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Gearing up for midcentury modern week

Updated April 20, 2019 - 10:54 am

Retro to the last detail, David Ibarra and his husband, Jeff Andrews’s, 1963 rancher has a cool, hip, space-age vibe.

From the vintage chime of the doorbell to the bubbling glow of the lava lamps, their home takes guests back to the age of Sputnik, Russian Cosmonauts and the Space Race.

“I’ve always liked midcentury, the futurama of it,” said Ibarra, sporting a white short-sleeve shirt with a pink flamingo pattern. “Also, the simplicity, low, slim lines and clean design.”

Located in the historic Paradise Palms neighborhood, their 1,900-square-foot gray ranch home with vibrant red trim is one of seven midcentury homes featured during the Nevada Preservation Foundation’s Home + History Vintage Vegas tour April 27.

“This has been two years in the making,” Ibarra, who works for MGM Resorts’ corporate offices, said about participating in the event. He and Andrews were out of town last year and unable to participate. “I’m really looking forward to it and seeing what people say.”

A sophisticated sense of nostalgic flair envelopes the interior using a variety of shapes, textures and colors.

Its original hardwood floors, ultra-modern dining room, light and retro furnishings create a fun, lively environment complete with starburst wallpaper.

“I love how this house is a mix of old and new,” said Nevada Preservation Foundation’s Director of Neighborhood Stabilization Michelle Larime. “I really like that they kept those original show pieces, which are iconic for midcentury enthusiasts but then modernized where they need to modernize to fit their needs.”

The era-inspired décor includes an atomic bomb detonation print, white shag rug and the couple’s vintage memorabilia collection, complete with a Rosie the Maid robot figurine from the cartoon classic “The Jetsons.”

“The Jetsons was my favorite cartoon growing up,” Ibarra said. “Push a button, there was dinner.”

The couple started collecting special vintage-inspired pieces after they purchased the home.

“It started when we found a Starburst clock,” Ibarra said of their collection. “It’s addicting. Now we’ve got everything we need.”

Ibarra’s favorite hangout is the converted sun room at the back of the house. The couple transformed the room into “Cosmos,” a Soviet space-age inspired lounge complete with fine vodka, fog machine, white plastic egg chair, laser lights and killer sound system.

“This house has two different vibes,” Ibarra said. “In the day its peaceful and charming but at night, it’s a living, breathing thing.”

Ibarra, who earned a degree in interior design selected a red-and-white color scheme to coordinate with the extensive Soviet memorabilia. He even created some of the artwork on the walls.

“We have the largest collection (of Soviet memorabilia) in Vegas, probably,” Ibarra said, and laughs. The room’s decor was inspired by Andrews’ purchase of the retro metal red fireplace he found at an estate sale.

“What better way to pay tribute to midcentury modern,” Ibarra said. “Then to give homage to the Russians, who pretty much gave us the ‘kick in the keister’ to get into the space race.”

The couple purchased the home in 2010, after searching several historic neighborhoods.

“The thing that sold us were the bathrooms,” Ibarra said. They are located in each of the two master bedrooms, one on each side of the home. “They are absolute time capsules.”

Both bathrooms showcase original 1960s gold foil starburst tile, vanities and mirrors with attached medicine cabinets complete with vertical, frosted, textured, sliding glass doors.

The pink bathroom in the second master bedroom features the original fixtures, right down to the toilet. Ibarra added black-and-white accent touches to enhance the retro theme, such as a black-and-white Marilyn Monroe print, black stencil on the toilet lid and a black-and-white hanging lamp Ibarra made from a floor fixture.

Ibarra’s key vintage touches for their fully renovated kitchen include drawer pulls and a specially painted blue refrigerator.

“The pulls are midcentury modernesque,” Ibarra said, who found them online. “So, it gives a vintage feel with a modern look. I love it.”

The entire existing kitchen was replaced with lacquer cabinetry, quartz counters and a waterfall-edged island. A large cabinet above the island was removed to open up the space.

“Every time you stand behind the island to prep or anything,” Ibarra said. “It feels like you should have a camera crew in front of you, like you’re in a cooking show.”

Drawing inspiration from the window boxes hanging on the master bedroom’s two large windows, he created a cozy retreat using charcoal gray walls, black lace and red accents — like a red velvet headboard rumored to once have been owned by an unidentified celebrity.

“I knew exactly what I was doing with the room,” Ibarra said about the master bedroom. “The way you see it is exactly how I envisioned it.”

Ibarra estimates the couple invested over $30,000 into the renovation.

“It was all cosmetic, which is really great,” Ibarra said about the homes renovations. “Best part it is we’ve done most of the work ourselves. Only thing we didn’t do is replace the carpets and paint the exterior. I can honestly say blood, sweat and tears was put into this house”

“One thing I would recommend anyone restoring a home is start a spread sheet of your time and money,” said Andrews said, who works for the city of Las Vegas.

Ibarra, who grew up in Las Vegas always wanted to purchase property in Paradise Palms.

“I’ve always looked in the neighborhood,” Ibarra said. “I would drive through the neighborhood and see what was for sale.”

After convincing his husband to purchase a home, they targeted homes built in the late 1950s to late 1960s.

“We looked at a bunch of neighborhoods that were in the same years,” Ibarra said.

He said he believes the purchase was meant to be. “None of them had that comforting feeling this one had. It just felt like home.”

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