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Desert Companion

Personal space: Homes with real personality -- and personalities


Can’t keep their hands off

"The problem with the house is we change everything.”

Roxy and Logan Hendrickson have been rushing to make some last-minute finishes for the photo shoot, working on tiling the breakfast nook the last couple of days, which is typical of the young couple’s energy and ambition. “It’ll look different on Tuesday,” Logan assures me, referring to the area off the kitchen surrounded by blowing fans. “It’ll look different in a year,” Roxy said, gesturing around the entire space.

Logan and Roxy built just about everything you see in their made-over log cabin. Walking through the rooms is something akin to reviewing a to-do list as completed by a carpenter on speed. Logan points from feature to feature, describing improvements the couple has made working side-by-side over the last five years.

Most of what is used inside the house is recycled in some way: the deck that was torn down to recover a soffit, scraps brought in from the cabinet shop Logan’s dad owns and turned into closet doors, bricks given to them by the church down the road, the sink bought for a steal off Craigslist, the cooktop scored on sale at deep discount. The list is long. Instead of giving the home a schizophrenic feel, though, the patchwork of warm wood tones, steel, brick and concrete works to create their vintage modern style.

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“Not modern modern,” Logan says. “I mean old modern, like, as in, modernism.”

Above all else, Logan and Roxy seem born out of time, in a way. Their Henderson home shows a love for retro details and thrift shop finds, and the alacrity with which they tackle their projects. A few weeks ago, when I first talked with Logan about his shop Onefortythree (page 46), he mused about trying his hand at making a sofa. We’re not talking the kind of wannabe makerism where you might decide to DIY a sofa and, three years later, still be contemplating fabric patterns. Now, as he stands in his living room, he points to an upholstered steel frame now resting under a space-age chandelier (also his own design). “We made this last weekend.”

Such rampant productivity is nonstop. He can’t help it. “I constantly pick (the house) apart and make it better,” Logan said. “A lot of woodworkers are really patient. But I get bored with ideas before they’re done.” It certainly makes for an exciting — and ever-changing — house.
— Maureen Adamo


A modern take on Old World charm

From the street, Scott and Cindy McCombs’ house looks pretty much like all the other tract homes in their Henderson neighborhood, but from the inside it’s a whole different story, one reminiscent of a fairy tale. This is because the interior is custom-finished entirely in stone to resemble the rich and elaborate architecture of old Europe. Imagine an enormous stone fireplace, domed and painted ceilings, armors and shields, bronzed sconces and tapestries on the wall. “I love the Old World look,” says Scott, who designed and created the interior himself from Portland cement.

“It started with the fireplace wall being out of balance,” explains Cindy. “It wasn’t symmetrical and that was going to drive us crazy.” Once Scott had centered the fireplace, they decided they would need pavers behind the columns. Then the drywall on the rest of the walls looked cheap in comparison. The entire concept sprung from there — and from Scott’s wild imagination.

As the owners of Realm of Design Inc., a local company that designs and manufacturers things like fireplace mantels, columns and fountains, Scott had access to all the tools he needed. His construction background meant he knew how to do it — and his lack of formal training gave him the freedom to do it. 

“By not having education in certain areas, I don’t have a limit. I always think outside the box because I don’t know the rules,” he says. “I had never made floor tile, never made a countertop, never casted bronze,” says Scott.

Once he’d finished the house, Scott went out the back door to start his next project. The 18-foot hole he dug would become an oasis of pools and waterfalls, underwater enclaves, grottoes, a rope bridge, and an elaborate treehouse for his grandkids.

“I’m not a guy who’s going to sit down and draw. I just start to go — designs get better that way.” Already, Scott’s itching to start the next thing.

“He’s been begging to sell the house,” says Cindy.  “He’s like, let’s do it again.”

— Chantal Corcoran


The elegant meets the exotic

There are many personal treasures to be found in Mya Reyes’ 3,200 square-foot Queensridge home, but one of her favorites is a girl’s shiny bronze Shantung dress. Reyes wore it as a child growing up in her Detroit neighborhood. “I just loved that dress!” she says. “I think it was something about the bronziness, and I was just so different when I wore it, because, well, who had a dress like that?” Hanging in her Summerlin closet, six decades later, the dress has more than sentimental value for Reyes. “I think that dress helped to develop me as a person,” she says. It inspired the elegant and exotic style that makes her house a vivid showcase of her personal history.

“When we first met Mya, she called herself the reincarnation of Josephine Baker. She was very dressed and glamorous,” says designer Andrea Miranda-Hall of Inspired Design. “So that’s where we took off from.” Recalling the dramatic flair of the early 20th-century performer known as the Bronze Venus, they began with the circular staircase. Standard white spindles were replaced with sweeping wrought iron designs; the blonde wooden stairs covered with bold cheetah-print carpeting; the railings painted a dramatic black; and the curved walls were lined in a paper of glistening midnight mica stone to bring it all together. Their design concept grew from there to incorporate Reyes’ eclectic tastes and her many cherished pieces — such as her glass-top dining room table with its base of brass-sculptured rams’ heads.

As a consultant in diversity sales and marketing, Reyes travels a great deal, and she’s always watching for items to bring home. Hence, a charming sculpted warrior from Brazil is perched beneath a modern painting of samurai soldiers from Australia; a brass bird lamp pokes its beak over its shade to look across the room at a rugged bamboo carving from Shanghai; and on a table, above a pair of peacock-print ottomans, sits a delicate 200-year-old porcelain French vase. “It doesn’t really go with my décor,” she says, “but I just love it because it’s so pretty.”

Of her exotic, eclectic style Reyes says, “People probably look at my house and wonder, what in the world was she thinking? But it makes me feel happy. I feel happy to be here.” Like a young girl in her favorite dress.

— Chantal Corcoran

 A couple of space cadets

Home-shopping is considered an adult pastime, but you might say Clay Heximer had an eye on his Paradise Palms dream home since he was a kid. “I always wanted to live here. When I was growing up in Henderson, we would drive to the Boulevard Mall, and I just loved the houses around here. They were so ... Jetsons-esque. I love that space age stuff.” Years later, when he and his wife Denise were in the market for a new pad, they considered one particular house in the historic neighborhood as their template dream home, a 1962 William Krisel-designed two-story, complete with a swanky champagne-bubble pattern block wall and generous clerestory windows. “Anything cookie-cutter is just obscene to me,” says Denise. “Personality is important.” They didn’t think that the iconic home that sat on a commanding rise at the end of a quiet cul-de-sac was itself available — until they asked. They bought the historic house in February 2010. Better yet, it was in exceptional condition. “Clay didn’t hang up anything on the walls for a year because he wanted to be very careful where he put nail holes,” Denise jokes.

The couple carries the modern, space-age vibe through the home with furniture and accessories that are either commissioned custom pieces (the Sputnik ceiling lights, the forced-perspective frames, the ovoid planters), or scored at garage sales, antique stores or online — like one of Clay’s prized furnishings he found on Craigslist: his kingly contour lounger, a classic vinyl beast that reclines, vibrates and massages (and can probably command starships). Its curves contrasts with the sharp lines of the floating fireplace, which playfully turns the traditional wood-burning hearth into something more like a TV console. Next to that, a custom room divider restates the champagne bubble pattern. And speaking of tippling: Clay thought he was seeing things when he looked at the home’s original plans and saw the basement den designated as “the bar.” “We’ve entertained more people than we should in that room,” he jokes. The intimate space is livened up with classic signage and a portrait of our own ill-fated space-age casino, The Landmark.

Piece by piece, their dream home is gradually coming together. Some of the furniture they can even drive. You have to go to the driveway to see that particular piece — it’s Denise’s baby-blue 1960 Thunderbird. It ensures Clay and Denise arrive at the neighborhood’s monthly Paradise Palms Social Club shindigs in style. The only thing better would be a spaceship.

— Andrew Kiraly



The town and country bachelor pad

It was the real estate boom that first drew engineer Kevin Siler to Las Vegas and prompted him to buy so many properties, including a two-bedroom condominium in Veer Towers. Then, when the market dipped south, he sold most of them — “I got out at the right time,” he says — even the 3,600 square-foot house he’d been living in; and he downgraded the condo (pre-closing) to a studio loft. This was to be his new home.

“The day of close, I walked in here and I about hit my knees,” says the 6-foot-2, 45-year-old bachelor. The stark white walls of the 500 square-foot suite felt like they were closing in on him, despite an entire wall of glass overlooking CityCenter. Siler was used to more space.

He turned to Andrea Miranda-Hall of Inspired Designs. The designer’s first challenge was to contend with the limited space. Her second was to balance her client’s traditional style and the Vegas aesthetic. Raised on a cattle ranch in Wyoming, Siler’s a man’s man: He hunts, he does woodwork, he wears cowboy boots. Just outside his window, modern Vegas pulses relentlessly.

They began with the screaming walls. Drawing inspiration from Siler’s boots, they opted for black, faux-crocodile skin wallpaper. “It just instantly made it feel like a bachelor pad,” says Miranda-Hall, and it established the view as the focal point. The entryway was painted in a faux finish of metallic plaster to give the place a touch of Vegas glimmer — while remaining tough enough to suit Siler. “That’s why you’ll see the rivets on things, the hardware. He likes to see the mechanical parts,” says Miranda-Hall. “It’s just what I do, base metals, things like that,” adds Siler, who designs fire suppression for mining machines.

His work has him travelling regularly to mines all over the world, so the condo is more of a weekend spot for Siler, which helped to settle the space issue. Instead of thinking traditional apartment, the two made their design choices in line with hotel living. Instead of a sofa, they brought in a pair of swivel chairs — modern, but large enough to comfortably seat a man of Siler’s stature. Instead of a kitchen table, Siler’s crafted a sleek, multi-functional unit to serve as a computer desk or an eating area. He made it from reclaimed wood he dragged from the bottom of Lake Michigan, a hobby of his. (“For fun and exercise,” he says.) The blood-orange accents in the bedding, throw pillows and smaller appliances are drawn from the only art on his walls: the first lithograph of a painting by artist Lona Blank. (The savvy investor’s tucked the original away for safekeeping.)

Siler’s choice in art — a contemporary perspective of the iconic Las Vegas sign, as seen past a martini glass — reflects the modern man in the crocodile boots, the one who loves Sin City’s upscale lounges and downtown lifestyle. “When I touch the elevator button, my decision is left or right for dinner,” he says. “Am I in the mood for a glass of wine or a martini?”

— Chantal Corcoran

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