Realtor: Demand for downtown homes high

Updated June 12, 2017 - 9:28 am

Ever wonder what it would be like to live near your elected officials? Would it be like an open pipeline to get problems fixed? Or are they secretive, dodging any interaction with neighbors? Do they wave hello, only to speed off, or simply pretend not to see you flagging them down?

This is not the case with Clark County Commissioner Chris Giunchigliani, who lives in a historical downtown neighborhood. She freely gives out her contact information and said her neighbors are respectful about using it. On a recent Saturday stroll, she greeted three of them within five minutes. She’s knocked on doors canvassing for political causes; in fact, that’s how she met the previous owners of her house.

The commissioner pointed out many houses within a block of hers that were once owned by prominent Las Vegans, including Liberace, builder Tony Marnell, restaurateur Andre Rochat and the Von Tobel, Mobray, Foley and Lovett families.

It is impossible to describe the home of Chris Giunchigliani without including her late husband, Gary Gray. Married for 28 years, they owned and remodeled two downtown homes and a cabin on Mount Charleston before his death after an April 2015 car crash on Kyle Canyon Road.

She describes Gray as “a Renaissance man” who taught middle school English, ran many successful political campaigns — including President Bill Clinton’s 1996 Nevada drive — and was a skilled construction worker.

The couple bought their vintage 1964 home in Marycrest Estates in 2006 for $435,000 after living near 8th Street and Bracken Avenue for 18 years. They felt at home in the neighborhood where residents look out for one another and host monthly get-togethers.

It’s a well-tended neighborhood that attracts young and old buyers, according to Jack LeVine, owner/broker of Very Vintage Vegas Realty that specializes in historic neighborhoods and midcentury architecture.

“We’re selling to a combination of baby boomers who are coming back to their childhood home, people who left for the suburbs and are now coming back. We’re also selling to their kids and grandkids who grew up in the suburbs and want nothing to do with them anymore.”

Downtown homes “offer charm, character and uniqueness,” LeVine said. “No two homes are alike. Even the tract houses, after 50, 60 years they’ve been personalized enough that no two are alike.”

The couple lived in their sunken living room for the first year while remodeling the 2,700-square-foot, single-story home.

“Gary saw the potential. It had four itty bitty bedrooms and pink flocked walls. The kitchen was the worst. My husband was a cook, and he wanted to be three steps from everything … but he saw the good bones of the house, so that’s why we bought it.”

They spent an estimated $100,000 on the project. The first task was jackhammering up the floor to replace a corroded sewer line.

The kitchen layout didn’t work for them, so Gray designed one with a working triangle and added a granite-topped island; removed a wall and expanded into a hallway to create a small office space; added an outdoor kitchen and outdoor powder room, and combined two bedrooms into a large master suite with a semi-open shower and a sitting area. A friend installed custom cabinets in the kitchen, office and closet.

Other rooms were left untouched to preserve the original charm, including a bathroom with a pink tub and matching pink sinks, and another with black-and-white tiled backsplash and mirrors on the ceiling and upper walls. Both have glass block wall accents, which in 1964 were a new trend.

In the living room, they kept the shag carpeting, built-in wraparound seating and fireplace surround made of stone from Rhyolite.

“I love that it’s open. We took out a few walls when we designed it to make sure it flowed from the front of the house to the back,” said Giunchigliani. From the master bedroom, they added patio access via French doors. “We kept as much of the old as we could. Gary put his own touch on stuff.”

Each room features original art by mostly Nevada artists, including some stained-glass pieces by Gray. Local artist Michael Wardel painted the portrait of the couple that hangs in the living room. A framed photo of the couple with Clinton is modestly tucked away in the master bedroom.

The couple managed to visit all seven continents and brought back lots of folk art, particularly from Mexico and Peru, which are displayed in one of the guest bedrooms.

“None of this came from Pier One,” she said.

The backyard features a pool, dense landscaping, raised vegetable gardens and river rock border. There is a dining table Gray created with the front door from their other house.

“It’s perfect for entertaining,” she said. And, she often does, hosting many events for nonprofit organizations.

It has a small patch of grass that Chris Giunchigliani mows herself. As the daughter of an architect, she grew up accustomed to physical work and is no prima donna when it comes to handling tools. She’s done wiring, stucco and painting and is not afraid to fire up the snow blower at her Mount Charleston retreat when necessary.

After removing some concrete from the front yard, they planted a big pine tree and a graceful, purple-flowered jacaranda that is home to several birds. It has a density and variety of plants and sense of serenity that is welcoming to visitors.

To honor her husband, she installed a “little free library” (littlefreelibrary.org) with a couple chairs in one corner of the front yard. This was something he talked about doing, she said. Passers-by are welcome to take a book from it or leave one. In fact, she commissioned 32 of them to be built and installed around the valley from Blue Diamond to Henderson, and she gave them to residents through a Facebook offer.

Demand for homes downtown is high, LeVine says, but inventory is much lower this year than it has been for the past 10 years, because “there’s an intersection happening of the popularity of both midcentury modern architecture as well as the desire to live close in the urban cores of nearly every city in America.”

Only 29 homes were for sale at the end of May, according to LeVine, who says two-bedroom homes with one bath start around $120,000, and that the overall prices reach $350,000.

Although they bought at the height of the real estate bubble and couldn’t get what she paid for it today, Giunchigliani says she’s gotten over it.

“We’re still below market value, what we paid for it 11 years ago, but it’s still my home. It’s where I’m comfortable and this is where I’ll be.”

Career-wise, she will be term-limited out of her commission seat in 2018 but has not announced her plans.

“I’d had a good public service run — 26 years — and (Gray) supported me very well through all that but we loved to travel and entertain, and so we were just going to continue (traveling and entertaining). We were looking forward to growing old together. But (after his death) I spent my first year in a fog and second year reassessing who I am, and I still have things to give. So I can’t really say what, because it will be controversial, but I’ll be making some decisions in the near future.”

ad-high_impact_4
Real Estate Millions
Real Estate Millions: Pia Zadora
Real Estate Millions: Lake Las Vegas
Real Estate Millions: 27 Burning Tree Court in Spanish Trail
LEED home
Real Estate Millions: Top 10 Most Expensive Homes Sold In 2018
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.
TOP NEWS
News Headlines
ad-infeed_1
ads_infeed_2
Local Spotlight
Real Estate Millions Video
Add Event
Home Front Page Footer Listing
Circular
You May Like

You May Like