Posted on February 17, 2016

By Tim Fall
For The Oklahoman
Copyright (©) 2016, The Oklahoma Publishing Company

Most Oklahomans attending the International Builders' Show in Las Vegas binged on classes, presentations and aisle after aisle of booths, kiosks and displays, but a few strayed beyond the 500,000-square-foot show floor.

Not for the Vegas shows or casinos — and in this case what happened in Vegas, didn't stay in Vegas. They toured the 33rd annual New American Home, a "real-world laboratory" presented by the National Association of Home Builders.

The aim is to demonstrate design and construction techniques that can be reproduced in houses built any place and in any price range. Of course, the home itself is always as up the scale as can be, a real showstopper.

This year's New American Home, in suburban Henderson's MacDonald

Amy ReevesHighlands addition, has three stories and 5,285 square feet — but when opened to include covered patios and the courtyard, the living space amounts to more than 8,000 square feet.

The Desert Contemporary-style home has five bedrooms, four baths, an office area, main living room, kitchen, pantry-prep room, dining room, laundry room, media room and the indoor-outdoor covered patio areas. The lead contractor was Element Design-Build Co. of Henderson.

The home was built "to showcase contemporary design and the latest technology in the home building industry," according to the National Association of Home Builders. "The home incorporates green and sustainable building materials, products, energy-efficient techniques, and construction methods in order to reduce its impact on the environment and provide the highest levels of comfort and quality for the occupants."

For detailed information about the New American Home, go to

Some Oklahoma builders regarded this year's showcase home as too similar to previous ones in Vegas, and skipped it. Others took the time, a half day at least, for a shuttle ride to the suburbs and back to check out the home.

Amy Reeves (right photo), who with her husband, Dan Reeves, is a founding partner of Landmark Fine Homes in Norman, carved time out of a wall-to-wall convention schedule to tour the New American Home.

Bringing back ideas

“I'm bringing back ideas,” she said, noting especially the “prominent use of water and fire features” that characterized the show home's plentiful outdoor living spaces. 

Reeves' designer's eye was attracted to the modern lines throughout the house, and by the subdued color scheme, “emphasizing gray tones and muted colors.”

Chrome or nickel hardware finishes stood out, as did a wire-rope banister rail “that I'd love to use in one of our designs,” she said.

Mike GilesSolar panels

The home is able to achieve “net-zero energy” — meaning the total amount of energy used by the building will be roughly equal to the amount of renewable energy created on site.

The home uses solar panels, which should save an estimated $5,100 in annual energy costs compared to a typical home. It also has natural gas and electric car-charging stations in the garage.

“The ... mission is to show that housing performance (with regard to energy efficiency) can be incorporated into the most simple or most complex homes, and that it's equally as important as aesthetics,” according to the builders association.

Lighting copied

Mike Gilles (left photo), owner of Savannah Builders in Edmond, said he toured the New American Home and took away “lots that I can use in Oklahoma houses.”

“The lighting scheme,” he said — especially an unusual concept for indirect lighting — will make its way into custom-build projects Savannah has currently under way. 

Gilles and Reeves both noted the distinctive stairway.

Although Gilles, like other local builders, lamented the limited number of days per year that Oklahomans can actually live outdoors, he said he was a fan of the show house's attractive outdoor kitchen and expansive outdoor living spaces.


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