains. “It was incredibly gratifying and was nice and toasty. It puts heated car seats to shame!”
Clearly, there’s a lot to love about this home. And, of course, we’d take it in a heartbeat. But no home is 100% perfect. I had a few relatively minor quibbles, but wanted to note them. Here are a few things we’d fiddle with if we had free rein.
1. The masculine aesthetic
There’s nothing wrong with modern design—and this house offers plenty of it. I’m all for clean, sleek lines, and the luxurious vibe of a house made of stone and glass.
But somewhere along the line, the decor scheme of this house veers from modern to masculine, from clean to cold. The heavy, industrial look almost became distracting from the gorgeous vistas in the valley beyond. For example, the number of light fixtures in the great room (above) “was so much it made my head spin,” my colleague admits.
As for the home’s man cave, we’re not sure how to feel about this space. Part garage, part media room, and all dude-centric, this bright red space is a choice.
Flashy and perfect for a party with a bevy of bros? Sure. But I have to be honest—I had no desire to spend more than a few minutes in this space, which felt like it lived up to its name of “man cave.”
A caveat: It’s important to remember that this is a show home.
“The whole point of The New American Home is to show how the products on the show floor can be used in a residential setting,” Slater says. “It’s supposed to make people go, ‘This has “wow” factor.'”
Alright, fine. We were wowed. But the home is also supposed to be livable (it’s on the market, after all), and the current feel may lack the coziness necessary to appeal to a wider audience.
2. (Some of) the colors
When it comes to color, The New American Home of years past has often been monochromatic—slathered in neutral whites, grays, and taupes. So this year, the design team shook things up with pops of color from paint company Sherwin-Williams.
We swooned for some of the looks (there was a tranquil ocean blue room that I was ready to move into, like, yesterday). But some of the color choices simply didn’t jell with the rest of the home.
Case in point: the bedroom decked out in Sherwin-Williams’ 2019 Color of the Year, Cavern Clay. We’ve previously gone on record about our feelings on this shade, and our opinions are no different this time around. This terra-cotta color simply looks dated—and doesn’t provide the restful or luxurious vibe you’d expect from a top-of-the-line show home.
3. The showpieces
We want to be clear: This house was freaking cool. It is The New American Home, after all—a space where designers and builders have free rein to do whatever the heck they want, stuff that nobody’s done before. That’s why there’s a floating bed (above) and a floating wet bar, both attached by cantilevers. The innovation was out of this world.
But in a few instances it all felt a little gimmicky. Yes, that bed is ultracool. But it’s not practical. There’s no storage, nowhere to hide your junk—and imagine the dust bunnies that are likely to collect under it.
In the end, we would have been just as awed without as many bells and whistles. But we definitely wouldn’t turn this place down. (If anybody wants to go in together on a jumbo mortgage, just let me know.)
Clare Trapasso contributed to this report.