Meet the valley’s leading residential architects, designers — PHOTOS

Updated June 4, 2018 - 11:18 am

Eight of the leading Las Vegas luxury architects, builders and residential designers talk about the recent home design trends and how the modern style is replacing Tuscan and Mediterranean styles in the valley. Most have embraced the popular modern look that has become common in new luxury home communities.

Quinn Boesenecker, Pinnacle Architectural Studio

The 46-year-old started his company more than 19 years ago and has done projects in Ascaya, Summit Club, MacDonald Highlands and The Ridges. He said contemporary is where it’s at today.

However, he’s not done with Tuscan design, since one client from Texas wants a Tuscan home in Lake Las Vegas because that’s what the client feels the most comfortable with.

“I used to love that style, and it was very successful for us, but people are looking for something different,” Boesenecker said. “Contemporary is taking over now. And the style we’re doing here, they want in California.”

Dan Coletti, Sun West Custom Homes

Coletti said his design-build company has created more than 500 custom homes in Summerlin, Henderson and the rest of the valley over the past 30 years. He said he’s seen how Tuscan homes have lost their popularity over the last three to five years. People want more contemporary homes in which he uses glass, wood and stone.

“They are timeless,” said Coletti, 54. “Wood has been used forever. Natural stones are the same way, and glass fits together. When you put those three elements together, it’s everlasting. I’m known for designing pools with every house, and I integrate the pool and water features. Our signature is the indoor-outdoor living space integrated with water.”

Coletti said he’s done his share of Tuscan-style homes but has no regrets because they were beautiful styles, and they were popular with customers for many years. He said the Mediterranean style in Las Vegas was influenced by California, but the city is large enough to create its own style that has a desert feel.

“Tuscan is definitely in the past,” Coletti said. “Will it come around again? It could take a long time. I think right now we are getting closer to what should be built than ever in our past. Our architectural themes are finally matching our desert environment. We’re creating a lot of open glass areas where you can view out to the natural desert surroundings and mountains beyond.”

Michael Gardner, studio g Architecture

The 39-year old started his firm at the end of 2010 upon moving to Las Vegas from California. His company also works on hotels and design work inside high-rises. He has strong views on what he saw with Southern Nevada residential architecture.

“I wouldn’t call it architecture,” Gardner said. “I would have called it stucco architecture. Las Vegas has been very good about doing thematic architecture and replicating other places. I was fairly disappointed in generally what we had. Everything was made with stucco.”

Gardner, who’s done projects in MacDonald Highlands, The Ridges and other luxury communities, said some of the younger architects, like himself, have tried to “push and elevate the level of design, and it starts by creating a unique piece of architecture” in Vegas homes.

“We’re in a transition period,” Gardner said. “We went from Mediterranean period to all-out contemporary boxes to now the design is more unique and individualized.”

Gardner said he’s worked on homes using rammed earth and that it’s better to use more natural materials than the “harsh feel of stucco,” which has been a standard in Las Vegas.

“I think we’re really starting to grow up,” Gardner said. “I think one of the challenges from a design standpoint is we have the Strip, where the mentality is to shock and awe with design and throw everything at you, because you’re trying to put everybody in sensory overload. That is what Vegas has been known for in the design world, and now we’re starting to see a level of sophistication and refinement.”

C.J. Hoogland, Hoogland Architecture

The 42-year-old was born and raised in Las Vegas and started his own firm in 2011. He has designed homes in The Ridges, Summit and Ascaya, and most are priced between $3 million and $6 million.

“We do modern designs and very clean lines and tend to erase the boundaries between indoor and outdoor,” Hoogland said.

Before the wave of Tuscan and Mediterranean homes, there was a ranch style wave, Hoogland said.

“I think the architecture we like to do is very clear and clean, so you understand at first glance the overall concept of the house,” Hoogland said.

“We’re not trying to add gingerbread or decorate our homes. We are trying to create serene and peaceful spaces. I don’t feel this pseudo-Mediterranean or pseudo-Tuscan architecture is true architecture. The American home, if you break it down, has not really changed much at all in the last 100 years.”

Tyler Jones, Blue Heron Design-Build

The 40-year-old has been exposed to the industry his entire life, starting with his dad, who was a local custom homebuilder. He’s worked with architects since he was in high school and started his own company 14 years ago.

Jones built three modernistic homes to be showcased by the National Association of Home Builders when it holds its convention in Las Vegas next year after spending three years in Orlando. He said Southern Nevada has been lost for a long time architecturally, but that started to change a decade ago. The Tuscan, Mediterranean and even Spanish styles don’t make sense for Las Vegas, he said.

Historically, architectural styles tend to develop over hundreds of years and in response to a climate, culture and geographic area, Jones said. A Tuscan farmhouse is built with local materials.

“We’re one of the youngest major cities in the country, so we haven’t had but a couple of years to evolve our own style or come up with a true architectural vernacular that fits Las Vegas in our time and place,” Jones said. “For us, that’s what our Vegas Modern is doing — looking closely at our climate and build an appropriate style in response to the extreme heat and sunshine you get.”

That includes designing homes for shading and allowing indirect natural sunlight so there doesn’t have to be a lot of lights on, Jones said. There’s a heavy use of glass, and the architectural form is determined by whether a home faces north or west and by how the sun moves across the sky.

“We have a strong indoor-outdoor relationship, because that is a lifestyle thing,” Jones said. “The climate is beautiful here. Even though it’s hot in the summer, there are ways to create some pleasant outdoor living spaces and integrate those seamlessly with the indoor spaces.”

Blue Heron has built in The Ridges, Southern Highlands, MacDonald Highlands, Seven Hills, Ascaya, Anthem and Lake Las Vegas. It’s constructed about 150 homes.

“We’re not trying to make homes that respond to the 15th-century Tuscan farmhouse but homes that respond to the 2018 lifestyle in Las Vegas,” Jones said. “Vegas Modern is going to have some fun elements and is going to have that drama and theatrical quality that makes us Las Vegas.”

Richard Luke, Richard Luke Architects

Luke is the veteran in the design scene in Las Vegas, having started his firm 32 years ago in 1986 after he moved to Southern Nevada from Australia. The 64-year-old has done luxury homes throughout the valley.

Luke said he started his career in Australia doing modern and contemporary designs and didn’t learn Mediterranean and Tuscan styles until he moved to Nevada.

“Now, I’m right back to where I started,” Luke said. “I think it was America’s love affair with Europe that was the style demanded in the 1980s. They identified a classy home as Mediterranean style, and everyone wanted to emulate that. I grew to like it and appreciate it, but it’s nice to get back to contemporary and strip down all the façade and let the bones of the architecture speak for itself instead of dressing it up with lipstick. We’re growing up and getting more contemporary and modern.”

Luke credits the influence of Howard Hughes Corp., the developer of Summerlin, and Rich MacDonald, the developer of MacDonald Highlands, for identifying the need to change the trend away from Tuscan to contemporary to attract more international buyers.

“Las Vegas is on the forefront now,” Luke said. “There’s a big demand for high-end custom homes with high ceilings and indoor-outdoor feel where the flow is from the inside to the exterior and use of pocket doors. Our climate is so great, except in the summer, that you can take advantage of it. You don’t have bugs that preclude Florida or California from doing that, and we have the views of the Strip and mountains that we can take advantage of with glass and steel and limited walls.”

Brett Robillard, Atlas Architecture, Planning, Interior Design

Robillard, 45, moved to Las Vegas in 2006 from Boston to work on the Fontainebleau (now The Drew Las Vegas) and started his own firm more than two years ago. He has designed a home that measures more than 13,500 square feet that will be built in the Summit Club in Summerlin.

“I think the housing in Las Vegas has been kind of disappointing, but over the last 10 years, there’s been more of a trend to a more contemporary design,” Robillard said. “With the economy roaring back, we’re seeing more opportunities. The mindset of a lot of the higher-end clients is definitely trending much more in line with the kind of architecture I like to do and feel good about doing.”

Architects in town need to be more responsive to the climate and sites to enhance views and better orient the homes for heating, cooling and the sun, he said.

Robillard said he started his own studio because he wanted to work on smaller projects. When he worked as an architect in the commercial industry, projects didn’t always move forward, and that’s frustrating, he said.

“I tend to approach the design of the home in slightly a different way,” Robillard said. “There’s nothing formulaic about it. Every project is unique and tailored to the client and their lifestyle. Before we get into aesthetics and material selections, we listen to them and the way they live. Everybody has such different behaviors and habits. Some people like wide, open spaces, and sometimes they prefer traditional planning where every room has its own function.”

Robillard said the younger generations are fueling the movement to more modern designs, and that trend will continue.

Eric Strain, Assemblage Studio

Strain, 56, moved to Las Vegas in 1970 when he was 8 and got interested in architecture because his grandfather was a contractor who did his own drawings. He started his firm 21 years ago and said he’s never done a Tuscan project in his career. He’s designed homes in high-end communities in Henderson and Summerlin, and he said the focus is on designs that are appropriate for the environment.

“I’m looking to create a style, but something that’s appropriate to the desert,” Strain said. “It’s through materials that are responsive to the desert, such as metals and black, rammed earth and concrete, materials that age with the desert. That limits the amount of maintenance.”

Strain said no one incorporates more glass in homes than he does. He said it’s important to allow indirect light without allowing heat to penetrate the space.

“I think it’s a sign of the times, and the style has caught on around the country,” said Strain, an associate professor at the UNLV School of Architecture. “We have been doing this kind of work for 20 years.”

Real Estate Millions
Real Estate Millions: Operation Halloween
Realtor and owner of Operation Halloween, Nicole Tomlinson, shares high-end luxury 'tricks of the trade' for Halloween decorating.
Real Estate Millions: Ascaya Pool Home
$15.5M Ascaya home has 5,900-square-foot pool.
Rat Pack-era home once housed Las Vegas entertainers
3671 Tioga Way in Paradise Palms neighborhood Listed for $650,000 Professional photographers Mark and Sarah Gascoine
Home builder Toll Brothers has plans in Summerlin
Toll Brothers purchased of 128 acres of property near Mesa Park Drive and Town Center Drive will be used for a housing development. (Michael Quine/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Rich MacDonald estate in Henderson
Rich MacDonald estate in Henderson
Real Estate Millions: Liberace Mansion
Real Estate Millions: 4120 Mont Blanc Way, Mount Charleston
Real Estate Millions: 8 Vista Crescent Court, Ascaya, Henderson
Real Estate Millions: 11172 San Terrazo Place
Real Estate Millions takes a look at Blue Heron Real Estate.
Real Estate Millions: 1325 Villa Barolo Ave
Overlooking the second hole of the Rio Secco golf course within the community of Marquis Seven Hills is a modern masterpiece of light and architectural artistry. Designed by the award-winning Blue Heron design team, the home known as The Aurora Estate adorns the likes of the most noteworthy LED displays and lighting projects from around the world. XLED Systems founder and mastermind behind the world-renowned Freemont Street Experience, Hong Kong’s Disneyland Storybook Theater and the larger-than-life concert stages of Justin Bieber, Keith Urban and the Foo Fighters (to name a few)—brings light and magic to the hills of this private and highly desirable gated community. The combination of the 133” custom HD/LED Digital Display, 150+ interior/exterior lights and 34 indoor/outdoor surround sound speakers bring a unique ambiance and entertainment level to the home. Other spectacular bonus features include a 1,200 SQFT pool, therapy spa, wet step lounge, $100K+ full Crestron system in-sync with Amazon’s Alexa, 9 security cameras and panic room.
Real Estate Millions: One Queensridge Place
Real Estate Millions takes a look at 9103 Alta Drive #1501, Las Vegas, NV.
Underground home was built as Cold War-era hideaway
The underground house at 3970 Spencer Street is one of the valley’s most unusual homes built 26 feet underground in 1978 by Girard “Jerry” B. Henderson, who, planned to survive the end of the world there.
Real Estate Millions: 323 Mont Blanc Way
Garry Tomashowski talks about his cabin in Mount Charleston.
Famous Las Vegas underground house
Did you know there is an underground house in Las Vegas? The home was originally built as a bomb shelter in 1978, and sits 26 feet below the surface. The midcentury-style home measures about 6,000 square feet, and features two bedrooms and three bathrooms. There’s a 6-foot-deep pool, a spa, a barbecue area, and a carpeted six-hole putting green. The Underground House has lighting that emulates different times of the day. And mountain and wilderness murals depict an outdoor setting. The home is accessed from a flight of stairs that’s part of a town home.
Real Estate Millions: 36 Olympia Canyon Way
Mitch McClellan and John McDonough talk about their property in Southern Highlands.
Real Estate Millions: 20 Vintage Valley Drive, Southern Highlands
Real Estate Millions: 2315 Alta Drive
Real Estate Millions: 28 Sankaty Circle
Barbara Adcock talks about her favorite parts of her home in Anthem.
Real Estate Millions: Uri Vaknin
Real Estate Millions host Susan Kocab interviews Uri Vaknin about the renovations he made to his home and why he chose a one story building.
Real Estate Millions: MacDonald Highlands
Brad and Ann Adams talk about their home in MacDonald Highlands.
Real Estate Millions: MacDonald Highlands
Real Estate Millions: Toll Brothers
Toll Brothers Granite Heights
Home for the holidays with Pia Zadora
Singer Pia Zadora might have a swanky room named for her at Piero’s Italian Cuisine, but the place she really holds dear is her home in The Ridges of Summerlin. Her son, Jordan Kaufer, appears as Santa Claus in his mother’s show at Piero’s Italian Cuisine in downtown Las Vegas. Zadora lives with her third husband, Michael Jeffries; her 20-year-old son from her second marriage, Jordan Kaufer, and two dogs, Snowflake and Merle Singer Pia Zadora says she loves "everything Christmas," and her home in The Ridges is decked out for the holidays. The star of stage and screen welcomed Real Estate Millions into her 7,000-square-foot, five-bedroom home to talk about her Las Vegas history. Pia Zadora works in her music studio at her Summerlin home. She performs at the iconic Piero’s Italian Cuisine in downtown Las Vegas. A portrait of Pia Zadora by Andy Warhol is displayed over the living room bar. Memorabilia includes a framed photo of one of Pia Zadora's first modeling jobs, an ad for Dubonnet wine, her 1985 Grammy nomination for Best Female Rock Performance and the 1982 Golden Globe Award for Best Female New Star of the Year.
Business Insights: Rhonda Allen
Buck Wargo interviews Rhonda Allen, a fine homes specialist with Shapiro & Sher Group at BHHS, has assisted 17 players and staff and counting with about two-thirds of those involving home purchases — including some that are multimillion-dollar acquisitions — and the others that were rentals. Many home purchases were for $750,000 and above.
Real Estate Millions: 98 Sunglow Lane
Real Esate Millions: 98 Sunglow Lane
Real Estate Millions: Frank Marino
Entertainer Frank Marino, the star of “Frank Marino’s Divas Las Vegas,” has always had flair to spare and plenty of devoted fans. But since buying a home in Eagle Hills in Summerlin, come Halloween, he has to pull out all the stops.
Real Estate Millions _ Episode 4 -The Lakes Estates
Former professional boxer Beibut Shumenov lists Lakes Estates home for $5.3 million
News Headlines
Local Spotlight
Real Estate Millions Video
Add Event
Home Front Page Footer Listing
You May Like

You May Like