Tag Archive: best modern home builders

  1. The Origins of a Modern Architect: Getting to Know Phil Kean (Podcast)

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    Phil Kean is a nationally-awarded modern architect with an office in Winter Park, Florida, and breathtaking modern residential projects across the globe.

    The Phil Kean Design Group (PKDG) team has been recognized with prestigious awards in the world of architecture and construction including:

    …and so much more!

    We’re happy to dig into how our lead architect and owner got his start, and a bit of insight into the exclusive, signature PKDG process:

    Jon:

    Today we’re interviewing Phil Kean. Phil Kean Design Group is a nationally-awarded design/build architecture firm voted “Best of Orlando” #1 Home Builder by Orlando magazine readers, voted Best Home Builder “Best of Winter Park” three years in a row by the Winter Park, Florida Chamber of Commerce, “Best Of Houzz” Design Award by Houzz.com, and winning the platinum and gold awards from the National Association of Home Builders’ “Best in American Living Awards”. Today we’re going to be talking to Phil to get his insight into the exclusive signature Phil Kean Design Group process.

    I wanted to start with basically, how you got started in the business, and how did you begin the business in Winter Park?  Amy tells me that you started it literally on your kitchen table in Winter Park. So if we could start from the beginning, that would be amazing.

    Phil:

    My dad was a builder, so I grew up around it, so it was always like a passion. When I started the business, it was really one house at a time and I would design it and then I would build it. And it was just me and I worked at my kitchen table. It was really pre-CAD…I wasn’t even doing CAD in the beginning stages. I started CAD…I mean I bought a book and downloaded the computer-aided drafting for dummies…I bought a book over at one of the bookstores and taught myself CAD. And then, my first year I did essentially one spec house and then the next year I did two spec houses. And then the next year I did three houses and I hired my first person. Then each year I hired another person, and I outgrew my kitchen with the second person. We moved into a small office in Winter Park. It was really very small, and then we outgrew that space and grew to a bigger space. And, all these years later here we are <laugh>. Wow.

    Yeah it’s really interesting, when we did our first modern home…, I designed it almost 20 years ago and it’s on Via Tuscany, and it got a lot of  recognition. A lot of people really loved that house. I designed it for myself. At the time everybody was doing the Spanish Mediterraneans, and I remember a realtor friend of mine who told me I was crazy to do a modern house, that they never sell…they’re hard to sell, I’ll lose my shirt. It really did change my career. So you kind of have to trust your gut, I guess. The universe kind of took care of me and I made some good decisions and people really liked my modern aesthetic. It was warm…it used a lot of natural materials. It was more of a mid-century kind of modern than it was like the Miami Vice modern. And it’s just grown from there. It got picked up by one of the big design magazines. It was featured in Florida Architecture, which was to me at the time a giant magazine. It came out twice a year and it was really…, they’re no longer around, but it was really an honor to be picked up in that magazine. And then Florida Design also featured it.  And even today, people still pull up that house and say, “I really like this house. I want a version of this for my lot, or for me.” And so,  almost 20 years later people are still appreciating that first house I did. Which is kind of cool, here in Winter Park <laugh>.

    Jon:

    It’s amazing. I think one of the things that we were talking about before is the design, sort of risks that you took. And I think that you still continue to take in terms of the boundaries and the design aesthetic that you are chasing, and that’s so beautiful. Really I wonder, is it something that when you were designing that first sort of modern look, I mean, did you feel sort of ostracized at all by the, I don’t know, by the architecture review board potentially, or different people who were in the neighborhood watching as it was going up? Were people sort of skeptical until they saw it come to life? Or I guess what was that process like going through that?

    Phil:

    Well, most people didn’t like it until it was finished. And then when it was finished, I opened it up for a Parade of Homes to the neighborhood and people came through and walked it and discovered how unusual the house was. I was inspired by different mid-century architects, so I sort of took some liberties, and kind of like thought about if they were alive, what, how would they approach this lot? And so I kind of approached it that way. There was a big fish tank in the middle and the house sort of pin wheeled around the fish tank. And, then there were these little, little moments where the house pin wheeled. So, then I brought that little pinwheel idea out to the pool. So the pool sort of pin wheeled around the spa and sort of played with the positive and negative spaces and how they reacted to each other. I think it really turned out well. So from that, people started to…, a couple architects lived in the neighborhood and they really appreciated it, they liked that it was outside of the box, and probably that it wasn’t Spanish Mediterranean. People that were in the industry, like I don’t know, I mean, I did get some criticism…like there were people that ran like the HOA’s, and they really didn’t understand me.

    I tried to get on the historic board of Winter Park, and I kind of got voted out. Later down the road I got voted in, but there was a whole debate on whether somebody that was doing modern could understand history and it was sort of like, “don’t you understand that you have to understand history to appreciate modern?”. So, it was really interesting because it’s all about proportions and scale, and modern is a lot less forgiving than a traditional home. I mean, that’s why I think Spanish was so popular because you could throw an arch and red tile roof on it and it became Spanish, there wasn’t a lot of thought about it.  So even today, if you do a brick home with a shingle roof, it’s traditional, well what does that mean…traditional?  But when you’re doing modern and you get the scale wrong, it’s really an ugly building <laugh>. And there are a lot of ugly moderns out there right now because people just don’t understand. It’s not a flat roof that makes a house modern. We do a lot of modern houses that have pitched roofs, you know?

    Jon:

    I’ve seen them. I mean, that’s one of the things in your portfolio that strikes me as sort of unique from, I guess the crowd that wants to sort of aspire to the design that you do. You’re a hundred percent spot on, that you get these sort of flat roofs, just a lot of glass everywhere, a lot of concrete, but there’s not this cohesiveness. I think you’ve built this amazing sort of aesthetic where you’ve got this, exactly like you said, you’ve got this very warm and modern. When I look at your homes, the thing that comes to my mind is “that looks warm, it looks inviting”.  I think that to me personally, and look, by no means am I a connoisseur of high level design, but I guess for me as a layman, when I look from the outside in to a lot of “modern design homes” today, they are about one step away from a sort of a factory <laugh>, it’s a factory with a sofa in it kind of, it’s so industrial that they they’ve lost that human touch, they’ve lost the the warmth aspect of it…and I think you’ve done an amazing job at that. And I think the roofs, and the way that you’ve designed that as well where you do have the pitch and you’ve got the angles letting in the light, it’s absolutely amazing.

    Phil:

    Thank you. Thank you. Well, we/I do believe in a lot of that indoor/outdoor kind of connection with glass, and I like to use materials that can go inside and outside and be cohesive with that. That’s just something I’ve always appreciated. I think it’s important. Light creates a good balance and well-being for people and I try to capture as much light as I can. But indoor/outdoor is really a key design feature for me.

    Amy wanted me to mention somewhere along the way that we were the best designer/architect in Winter Park for the last three years. I don’t know if that’s important or not, but I would say that’s nice in the sense that my neighbors appreciate what we do. And whether they  hire us to build, they appreciate what we do and or design. A lot of times I’ll have people say, “One day I’ll have a Phil Kean house,” which is such a compliment, such a nice thing for people to say.

    You know I look at every house as “What’s the best that this house can be?”, and I call it my award-winning concept. I want every house that ever comes out of here, out of our studio, to be award-winning, whether it’s an expensive home or a tiny little home, there needs to be something that makes this worth winning an award. We won an award several years back, it was the Best in American Living Award put on by the National Association of Home Builders, and there were these big, big homes in the competition, and ours was like a 4,800 square foot home, and we won the Grand Award. One of the judges came up to me and told me that it was about the quality of the spaces and what I did with it that made us win over these obviously much more expensive homes and much bigger homes that were in the competition. And the comment was, “It was just so livable,” all the people could just see being there. So I thought that was one of my highlights. Another thing that was really something that I’m proud of too, is that the AIA, the American Institute of Architects, awarded us the “Builder of the Year”. Now that almost always goes to commercial. You know it’s commercial based…, it’s the big ivory towers and the engineering marvels that win those. The people that build those structures and design those structures are the ones that always win these awards. So, it’s very interesting that we won as a residential architect. I feel like that was a big honor, something I’m very proud of.

    Jon:

    As well you should be, I mean, that’s phenomenal. You’re a hundred percent right. I mean, those awards always tend to go to these very interestingly shaped, or abstract, or very difficult to solve construction type problems <laugh>, you know commercial spaces. And, I think that says so much, I mean, I believe there’s over, what is it, 20,000 architects coast to coast right now plus, at least the last time I checked AIA that’s what it was. It was a huge number, there’s so much talent in that pool. And so first of all, just apart from the interview, I wanna congratulate you for that. I mean, that is absolutely inspiring to hear that.

    Phil:

    Well, this was for Florida and the Caribbean AIA, this was for where we are, it wasn’t a national award. Although the winners of the locals get put in with the national awards. But, it’s still an honor.

    Jon:

    Oh, absolutely. It’s huge.

    Phil:

    All the work going on in Florida, and Bahamas, and the Southeast, it’s pretty exciting. That was a big honor for me.

    Jon:

    I wanna ask you, along those topics, if you don’t mind me asking, I think what we’ve been so impressed with, as I’m sure many others have been as well, is the proportion that you have in your design. It flows and it’s so easy to just stare at and look at. You kind of can get lost in it. Is there a sort of a process you can share, or sort of the approach that you take to the amazing proportion that you use in your design?

    Phil:

    Well, they call it the golden rectangle. I think it was Vitruvius that did it, where he sort of took that proportion. I probably have his book floating around here. He wrote a book on proportion and that was one of the books I had to study in college. There is a ratio between height to width that’s comfortable, that feels good. And the key is that’s probably where you wanna sort of be hanging out. Now, if you wanna play with those, that’s where the drama starts to happen. So you might push the envelope a little bit from that golden rectangle proportion. But, I’d say a lot of people want these really tall ceilings, and they’re fine, and I like tall ceilings, but I don’t like them everywhere. I like to think about what that room’s purpose is, and what’s the right height for that room. Somebody that has a huge art collection is going to need a different kind of height than where you watch TV. Those are just different scaled spaces, and you don’t want to feel uncomfortable. I remember watching one of those HGTV programs, and there was this bathroom that was so tall. I was thinking, I would not feel comfortable in that bathroom! <laugh>, felt like you were in a silo! I think there’s a scale to every space and it really does revolve around the human being and what their purpose of that room is.

    Jon:

    Yeah, I think that’s amazing that you bring that up, because that’s sort of where I was kind of headed. That you’ve got some of these rooms, and I think even if we look towards the way that your indoor/outdoor connects, it’s so flawless versus having a very low ceiling, just sort of, Boom…you pop in and your outside, the way you have that indoor/outdoor flow towards your proportion. But honestly, again, even taking a look at several of your homes to prepare for the interview today, and I was very impressed with exactly what you said, that it’s very easy to see yourself living in that space. It doesn’t feel, you know sometimes if you’re out traveling, you go to these hotels and some of these hotels, the way that they’re designed, they try to sort of overdo everything and you feel like you’re getting lost in the, like you said, you go in the bathroom and you feel like it’s a silo, or you go into the bedroom and it’s way too low. And, so there is that, as you said, that golden ratio.

    What has been one of the larger challenges that you’ve had to overcome in a construction project from a design standpoint, or the implementation phase of building?

    Phil:

    The challenges of construction…, I think the biggest challenge is education. I’ve designed a lot of homes over the years for builders, for their personal homes, and I generally will tell them that my designs will be one of the hardest designs to build. So I spend a lot of time educating the team on how things are supposed to look and how things are supposed to go together. After all these years, my electrician puts up a string and makes sure all the lights are straight. And that the air conditioning vent is falling where it’s supposed to. It’s those sight lines. You should never notice anything in a house that stands out unless it’s intentional. You don’t want, “Why is that light switch too low? Or why is that…”, you don’t want it to stand out, you know? So there’s a comfort zone that people have. And, when you respect that comfort zone, it disappears. So those are important things.

    But probably the biggest challenge is educating people, especially on the first time they build one of our houses, or we get a new project manager, educating them on how all of it goes together. Fortunately, I have such a great team of people that have been with me for so long. You know you’re always gonna keep learning your whole life, but I have this great collection of people that help each other. It’s a team effort, and we don’t have a lot of problems anymore. We try to be better every time we build a house. We work hard to do that.

    But, I would say in Florida, you have different issues than if you’re building in, say Maine. You have to know what the weather’s gonna be like and what the climate’s like. Designing is certainly site specific.

    A lot of designers and architects are “facade”. They draw a pretty exterior and then force a house behind it. I do a good floor plan and then put the face on the floor plan because how you live in that space and how rooms flow to each other and what the views out the windows are, are really important to me. So, I think that’s been one of the successes of our architecture, that people just love their homes. Over the years I’ve been the second or third architect for homeowners that worked with somebody before me. I even had one guy, I was the seventh architect he had hired.

    Jon:

    Wow!

    Phil:

    So, not that we’re so great, but we/I think the key is listening. Listen, listen, listen, <laugh>. People tell you what they want. I tell this to all my team members. I say, if you’re listening, a client will tell you exactly what they need in the first 15 minutes. If you could just sit there and soak in what they’re telling you, those are all gonna be the most important things in the design. So listen, listen closely because they’ll tell you everything you need to know, which is interesting.

    Jon:

    The exterior is almost a product of the interior in a way, versus I think if we look at the average sort of spec home that’s out there. The best materials are placed on the front facing, the side and the back nobody really takes too much care into that. There’s not a lot of love given into that, but I think the beauty of your projects and your portfolio is that you can literally look at them from a 360 angle, from the outdoor perspective, from the exterior and you get great angles. It’s very photogenic, no matter where you’re looking at it from. What does your general thought process look like when you’re looking at a home floor plan and you’re looking at the flow of that? How do you prepare to make something that actually flows and that’s comfortable for the owner?

    Phil:

    Fortunately I’ve been lucky enough to have beautiful views or some really amazing opportunities and often times those are at the rear of the lot. So part of the challenge is always what’s that journey like to get you to the back of the house? What do you, what’s your experience? So, sometimes it’s the outside space. It’s like, how do you create this sort of progression through a house to get you to where the Wow moment is? Or like, if you’re on an ocean and you have like a skinny lot, but the view is at the back of the lot, or something like that. So how do you progress through a house? And it becomes a little bit more like an onion unpeeling, and you start to get this house.

    And so every site is different and every project is different. Maybe that’s why I just love this so much, because it’s like a puzzle. Every project is like a new puzzle, like a new game. And how do I do it better than the last one I ever did? You know? So that’s sort of a cool approach, but gosh, I usually my gut, my first gut instinct is where I kind of get to. And I think that’s where the site will tell you what you need. The client’s checklist will tell you what you need. They’ll tell you. You have everything you need to win the game in the beginning. So it’s just you gotta, you just have to listen.

    That’s the biggest thing <laugh>. You have to have an open mind, you have to open your eyes. I’ve designed homes with outside spaces next to multi-story buildings, and it was all about privacy. How do you be outside in your yard and not have a five story, six story building looking down into your backyard. So, all of those things start to play into the design. So it’s not strictly a series of rooms connected to rooms. You might have a room connected. You might have a room in a particular location because it’s blocking a five story building from looking into your garden, into your private sanctuary. So all of those things become really interesting issue.  I did a house in 2012, it was for the New American Home for the International Builders Show. It had an apartment building next to it and it had an alley behind it. And it obviously had a street in front. So the challenge was, how do I get some privacy? So I created this house that had a “C” shape. It was sort of like the courtyard was in the middle of the house. I used the back of the house to block the five story building from looking into the pool area of the house, and I did some large overhangs and things to really create privacy. And you could be in that house and you would feel like you were anywhere in the world, and you had no clue that there was an apartment building next to you. I mean, it was a nice apartment building, but it was right there, less than 50 feet from the rear of the property. I always felt like that’s what’s important, thinking about all of the pluses and minuses and how do you do all of that? So, it’s been fun.

    Jon:

    The thing that makes what you do uncopyable is what you’re talking about right now. It’s that passion, that the puzzle solving understanding of all of these intricate nuances that make everything come together for that beautiful outcome. And I guess, when you look back over the last few years and you look at these amazing projects that you have in your portfolio, which ones would you say stand out to you as maybe the ones that you’re the most proud of? The one that, for you, is really the legacy project for you so far?

    Phil:

    Well, I think my first modern, which we call “NeMo” for New Modern, sort of changed my career. I think that was in 2006. That was a big game changer. I would say my first New American Home for the International Builders Show from the National Association of Home Builders in 2012 was another game changer. Those two are probably the biggest game changers as far as my career is concerned. Although I have some projects in the works right now that are some of the best we’ve ever done. We’ve got some amazing things on the boards. We’re doing a house in Pennsylvania that we call the Bridge House and it’s in New Hope, Pennsylvania on the river there. I forgot the name of the river, it’s a famous river. Anyway, we call it the Bridge House and all the living is upstairs and it’s just an amazing house. It’s all glass and modern and has a swimming pool, and it’s really cool. It’s on the boards, I mean, we’re still working on it. And then I’m doing a big project over in Tampa that’s pretty amazing. It’s not finished yet, but that’ll be unbelievable for the portfolio. It’s just a beautiful, beautiful home. I’m just proud that I got to do what I got to do. I mean, literally, I changed careers after 9/11 and, I mean, I’d gone to school to be an architect. My dad was a builder, so it wasn’t like outside of my comfort zone, but I had been in the creative industry and I had retail stores and 9/11 kind of said, if I’m ever gonna do this, change and do my passion, I need to do it now.

    So I think I was 39 at the time. And I just sort of said, “I gotta do it.” And I don’t have any regrets. It’s just been a wonderful journey. I appreciate every project I get to do. I appreciate every client that trusts me. I mean, it’s just, it’s really been a remarkable journey and I feel very fortunate that I have this amazing team of people that could work anywhere and they wanna work here with the rest of us. So, I mean, I think it’s really pretty amazing. I don’t know where, why I started that topic. I don’t think that’s what you asked me. I do go on tangents <laugh>.

    Jon:

    Well, I love it though, Phil. I love it. I love it, Phil. This is good. It’s good stuff.

    Ready to start your journey and build your dream home? Contact us today to work with the Phil Kean Design Group team!

  2. Modern Home Design/Build in St. Petersburg, Florida: PKDG Expands!

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    Phil Kean Design Group is bringing its award-winning take on comfortable modern living to the Florida Suncoast!

    Bringing modern home design/build to St. Petersburg, FL

    After two decades of modern home design/build excellence, yielding numerous design awards for its homes and kitchens throughout central Florida, Phil Kean Design Group (PKDG) is headed to St. Petersburg!

    “Opening a second office in St. Petersburg is a natural next step for PKDG” says Phil Kean, principal of the internationally-recognized home design and construction firm. “It’s a perfect setting for the comfortable modern design and seamless indoor-outdoor living we love. It’s exciting to step into a new community and provide a fresh eye and a new perspective.”

    The overwhelmingly positive response to a stunning midcentury-inspired waterfront residence PKDG recently designed for clients in St. Petersburg set the stage for the firm’s expansion in the area.

    “It was our first really modern effort in the market,” Kean says. “It was gratifying to see the community embrace the home so enthusiastically and to find there is a demand for our turnkey design and build concept.”

     modern home design st petersburg

    Indeed, PKDG’s holistic execution of every phase of a project, from design through construction and interiors, has proven to be a great fit for the region, with several new projects currently underway.

    “The benefit of having your architect, builder, and designers under one roof can’t be overstated,” Kean says. “The level of consistency and attention to detail it allows us to offer is the key to realizing a client’s dream. That’s always my goal. I love it when clients tell me they are still wowed by their house years later.”

    Our next St. Petersburg modern home…

    Did you know we already have a beautiful custom home designed for a lot in the Snell Isle neighborhood of St. Petersburg?

    We are excited to announce the modern home specification is designed for: 130 Rafael Blvd NE, St. Petersburg, Florida 33704!

    st petersburg new home phil kean design group

    This beautiful modern home specification is one-of-a-kind, and designed with 4 bedrooms, 4.5 baths, and 3,455 square feet under air on this 7,830 square foot lot. The fly-around video rendering of this PKDG modern home design can be viewed below:

    As of January 2022, 130 Rafael Blvd NE, Saint Petersburg, FL 33704 is available for design/build with PKDG.  Build the above custom one-of-a-kind design or let us design the home of your dreams.

    Ready to build a custom home in St. Petersburg? Contact our team to start your home design journey today!

  3. Best Home Design in Central Florida with Justin Clark & Makaila Nichols

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    Phil Kean Design Group Featured on WKMG’s “Best of Central Florida” Show

    Phil Kean Design Group’s latest home design project was recently featured in Central Florida by their local WKMG show “Best of Central Florida with Justin Clark & Makaila Nichols.”

    We are honored to be selected to appear and be interviewed on the show!

    You can watch the full home design segment with PKDG’s president, Phil Kean, below:

    He reveals some of what inspired the New American Home and talks about what sets PKDG apart from the rest.

    So, what makes modern luxury homes worthy of being called “The Best”? We’ve narrowed it down to these three home design themes.

    Expert Design Collaboration

    One of the best ways to ensure that your new luxury home is executed seamlessly and with a cohesive vision is to get everyone who is working on the project in the same room. If your team is disjointed, the final product will be too.

    A project could have architects, builders, interior designers, kitchen designers, landscapers, engineers and more all working on the same home, and each of those roles influences the other. For example, if you want to integrate your indoor living space with your outdoor living space, the designer and landscaper need to be on the same page about that vision. As do the architect and builder so they can address structural and building material choices to ensure that the indoor-outdoor transition is executed in the best way.

    It is important that all of these people come together during planning and design stages so that mistakes are avoided down the road.

    Not only that, but when experts come together to collaborate and brainstorm, new ideas grow, and each aspect of the home design project improves. Your home will not only meet your expectations—it will exceed them.

    Proven Design Process & Simplified Approach

    Getting all those people in the same room may seem like a daunting task, especially in the post-pandemic world, but PKDG makes it easy.

    PKDG is a “one-stop-shop” for home design, making it possible for our busy homeowners to enjoy a stream-lined and holistic design/build process. We take care of all the logistical elements of the construction and design. All you need is a vision, and PKDG will make it happen!

    When you work with our talented designers, they make sure they understand your vision and adhere to it through completion of the project. You will also work with them to select appliances, materials, finishes, and even furniture to make sure everything is aligned with your needs and wants.

    Sustainable Design & Green Energy

    PKDG knows that creating a sustainable home is important to a lot of our clients, and our home designs reflect that. From solar panels, to super-efficient air conditioning, we have the experience and ability to build homes that are better than net-zero, meaning they produce more electricity than they use.

    modern sustainable home in the mountains

    Modern, sustainable home in the mountains. Designed by Phil Kean Design Group.

    Green homes are more than just energy-efficient homes. We also help our clients to be mindful of what kinds of products they put in their interiors. Everything including something as simple as a coffee table can off-gas, or release harmful chemicals into the air.

    If you want to build an environmentally-friendly home, each element should contribute to that. Our designers are here to make sure each of those elements is healthy and perfectly in line with your vision.

    If you are interested in starting a project with Phil Kean Design Group, or if you simply have questions about our “everything under one roof” approach, contact us. From architecture, to construction, to interiors, PKDG can make your vision of your personalized luxury modern home into a reality.

  4. The 2021 New American Home

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    From Phil Kean Design Group, The Latest in Modern Luxury Design

    The New American Home has always served as an example of the latest design, technology and building products.

    One of the things that makes the 2021 home so unique is that it not only incorporates these elements, but it has adapted them based on how the world has changed this past year as a result of COVID-19.

    The approach to this design and build focused on re-thinking what one expects inside a residence; finding ways to use space differently was important in designing The 2021 New American Home. Now more than ever, people are spending more time in their homes and it is important we have spaces that suit our needs.

    Over the past year, we have grown into a more health-conscious society and health is one of the main highlights of the New American Home.

    A new trend came to light as we see the transformation of bedrooms into fitness areas and incorporating bidets into bathrooms, a nod to our European counterparts. The most exciting new “Healthy Home” product used in TNAH21 is the Panasonic Cosmos Smart Fresh Air System. Through carefully placed sensors, the Cosmos system constantly monitors the indoor air quality within the home and automatically activates the system to bring fresh air in and pull harmful air out when levels go below normal. The harmful sources that the system regularly monitors are volatile organic compounds (VOCs), fine particulate matter, carbon dioxide and humidity.

    The ingenuity displayed in this smart home is truly something to be admired. Every feature imaginable has been incorporated into this home, from smartphone apps to control your energy consumption, to a StruXure motorized louvered roof system to control the amount of sunlight entering your outdoor living space. The variety of capabilities offered by these features will undoubtedly make spending time in one’s home a more fulfilling experience for any homeowner.

    This gorgeous residence that is a feast for the eyes with layers of architecture, touches of modern industrial design, and hidden gems throughout that allow you to see something new at every glance. With three levels and a staircase lighting the way, you can easily glide to each space gracefully.

    Two considerations usually overlooked in designing a residence is artwork, and pets – the fabric of your home. On the ground level, The New American Home greets you with a gallery-inspired entrance showcasing beautiful and captivating artwork that you will find yourself spending more time in, reveling in the aesthetic. Also on the first level is a room dedicated for man’s best friend with an electronic doggie door that opens to a dog run.

    The second level is dedicated to the master suite. The focus behind the design of this level was to create a space where the homeowners can privately unwind after a long day and relax in a calming environment that offers warm wood textures and a more muted palette. This level includes the master bedroom, spa-like bath, luxury walk-in closet for two, laundry room, exercise room, sauna, a TV lounge, and balcony.

    You can find the main living space on the third level. With 14’ ceilings, south and west facing terraces, you are living among the treetops enjoying the incredible views overlooking the city and experiencing amazing sunsets. You find yourself gazing out from your summer kitchen, while entertaining your guests within this cozy open treehouse feel.

    Discover the luxury of our modern, state-of-the-art living spaces designed with timeless perfection. Read about our design process and the elements we use to create unique one-of-a-kind homes by browsing through our blog articles that cover everything from architecture and design to the construction of and products used in The New American Home 2021.

    Ready to kick off the design process for your luxury residence? Start here.

  5. Modern Home Design & Construction of The 2021 New American Home – Phase 3

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    Phase 3 of our modern home construction project for The New American Home 2021 is the Mechanical, Electrical and Plumbing (MEP) phase!

    This post will focus on our rough-ins, including gas line rough-ins, electrical, roof drains, and our plumbing rough-ins going in. We’ve also started our exterior work with our stucco, and exterior paint will follow that.

    We pride ourselves in having great relationships with essential vendor teams who partner with us on this critical stage. Without their expert work, our inspiring architectural designs could not be brought to fruition. We will highlight some of those residential contractor relationships in our New American Home 2021 – Phase 3 video walkthrough below:

     

    Behind the walls, we worked with innovative products such as Sharkbite’s EvoPEX push-to-connect plumbing system and their new StreamLabs Control smart water shut-off valve. Enovative Group’s AutoHot hot water recirculation system works with the Rinnai tankless water heaters to provide on demand hot water throughout the home.

    OmegaFlex’s TracPipe CounterStrike flexible gas piping was also a “must-have” with its AutoSnap fitting and resistance to lightning strikes. Eaton fixtures are a staple in The New American Home 2021 as they are featured throughout from the outlet receptacles to the circuit panels. Their new Wi-Fi smart devices will be the envy of the neighbors, allowing one to schedule lights to go ON and OFF or DIM at the touch of a button through Amazon’s Alexa App.

    In addition to Eaton’s smart devices, Control 4 took the smart house to a whole new level by integrating the whole home with their control system. Not only can one control the lighting of the home through their app-based system, but it also controls the shades, security and HVAC system. Control 4’s system also works directly with Phantom Screens’ retractable motorized screens used on the terrace, as well as their solar shades on the windows. This is all with thanks to the Somfy home motor system that Phantom Screens uses that Control 4 has the ability to connect with.

    Ready to start your next residential modern home project? Contact us here or give us a call at 407-599-3922.

  6. Modern Home Design & Construction of The 2021 New American Home – Phase 2

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    Our modern home design process of the 2021 New American Home requires us to be nimble and flexible, and to nurture great relationships with a variety of vendor teams and builders. After constructing our masonry block walls, exterior wood framing, and underground plumbing/electric wiring, we moved onto our interior framing phase!

    Below, Katie Kovac, Phil Kean Design’s Construction Coordinator, walks through the next phase of this new home’s construction.

    As part of the International Builders’ Show, this home showcased the latest products and technologies from the Leading Suppliers Council (LSC), part of the National Association of Home Builders. The most exciting new product featured in this home is the Panasonic Cosmos Healthy Home System.

    The Cosmos system is a smart fresh air system that helps maintain a healthy indoor air environment. Through carefully placed sensors the Cosmos system constantly monitors the indoor air quality within the home and automatically activates the system to bring fresh air in and pull harmful air out when levels go below normal. The harmful sources that the system regularly monitors are volatile organic compounds (VOCs), fine particulate matter, carbon dioxide, and humidity.

    The Cosmos system will work in tandem with the Mitsubishi Ducted Mini-Split HVAC system. Unlike most homes, The New American Home 2021 has no HVAC air handler closets, thus freeing up more available living space which is a huge bonus in an urban development. These ducted mini-split systems are located in the ceilings with drywall access panels to allow for easy accessibility. In addition to added living space, the ducted mini-split system is more energy efficient than a standard HVAC system.

    To add even more energy efficiency to the home, we used Fi-Foil’s latest products during the insulation process.  On the exterior walls, we used Fi-Foil’s new FlexFoam on the masonry block behind the drywall furring strips, then added a layer Fi-Foil’s M-Shield for added insulation. On the frame walls we used Demilec spray foam insulation topped with Fi-Foil’s HY-Fi hybrid insulation system to create a higher R-value. Demilec spray foam insulation was also used in between the floor systems and attic space ensuring a very insulated shell prior to drywall.

    The last step in achieving ultimate energy efficiency and reducing air leakage in the home is Aerobarrier. With their innovative air sealing technology, they can seal all holes within the home’s air ducts and vents ensuring that the home’s air goes where needs.

    Check back next month for our rundown of the 2021 New American Home’s mechanical, electrical and plumbing (MEP) stage!

  7. Modern Home Design & Construction of The 2021 New American Home – Phase 1

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    The New American Home 2021 modern home design process offers a different perspective than Phil Kean Design Group’s previous New American Homes designed and built in 2012 and 2017. In the below video, Phil Kean shares his ideas for the modern architectural design of the home, and walks through the features and amenities of each floor.

    While still modern, this home has a treehouse feel with the main living areas on the third floor looking down over the treetops. As part of an urban luxury development of seven high-end custom homes and townhomes ranging from 3,000 sq. ft. to over 8,000 sq. ft., this home offers luxury living with all the finest finishes, and a walk-to-location in the heart of Winter Park, Florida.

    As we move into the future, we’ve found that walkability and location is ideal. However, in urban locations, walkable properties are hard to come by.

    As with all Phil Kean homes, our mission is to provide award-winning design and construction with our architecturally distinctive spaces while integrating the finest quality of products and services.

    Our Modern Home 2021 Entry: Floor-by-floor Design

    With three levels, The New American Home offers a unique living experience on each floor.

    With an art gallery entrance, the ground floor includes a three-car garage, guest bedroom with en suite bath and office. A dog room dedicated to man’s best friend is also featured on the ground level, along with added doggie doors located on every floor.

    The second floor is dedicated to the owner’s suite with a large master bedroom and spa-like master bath that connects to a boutique walk-in closet. It also includes a TV lounge with walk-out balcony, laundry room, and an exercise room with sauna and en suite bath.

    The third floor offers awe-inspiring 14’ ceilings throughout making it the perfect place to entertain, whether it be in the great room and music room or the state-of-the-art kitchen that connects to a large outside terrace and summer kitchen overlooking the treetops.

    Check back here next week as Katie Kovac, our incredible Construction Coordinator, walks through this modern home’s design materials and partner vendors we chose for this stunning project in Winter Park, FL.

  8. “Unlock” Your Luxury Residence With These 4 Design Tips

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    Brilliant luxury residences have mastered the ability to influence, enhance, and adapt the style and function of a space. Luxury residences focus on the elegant, personalized, and convenient touches that embody the highest pedigree of design – a home where character counts. Here are the four golden keys to “unlock” your luxury residence.

     

    Energy and Flow

     

    Implementing practical elements within the luxury residence for the homeowner’s lifestyle while creating a natural, convenient flow of the space marks the epitome of modern design success. The elegance of even the most aesthetic luxury residence is lost when it’s not usable.

    Making the most of the exterior and interior views is an important part of the luxury home design experience. Open floor plans and access to natural light with full-scale walls of windows and oversized sliding glass doors allow sunlight to flow freely throughout the home, while providing first-class views. Modern luxury homes can also accommodate the desire for a connection with the outdoors by incorporating outdoor kitchens and plenty of welcoming alcoves. Interior spaces that flow one into another without the interruption of walls or hallways extend this dramatic feeling of spaciousness.

    luxury residence living room

    Photo by Uneek Image

    One way to check the flow of your luxury residence is to imagine the energy in the space as water. If water were to flow into your home would it stop or stagnate? Ideally, the energy flow would be smooth and harmonious in all areas.

     

    Create Triumph

     

    Ceilings – they can be detailed, fascinating, luxurious and open the room. An expertly designed ceiling creates a sense of order and triumph of the space – giving an original and innovative look and feel. Various options with lighting and texture will stand out.

    Coffered and wood beam ceilings reflect sustainability and naturalness perfectly, while back-lit drop ceilings create space definition and magic. Create luxury interior ceilings to elevate the design of the rooms in your luxury home.

     

    Deluxe Flooring

    Combining variations of ceiling design with floor detailing continues the harmony of the space.

    If you are looking for industrial sophistication with the added benefit of convenience – the most prevalent flooring solution for your luxury home is polished concrete. Polished concrete floors offer a wide variety of finishes that create a pristine, cohesive look; ideal for a clean, sleek, industrial complement to your luxury space.

    Create a show-stopper with large format marble tile available in natural stone, porcelain or polished ceramic. The light-reflective sheen of the polished finishes will make the space look and feel larger. Both large format tile and polished concrete flooring are excellent choices for modern and luxury homes.

     

    Enter High Class

     

    The front door creates the first impression in a well-designed luxury residence.

    Exquisitely designed and well-made front doors improve functionality and movement into the home while providing the first glimpse of the homeowner’s personality. Inside the home, enrich the entry into every room with style and class by using quality doors. Consider oversized, pivoting, pocketing, barn or hidden doors based on the look you desire and functionality needed for each room.

    exquisite front door

    Photo by Uneek Image

    If you enjoyed our article about how to “unlock” your luxury residence, we encourage you to browse our portfolio of modern architecture, state-of-the-art living spaces, timeless design, and other unique design details. Additionally, peruse our archive of architecture blog articles that focus on our luxury design as well as the processes we use to create these luxury homes.

  9. 3D Renderings in Architecture: How We Craft Luxury Home Visualizations

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    3D Renderings in Architecture: How We Craft Luxury Home Visualizations

    Creating 3D renderings in architectural projects, like the one below, allow our clients to take a realistic step into the luxury home of their dreams.

    It is an essential part of the Phil Kean Design Group’s architectural design process.

    In our previous blog, we provided our readers with insight into how these renderings offer our clients a stunning, tailor-made 3D view of their luxury home design before breaking ground.

    Now we are taking a closer look at this behind-the-scenes process, explaining how we take the home design we created for our client, and use cutting-edge technology and our in-house rendering expertise to create a detailed 3D rendering of both the outside and inside of the home.

    The First 3D Rendering Steps

    Once our architect and client are happy with the schematic design they’ve developed consisting of elevations and floor plans, the architect provides the project’s CAD file to our in-house rendering expert. With this information, our renderer creates an initial 3D model of the exterior of the home with our high-tech software.

    The architect can use this model to further discuss the details of the home.  They can open this model, rotate it and show the client their design from every angle, every perspective to ensure they’re not just satisfied with the concept, but feel exhilarated to see their residence come to fruition.

    Crafting the 3D Rendering

    Once the client signs off on the conceptual design, our design team gives our renderer everything they need to begin accurately developing the home 3D rendering—site photos, Google Earth data, exterior materials, etc.  They add intricate details to the concept model, such as textures, colors, exterior lighting, hardscape, and even topographic landscape.

    Finally, our interior design team develops the interiors of the 3D rendered model, creating luxury spaces with flooring materials, paint colors, ceiling details, plumbing fixtures, cabinetry, countertops and more. They lay out furniture placement and other décor throughout the home’s interiors and outdoor living areas.  Every detail is modeled to represent the house exactly as it will be built.

    When the design has been fully detailed, our render imports the model into our cutting-edge rendering program, Lumion, which is software that specializes in adding realism to the images and allows our architects to give our clients comprehensive views of their luxury home.

    This unique program gives us the freedom to create an authentic experience for our clients—we can adjust sunlight to mimic the position of the sun at any given time of day, add realistic lighting that emits from sconces and pendants, and even create night views that provide our clients an in-depth look at the dramatic landscape lighting that’s possible.

    Our Final Steps for Creating Luxury Home 3D Renderings

    As our design team begins to finalize the details of our client’s home, our rendering expert spends time finely tuning each environment in the 3D rendering by adding realistic effects to make the experience look and feel even more lifelike.

    For example, the renderer adds in reflective surfaces or translucent materials to create a sense of depth and texture. Water movement is added to water features and pools. Lighting and shadows are adjusted to reflect the time of day and weather used in the rendering (the rendering can include snow, fall foliage, sunsets, etc.).

    When all the nuances have been incorporated, the render creates a 3D “fly around”.

    Using this fly around technique, they create a video that will circle the house so our clients can see every angle of the design through a realistic experience that makes them feel like they’re truly standing in front of their home.

    Then it gets even better!

    The renderer can use Lumion to create a “fly thru” of the floor plan as well.  The fly thru video gives our clients the experience of walking through their luxury home, as if they’re stepping into their home for the first time.

    With this process, we’re able to grant our clients a realistic experience that allows them to get an authentic first look at what their luxury dream home will soon be.

    If you enjoyed diving into our 3D rendering process, we encourage you to browse through our portfolio of modern architecture, state-of-the-art living spaces, timeless kitchens, and our other unique design details. Further, explore our archive of blog articles that focus on luxury design and modern luxury residences.

     

  10. How We Accentuate Modern Luxury Residences

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    Modern luxury residences rely on aesthetic and seamless functionality.

    Oftentimes, crafting the perfect luxury residence has less to do with the big picture and grandeur, and actually has more to do with the smaller, more intricate details that piece the modern home together.

    In other words, the smallest touches make the biggest differences.

    While notable additions like integrated outdoor/indoor spaces, fitness centers, and bright, functional kitchens surely have their place in modern luxury residences, the attention to detail distinguishes a well thought-out modern home that works.

    Here are the top four places we accentuate our modern luxury residences:

    1. Foyers & Entranceways

    2. Custom Doors

    3. Glass Walls & Floor-to-Ceiling Windows

    4. Multi-Textured Exteriors

    luxury staircase

    Photo Credit: Uneek Image

    Foyers & Entranceways

     

    Firstly, a well-designed foyer commands attention–it sets the tone for a home’s design.

    This vital detail of a home acts as the elegant transition from the outside of a home to the inside of it. Foyers that are intentionally designed with modern aesthetic and functionality in mind may feature elements such as high ceilings, floor-to-ceiling windows, sculptural staircases that draw the eye upward, extraordinary finishes, and state-of-the-art lighting that provide an elegant finish that grants grace to the rest of your home.

    Custom Doors

     

    Next, our modern luxury residences incorporate custom doors. This seemingly small detail can enhance a home’s aesthetic immediately by acting as luxury focal point before you step inside of your home.

    Modern double-front doors with specific uses of glass and unique doors made from uniquely sourced or handcrafted materials can create a clean and efficient statement that offers an impressive, luxury aesthetic. Front doors with custom designs act as more than just entranceways. They also act as a key integral element of the home’s complete design.

     

    Glass Walls & Floor-to-Ceiling Windows

     

    Additionally, floor-to-ceiling windows and glass walls offer a modern, clean aesthetic that integrates functionality by providing your luxury home with ample natural lighting. Floor-to-ceiling windows, especially when integrated throughout specific key areas of the home, can virtually eliminate the border between your indoor living space and nature outside. Wall-style windows create a spacious, open living area warmed with sunlight.

    modern residential architecture

    Photo Credit: Uneek Image

    Multi-Textured Exteriors

     

    Lastly, the exterior textures of modern luxury residences aren’t always considered as the focal points of a luxury home.

    However, understanding small details like the thoughtful layering of modern textures transform a home from the appearance of something standard into a something luxury or modern. From white-washed brick and rich wood to multi-colored stone and neutral paint, a well-designed, intentional home exterior featuring richly-contrasting textures can dramatically improve the luxurious look and feel of a home.

    modern residential designs

    Photo Credit: Uneek Image

     

    If you’ve enjoyed this article, we anticipate you’ll enjoy reading through our archive of interior design and luxury home articles available here. Additionally, please enjoy exploring our ever-growing residential portfolio here, which is filled with our inspiring interiors and examples of our unique, modern luxury residential design.