$1.8 million show house gets a crowd in Las Vegas


LAS VEGAS - Consider it a loft, Las Vegas-style.

New construction. Concrete. Three bedrooms. 5,180 square feet over three levels. Gated subdivision. Asking price: $1.8 million.

It looks nothing like lofts in older cities such as Chicago, New York and San Francisco, but this fast-growing desert city is short on architectural history and has a big local industry devoted to dreams.

It "is an atypical layout for American homes" acknowledges architect Lex van Straten, principal in Food for Buildings Architects and Designers, with offices in the Netherlands and the United States. However, he expects the design "will appeal to many in different phases of life."

The "official" show house of the International Builders' Show sponsored by the National Association of Home Builders, this New American Home 2004 was visited by an estimated 10,000 people associated with the building industry during the trade show last month .

As shown, this house is for adults - affluent empty-nesters or singles.

It could rightly be described as a glamorous suburban-style house that illustrates the current mania for "great rooms" - where kitchen, dining and family rooms are combined - and expands on the growing trend to blend inside rooms with outdoor living.

"The concept is fewer walls with good architectural design, which makes spaces interesting and comfortable, and good interior design," says builder Bart Jones, who with brother Steve operates Las Vegas-based Merlin Contracting & Development, specializing in custom homes from $1 to $15 million.

"It has so many options. It can be enjoyed and used by retirees who don't want Sun City, but do want a simple, clean space," he said. Or it may appeal to "young executives who want simple, elegant space."

Guests enter the house by walking through a courtyard and into a foyer. The foyer leads into a combined dining room and large galley kitchen overlooking a living room.

The dining room opens onto an entry courtyard, which has room for outside dining and a lap pool.

The living room also opens onto a sizable terrace with an outdoor kitchen, outdoor fireplace and garden with reflecting pool.

The lower level or basement has a media room, wine cellar and laundry as well as two bedrooms, each with a private bath. Both bedrooms open onto a lower-level patio, with stairs up to the terrace and garden outside the living room.

The second, or upper, level of the house has a master suite with a room-size, walk-in closet and a 25-by-7-foot bathroom. There is an outdoor shower and tub on a private terrace off the master suite at one end of the house.

At the opposite end of this floor is a space which might be used as a study, artist's studio or home office. It, too, opens onto a terrace, this equipped with a whirlpool spa and exercise equipment.

An annual project since 1984, the house is intended to be a collection of new ideas in design, home products and construction.

The 2004 house is in the gated subdivision of Lakes at West Sahara, about 15 minutes from the Las Vegas strip.

The design team collaborated to provide a blend of soothing Asian and traditional European interior architectural elements and furnishings.

The style of the house is dramatic and eye-catching, but many of those who toured the residence likely took more interest in the products and building technology used to build it.

It was built of a high-mass material tightly constructed with excellent windows and efficient heating and cooling systems.

It is largely constructed of concrete and cement products which are not only compatible with the desert setting, but contribute energy efficiency and privacy.

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