A fun Desert Modern midcentury modest house in Las Vegas

desert-modern-housenpf-2016Day #2 of my coverage of the Nevada Preservation Foundation’s 2016 Vintage Vegas Home & History tour and oh happy day, let’s take a look inside this just-about-perfect Desert Modern midcentury modest house. Isn’t the kitchen adorable — and just wait until you see the blue bathroom, complete with vintage foil wallpaper that the new owners were oh-so-smart to keep!

About this house, Nevada Preservation said:

This home belonged to Las Vegas showgirl Billye Long, whose husband was reportedly a Mob connected pit boss at The Flamingo. The house remained in the Long family for over fifty years until the current homeowner took over. With original kitchens and bathrooms, period wallpaper and exposed beams, this 1955 Desert Modern ranch is mid-century at its finest!

vintage-las-vegas-5Above: The kitchen cabinets are all original. And dig those wood beams tracking the roofline — in most of the post-1955 or so houses we saw, this was a regular feature. I think that historically, the roofs were not insulated. The solid surface countertops are newer, as are the floor tiles, I am sure.

vintage-las-vegas-4NorthStar refrigerator.

vintage-las-vegas-11The new owner, shown here in the foreground with my wonderful guide for the day, Michelle Larime of the Nevada Preservation Foundation, explained that the kitchen had originally been enclosed with a wall. You can see where the wall ended — at the edge of the tile. The owner took down the wall and braced the part avoe with wood and steel. The open-ness was quite nice, and I like how they added that splash of retro-industrial feel with the steel post. Oh, and the cookies and lemonade came in handy, too — it was a busy day!

vintage-las-vegas-22A big picture window in the living room brought the outdoors right in….

vintage-las-vegas-12And oh how I hyperventilated when I saw this bathroom!

vintage-las-vegas-16There were two sinks, around the corner from each other.

vintage-las-vegas-15Hollywood Regency sconces and wallpaper.

vintage-las-vegas-2-2A recessed tub. Note: I wore a vintage Lanvin shirtdress, purchased at Retro Genie’s in Northampton, for my remarks and the tours. It was outrageously loud. I love it!

vintage-las-vegas-14And the floor!!!! I did not ask if it was original. I tend to believe it was. But even if not — they did a great job! Penny round tiles with little blue flowers inset. ADORABLE!

vintage-las-vegas-1-2Another look at the floor with my toesies, requisite shot.

vintage-las-vegas-20Out back: Kinda heavenly.

vintage-las-vegas-21Along with a place to do some serious bbqing, of course!

vintage-las-vegas-1And I also liked the lamp out front!

Thanks to the owner of this fun Desert Modern house for sharing the love on the Vintage Vegas Home & History Tour!


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  1. Dan says

    Regarding the roof insulation: Typically these homes were designed to “breathe” rather than be completely air-tight. Hence, the roof was generally not insulated. there were usually grills in the external soffits or gaps between the vertical wall and the eaves to allow air to flow. Given the age, its possible the home was originally built without A/C, which makes airflow necessary.

    • pam kueber says

      Thanks, Dan. Obviously, anyone living in these houses who wants to alter the original construction — such as adding insulation to a ceiling/roof — should consult with the proper professionals to assure they are taking the right approach.

  2. Mike S says

    Love love LOVE counter tops which go around the outside of corners in a room. Looks like some pretty good living, that.

  3. Carolyn says

    Ok, I’ll be the one to ask – what up with phones in the bathroom? Uncle Jack from yesterday has one too…
    I’m surprised at how well that wallpaper has remained after all these years. I take baths hot enough to drip down the walls.

    • CarolK says

      Considering how often I have to answer the phone when I’m in the bathroom, an extension there would be handy. I’m old school and still have a landline.

      • Mary Elizabeth says

        My DH is a retired phone company guy. In the day, chic people had phones in every room, including the bathroom. Must have made for some awkward conversations! 🙂

    • Neil says

      Phone in the bath….made oh so au courant (if duplicitous) by Joan Crawford in “The Women”. Now THERE was a tub to swoon for…

  4. Paula Treadwell says

    Lovely! They did a great job updating while keeping the retro groove! I LOVE those tile baths, too!

  5. Frances says

    In California in the 70’s it was normal to take a long bubble bath with music playing and sipping a glass of wine while chatting on the phone with one of your best girl friends.

    It was great fun but I honestly can’t imagine doing it now.

  6. Joe Felice says

    Love the robin’s-egg blue bathroom! Were the wallpaper and sconces original? They are a little loud, but, given the home was owned by a showgirl, understandable. I’m sure the penny-tile floor is original.

    That’s ONE big plate-glass window in the living room??? OMG, I hope it never breaks. Would cost a fortune to replace, and they didn’t have tempered glass for homes back then.

    I like the floating shark chlorinator, too. That’s my kind of kitsch.

    And the post and beam in the kitchen where the wall was is a great solution. I think the kitchen would have been pretty confining without opening it up.

  7. Candace K says

    Ok, this one is my favorite!
    Pam, I hate to ask since you put so much work into these, but, did you get any photos of the exterior? Curious peepers would love to see! Thanks so much!

  8. June Cahill says

    I ADORE the bathroom and it’s ‘fancy’ sconces. Always wanted a bathroom with sconces attached to a wall mirror! Love the wallpaper too!

    What a fun place to have a party!

  9. christian iusso says

    Hey guys thanks for all the great comments on our home!

    To answer some of your questions the roof has about 3.5-4″ of solid material. There is about 3/4″ wood sheathing on exterior and interior and 2 inch insulation material (like rigid foam today) between. When I cut out the skylights I was able to see the roofing, because I too did not think it was insulated.

    The restroom is all original except the floor and the sink faucets. Couldn’t touch that bathroom much! I found a device that turns analog to digital technology, meaning I got the rotatory emergency bathroom phone to work!

    The kitchen counter-top is also original and is likely a quartz-type of stone. The floor and paint is on the walls is all new.

    In the living room the green wallpaper is new, only because the original pink wall paper (like the millwork by the picture window) was damaged during construction. I also added the flooring which is a recycled mulberry branch compressed wood.

    I have also added a second bathroom, laundry room, office space and a small foyer, in my recent renovation! Can’t wait to enjoy with friends this summer. Please send me your email if you would like to see any other photos of the home so that I may send them.

    • pam kueber says

      Hi Christian, thanks for sharing your home at the home tour and for the additional information. Note, when I see the words “2 inch insulation material (like rigid foam today” I think: Beware of the vintage nastiness such as lead and asbestos, etc., that can be in the layers of our old homes. Get with your own properly licensed experts to assess what you are dealing with/working with! For more info an links see our Be Safe / Renovate Safe page

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