Insider's Las Vegas: Just Desert
A third-generation Las Vegan planning to build a home for his wife, son, and daughter took inspiration from Nevada’s desert landscape. In doing so, he sidestepped the architectural zest of Sin City and created instead a calm, contemporary abode. The family’s new domicile—named Promontory for its location on the brow of the Red Rock Mountains—is a 10,000-square-foot residence from which one can see, in the distance, the Strip’s twinkling lights.
Simple Life | From the beginning of the five-year design-and-build process, the primary goal of the homeowners—a principal at a successful real estate brokerage firm and his wife—was to create a contemporary home that would be ideal for entertaining, but also comfortable for their children. Architect Clive Bridgwater, of the Los Angeles–based Bridgwater Consulting Group, worked with the couple to develop a layout that would respect the surrounding natural environment. "The simplicity of the desert really lends itself to a contemporary style," says Karen Butera, the interior designer on the project. "The use of glass and curvilinear forms complements the views and mountainous shapes naturally found in a desert landscape."
The clean lines of the architecture meld with a warm color palette and plush furnishings (some of which Butera designed) to avoid a stark or sterile appearance. Repeated horizontal architectural details make the home’s immense scale seem less imposing and draw the eye outward to expansive views afforded by floor-to-ceiling windows and glass pocket doors.
Butera downplayed the difference between interior and exterior by employing the same materials throughout—the Apache Cloud flagstone that covers the facade, for example, is also found in the family room and dining room. Immediately off the family room, the kitchen’s dining counter appears to cut straight through the glass of a nearby pocket door and continue on the poolside deck.
Balance of Power | Promontory is a house full of juxtapositions. Floating walnut-plank ceilings, wall coverings, and warmly painted accents soften the heavy stone walls found throughout the estate. "There is a lot of yin and yang here," says Butera. "Achieving the simplest style often requires a complex process of blending contrasting elements."
This kitchen is a delicate balancing act, Butera says. "The layering of cold and warm surfaces creates a dynamic environment that, in many ways, makes the kitchen the heart of the home." African mahogany (with an espresso finish) and polished limestone—for the cabinets and countertops, respectively—offset harsher materials, such as the stainless steel that covers a Wolf range and extractor hood and dual Miele dishwashers. Frosted-glass cabinet doors and a reflective chopped-glass mosaic backsplash contrast with the room’s dark walnut flooring.
Butera paid similar attention to functionality. A 15-seat, indoor/outdoor dining counter, a separate breakfast nook, and multiple workspaces provide versatility for everything from intimate dinners to catered parties. Other highlights include a cook’s office; side-by-side televisions and a security monitor in the cabinetry above the Sub-Zero refrigerator/freezer; and warming drawers.
Vertical Leap | Butera noticed something missing in the home’s original plan and insisted on adding a formal dining room. New plans were drafted to include a trapezoidal space in which a striking double-height dining area would be located. The room’s unusual form inspired some innovative design moves. For instance, Butera and the owners had an African mahogany dining table built to fit the space’s angles. They chose quartzite slate floors in an oversize harlequin pattern to reinforce a radial shape. "The complementary shapes of the table, flooring, and room evoke a sense of intimacy despite the space’s large size," Butera says. In a nod to the glitz of Las Vegas’ casinos, an 8-foot chandelier custom-made of Strass Swarovski crystal marks the center of the space.
Perfect Scale | The piano bar sits at the center of Promontory’s large entertainment area, where the dining room, indoor/outdoor living room, and media room are also located. It features a Steinway & Sons player piano and a series of custom blown-glass roundels and commissioned pieces by Dierk Van Keppel.
An elegant focal point for predinner cocktails or small after-dinner gatherings, the piano bar also leads guests from the front of the house to the media room, where cozy leather sectionals and recliners accommodate a number of guests. Pocket doors allow for a private theater experience or disappear entirely to facilitate the social atmosphere of a Super Bowl party.
The residence’s massive interconnecting rooms are divided by clusters of carefully placed furniture to create intimate seating configurations. Slate floors and warm colors connect the rooms, providing a cohesive look throughout.
Master Domain | In the private wing, where the master suite, the children’s annex, and the guest casita are located, the ceilings are lower, to achieve a more personal scale. The master suite—which includes a sitting room, a spacious bathroom with separate vanities and a two-person digital spa shower with steam, and a fitness area—was intended as a quiet sanctuary away from guests and the kids.