Designing On Deadline - Design Bureau

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Designing On Deadline

Friday, September 5th, 2014

Featured Company: Keesee and Associates - Location: Orlando, Florida - Project Type: Residence - Project Name: The 2013 New Southern Home

Photo by Uneek Image,

By Risa Seidman

When David Pillsbury got word that his design firm, Keesee and Associates, was selected to design the Southeast Building Conference’s New Southern Home, he was presented with a seemingly insurmountable laundry list of requirements to deliver within a short five-month time frame.

“The client was building a spec house in a time when the economy was just beginning to recover,” he says. “So it was paramount to develop an attractive design that is pleasing to a large demographic, to add as many practical features, to satisfy certain green building initiatives, to maximize the available building area, and somehow to do all of this without having to price the house beyond what an average family of today can afford.”

Aesthetically, Pillsbury wanted to create an elegant yet understated homage to Florida architecture with a “particular charm” that would attract various kinds of people. “The idea was to create a farm house with a little sophistication,” he says. To achieve this, the team made use of neutral tones and clean lines, providing a tasteful canvas onto which the new owners can project a range of interior-design aesthetics.

To ensure that the house met the sustainability requirements of the client, Pillsbury incorporated many green elements. The house was constructed using recycled wood framing, pressboard trim, and fly-ash concrete. Other elements also were incorporated, including win- dows with recycled composite frames, garage exhaust fans, low-flush toilets, and other fixtures that “meet or exceed EPA water-conservation standards.”

Despite the numerous challenges, the design for the spec house was conceived in four hours on a Saturday morning, then completed and open for display just four months later, Pillsbury says. The New Southern Home was later certified LEED Platinum for its incorporation of sustainable design elements.

“There's an almost indescribable value in good design, as became evident by the home selling only a month after it was built,” Pillsbury says. “That's value."


For the 2013 New Southern Home, Minnesota-based Andersen Windows installed windows that would stay true to the American Farmhouse style (regarding window placement, proportions, grill patterns, and roof slope) while also providing high-performance, energy-efficient features.

The Andersen 100 Series selected for the project is made of Fibrex material, a “proprietary wood-and-vinyl composite containing 40 percent reclaimed-wood fiber by weight,” segment marketing manager Megan Dunbar says. “It’s a unique material that’s twice as strong as vinyl and will not fade, flake, blister, chalk, or peel, no matter what the climate brings to bear.”

Dunbar finds the home to be a great blend of efficiency and flexibility, “built to last, using high-quality products and craftsmanship.” To achieve the goal of sustainability while maintaining the intended style of the home makes the collaboration between Keesee and Associates and Andersen Windows— one that has already spanned 20 projects—a sustainable one for the future.

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