weather icon Clear

The de-Tuscanization of Las Vegas

The rebound in the Las Vegas housing market from the downturn has seen a transition to a design that is more modern and contemporary. That means cleaner homes that are more open with fewer walls and kitchens built for entertainment.

During the housing boom more than a decade ago, builders gave buyers what they wanted: homes in the Tuscan design, the region of Central Italy in the Mediterranean, with an Old World feel with granite, stone, travertine floors, interior arches, terracotta roof tiles, ornate features and color schemes such as brown and gold.

Donna Johnson, owner of Southern California-based Luxury Designer, which has an office in Las Vegas, said those tastes have changed and the trend for homeowners with those style of homes is to de-Tuscanize them. The design has been losing luster since 2010, she said.

“Whether you’re looking to sell your home or modernize your home, it’s definitely a trend now,” Johnson said. “They want less brown and gold and reds and the clutter of heavy furniture. All of that is the Tuscan world. A lot of people want to freshen up their homes and go with whiter walls and materials and cleaner looks. That’s what people want to buy because the Tuscan homes aren’t selling.”

That’s what Las Vegas Realtor Bruce Hiatt, owner of Luxury Realty Group, said he has been seeing in the Southern Nevada marketplace during the past year. Higher-priced Tuscan homes, even in high-end developments like Summerlin, are getting passed over by people opting for new construction with a more modern design and openness.

“For many years, you would see the Tuscan designs that everyone wanted with the stone on the outside and arches in the interior,” Hiatt said. “I’ve had three clients in a row who came to us looking for resales. They didn’t like what they were seeing (with the Tuscan homes) that had traditional living rooms and separate rooms. They wanted it more open. They weren’t looking for a new home, but everyone ended up with one anyway.”

That has prompted some owners of Tuscan homes to renovate them and put them back on the market to gain a sale, Hiatt said. Despite a lack of inventory on the existing home market, those older-style homes can sit unsold for several months while more contemporary designs are sold in a few weeks, he said.

“With new homes you can open the front door and see the glass looking out of the back of the house,” Hiatt said. “You couldn’t’ have done that years ago with these Tuscan design. You would see elegant stairway, but you couldn’t’ see across the house or through the house. Every one of my clients said this is what they want.”

Hiatt said one owner of a Tuscan home in Red Rock Country Club whom he spoke with wisely opted to take the home off the market and renovate the interior to compete with fresher designs in the new construction market. It’s expected to be on the market in early 2018.

“I think that’s very smart,” Hiatt said. “We saw the potential in their existing home to do some changes and make it look more open and contemporary.”

The homeowners realized they weren’t going to get the $650,000 to $700,000 after talking with their neighbors who had a similar style home sitting on the market for a while, Hiatt said.

“We’re seeing more and more renovations because people are getting nervous,” Hiatt said. “We have seen so much new construction come on the market that it has raised the bar.”

The homeowner plans to redo the kitchen by eliminating a wall and making it more open and integrated with living room and the rest of the house, Hiatt said. The wall wasn’t load-bearing and could be removed without a great expense, Hiatt said. That’s not always the case with other Tuscan homes.

Because the homeowner has family that works in construction trades, the renovation might not run more than $40,000, Hiatt said. It’s not unusual some major renovations can cost $75,000 or more, he said.

“There are some houses you can’t do much to improve the layout,” Hiatt said. “And you have to assess where you live versus the return. You don’t want to over upgrade in your neighborhood. In a lot of cases it’s not worth it unless it’s for homes of $500,000 to $600,000 and up. What we are seeing is you will get that back if you live in more upscale areas. You won’t make a killer profit, but there is more potential of what you are going to get out of the home. Otherwise, you have to discount.

Some sellers have been off by $100,000 to $150,000 of the valuation they think they should get, Hiatt said. Others believe they only need to change a countertop to get a sale, but those expectations are wrong as well, he said.

Not every home that’s Tuscan can be made to a more contemporary design, especially if it has a lot of stone on the outside, Johnson said. Some covenants and homeowners association don’t allow major changes and require a certain color of stone, she said.

In some cases, the exterior stone can be mortar washed to make it more modern, Johnson said. In some cases, stone can be removed and replaced with white stone, she said.

Ornate doors and stairwells can be replaced. Many Tuscan homes have dark-wood floors that can be sanded down and refinished. Wallpaper gives a more modern look, and walls can be repainted beige, gray or white, Johnson said.

“With white walls, everything looks fresh,” Johnson said. “It is also a sign of wealth. If you have a white sofa and white walls, you can afford to take care of it is what they say.”

For people who don’t have a big budget to remodel, painting is a good alternative, Johnson said. Even removing heavy drapes and changing furniture pieces helps change a home, she said.

Many homes got cluttered with too much furniture.

“You can convert all at once, but there are easy ways to convert it slowly,” Johnson said. “First, determine what your budget it and take it step by step. Remodeling the whole house is a big undertaking.”

Damien Bauman, an area residential mortgage production manager with Nevada State Bank, said they’re starting to see more homeowners inquire about de-Tuscanization of their homes. That wasn’t the case a few years ago.

“We are hitting a market now where people are starting to see some equity in their home,” Bauman said. “Where we were three years ago, people didn’t have enough equity in their home where it penciled out. They’re seeing it now based on the increased values in the market.”

Don't miss the big stories. Like us on Facebook.
Real Estate Millions Videos
Peter Lik Designs Homes In Las Vegas - Video
Photographer Peter Lik has teamed up with Jewel Homes to design new homes for Las Vegas that take inspiration from different parts of the world.
Mount Charleston Home - Real Estate Millions
Louis Castle shows off his Mount Charleston home with beautiful view of the mountain.
Pardee Homes Terra Luna Wins Home Of The Year - VIDEO
Pardee Homes' Terra Luna in Summerlin wins the Silver Nugget's 2019 home of the year award.
Real Estates Millions: Midcentury Remodel - Video
Originally built in 1966, this Midcentury Remodel has been modernized to appeal to the masses. The larger than life windows brighten up the entire home and offer brilliant views of the nearby mountains and golf course.
Real Estate Millions: Lake Las Vegas (23 Summer House Drive)
Real Estate Millions: Angeles Home In MacDonald Highlands - VIDEO
Angeles Scorsetti's nearly 10,000-square-foot home she and her husband, Steve Mason, purchased on the Dragon Ridge Golf Course and spent six months remodeling, leaving behind their Mandarin Oriental penthouse where they lived 8 years above the Strip.
Real Estate Millions: Boulder City Home - VIDEO
Mal Farmer takes us on a tour of her Bolder City home that she remodeled and lived it with her late husband Richard for over 30 years.
Real Estate Million: 27 Shadow Canyon Court - VIDEO
27 Shadow Canyon is a $5.5 million dollar home is 9,825 square-feet with six bedrooms and 7 baths. Shadow Canyon is equipped with an assortment of Tesla Amenities including power walls, solar panels, and an electric car.
Real Estate Millions: 2019 New American Remodel
Real Estate Millions: Las Vegas Motorcoach Resort - VIDEO
Various RV owners living in the community of the Las Vegas Motorcoach Resorts gives the crew a tour of their motor homes.
Real Estate Millions: Brett Raymer's Tanked Home - VIDEO
Brett Raymer from the TV show "Tanked" gives us a look into his 4 story home on the edge of Lone mountain. What would a tanked home be without a 700-gallon custom aquarium in the kitchen and a 6,000-gallon Koi pond in its resort-style backyard.
Real Estate Millions: 460 Probst Way
460 Probst Way is listed for $4.5 million and has 5 bedrooms, 6 baths, 4 car garage and is 6,738 square feet. The home is in a gated compound with an outdoor pool, deck, and kitchen with near 360 degree of the las vegas valley. The house will be auctioned on April 26-29th.
Real Estate Millions: Home + History Tour - VIDEO
A 1963 Paradise Palms home. Originally called the Monterey, the open floor plan features a living, dining and kitchen area in main living area, original hardwood flooring, original central vac system, both master bathrooms have original starburst tile and vanities, fully renovated kitchen with quartz counters and new appliances, waterfall edge island with counter seating, ‘Cosmos,’ a Soviet-inspired lounge with fog machine, laser lights, sound system and full bar, fresh paint, retro furnishings, new carpet, pool, pool deck with seating and covered bar, lifetime block and steel construction.
Real Estate Millions: Jim Rhodes Home Most Expensive In Las Vegas - VIDEO
Jim Rhodes has created the most expensive home on the market in Las Vegas. The home is listed at $29,995,000, 9,798 sq. ft., 8 Bedrooms, 8 Full Baths, 2 Half Baths and has 360-degree views of the Las Vegas Strip.
Pawn Stars Rick Harrison Real Estate Millions - VIDEO
Reality TV star Rick Harrison from Pawn Stars shows his eccentric home off in the Red Rock Country Club. The house is 8,845 square feet. It has five bedrooms, seven bathrooms and three additional rooms. It is listed at $3,999,999.
Real Estate Millions: Boulder City Home (613 Lido Dr) - VIDEO
Sitting on top of a mountain overlooking the Lake Mead recreation area, Scott Baranoff gives a tour of his 4,655 square feet Frank Lloyd-Wright inspired home in Boulder City.
Real Estate Millions: Hard Luck Mine Castle
Real Estate Millions: Flip or Flop Vegas
Real Estate Millions: Myron Martin
Real Estate Millions: $15M Palms Place Penthouse
Phil Maloof’s Palms Place Penthouse, which takes up the entire 59th-floor, is for sale for $15 million. (Samia DeCubas/Real Estate Millions)
Real Estate Millions: The New American Home 2019
Real Estate Millions: The highest-priced condos sold in Las Vegas in 2018
Real Estate Millions: One Queensridge Place
Real Estate Millions: 1210 Macdonald Ranch
Real Estate Millions: Jonathan Marchessault
Vegas Golden Knight Jonathan Marchessault, shows off his Summerlin home.
Real Estate Millions: Say Yes To The Nest
Camila and Brent Lincowski have planted roots in the Las Vegas area with a $1.5 million home in Henderson.
Real Estate Millions: KB Smart Home
KB Homes and Google have teamed up to create a smart home.
Marc-Andre Fleury selling Las Vegas home for $2.5M - VIDEO
Golden Knights goalie Marc-Andre Fleury has put his custom Southern Highlands home on the market for $2.5 million. The single-story home, built on a .63-acre lot in 2015, measures 5,285 square feet and has a 717-square-foot casita and three-car garage. It has five bedrooms and six baths. Fleury bought the home from former NHL player and fellow Canadian Sheldon Souray, according to public records. When he signed his three-year, $25M contract extension over the summer, Fleury told the media he and his family love Las Vegas and cited its great schools and neighborhoods with a lot of things for kids to do. Fleury said he and his family love their home in Southern Highlands, but wanted to be “closer to the Summerlin area." Home photos courtesy of Ivan Sher Group
Real Estate Millions: Waldorf Astoria penthouses
Real Estate Millions: Cold Creek Log House
Linda Faiss’ Boulder City home lists for $1.5M

Faiss’ Santé Fe estate, 835 Temple Rock Court is listed for $1.5 million through Bret Runion, broker of Desert Sun Realty.

Realtor specializes in midcentury remodels

Just say midcentury modern to Hayden Ross, and she’s all in. The Las Vegas Realtor and special needs physical education teacher for the Clark County School District specializes in that architectural style.

Designer Angeles Scorsetti creates showcases in home

The home, itself, is a series of elaborate showrooms, including the cabana, decorated by the perpetually inspired Scorsetti. All of the furniture and lighting is from their company, Scorsetti Design, which has a studio on 3091 Tompkins Ave. They have access to a library of 1,000 vendors all over the world. The interior decorating firm has created unique looks for many high-end homes throughout the Las Vegas Valley.

American Institute of Architects holds trade show in Vegas

About 20,000 members of the American Institute of Architects will descend upon Las Vegas Wednesday through Friday for the first time in 14 years as part of its annual gathering that had the group in New York City a year ago.

Las Vegas estate comes with Tesla for $5.5M — PHOTOS

GLH is collaborating with Tesla Inc. and other new technology vendors to create “superluxury homes of the future.” The company’s goalis to showcase intelligent, elegant, automated and eco-friendly homes within an integrated smart community that includes transportationas part of the residents’ lifestyle amenities.

New American Remodel built for energy efficiency — VIDEO

In seeking a Las Vegas home to turn into a state-of-the-art, high-end luxury remodel, architect Michael Gardner chose what he referred to as a “poorly built” 1950s single-story downtown ranch home on a property with well and water rights in an agriculturally designated area.

Las Vegas motorcoach resort offers luxury amenities

The Las Vegas Motorcoach Resort has elevated the RV lifestyle to a fine art, with amenities like a 10,000-square-foot clubhouse, a fitness center, a 24-hour guard gate and concierge services.