Myron Martin has lived in New York City, San Francisco, and since 1995 has called Las Vegas home.
While living in the high-rise Turnberry Towers, the president and CEO of The Smith Center for the Performing Arts asked his Realtor to find him a “traditional” house close to work, and soon found the home that sang to him.
The five-bedroom beauty in Rancho Circle had been owned by a doctor and his wife since 1992. To say it has a “vintage Vegas vibe” would be simplistic and clichéd. If this house were a wine, it would be described as having a “Gone With the Wind” body, a bouquet of Memphis Graceland, and finishing with notes of happy hour at The Algonquin. It’s just that fabulous.
Part of this is due to the location; the guard-gated enclave north of Alta Drive, where every home is on almost an acre or larger lot. Many of the community’s 34 lots have houses that are set back far from the street, behind paved driveways that lead to detached garages.
The neighborhood has a rich history of housing the city’s movers and shakers; names like Houssels, Herbst and reportedly, Howard Hughes was sheltered there for a time by his handlers.
Despite his Realtor’s prediction that it would cost more to remodel it than to buy it, Martin bought the home in 2017 and spent a year living in the property’s two-bedroom guesthouse while it was completely overhauled.
”The thing that sold me on the house was it reminded me of growing up in Houston,” Martin said. “This was a typical house where I grew up. And there were some fleur de leis patterned bricks on the side of the house. My mother was from Louisiana. So this Texas-Louisiana connection sold me.”
Built in 1971, the home’s over 6,000 square feet provides many entertaining spaces, both inside and out, starting with the formal living room with its 7-foot Baldwin Grand piano.
“It’s one of the pianos I was close to, back in the day,”explained Martin, who began his career at The Baldwin Piano Co.
“My job was to promote the pianos and those who performed on them, and Liberace was one of my big artists,” which is why Martin moved Las Vegas, to become president of the Liberace Museum and Foundation. This particular piano has been played by Billy Joel and others, he said.
There’s a spacious family room, a formal dining room and an eat-in kitchen, all with glitzy chandeliers. Clear glass French doors offer a view of the pool and garden, served up like a Sunday brunch.
The enormous backyard is easily large enough to entertain 100 people. Martin added a gazebo, which blends in with the other structures as though it were part of the original plan.
“It felt like it needed it, so that’s why I had it built.”
The exterior is a white, colonial-style home with black shutters, formal French-style landscaping and a gurgling fountain in the center of the lawn. Two shepherd dog statues stand guard beside the large porch.
“My initials are M.G.M., and I was tempted to replace them with lions, but I liked the dogs so much I decided to keep them,” Martin said.
He also kept the components that make up a foyer that says hold on — we’re just getting started. A sweeping staircase, a stately chandelier and an ornate entry table topped with a gilt-framed mirror are the few original parts of the home remaining, all at the entry. With the exception of the kitchen, he kept the rooms the same size, just updating everything for the 21st century. He also moved the laundry room from the kitchen to the second floor, where there are four bedrooms, into a former study.
“With the (built in) bookshelves, I call it the laundry-library,” Martin said jokingly.
The doors, floors and windows were all replaced. Although the exterior style is primarily traditional, the home doesn’t look dated. New doors with contemporary hardware, and a white/grey color scheme blend well with the home’s fixtures. The baths all have modern floating cabinets, and the kitchen sports new white cabinets with grey industrial-looking countertops. The baths all have lavish details, like a basket weave-patterned Carrera marble floor, stacked stone accent walls and nicely framed tile pattern “pictures.”
The overall design of the home belongs to Martin, who said he relied on “a lot of friends who are designers and decorators, and I spent a lot of time with magazines featuring architecture and design stories.”
He picked up on a trend of powder rooms that featured Marilyn Monroe images, which inspired one of the two powder rooms in his home. A little jewel box with black walls and brown glass mosaic tiles holds a portrait of Marilyn Monroe blowing a bubble, lit by a crystal chandelier with sufficient bling to honor the star.
The master bedroom’s Juliet balcony is smaller than those of the other bedrooms, but it makes up for it in its scope, including two full, separate baths (his has a urinal, hers with a Roman tub), and two room-sized walk-in closets.
Of the other three bedrooms, one could be a second master, and Martin’s daughter, Molly, a Green Valley High School sophomore, is lucky enough to have claimed it. It has a retreat-like entry and en suite bath with white subway tile and a marble floor with glass tile inlay. This bedroom and one other shares a spacious, 300-square-foot balcony overlooking the backyard.
Having worked for decades with performing artists, Martin has his share of memorabilia around the house.
There’s a framed invitation to the White House he received in 1993; the director’s chair with his name on it from “Hairspray” and many plaques and photographs.
He also owns original works by Peter Max, Marc Chagal and Tim Bavington, the artist who created the iconic “Pipe Dream” sculpture at Symphony Park. Much of this makes up the charm visible in the home’s “saloon.”
The bar was installed by the previous owner, who had it built by a custom cabinet maker, modeled after a similar one in a downtown casino. It features brass trim and glass mirrors with fox and hound etchings set into a full back bar. The coffered ceiling and brick fireplace add warmth.
I like having a kind of man cave with a full bar. It’s a lot of fun,” Martin said. “I love to entertain. Being this close, it’s not that difficult for an artist to come by after a show, but sometimes entertaining means dinner for eight or 10, and I enjoy that just as much. One of the things that sold me on this house is the bar.”
And it’s very convenient to be close enough to work to be able to duck out briefly during his long work days, Martin added. “I didn’t realize how great it would be to be able to run home for lunch. Because a 30-minute commute means once you’re at work, you’re staying.”
He may even begin to ride a bike to work, he said.
“Being close to the Smith Center is really, really great.”