An interesting nuance when remodeling homes is the story
the home tells when you look behind the walls. The 2017 New American Remodeled
Home (TNARH) renovation in the Lake Nona community in Winter Park, Florida held
a big surprise of its own. When the team of Phil Kean Design Group (PKDG)
tore down the walls, they discovered the home had experienced a traumatic fire—“one
that burnt it basically to the ground,” explained John Taylor, project manager
“We didn’t realize there was that kind of damage until we
opened up the walls,” added Phil Kean.
“One of the first things we consider on a renovation like
this is losing all the barring points … to open up the floor plan,” explains
The ceilings in the space were 7 foot, but PKDG cut out
the backend of the roof structure to add two feet—raising the ceilings in the
space to 9 feet. Because a section of roof is new and trusses were cut, all the
roof load was transferred from the walls to newly installed beams. “We had to
check the depth of the concrete to verify it was sufficient to carry the new
super-imposed loads that are going on it,” describes John.
Much of the floor had to be cut out and reinforced with
rebar and concrete to eliminate the possibility of vertical separation of the two
connecting slabs. “Those are things that we are focused on at this time … to
get structure back to 100 percent,” comments John.
The team of PKDG is consistently asking the question,
“How do we take these little openings and make them bigger to let in more of
the view?” On this 2017 TNARH project, they’ve made window openings much larger
and even replaced columns from a lanai with hefty beams to open up the space
(as pictured above).
John notes, “You have to be fluid in the higher end
custom home market. You can’t take a set of blueprints and expect that to be
what the project is going to look like at the end. It’s going to change during
“You’ve got to go with the flow, look for the surprises
and be open to figuring out the solutions,” concludes Phil.
Read more about both of The New American Home
2017 projects or watch the video of Phase 2.