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Desert Companion

Room with a you:Held firmly in place

Room with a you:

Neon stars and guitars

Ordinary doesn't live here

Every picture tells a story

Experimenting with nature

Held firmly in place

This sleek modern home encourages an intimate relationship with the desert

Tom Kim has an interesting relationship with space. On the one hand, he’s all over the map — literally. When he’s not working (and odds are, he is), the globe-tripping Kim might be skiing in Whistler, British Columbia, sightseeing in Hong Kong or, yes, skiing again in Alta, Utah (Kim likes to ski). On the other hand, the intensity of his work as a local orthopedic surgeon — 16-hour days are not uncommon — often requires him to be nailed down with a ferocious focus.

The result: Not much be here now time. So when he’s at home, he wants to decompress and just exist in a single place in a manner that’s vigorous and affirmative, something that says: I am in Las Vegas, I am in Southern Nevada, I am home.

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Held firmly in place

“I wanted a Strip view, but also something that embraced the desert landscape,” Kim explains. “But also something clean and linear without a lot of clutter.” He hired local architecture firm assemblageSTUDIO to design a house that did that. The result: His 6,000-square-foot home in the Ridges dubbed Light & Water.

Held firmly in place

It’s much more than a New Agey-sounding name. The sleek linearity of Kim’s home disguises a thoroughgoing ethos of uniting the indoors and the outdoors in clever ways that aren’t always readily apparent. Consider the dining room, for instance, where the burnt ash wall runs along a visual continuum established by the black steel wall outside. “Part of the idea was to bring the elements into the house, so the material feels like it continues through,” says Eric Strain, assemblageSTUDIO principal. Or how the pool’s contiguity with the house — literally water against rock; you can step right into the jacuzzi from a bedroom — evokes the canyons and washes of Red Rock. “The pool engages the house instead of it sitting there as a separate piece,” Strain says.

Held firmly in place

But the real prize is the second-floor deck. As roof decks go, it’s relatively modest; the architectural feature at work here is the view. Look east and you’re treated to the glittering lights of the Strip; look west and you can ponder the rusty ridges of Red Rock. In the middle is Light & Water, embracing Southern Nevada’s dual nature.


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