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Summerlin mansion has underground garage, elevator for cars

Updated March 2, 2020 - 4:56 pm

Benjamin Girardin has a passion for classic German cars, and he designed and built a multimillion-dollar home in Queensridge that showcases them. The home boasts a 5,100-square-foot custom-built basement with 3,000 square feet designated to display as many as 10 cars.

Four cars currently reside in the showroom, and Girardin can swap them out by a PhantomPark two-deck car lift that’s accessed through the main garage. The lift is concealed below ground, enabling the main two-car garage to be used to its full capacity.

“When we bought the property, it didn’t quite have the land we would need to build an above-ground garage so we decided to do it underneath the house,” said Girardin, a classic car enthusiast since he was a child. “When I started to collect cars, I always wanted a place to store them, display them and work on them. What better place than in your own house.”

And, you don’t have to walk down the dramatic spiral staircase with custom ironwork to see the 1970 Porsche 911 Targa or the 1963 Porsche 356 S90. Clear glass windows are built into the floors of the main entryway and the office that offer direct views of the cars below. The two and a quarter inch-thick texturized glass spans 6 feet in diameter, according to Girardin.

“Some people are afraid to walk over the glass but my kids jump on it, and the texturizing on it makes it slip-resistant,” said Girardin, who has a collection of more than 20 classic cars. “The built-in glass floor window is one of the first things you see when you walk into the home. It gives the house another dimension.”

Girardin enjoys the home with his wife, Christine, and their three children. The couple met when they were sophomores in high school and moved from Michigan to Las Vegas in 2005. According to Christine, she shares a bit of Benjamin’s enthusiasm for classic cars.

“There is one that I hold dear,” she said. “I had mentioned, about 25 years ago, that someday I wanted the Grace Kelly Mercedes. I forgot about it, but he didn’t. So, for my 40th birthday, he presented me with the white car in the basement. He had been having it restored for a year prior to giving it to me. So, that car holds a special place in my heart.

The five-bedroom, eight bath home spans 10,507 square feet and was listed Feb. 10 for $3,495,000 through Anthony Spiegel, a Realtor with the Ivan Sher Group of Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices Nevada Properties. The home went into contract on Feb. 22, according to Spiegel.

Spiegel added that the home, which was completed in 2019, is one of the few new homes built in Queensridge in more than a decade.

“I built the home to fit with my families’ lifestyle, and it was designed to accommodate the way we want to live,” said Benjamin Girardin, principal with PGAL, an international design firm. Girardin’s current projects include the city of Las Vegas Municipal Courthouse and the Summerlin Hospital Medical Center Pavilion. Prior to PGAL, Girardin owned 10 Nine Design Group, which merged with PGAL in October 2018.

“We wanted to pick a look that would fit with this community, and we went with a French Chateauish theme as the guiding style,” he said. “Christine decorated the house with a contemporary, yet classic style to it.”

The open floor plan offers a seamless transition from indoor to outdoor living. A 28-foot-by-12-foot and a 12-foot-by-12-foot motorized sliding door connects the indoor space to the outdoor living space, which features a barbecue, an infinity-edge pool and a 360-degree infinity-edge Jacuzzi. There’s a motorized louvered patio cover that offers plenty of shade on sunny days.

“We hosted a holiday party for 70 people, which worked out perfect because of the indoor-outdoor lifestyle,” Christine Girardin said. “Between all three floors, it didn’t seem like that many people at all. And, for the kids at adult parties, we’ll put piñatas up in the basement and let them swing away.”

The basement also boasts a children’s playroom with a professionally built stage, ballet barre and a bar that can be stocked for entertaining.

“What’s special about the basement is that if you don’t want to use it as a car showroom, you can turn it into a home gym, bowling alley or a game room,” Spiegel said. “The truly unique feature of the home is the fact that it is balanced in a way that I rarely see here in Las Vegas. The home bridges the gap between today’s modern aesthetic designs and the Old World Tuscan style that ensued in the 1990s and 2000s. It has a certain modern sophistication and elegance yet captures the depth and texture of older design aesthetics.”

One of the standout features in the living room is handcrafted kiln-dried wood load-bearing trusses that support the soaring, steep pitched ceilings. The trusses, which weigh 4,000 pounds each, were cut by hand with a chainsaw and baked for 90 days, according to Benjamin Girardin.

The living area is also outfitted with one of the home’s three fireplaces encased with mother-of-pearl tile. The second fireplace is in the master bedroom, and the third resides in the office. For business meetings, guests can enter and exit the office through a door that leads directly to the outside of the home.

Porcelain tile flooring that resembles wood in an earth-tone hue runs throughout the home and extends into the backyard.

The kitchen was conceived with a busy family in mind and features two built-in Wolf microwaves and a Wolf warming drawer along with a 60-inch Wolf range. It also boasts a convenient water pot filler over the stove. A large island with a Quartzite countertop seats 10 comfortably.

For wine enthusiasts, a wine cellar off the main entry can store 800-plus bottles. Twelve LED crystal chandeliers illuminate the home, and 12 thermostats are situated strategically in various rooms to offer dedicated heating and cooling.

Eight-inch framing on the exterior walls provides more insulation than the traditional 6-inch framing, Benjamin Girardin added.

And, when there is time in between family duties and work responsibilities, Girardin might be found at the car wash bay or workshop station in the basement admiring his 1986 Porsche 944 Turbo, which has only 13,000 miles.

“My vision was to someday sit down there with my kids working on a project together,” he said. “All the things we like to do are down there in that space.”

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