These Las Vegans have different looks and diverse tastes — but each has a distinct vision of beauty that comes alive in both dress and decor
Cocktail Time Machine
Ralph Brinkley’s Paradise Palms home is a shrine to the swinging ’60s
To say you enter a time machine when you step across the threshold of Ralph Brinkley’s home doesn’t quite do the experience justice, but I’m rolling with that metaphor because you really do feel a viscerally uncanny, neck-tingling suspicion that linear time is playing a trick on you. Brinkley has turned his 1964 home in Paradise Palms into a living shrine to the swinging ’60s, from the mod couches and drip paintings of seaside scenes to plastic grapes and Bakelite rotary phones.
“I’m not hardcore about keeping to the era,” he says. “I’m hardcore about keeping to the vibe.” Brinkley bought the 2,100 square foot home in a short sale in 2012. “When I bought it, cosmetically, it was hammered. Trash. But everything worked, so I just had to make it look good.” That entailed furnishing and decorating the inside with items methodically bought from Craigslist, estate sales, and eBay. Other elements, like the bar in the living room, he built himself.
But this isn’t a mere museum. Brinkley’s home has literally become the toast of Paradise Palms, hosting raucous cocktail parties whose epicenter is the invitingly dim, cozy speakeasy tucked down a hallway, complete with a Wurlitzer jukebox and cig machine. “When I’m out, just living my normal life, I don’t think about this stuff,” he says. “I just think about shopping, paying bills, getting food, cleaning. But when the sun goes down, it’s time to put that stuff away. Then all this comes alive.”
Ralph is wearing a vintage sports coat, custom monogrammed shirt, Edwards slacks, and Stacy Baldwin Oxfords.
Kate Aldrich and TimShaffer’s home is a perfect storm of curated delight
Kate Aldrich and Tim Shaffer own Patina Decor, a vintage clothing, furniture and accessory store Downtown. You might think this means they have a kind of cheat code when it comes to home design, given that their livelihood is to trade in beautiful things such as Italian art-glass mushroom lamps, sleek Milo Baughman chrome dining chairs, and Cartier bronze and leather letter desks. Actually, it makes decorating harder, because it requires them to apply an even finer and more deliberate curatorial filter when it comes to beautifying their living space.
That was a hypothesis, anyway, which Tim blows out of the water with, “Oh, we just put this look together out of items we love. It’s all kind of in a modern design, but it’s not really intentional.”
Kate says, “It’s piece-by-piece acquisition of things that speak to us, and somehow they all work together. But we’re all over the board, really, when it comes to what our taste is.”
That “somehow” is magic. Each room in their 1963 Rancho Park home is an ad hoc whirlwind of beauty, history and variety in design, composed but not contrived, pleasingly crowded but not cluttered. I’m sitting in their cozy, wood-paneled evening room, in a handsome Florence Knoll chair, in front of a severe, slablike Paul McCobb coffee table, surrounded by bustling Mexican modernist paintings and shapely pottery; the whole scene is a pleasing dance of angles and curves.
“I need to have beauty around me,” Kate says. “I need to have that sense of aesthetic around me, and so does Tim.” She wraps herself in it — literally: Kate’s signature look is a vintage caftan accented with striking earrings and bracelets. Tim favors a studied casual look with cotton shirts, jeans and Italian boots that smolder with rugged verve. That makes them not just the owners of Patina, but its style ambassadors — a fitting role since they’ve shifted the store’s focus to vintage clothing. Kate’s summary of her philosophy pertains to home design as much as personal style; and, like her style, it’s simple but striking: “I don’t have things I don’t love.”
Kate is wearing a cotton linen caftan and hand-painted porcelain Dutch earrings. Tim is wearing a chambray shirt, Levi’s 501s and Italian boots.
A Flair For the Classic
Farhan Naqvi’s timeless, modern aesthetic goes beyond mere image
Perhaps you’ve seen attorney Farhan Naqvi’s face beaming from a freeway billboard — the red-carpet smile, the lustrous pomp. I’m happy to report that he’s just like that in real life, and also not like that at all.
He’s like that in the sense that, yes, in person, he’s as impeccably coiffed and assembled as his image on the billboard. He’s not like that in the sense of what such a billboard might typically imply — namely, an ego that matches the dimensions of his advertising space. Today, he’s walking around his home in The Ridges, describing his decor and clothes and overall aesthetic with a sense of flattered surprise, as though he’d been waiting a long time for someone to ask him about it.
“What’s important for me is timelessness. I don’t want to do anything with my personal style or my office or my home that’s a date-and-time stamp, you know?”
His style emphasizes fundamentals with flair. For example, the base palette for his suits is black, white, and gray. “They’re the colors you wear for significant occasions, and I like to dress like that every day,” he says. “I’m not blessed with George Clooney or Brad Pitt-type
looks, but I try to be the best me that I can.” The details are where the flair comes in, like in the wide peak lapels on his bespoke Stitched suit — a pair of exclamation points livening up a sober, classic look — or the checked Tom Ford tie that adds some visual texture. The mandate to look good came from family, but was rooted in ideas of professionalism. (His grandfather, a high-ranking police officer in Pakistan, took pride in his trim uniform and well-polished boots.) For Naqvi, owner of a personal injury law firm, it’s not just about projecting an image, but establishing trust.
“Dressing well says to people, ‘If this guy is willing to polish his shoes and tie that knot in a strong way, and wear a three-piece suit, it shows he cares about his style —
and if he cares about his style, hopefully he cares about the way he’s going to take care of me. And if he cares about his style, maybe he cares about this community as well, and cares about doing good things, and about making sure that things are done the right way.”
His home, designed and built by Blue Heron, is spacious but not sprawling, and boasts clean, handsome lines. “I wanted it to look good, but I wanted it to be a home. I like modern, but I don’t necessarily like airport terminal modern. I like warm modern.” Various elements — the glammy eggshell sculptures on the east wall, the Buddha images, the wall of family photos — soften the spaces. It strikes a similar balance to his look: simple and strong with dashes of personality. He says, “When I’m old, I want my kids to look at my photos and be like, ‘That could still be cool today.’”
Farhan is wearing a custom suit from Stitched, Tom Ford pocket square, Cartier watch, and Tom Ford shoes.
Inside Candace Campbell and Steven Tankersley’s free and easy Westleigh bungalow
There’s sweet sage smoke wafting and Neil Young is pealing on the record player. Candace Campbell, a hair stylist, and Steven Tankersley, a bartender and musician, are in their 30s, but here they are living in 1972. “I’ve just always felt like a hippie,” Candace says. “Even in high school, I was always ‘that weird girl.’ I’ve always felt myself in the more ’70s stuff — flowy dresses and bell bottoms always felt more natural, and not like I was dressing in an era. And you,” she says to Steven, “as long as I’ve known you, you’ve always worn vintage Wrangler denim shirts.”
“I grew up listening to Neil Young and Crosby, Stills and Nash — you know, into that whole California country-rock kind of thing,” he explains.
It’s not an affectation; their look and feel is sort of a cosmic mode that favors of the sturdiness of tradition. Their Westleigh bungalow is stocked with estate-sale finds and vintage scores — including a monstrous, handsome console record player — that gives it all a warm, unfussy geniality.
Candace is wearing a Fillyboo dress and Alex and Ani bracelets. Steven is wearing a Wrangler denim shirt with pearl snaps, Levi’s selvedge jeans, and Red Wing boots.
There’s a story in every nook and cranny of Pamela Pereira’s home
Who says home design has to be serious? The Downtown apartment of 33-year-old Pamela Pereira crackles with camp and strangeness — there’s a taxidermied baby alligator sitting on the back of her couch, after all. (Lonnie Hammargren estate auction, represent.)
Ask her about it all and she looks around the room in smiling bafflement. “It’s all kind of accidental,” she says. “I’ve been collecting for a long time. There’s not really any rhyme or reason to it. If it stands out, I’m gonna get it. It can be anywhere from little hands to doll heads — I love doll parts, actually — but, yeah, I just like things that are kooky.”
She might be underselling her instinct for composition, which gives the thrift-store improv jazz a solid beat. “I want to come home and see all the things I’ve put together and curated, and feel comfortable and happy. I’m creating a space for me to survive, and I want it to be fun and inviting and colorful.” Psychedelic Jesus art. Antlers and skulls. Head sculptures and a deliciously campy needlepoint vista of a Utah desert scene. “I mean, gosh, when you come home, don’t you want to feel like you’re in your own sanctuary palace surrounded by all your treasures?”
She dresses like a gothpunk witch — lots of black, long nails, severe bangs. “I just like to dress my body in a way that makes me feel good and sexy and powerful and unapproachable and mean-looking, I guess. I have anxiety, and I don’t really want people to talk to me,” she says with a laugh. It’s no less a sanctuary than her quirky, busy, cheerful apartment.
Pamela is wearing a vintage bell-sleeve dress and scarab beetle pendant.
‘Go For It’
Erin Draper’s look is all about selective spontaneity
“I love a cha-cha dress. Who doesn’t love a cha-cha dress?” Erin Draper muses as she considers her walk-in closet, a happy riot of mood and persona, dresses and shoes. “I feel like everything in here is a reflection of my style. I like classics with a little bit of an edge, or a little bit of a twist. But if something’s beautiful or catches my eye, I’m not going to get too caught up in whether it matches my style or not. I’m just going to go for it.” Thus, for example, several improbable pairs of Nike Air Force 1s studding the collection like punch lines. The impulse to improvised riffing makes sense; before moving to Las Vegas two years ago for work (she manages marketing for a wine and spirit importer), Erin did comedy in Chicago.
Her principled spontaneity applies as well to the decor of her condo at The Juhl high-rise Downtown. It’s a collection of inspired, well-chosen flourishes that offer sensuous intrigue, from the curvy white twin sofas to purple velvet Brno dining chairs. Call it feminine minimalism.
“In this space, you want to let the architecture show since, obviously, the big draw of The Juhl is the panoramic windows. So, I try to just let that shine, and keep everything else to a minimum.” That selectivity means just about every piece has a story, from the lamp made from a repurposed funeral urn (she got it in Thailand), to a stylized painting of a woman sunbathing (it’s based on a photograph of her mother from the 1960s). One exception: her love of lilies. They burgeon from vases and fill the room with scent — another flourish, another riff. “You can probably tell I’m drunk on flowers at any given time.”
Erin is wearing a Delfi dress, Christian Lacroix scarf, and Loeffler Randall sneakers.