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Archive for September, 2008

If You Don’t Get Out Of The House This Weekend…..You’re A Certifiable Hermit

There’s First Friday.

There’s Sunday’s first annual Paradise Palms Mid Century Modern Home Tour.

IMG_7802There’s Friday night’s  preview opening of the hottest new store in the Arts District.

There’s BikeFest at the Fremont Street Experience as well as the debut show of “Born 2B Wild” on the VivaVision. Thousands of gorgeous custom motorcycles lining Fremont Street.

There’s “Art In The Park” Weekend in Boulder City.

There’s the Saturday night bicycle bar crawl.

There’s live music everywhere.  

It’s Autumn! Projected evening temperatures will be a glorious 88 degrees.

Don’t be a hermit!

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Breaking News – Exclusively On VeryVintageVegas

IMG_7803All that great furniture, lighting and accessories from the 30’s to the 60’s that you’ve seen in thousands of movies, tv shows, commercials and music videos has to come from somewhere.

In LA there are businesses called “prop houses”. The set designers go to huge warehouses to select their props for whatever project they’re working on.

But what happens when much of the filming that made Hollywood famous starts to happen in places like Canada? 

The set designers get their stuff in the new locations, and the owner of one of the biggest of the prop houses makes the decision to close the doors in LA and sell off the amazing collection right here in our Downtown Las Vegas Arts District.




IMG_7805The entire collection is being moved to Las Vegas, and will be sold in a retail setting.   The store will be called Viva Hollywood at 1126 S. Main Street.

I was invited to take a sneak peak today and was allowed to be the first to tell the story. I was simply blown away! I only got to see what’s being set out for Friday, and a very small part of the storage, and I’m told that what’s been moved here so far is only  about a third of the entire collection.






IMG_7808They’re not promising it will be completely set up and dressed for it’s debut this First Friday, but they’re opening anyway. They’re busy dusting and polishing and arranging all week, so don’t bother them yet. But don’t miss the fun when the doors open at 6pm on Friday.

I’m sure I won’t get to see much else of First Friday this month, as I won’t be able to drag Mary Joy or Pam or Meg or Erin or Rachel, or any of the rest of you out of there.








I just took some random photos of some of the furnishings that caught my eye, but everywhere I turned there was amazing and fabulous stuff.











The best part is that they’re just in the next block and across the street from Retro Vegas. Both stores will just have to be on your First Friday to-do list.






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Worst MLS Photo Of The Day

866839_201_22Hurry up and take the picture, already. I’ve got to change the baby!

The only thing worse than a bad picture is NO PICTURES AT ALL!

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Mid Century Modern Revival Movement Finally Comes To Las Vegas

In Preparation for this Sunday’s Tour Of Mid Century Modern Homes In Paradise Palms, I thought you might like to read up on the subject.   

The truth is…The Modernism revival movement is just barely starting to catch on in Las Vegas. Almost all of the homes built pre 1970 fit into the broad category of modernism. There’s a few homes from the late 30’s and early 40’s that predate modernism that are still around (especially, for example in the John S. Park Historic Neighborhood and Huntridge), but post war to 1970, it was almost ALL modernist.

Modernism wasn’t just post and beam and flat or low pitched roof lines. Palm Springs Modern styled homes which abound thru Las Vegas neighborhoods such as Scotch 80’s and Marycrest and Crestview and Paradise Palms, but the ubiquitous ranch house and rambler also were an important part of modernism. The Rancher and The Rambler weren’t quite as obviously modern from the street view. Their modernism was more visible from the back of the home, and in the concepts of opening up the interior space, and merging the backyard with the living area was certainly in keeping with the language of modernism. Neighborhoods such as McNeil have some of the best ranches and ramblers in Las Vegas, but they exist in almost all of our historic neighborhoods.

The MID CENTURY MODERN REVIVAL MOVEMENT is catching on all over the country.

California, naturally has led the way. But the last two years of “housing bust” has opened up a new set of opportunities for a whole new set of modernist enthusiasts all over the country, but ESPECIALLY here in Las Vegas. Believe it or not, (and I certainly do) the combination of modernist revival and the fact that almost all of the mid century modern homes in Las Vegas are within 10 minutes of the STRIP, downtown, airport and UNLV will cause the historic neighborhoods to turn around first. Bet on it!

That said, here’s some reading for you to get you prepared for the tour this Sunday.

The EichlerNetwork ought to be your first stop.

There’s a great write up and introduction to Palmer and Krisel, the architects of Paradise Palms at the Palm Springs Modern Page of the Eichler Network. Their House Doctor Page has tons of great information about restoration.

There’s several great magazines that you can read on line, subscribe to, or pick up at your local bookstore. Check out Atomic Ranch, or Dwell

Some of my favorite blogs that cover all things modernist include midcenturymodernist, retrorenovation ModernPhoenix, MCM Interiors and LottaLiving.

There’s 1000’s more sites out there and a lotta learning to do. If you’ve got a favorite book, magazine, website or blog that you’d like to share, please leave the info in the comments.  

Do some reading, and then come to the Paradise Palms Tour This Sunday. I think you’ll like what you see.

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Paradise Palms Tour To Showcase Mid Century Modern Style, Design And Architecture


Tour Paradise Palms flyer v2 1up


Paradise Palms is the Undiscovered Treasure of Clark County
Atomic Age Alliance is proud to present the first tour of its kind in Las Vegas, the self-driving tour “Paradise Palms Open House Day,” on Sunday, October 5, 2008.

Paradise Palms is a historic Mid Century Modern neighborhood built by Irwin Molasky Homes and the architectural team of Daniel Palmer and William (Bill) Krisel of Palmer & Krisel from the early 1960s through the early 1970s. This particular tract was the first planned community in Las Vegas. It won the American Builder Magazine Award for being one of the best planned communities in the U.S. The neighborhood is growing as a Mid-Mod preservationist Mecca in terms of restorable P&K homes still at relatively affordable prices. While other communities such as Scottsdale, AZ and Los Angeles and the Bay Area, CA, have embraced Modernism and make money from it, Las Vegas has been slow to catch on. Ten years ago in Palm Springs, CA, Palmer & Krisel homes went for 100-200k. Now properly restored MidMod “P&K” homes sell from 400-800k and more… A brand new custom Mod home by Bill Krisel recently sold for over one million. The tour hopes to open eyes to this undiscovered treasure that lies right in the heart of Las Vegas.

The Atomic Age Alliance is a 501(c)3 non profit organization dedicated to celebrating historic Mid Century Modernism and Atomic Age design, signage, architecture, culture and business through ongoing community advocacy, activism and educational programs.

Mid-Century Modern (MCM) is a period in the middle of the 20th Century where architectural design reached a peak in terms of aesthetics, engineering and exuberance. The dates are 1945 to 1965, although the era is sometimes extended to the 1930s through the 1970s. Because it centers on the period after World War II it is also known as Post War. The term may also be shortened as Mid-Mod.

The homes of Paradise Palms feature unique Modern rooflines, floating cantilevered fireplaces, open floor plans, sunken tubs, decorative stone screens, post and beam construction, two-tone paint, idiosyncratic decorative elements, spun fiberglass panels, walls of glass, clerestory windows, and quintessential desert indoor/outdoor living.

Paradise Palms began in 1961 as the neighborhood surrounding the Las Vegas National Golf Club. The course has enjoyed an illustrious past beginning as the Stardust Country Club designed by Bert Stamps in 1961. Arnold Palmer set the course record of 63 in 1967 and held that record for 28 years. Over the years it has hosted LPGA Championship Events and PGA Tournament of Champions. However the current owners have announced plans to replace the course with hundred of homes despite their claim on their own website (www.lasvegasnational.com), “The Las Vegas National Golf Club is a true Las Vegas landmark… Steeped in a rich history and tradition.” It now has community wide support of keeping the course as a course. (www.savethecourse.com)

Fifteen homes are shown as examples of original or restorable condition and five private homes are open to tour attendees. Additionally some real estate agents with homes for sale in the neighborhood will have open houses this same day. The tour is free and open to the public, but onsite registration is required at the first stop of the day.

Please check in at 1536 Commanche Drive just off Spencer drive in the heart of Paradise Palms between 11AM and 1PM. Last house closes at 2PM.
WHEN: OCTOBER 5, 2008, Sunday
MORE INFO: info AT atomicage.org

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Worst MLS Photo OF The Day –


Where, do tell, should I put the sign for maximum visibility?

The only thing worse than a bad picture is NO PICTURE AT ALL!

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The Southern Nevada Museum Of Fine Art Opens It’s Doors At Neonopolis

Southern Nevada Museum Of Fine Art At The NeonopolisWe attended the opening reception on Thursday at the the newly relocated Southern Nevada Museum Of Fine Art. It’s now on the 2nd floor of Neonopolis at the entry to the Fremont Street Experience.







IMG_7735The gallery space is enourmous and friendly, but the highlight will be the dozens of artist work spaces. All of them are now rented and the artists will be taking occupancy soon.

What was once the food court is now another fine addition to the evergrowing downtown arts scene.

There’s big changes happening at Neonopis. Telemundo will have a broadcast studio, several new restaurants, 2 or 3 of the movie theatres are being transformed into performing arts space.

Joe Palermo, the executive director of the non-profit organization told me that the goal is to create an entire complex of art entertainment, theatre, and fine dining. So far, they’re off to a great start.  


IMG_7734Make a point to stop in. Once all the various artist tenants are working it should be an exciting experience everytime you visit.

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Pillars, Posts And Columns – Something To Watch For As You Drive Around In Vintage Vegas

IMG_5717I’ve always admired this front porch awning on a commercial property on Maryland Parkway. The brick wall curves graciously into the front yard and the 2×6’s are cut to match the curve.







If you know of a creative, or interesting patio, carport or awning support that we should highlight (especially if it’s in a backyard that few of us would ever see) I’d love to have you email me a picture or give me an address.

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Worst MLS Photo Of The Day – Drive By Shootings

867563_101_12I apologize for causing you to miss your daily dose of WMLPOTHD yesterday, so here’s a double dose of drive by shootings.








BTW, I so glad they added the little piece of iron work to the peak of the garage. It’s the little details that make this an architectural masterpiece. Every home in the neighborhood has one!

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Fun Features Found In Foreclosures

IMG_7708Yesterday we talked about the give-away bank owned fixer uppers. Here’s a great one.

I need about a half dozen of these that are in great shape at the moment for the buyers who don’t want to fix something up.

When they’re bank owned like this, I like to concentrate more on the features that can be saved and salvaged than the parts that need to be rebuilt and re-designed totally.

This one is the best bargains in all of Vintage Vegas if you’ve got lots of time and money and energy.

It’s only 49 a square foot! 2200 sf for only 110,000! 

IMG_7711The kitchen is a disaster and beyond saving, but the beamed ceilings in the addition, walls of windows, pink and blue bathrooms, brick fireplace and more tells me that this one can become fabulous if the right person will take it on.


It would take at least 80 grand (by my quick estimation) to set this one right, but what great potential.























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Geometric Patterns Are An Important Design Element In The Mid Century Modern Homes Of Las Vegas Design

Trapezoidal Carport Columns In The Mid Century Modern Homes of Las Vegas

This series that we’re doing on the posts, pillars, columns that hold up our patio covers, carports and awnings is about giving you some ideas about what to look for when you’re driving or walking around in the historic Mid Century Modern neighborhoods of Las Vegas.  

On 5th Place, in the Historic John S. Park neighborhood, you’ll find my 3 favorite trapezoids. Geometric shapes play a big role in the architecture and design elements of 50’s and 60’s homes. 

The symetry of these pillars is not only beautiful, it has bulk and substance. They serve a structural purpose, but don’t shut out the neighborhood. They succeed wonderfully at being open and inviting.  They convey the sturdiness of the homes that were built by real craftsman with real materials – unlike the suburban tract homes of the current era.   

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Worst MLS Photo Of The Day

863023_601_16 Nothing like a good roll of paper to get your day off to a good start!





The only thing worse than a bad picture is NO PICTURES AT ALL!

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Now I Know How She Does It –

People ask all the time how our Maggie gets out of the yard so often. I have no logical answer. Till now.

Meet Sofia, who looks just like Maggie. It’s off topic….. but it’s cute……and it’s safe for watching at work.

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A Shortage Of Homes For Sale In Las Vegas?

HOUSES HOUSES EVERYWHERE ALEX RICHARDS AND CHRIS MORRIS / LAS VEGAS SUNWell, it’s certainly true that there’s a shortage of very nice, well kept homes in Vintage Vegas. 

It’s not true out in the suburbs where there are whole neighborhoods of practically new homes that are being given away by the banks. The Map shows the density of the foreclosures in Las Vegas. You’ll notice, if you click on the map, that the density in Vintage Vegas is still extremely low. I’ve been screaming for many many months that the foreclosure crisis is a suburban thing. The headlines, however, don’t make that distinction.

“Location, location, location” is the most famous real estate cliche in the world. We’ve all heard it before. The thing about cliches is that they’re almost always absolutely true. There’s 3 locations in the cliche. There’s the big picture location of Las Vegas in general. There’s the medium location of “which part of town” and there’s the very specialized location that is specific to a given neighborhood, location, era or some other micro criteria. Combine location with charm, character, and uniqueness, and you’ve pretty much summed up why I love Vintage Vegas.

Since I spend a good part of each day actually looking at the properties that are for sale in Vintage Las Vegas, I can say with as much authority as I can muster, that the foreclosures in the historic neighborhoods are the most neglected, most broken and most beat up of the homes for sale in the whole valley. They’re also the oldest. “OLD” homes, to most of my readers, are the most desirable.  

But not everyone wants a total or partial gut job fixer upper. They do want a home with charm and character and great location. In every neighborhood that I cover, there’s a shortage of nice homes, that is, ones that aren’t in foreclosure or already bank owned, and that have been loved and taken care of.

Why would there be a shortage? Because the sellers have been scared away. They’re waiting for the market to get better. They won’t let go of the fantasy price that they could have gotten 2 years ago. Some of them owe too much because they refinanced or borrowed against the home, already taken out their equity, and can’t or won’t give it back.

Those who aren’t upside down don’t realize  that they can still get much more for their well loved home than the bank is going to get for the crap that’s on the market right now. It won’t be as much as they’d have gotten before, and it’ll be a long while before they get that price again. But they can get their home sold if they’ll go back on the market at a reasonable price.

That, of course, begs the question of what’s reasonable. It’s really a simple formula. Can a buyer buy a beat up house, fix it up and bring it to the standard of the well loved home? How much will they spend to acquire the crappy house, fix it up, and feel like they’re still not upside down and that they got a bargain? The well loved home is worth about 10% more than that. That’s how much a comparable nice home is worth in today’s market. An extraordinary home will still do even better. But it’s not going to get 2006 prices no matter how much the seller prays.

The buyers are going to compare the following 2 scenarios. The scenario one buyer is to buy the bargain/repo/fixer, spend a lot of time money and energy, and have a great home when they’re done. Scenario two, is to buy a well loved, fun, exciting home right up front and maybe do a little painting, or change the flooring. Naturally, scenario two will cost the buyer more up front, but the whole purchase can be financed into the new mortgage. Buyer one will need to have lots of cash or lots of credit card reserves to get to the same place.

The fixer upper buyer has a lot more choice right now than the buyer for the well loved home. If you’ve considered selling, and waited, or gave up from a previous attempt, at least now that we’re at the bottom of the market,  I can tell you that the house will be worth the same today as it will during the next year or so. If moving on is in your plans, now is as good as next year.  

Recent proof is the “Dean Martin’s cousin’s house” or my listing on Papago, or the Liberace Townhouse, or my listing on 15th street. All sold in less than 30 days. All getting top dollar in today’s market. All bought by buyers who don’t want a fixer upper. All priced reasonably, but not “given away”. Giving them away is the bank’s job, and the buyers for the give-aways aren’t the same buyers that are looking for nice well loved homes.

If you’ve been thinking or re-thinking being a seller….give me a call.

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Huntridge Theater Redevelopment Project To Be Presented To The Las Vegas Planning Commission

The Historic Huntridge Theatre In Las Vegas We’re hoping for a big turnout of supporters for the adaptive re-use plan that will be presented to the City of Las Vegas Planning Commission Tomorrow Evening.

The meeting will be at 6pm in the City Council Chambers at 400 E. Stewart.

The Save The Huntridge committee is endorsing the plan. We certainly recognize that there are those of you who hoped that the building could remain a theater, but it’s just not possible.

We’ve gladly compromised to allow that at least the building, and the name marquee and the tower will be saved. Under the current economic conditions, and the enormous competition that exists in Las Vegas with the abundance of casino owned venues, it just isn’t possible to keep it as a theater.

The plan should foster a new life for the corner of Charleston and Maryland Parkway. Most everyone I have spoken with is excited about this renovation and we have an opportunity to go before the City in support of this project. If you can attend, we’d be happy to see you there.


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