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HOMETOWN U.S.A.: Las Vegas

A $13.9-million dream house

In a town wracked by foreclosures, Daniel Coletti's 10,700-square-foot home with glass walls, infinity pool and 17-car garage is the most expensive residential property for sale. All that's needed now is a dream buyer.

May 12, 2012|By John M. Glionna, Los Angeles Times
  • Daniel Coletti makes his way down a spiral wooden staircase inside his mountaintop home in Las Vegas. It sits on land owned by Howard Hughes in the 1950s.
Daniel Coletti makes his way down a spiral wooden staircase inside his mountaintop… (Genaro Molina / Los Angeles…)

Among all the special places inside his sprawling 10,700-square-foot mountaintop home, Daniel Coletti savors the vibe inside the living room most.

It's a luxury dreamscape distinguished by mammoth walls of glass and Idaho-hewn stone. At night, he gazes out past the blue waters of an indoor-outdoor infinity pool and onto a vast citywide vista capped by the shimmering lights of the Strip.

"It's like looking at a fire," his wife, Natalie, said. "You can't turn your eyes from it."

The property has another unique feature: Offered at $13.9 million, it's the most expensive residential listing in Las Vegas.

By California standards, it's a reasonable price for such a high-end home, but in Vegas' foreclosure-wracked real estate market — with a median sales price of just over $100,000 — the cost is stratospheric. So, how do sellers dwelling in the rarefied air atop real estate's Mt. Olympus sell their homes?

Do you advertise for buyers in Los Angeles, New York and London? How do you determine who gets inside your mansion-sweet-mansion? If you're Coletti, the answer is simple: You advertise locally, assured that the right buyer will eventually emerge in this city of high-rollers and blank checks.

You also describe it with an appropriate Vegas flourish. Coletti writes online that the residence "blurs the lines between the interior and exterior spaces leaving one to wonder where a room ends and the outside begins."

Coletti, who designed and built the home through his company, Sun West Custom Homes, advertised the expansive windows, porte-cochere, double-island kitchen, wine and theater room — all illustrated by photographs that cost him thousands.

If F. Scott Fitzgerald's Jay Gatsby owned a house in Las Vegas, Coletti's home might be it. The five-bedroom, two-story residence sits on 25,000 acres, one of the last prized parcels of rugged desert terrain purchased by Howard Hughes in the 1950s.

The garage can house 17 cars. At 2,700 square feet, the pool is bigger than most people's homes. To reach Coletti's front door, a visitor must pass through four security gates, giving the exclusive aura of not just the nation's 1%, but maybe its 0.01%. Even the two family dogs have a room of their own.

But such top-end sellers also take precautions, such as conducting financial background checks on any buyer before rolling out the red carpet for a personal home tour, real estate experts say.

With hundreds of elite homes here, the market has remained steady: In December 2006, 21 single-family homes valued at $5 million or more were up for sale. A year later, there were 27.

Coletti's home serves as a reminder that, for all the city's troubles, Las Vegas is still a showcase for the glamorous. His firm has designed, built and sold 497 properties here since he moved to Las Vegas in 1989. But his own residence is more than just another real estate transaction.

The home is his personal masterpiece, an earth-toned chameleon that blends into the desert landscape around it. Coletti, 48, learned his design sensibilities from his mother, Cindy, a home builder who encouraged him to follow in her footsteps.

Coletti later earned a degree in building construction technology and has received architecture training, but like his mother, takes an intuitive, rather than a textbook, approach to his work.

In 2008, he said, he became captivated by the undeveloped hillside property 10 miles west of the Strip. The tract is owned by Summerlin Corp., a firm developing the acreage Hughes once envisioned as a site of a supersonic airport.

"I stood on this piece of property every other day for a couple of weeks, at different times of the day," Coletti said. "Slowly an image came to me."

His unconventional design included an open floor plan with oversized motorized glass doors that allowed for expansive views of the mountain, city and nearby golf course from every major room. Glass walls pulled aside, many of the rooms are left open-air during temperate months.

His wife's favorite feature: a dining room that juts out into the pool like a peninsula. "Oh man," she said. "When you open the doors and eat at night, it's crazy. The water is right there at your feet."

The residence observes few class distinctions: Despite its size, there are no maid's quarters because the family does its own housework. Coletti's 20-year-old son, Chris, maintains the 68,000-gallon pool, and the outside desert landscaping takes little maintenance.

Still, the home builder is restless. That's why he's selling. Coletti has ideas for a new residence with a few design twists that will better suit his family after the two eldest of his four children leave home in the next few years.

But Coletti discovered that high-end buyers' tastes can be finicky. He first offered his home for sale a year ago at $16 million, but scaled back the price, sensing that $1,200 a square-foot would be more competitive.

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