This home is located in the historic Huntridge neighborhood in Las Vegas, Nevada and was built in 1958. We had the chance to tour the home and meet the owners during the Home + History Las Vegas Tour as part of Nevada Preservation. We were excited to find out more about the home and the renovation and chatted with homeowner Yasmina Shirazi.
First of all, could you tell us a little bit about your background?
My husband and I met in Scotland while we were both studying abroad, after which we lived in California for a decade. We have always taken on little projects – I’m very passionate about design, and he knows how to hammer things.
How did you come to live in your house and what drew you to the midcentury style?
Never in our wildest dreams would we have imagined that we would one day be restoring a midcentury home in Sin City. But like many people, the pandemic caused us to think differently.
We were yearning for a change of scenery, and after spending a year staring at our computer screens, the chance to focus on a hands-on project that existed beyond the four walls of our San Diego apartment was something we couldn’t pass up. So, with little more than some hand-drawn plans for how we were going to go about restoring this amazing home to its former glory, we decided to roll the dice and take a gamble on Las Vegas.
Much like Palm Springs, Las Vegas is full of midcentury homes with endless amounts of old Hollywood history and charm. In fact, the desert does an amazing job of preserving this type of vintage architecture. When we initially toured the home, we knew that behind its disheveled facade, we had found something really special. So many of the original features had survived, including a perfectly preserved pink bathroom, original wood clad ceilings, and custom built-ins.
What do you think was so special about this period in American design?
I think the enduring appeal of midcentury design is the real feeling of optimism for the future that the architects and builders imparted into their homes. Even now, after all these years, it still feels so fresh and modern.
What do you know about the architect who designed your house?
The entire street was originally owned by a Las Vegas developer, L.W Cochran, who spent nearly a decade building each home one at a time. When they were first built, these homes were right at the edge of a newly expanding city, looking out across the untamed Mojave desert. I can only imagine what a unique experience that must have been for their original owners.
What are the advantages/struggles of living in a midcentury house?
Everything in our home is extremely well-made and custom-built for the space. From the floating banquet that separates the kitchen and dining room, to the built-in wood paneled bar with fluted glass inserts – there’s a little bit of eye candy in every single corner.
Living in a house that was built over 70 years ago does come with its own set of quirks. Much of the first stage of our project consisted of returning the home back to its original state and undoing “interesting” renovations that previous owners had undertaken over the years. Plenty of evenings were spent online, searching for vintage replacement parts to revive worn out appliances. This included replacing the motor in our in-counter NuTone blender and restoring it back to its former margarita-making glory.
What’s your favourite part of the house and why?
In the 1950s, they began testing atomic bombs in Nevada just north of Las Vegas. Businesses would host “dawn bomb cocktail parties” on their rooftops so that their patrons could catch a glimpse of them lighting up the sky. A lot of the original features of our home pay homage to this atomic craze that swept through Las Vegas during this time period. One of the best examples of this are the green “radiation-inspired” tiles in our kitchen.
Have you had to renovate any part of the house? If so, which area(s)?
Yes, we converted a shared hallway bath into a main bathroom. A previous owner had given the bathroom a beige makeover which felt very different in style to the rest of the home. We decided to update and modernize the room while still giving a nod to the past by bringing in blue glass mosaic tiles, a floating teak vanity, a starburst ceiling light, and terrazzo flooring. Not wanting to throw out the good with the bad, we were able to breathe new life to the original bathroom appliances, including the original NuTone heater and fan.
Do you have any tips for people interested in buying a mid-century house or building a new home with mid-century design elements? What should they pay attention to and why?
I think that the most important thing to remember when restoring a midcentury home is to take your time and enjoy the process.
It was important to us that we were sensitive custodians of the history of the home, but we also wanted to bring it into the 21st century. This was at times quite a daunting task, but it was also incredibly rewarding. Things inevitably didn’t always go to plan, and we were often working within and sometimes against the limitations of a structure that was built in a different era, but we had so much fun along the way that in the end it was completely worth it.
Photos by DronePixel.net