This year's New American Home is unlike any other in the almost 40-year history of the national showcase for innovative housing designs, building products and best practices in construction.
The luxurious residences put up by custom builders for the National Association of Home Builders often stand out in private golf communities or gated subdivisions carved into canyon walls, where they have sold for more than $6 million.
In the past, New American Homes have spanned over 10,000 square feet with distinct features: a courtyard with a putting green, a glass-enclosed garage to display collected vehicles or an entry of porcelain tiles forming a walkway through a shallow pool.
But not this year.
The 2021 New American Home is a more modest dwelling with vinyl windows and conveniences for pandemic living in the walkable downtown of Winter Park, Fla., a city of 30,800 with a median family income of $73,700.
The three-story, 5,500-square-foot residence (4,400 square feet of living space) was constructed out of the bones of two small townhouses combined to form one single-family house. The layout has been likened to a treehouse with the gathering space on the third floor.
"I call it an upside-down house," architect Phil Kean said in a video about this year's show home. "The lowest level has a three-car garage, two guest bedrooms, a fantastic luxurious entry sequence, and lots and lots of windows."