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Location: Boulder City, Nevada
It’s not every day you see a Frank Lloyd Wright house go on the market in Nevada, so when there is one, there’s probably a good story behind it. And there is for this early-‘60s masonry block Usonian-style house in Boulder City, Nevada, a town southeast of Las Vegas created around the same time to house workers building the Hoover Dam.
While the original concept for the house was indeed completed by Frank Lloyd Wright himself, the final design had to be modified to fit the lot by Harry Thompson, who had studied under Wright in the ‘50s. Thompson’s brother, who commissioned and built the home on a pay-as-you-go basis, went bankrupt in the process and ended up giving up the home to a second owner who helped him settle his financial troubles.
The three-bedroom, 2,100-square-foot home was finally completed around 1963, a time when the nation was swept by fears of nuclear war. As a result, every wall was fully grouted with concrete and steel. There was also talk of turning an existing hole dug for a basement into a bomb shelter, but the original owner ultimately decided on a pool, which would become one of the first private pools in the town.
As for the house itself, drama and details come to mind. The soaring living area features gorgeous wood-paneled ceilings and a striking two-story rose quartz fireplace, and leads to curved, flat-roofed bedroom wings on the sides. After the current owners purchased the house in 1995—their 5th-grader son was first to tip them off to a "really cool house" in the neighborhood—they gave the place a renovation that included installing bamboo flooring throughout and adding double glazing to beat the extreme Nevada summer heat.
Meanwhile, the architectural integrity of the home—as well as details like an original burnished copper intercom system unit—were preserved. A more recent kitchen renovation in 2009 replaced the original white ash cabinetry, but retained the marble top on the kitchen island.
According to the current owners, who are reluctantly selling the home to spend more time overseas, there’s no other house like it in the area. We believe it.