Rich in relaxed, rustic comfort, Boulder City resident Linda Faiss’ Santa Fe-style home is unmistakable.
Commanding attention from its half-acre hilltop vantage, the pueblo-style abode offers stunning views of Lake Mead and surrounding landscape such as the topography famously known as the “7 Kneeling Nuns.”
“It looks like they are kneeling at the altar,” said Faiss, president of Faiss Foley Warren Public Relations &Public Affairs. “They also call it Fortification Hill.”
Hanging above her signature Southwestern, arched kiva fireplace is a painting, by the late Brent Thomson, a famous Boulder City artist, depicting a sailboat heading toward the famous landmark.
“We designed the home around the painting,” Faiss said about requesting the over 15-foot ceiling. “The ceiling had to be high enough so the picture could hang over the fireplace.”
Faiss’ Santa Fe-style estate, 835 Temple Rock Court, is listed for $1.5 million through Bret Runion, broker of Desert Sun Realty.
Blending with the natural surroundings, the 4,040-square-foot distinctive home remains true to the Santa Fe design. It features thick, hand-troweled cement plastered walls, square upper windows, arched doorways, earthy hues, Saltillo tile and exposed natural wood.
“Wayne said, ‘You have to be true to the house,’” Faiss said. “’You can’t do anything that would be a disconnect from the design,’ and I think he accomplished that.”
It features four bedrooms, including a private master suite, 3½ baths, library with custom wood built-ins, formal dining and living spaces. All the bedrooms have private entrances and porches. The exterior showcases a heated pool, spa, outdoor kitchen with wooden ramada and rooftop deck.
Faiss and her late husband, Bob, who passed away in 2014, purchased the property in 2000 with the intention of building a single-story home.
“I was thinking we should have a single-story home to retire in,” Faiss said. “That was 18 years ago.”
The Faisses enlisted the help of local designer and builder Wayne Blue of Blue Design to build what Faiss lovingly calls her “adobe hacienda.”
“I told him of my dream,” Faiss said about hiring Blue. “I’ve always wanted a Santa Fe-style house, a house that looked like it was of the land.”
The adobe’s origin is as unique as the property itself. Blue researched the signature style and spent over eight weeks designing the home to capitalize on the views from every vantage.
He accomplished this by angling both sides of the home 45 degrees from the main living area.
“She asked me to design a Santa Fe-style house that looked like it had been here for 50 years,” Blue said. “Most of the materials date much further back than that.”
Faiss collaborated with Blue on the design, intimately involved in the details and selection of materials, including the hand-made, wood-fired Saltillo tile and authentic clay tile roof.
“I was moved into this house before I moved into this house,” Faiss said, laughing. “I was playing with graph paper every night trying to see what would work.”
Blue, along with only two other craftsmen, Dave Rumph and David Eads, spent 12 hours a day, six days a week for 12 months building the home. Rumph, a retired plasterer, pulled a crew together to do all the interior plastering and exterior stucco work.
“It was a lot of work and a lot of hours,” Blue said. “But I looked forward to getting up every morning coming to this job, and the two other guys felt the same way.”
One of the most noted features Blue integrated into the home’s design occurred through a timely coincidence.
Blue saw a large wood beam in a home being built near Red Rock Canyon. The 40-foot beam was from the Lucin Cutoff railroad trestle, which had once spanned the Great Salt Lake. The bridge built in the late 1800s was dismantled by a group of entrepreneurs and sold. Blue researched the company and bought a full truck plus a trailer load of the reclaimed wood.
“When it was delivered it was this wretched gray,” Faiss said about the wood. “And I thought, ‘Oh, my.’ Wayne’s eyes lit up and said, ‘Oh, this is so beautiful.’”
He and his crew spent hours using a wire wheel to strip down all the wood. Once the wood was stripped, they painted it with a clear coat to keep the natural beauty.
The wood was milled based on Blue’s specifications for various design elements, including flooring, columns, molding, exterior wood corbels and thick wood beams known as vigas.
Blue used several vigas to structurally support the roof while adding warmth and character to the main living area.
“You’ll see details in this house you’ll never see again,” Blue said.
Another unique method Blue used was all the foundation stem walls, perimeter boundary walls and some interior walls were created using Cempo block construction, cement/polystyrene composite blocks measuring 24 inches high, 10 inches thick and 40 inches long.
“The three of us made the blocks ourselves,” Blue said. “I wanted to achieve a thick adobe look so I chose them for their insulation qualities and mass.”
From the moment of entry, the home celebrates the beauty of the Southwestern culture. The gallery foyer leads directly into a formal living and dining area.
The kiva fireplace, encased in a 15-foot thick cement plaster surround accented by a trestle wood mantle, creates a dramatic focal point for the room.
The colorful Southwestern kitchen features Saltillo tile flooring, terracotta tile counters accented by a cobalt blue-tiled edge, Alder wood cabinetry, stained-glass light features, large center island and professional-grade appliances, including a cobalt blue Viking stove and hood. The breakfast nook features custom cement plastered seating designed by Blue.
“It has the perfect feel and shape,” Blue said about the seating. “It’s pretty cool.”
Square upper windows bring ample natural light to the space as well as enhancing the Southwestern flare.
“These are my moon windows,” Faiss said. “I can see it rising in some and setting in others.”
The square window design is repeated throughout the home, cut out of walls and above doorways to create a consistent look.
Positioned 45 degrees from main living area, the master retreat capitalizes on the incredible lake views through large glass door and windows. A gas fireplace with custom built-ins on each side present a strong statement to the space.
On the opposite side of the home, the angled family room showcases a larger kiva fireplace and exterior access to the upper deck.
Faiss previously served as the city of Las Vegas’ public information officer and former editor of The Valley Times. She was named “One of the Most Influential Women in Southern Nevada” in 2001.
Bob Faiss played a significant role in developing and writing state, national and international gaming law and regulatory policy.
Faiss remarried three years ago to Jim Amstutz. The couple plan to relocate to Reno, where Faiss grew up.
“I’m going to miss everything,” Faiss said about the home. “It’ll be hard because it is of my heart and soul.”
About the home
Price: $1.5 million
Location: 835 Temple Rock Court in Lake Mead View Estates, Boulder City
Size: Half-acre lot, 4,040 square feet, four bedrooms, including private master with private entrances, 3.5 baths, three-car garage with golf cart storage.
Features: Custom single-story, Santé Fe-style home with lake and mountain views; gallery foyer; 12-inch-by-12-inch Mexican, hand-made Saltillo tile; wood columns, accents, shelving, exterior corbels, hardwood flooring and large support wood beams in main living area sourced from the late 1800s Great Salt Lake Trestle bridge; library with custom built-ins; gourmet kitchen with island and stained-glass lighting, terracotta tile counters, Alder wood cabinetry, professional-grade appliances; kiva fireplaces; exterior fireplace; outdoor kitchen with wood ramada; pool/spa; upper deck; putting green; cement plaster walls; polystyrene concrete block construction.
Listing: Bret Runion, broker, Desert Sun Realty