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Tips on building your dream home in The Ridges

Located high above the Las Vegas Valley, where the famed Desert Inn Road meets the mountains, The Ridges, a luxury home enclave in Summerlin, is aptly named. The area’s dramatic rocky ridges and nearby Red Rock Canyon National Conservation Area form the foundation of the community’s elegant design aesthetic, while creating a stunning backdrop that’s one of a kind in Southern Nevada. The area is home to the city’s influencers, captains of industry and leading professionals, and it’s also a favorite spot for the city’s interior designers and architects to make their mark.

So where do you start when you are planning to design and build a custom home? According to Elle Gaensslen, sales and marketing manager for Summerlin, who oversees custom homesite sales in The Ridges, that’s the question buyers have on their mind once they purchase a lot. That’s because designing and building a custom home can be a daunting process, but it doesn’t have to be that way as long as you hire the right professionals. To guide those planning their dream homes, Gaensslen suggests forming a dream team comprised of an architect, general contractor and interior designer.

“Sharing ideas with your team at the same time will result in getting what you really want: a home that is uniquely yours,” she said.

According to Daniel Chenin, principal architect with Daniel Joseph Chenin, Ltd., anyone building a custom home should start by hiring an architect who offers a full scope of services. “Download your dream in as much detail as possible, including your style preferences and lifestyle, then sit back and let your architect get to work without interference,” Chenin said. “If you hire the right team, you will be able to sit back and enjoy the ride.”

Interior designer Cary Vogel who lives and frequently works in The Ridges, echoes Chenin’s and Gaensslen’s sentiment about the importance of hiring the right professionals. “Launch the process with your entire team at the same time to ensure they are all working toward a single unified vision,” Vogel said. “Often, these professionals have track records of working together on previous homes, and that’s a good sign they gel. Look for these experts who have built other great custom homes together.”

Jill Abelman of Inside Style, another Las Vegas interior designer who is making her mark in The Ridges, encourages those who want to build a custom home to take the process slow, spending considerable time walking through other custom homes, thumbing through magazines and taking copious notes about preferences.

“It’s often hard to visualize how a home will look or live from studying a plan,” Abelman said. “Get out and see as many homes as you can to ensure your design will meet your needs. Dreams can’t be rushed, and that’s especially true for your home.”

So what are the hot, current styles and trends in custom home design? According to Chenin, trends that rule the day include contemporary styles, open floor plans with combined kitchen and living spaces and the seamless integration of kitchen appliances, technology and other items into the overall design.

“Advances in lighting technologies and full-home automation are highly desired, and fortunately, are becoming more affordable all the time,” Chenin said. “Paired down refinement and functionality can be wrapped in minimalistic design expressions to create a true luxury environment — similar to what you might find at a five-star resort.”

Vogel, who embraces famed fashion designer Karl Lagerfeld’s mantra about trends, believes a focus on enduring classics with a trendy nod expressed in accessories and fabrics, is the best of both worlds.

“Don’t marry yourself long-term to the trends or colors of the day,” he said. “Make sure the bones and structure of your home are classic, then add touches of trendy color or décor that can more easily be changed over time as your tastes evolve and trends come and go.”

Vogel also cites the growing popularity of great new materials for countertops like his personal favorite — a porcelain slab that is great for families since spills are easily cleaned up, as well as growing use of more eco-friendly LED lighting.

“Tile from floor to ceiling in the shower is popular, as is the incorporation of a soaking tub into a large shower stall to create a spa-like experience — a trend that will maintain itself for years to come.”

Abelman, whose eclectic approach to interior design resonates with clients who love to “mix it up,” appreciates the fact that design is becoming more adventurous.

“Gone are the days of matching furniture sets,” she said. “Textures and wallpapers are back, adding warmth and sex appeal to the home in a big way. And people are starting to warm up to color again. A red chair, an olive-green appliance in the kitchen or a rich aubergine wall add life, fun and vibrancy to a home. And best of all, they can be easily switched out and changed as trends and tastes move on.”

Abelman cites a return of more natural-looking floors that seamlessly bring the indoors and outdoors together, an especially popular feature in a community like The Ridges, where many homes offer stunning views of the Las Vegas Strip or the mountains to the west. “Everyone wants a maintenance-free floor and there are many options — tiles that look like large concrete slabs or even wood — are hot right now. And for good reason. They are beautiful, natural looking and easy to care for.”

There are many reasons why The Ridges in Summerlin is the literal pinnacle of luxury living in Las Vegas, according to Kevin T. Orrock, president of Summerlin. “The Ridges’ elevation at 4,000 feet above sea level is twice the height of the top of The Strat,” Orrock said. “That means it’s one of the most scenic spots in Southern Nevada, delivering consistently cooler temperatures and offering expansive and commanding views of the entire Las Vegas Valley. And the stunning array of many of Las Vegas’ most spectacular homes is just the icing on the cake.”

Named by Forbes.com in 2003 as the third most exclusive gated community in America, The Ridges is home to more than 300 completed custom homes, of which the majority are primary residences, ensuring a year-round vibrancy. More than 25 additional homes are under design or construction, and sales of custom lots are brisk.

At the center of The Ridges is Bear’s Best Las Vegas, a Jack Nicklaus-designed golf course that features replications of his most famous holes from courses throughout the southwest; and Club Ridges, a private health, fitness, tennis and swim facility designed exclusively for Ridges’ residents.

For more information, call 702-255-2500, or visit summerlin.com.

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