2013 Professional Remodeler Design Awards Project of the Year: Greener Pastures

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Phil Kean Design Group rejuvenates Central Florida home with energy-efficient overhaul.

December 05, 2013
This refurbished space on the backside on the home opens to a spacious lanai via pocket sliding glass doors.

This refurbished space on the backside on the home opens to a spacious lanai via pocket sliding glass doors.

The owner of this waterfront home in Orlando, Fla., desired an open floor plan with large, comfortable living spaces to accommodate his growing family. When he purchased the house in 2006, its segmented layout didn?t present much of a problem. Once he married and had young children, though, he discovered the one-story residence constricted movement and limited interaction, especially in the kitchen.

?They?d have 20 people in a kitchen that really should?ve handled only one or two people,? says architect Phil Kean, who sought to expand the room and make it more accessible from other areas of the house. In the original layout, interior walls isolated the kitchen from the main living spaces, and a hallway separated it from the dining room.

As the design phase progressed, Kean?a certified residential contractor?asked the homeowners whether they would like to see a two-story rendering of the project. The clients embraced the concept and a week later told Kean, who had to enlarge the home?s living spaces but stay within its original footprint, they wanted to incorporate a second floor in the renovation. ?It allowed us to really open up that first floor and make some large rooms,? Kean says.

The addition of an upper level granted the Phil Kean Design Group, a design-build firm based in Winter Park, Fla., more leeway to remove interior walls and raise ceiling heights. ?In the same time we reinforced the structure to handle the extra load of a second floor,? says Kean, who credited 3-D modeling software with helping the clients envision such a drastic remodel. ?When you use the 3-D modeling tools, there are a lot of questions that get answered before you start,? he adds.

The firm lifted the master suite out of the first level and coupled that space with the original cooking and breakfast room to create a sprawling kitchen and dining area replete with high-gloss white cabinets, two large islands, Energy Star-qualified appliances, and a table with seating for 10 people. This refurbished space on the backside on the home opens to a spacious lanai via pocket sliding glass doors.

?Because they were on a lake, they wanted to capture the indoor-outdoor lifestyle,? Kean says. The company installed a summer kitchen in the lanai and enclosed the entire area with retractable screens to keep out bugs. This protected outdoor space increases the home?s living and entertaining area by 605 square feet and also leads into the family room through a pocket sliding glass door.

The Phil Kean Design Group repurposed the existing swimming pool in the backyard and built a new wood deck around it to connect the house to a fire pit near the lake?s edge. The firm also matched the boathouse to the home?s updated, modern architectural style.

The newfound second floor includes a private master suite as well as an exercise room, office, media room, and a 623-square-foot balcony that stretches across the back of the house. The master bathroom in particular showcases a picturesque view of the lake and has become one of the homeowners? favorite spots. ?They?ve described it as a ?vacation? kind of feel,? Kean says.

Three bedrooms, three-and-a-half bathrooms, a playroom, and an airy foyer round out the renovated first floor. The staircase?s glass balustrade features a removable baby gate made with a single glass and metal panel. A stone column in the foyer covered by a barn door acts a coat closet for now but could be used to install an elevator in the future.

The grand entryway provides a glimpse of the lake immediately after stepping foot into the home. Maximizing views remained a primary objective of the homeowners throughout the project, and all areas but the front two bedrooms capture scenes of the lake. Opening up the home and constructing a second floor increased its total living area from 3,495 square feet to 5,581 square feet.

Another important consideration for the homeowners involved the integration of green features?energy and water efficiency, healthy interiors for their children, and general sustainability. The Phil Kean Design Group incorporated myriad components to achieve efficient energy use: low-E windows, large overhangs, expanding foam insulation, an Energy Star-rated TPO roof, light-colored paint, an HVAC system with tightly sealed duct work, and Energy Star appliances.

This home earned a HERS Index of 63, and it received LEED for Homes ?Gold,? Energy Star, and EPA Indoor airPLUS certifications. Kean says he certifies all of his homes but that ?how far we want to take it is client driven.? Three media air cleaners, fresh air vents, bath fans with ducting, central vacuum system, air-sealed and ventilated garage, low-VOC paints and stains, and a carbon dioxide detector promote healthy interiors for the family?s young children.

Easy-to-clean high-gloss cabinets, solid surface floors, and child-friendly textiles on the furniture ensure simple maintenance. Low-flow fixtures, artificial turf, and drip irrigation for plantings establish a water-wise residence.

Despite all of its recognition, the home?s most popular green feature has nothing to do with energy efficiency or sustainability. Kean incorporated grass in the driveway so that it forms an intricate design of straight lines and squares with the concrete.

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