New American Home Blends Classic and Green


Orlando, FL — Combining classic design, environmentally sound elements and high-tech gadgets is a daunting challenge, but it was one that was embraced by the team that conceived, designed and built The New American Home 2011.

Originally planned at 5,500-sq.-ft., the home – featured as part of this year’s International Builders’ Show which took place here in January – grew to over 11,000 square feet during the planning process. The custom residence integrated state-of-the-art technology with an American Empire design dotted with Greek Revival elements.

“We moved it from a very traditional look into a transitional feel,” offers Kate Clarke of Continental Interiors in Winter Park, FL, who was the interior designer for the home. “It has that neoclassical elegance outside, but translates inside to a very modern classical.”

TNAH was built to attain Emerald Status, the highest environmental ranking of the National Green Building Standard. The team exceeded the 50% recycled material NAHB standard, reaching 84% total recycled materials. Solar elements, a greywater recycling system and formaldehyde-free cabinetry all contributed to the home’s environmental impact.

Stately Living

For Chris Donnelly of Donnelly Architecture in Beverly Hills, FL, the inspiration for the home came from the old estates of Palm Beach, Sarasota and Miami. Keith Clarke, president of Continental, Inc. and husband of Kate, brought Donnelly’s ideas to life.

Unlike older, statelier homes, however, TNAH was designed to translate easily to a 2,000-sq.-ft. house. “It’s very warm and livable,” notes Kate Clarke, “and there is no fuss. We eliminated a lot of that heaviness.”

She used a black, ivory and taupe color scheme throughout to keep the rooms light and neutral, and help them blend seamlessly with the stately outdoor areas.

Circular Style

The layout of the main kitchen reflects contemporary luxury for those who love to cook. Multiple work zones, staggered and stacked cabinetry, a work island and modified drawer fronts that accommodate the appliance controls all enhance the room’s function as well as beauty.

Part of Clarke’s inspiration for the main kitchen design came directly from the room leading into it – a circular dining room.

An innovative elevated island in the center of the room features a custom-built circular table.

“You know what it’s like when you’re cooking – everybody wants to be in the kitchen,” stresses Clarke. “The island accommodates a buffet area. So it’s simple. It flows very easily.”

Above the island, a wood ceiling picks up the detail with a large, circular focal point.

Picking up from the wood elements, a Java stain was used on Timberlake Cabinetry’s Rushmore Cherry Square cabinets on the island. The dark wood was softened by the perimeter cabinets, which were Rushmore Maple Square in a Hazelnut Glaze, also from Timberlake.

The perimeter cabinets and island are topped with Corian countertops from DuPont’s Terra Collection, which feature pre-consumer recycled content. Sinks and faucets from Kohler grace the prep and cleanup areas.

The room’s Energy Star rated appliances, all from Thermador, include the Freedom Collection’s Truly Flush Mounted counter-depth refrigeration columns and a 70-bottle wine preservation column. For cooking, the Professional Series wall ovens and rangetop are paired with the MasterPiece wall-mount steam convection oven, convection warming drawer and convection microwave oven. A Thermador dishwasher, Brew Express in-wall coffee system and InSinkErator Evolution Excel food waste disposer add to the room’s overall functionality.

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