Contemporary Chic

All the modern conveniences—and eco-friendly concepts—of today can be found in the New Southern Home.



Taylor Architectural Photography

It's hard to believe that the concept of the “contemporary” home is now nearly a century old. When Frank Lloyd Wright revolutionized home design with his spare, simplified structures that celebrated nature over manmade ornamentation, the art of architecture was forever changed. 
The striking pool and outdoor courtyard is accessed via telescoping sliding doors.
(Scroll down to see the image gallery)

Wright’s influence on modern home design continues to be seen in homes that take an organic approach with an emphasis on earth, water, fire and air and how these elements connect us to the sphere we inhabit. And “The Oasis,” the 2014 New Southern Home at 1145 Palmer Avenue in Winter Park, beautifully ushers contemporary architecture into the current decade. Here, richly textured stone, a dynamic pool with a fire feature, and soaring ceilings with skylights and solar tubes bring together all of the earth-friendly elements that define an organically designed home.

Built for the 36th annual Southeast Builders Conference, the New Southern Home is a showcase of design and product innovation. It is the ultimate “idea house” designed to inspire architects, builders and designers with push-the-envelope concepts and materials.  

To the right, an expansive outdoor kitchen—complete with a Firetainment fire table that includes such fun and interactive cooking add-ons as a fondue set—and separate “casita” guest quarters anchor one side of the courtyard while the rest of the home wraps around the pool area. Telescoping sliders and windows push open to create a seamless transition into the home’s interior.  The inspiration starts at the stone-flanked front entry, with a pivoting door that leads to a soaring glass atrium. But you’re not inside yet; the door opens onto a courtyard that’s the definition of today’s inside-out living. 

Dale Chihuly-inspired art glass and a chandelier add interest to the dining room, while wine storage with refrigeration is accessible under the stairs.

A Study in Contrasts

Inside, a warm palette of chocolate, taupe and cream paired with crisp and cool silver and blue produces an inviting air that draws in visitors. In the dining room, Dale Chihuly-inspired glass art on a feature wall and a chandelier overhead provide a curvy counterpoint to the bold angles of the linen-covered dining chairs and beveled-glass table.

The dining area opens onto the living space, where stacked stone forms dramatic columns along one wall; between the columns are curvilinear panels made of recycled paper. The juxtaposition of hard and soft, curved and angled, provide an eye-pleasing contrast. 

The interplay of circular and rectangular shapes is a recurring theme throughout the home, as seen in the bold circular detail on the master bedroom ceiling that contrasts with the room’s tufted and squared headboard.  

Another predominant theme is reduce, reuse and recycle: In addition to the recycled-paper panels in the living room, a range of repurposed and reclaimed products can be found, including a coffee table made of recycled wood, a recycled-wood dining room table base, chairs made from reclaimed parts of SpitFire planes and chairs crafted with recycled bike wheels.  

His & Hers

In the master suite, privacy and practicality go hand-in-hand with separate his-and-hers water closets and vanities that share a wall and yet are completely separate. A massive shower with a glass wall overlooks the private Jacuzzi and garden. Niches in the rock wall facing the Jacuzzi are designed to hold pillar candles, creating an inviting ambiance for evening hot tub sessions. 

Luxury touches, including rhinestone drawer pulls and custom light fixtures, and expansive views of the pool courtyard, create a suite retreat.  

Heart and Hearth

The heart of the home is, of course, the kitchen, and it’s rich with details and creative ideas. A tabletop of Caesarstone is seamlessly connected to the granite kitchen island, providing a convenient place to dine, do homework or simply hang out and visit while the cook is in the kitchen. Frosted-glass cabinet doors banded in stainless trim and open stainless steel shelves complement the kitchen’s dark espresso cabinetry, including doors that conceal a massive walk-in pantry. 

No detail is left to chance here, including the intricate aluminum-and-glass mosaic backsplash and even the table’s placemats, which were handmade with river pebbles, in keeping with the home’s organic and elemental theme.

Dynamic Details

The home is filled with innovative elements, including a nifty flex space that could double as an extra garage stall, thanks to the garage door that forms one wall. In its current incarnation, it’s a music/gaming room with soft, sound-absorbing flooring and a large-screen TV. The room is accessed through sliding “barn doors” that can be easily moved aside on sliding rails. 

There’s also a man-cave compromise in the form of a “hang out room” with flat-screen TVs, a full-size (and fully stocked) bar and fold-flat NanaWall windows that open onto an outside serving bar. Like the rest of the home, this room is all about entertaining. 

Another clever use of space can be found under the stairs, which houses wine refrigeration and vertical storage. Tucked alongside are chairs and a small table, perfect for wine tastings.  

Upscale Jack and Jill

Up those stone-clad stairs are the children’s bedrooms, each with its own bathroom. In the girl’s bath, sculpted wall tiles that resemble windswept sand dunes form the backdrop for the freestanding tub and waterfall showerhead. The muted beige tones are carried into the bedroom that invites sleep and relaxation.  

In the boy’s room, a surfboard wall display and a desk made from a repurposed board create a laidback theme. Outside the sliding doors, a large upper deck wraps from the bedroom to the bath, bringing the outdoors in.  

Pure Practicality

Downstairs, an office that could also serve as a nursery or second master suite and a laundry room provide sensible square footage. The laundry room, which opens directly into the two-car garage, boasts such smart extras as a work/craft desk and USB ports for charging phones. A “locker room” with storage for books, backpacks, coats and shoes is the perfect dropping-off point after school or work.   

A Perfect Fit

The New Southern Home replaced a ranch-style teardown and blends seamlessly with this “old Winter Park” neighborhood. Instead of building a Mediterranean-style mansion shoehorned onto a too-small lot, the New Southern Home team built a properly proportionate home that makes the most of the property without overwhelming it. The home’s courtyard configuration lends a sense of spaciousness without compromising privacy; this was a home built for entertaining and family fun. 


Makin​g it Happen 

Built on an infill lot in an established neighborhood, the New Southern Home features more than 6,653 square feet of interior and exterior living space. It will be a key part of the Southeast Building Conference held July 24-26. A creative team of builders, landscape architects, designers and energy specialists worked together to create “The Oasis.”

RX Custom Home Builders: Bill Cook, builder 

Project Superintendent: Alex Hannigan, construction 

The Evans Group: Donald F. Evans, AIA Architect & James LaPiana 

Clark and Companies: Kate Clark, interior design 

Redmon Design Group, PA: Scott Redmon, landscape design 

Two Trails Inc.: Drew Smith, LEED AP

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