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Mid-Century Masterpiece

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Case Studies

Mid-Century Masterpiece

The 2020 New American Remodel is a masterful example of modern design customized for one particular site


By By Charlie Wardell November 28, 2019
the new american remodel NAHB pro remodeler
This article first appeared in the December 2019 issue of Pro Remodeler.

This year’s New American Remodel in Las Vegas is something you don’t want to miss. Architect Phil Kean collaborated with Josh Anderson of Element Building Company to reimagine a typical single-story 1970s Spanish-esque structure with a stunning, two-story example of mid-century modern architecture.

The house is in an established neighborhood with an eclectic mix of homes. It’s also just a 15-minute drive from the Las Vegas Strip, and 20 minutes from the Convention center. 

At 4,800 square feet, the home is typical of what high-end buyers are looking for in Vegas. It includes four bedrooms, a three-car garage, and family and wellness rooms. Two-story stone walls, a glass front wall, and a floor-to-ceiling fireplace add a bit of drama. An interior courtyard wrapped around a 50-year-old tree adds warmth and a connection to nature. 

The design goals included emphasizing the lot’s good points and hiding a big not-so-good one. The latter was an industrial site to the rear of the house, but orienting the home’s rooms toward the interior courtyard created a visual and acoustical shield. “You don’t see or hear what’s behind the house,” says Kean.

One of the lot’s biggest advantages is a direct line of sight to the Las Vegas Strip. This was the the deciding factor in adding the second story. “It let us create a balcony with a view,” he says. “It’s a nice place to hang out in the evening.” 

The decision to go up rather than out left a fair amount of open space at the back of the lot. The neighborhood includes an equestrian park, so the remodelers wanted to leave room for a horse barn, should a future owner want one. 

The home is co-sponsored by Professional Remodeler and the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB). It will be open for tours during the International Builders’ Show in January 2020.

In keeping the mid-century modern design, architect Phil Kean wanted to give the house what he calls a horizontal feel. He accomplished this at the front with a long, flat roof line and a thick walkway running across the center of the window wall. The walkway leads to a second-story terrace at the right.

The Great Room is the first thing a visitor sees when entering the home. The two-story room’s walls continue the stone from the front facade. The walkway leads to the second-story terrace and the hallway below it to the master suite.

The property included a large, 50-year-old tree that the team wanted to save. The solution: Make it the center of an interior courtyard. A small pool serves as the courtyard’s focal point and also includes a miniature waterfall that helps mask street noise. 

The property bordering the rear of the house serves as a parking lot for large trucks. To block the noise, a wall was added at the back of the property, visible through the lanai at the left of the rendering. Also note the bare soil to the right. The home is just a block from an equestrian park, so design team wanted to leave room for stables should a future owner want them.

The large second-story terrace is located over the home’s master suite and offers a great view of the Las Vegas Strip. It will include a fireplace (not shown) as well as operable roof louvers. This should be a popular gathering spot in the evening when the casinos are all lit up.

written by

Charlie Wardell

Charlie Wardell is a freelance writer and former remodeler in Tisbury, Mass.

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