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Suite 305, South Tower, 5811 Cooney Road
Richmond BC

Taste of Life Magazine is France & Canada's leading luxury lifestyle magazine in Chinese and English.

The Ascaya Estate:  A Contemporary Desert Sanctuary


The Ascaya Estate: A Contemporary Desert Sanctuary

Susan Kime


The Ascaya Estate exterior/interior, carved into a tiered terrascape in the McCullough Mountains, south of Las Vegas, Nevada.


Deserts, no matter where they are, hold a compelling allure for many. The sun burns in the daytime, and at night, the stars shine with a luminous intensity. With all its light and dark, it can be a place where human recalibration, restoration, and renovation are encouraged and allowed. 

For millennia, the Mojave Desert of southern Nevada was known only to the Paiute and Anasazi Indians. It was a verdant area, replete with water, and because of these desert necessities, it became inhabited, and was named Las Vegas, meaning the meadows. In the mid-20th century, Las Vegas grew into a major city, but areas near Las Vegas still remained peaceful Mojave Desert suburbs. One is Henderson, 15 miles southeast of Las Vegas. 

 The stairway leading to the rooftop deck. This deck takes advantage of the view, which includes the Ascaya landscape and the Las Vegas Strip. 

The view from the dining/entertainment area, of the rectangular pool that abuts the sunken fire pit. Looking beyond is a view of the western McCullough Range and Las Vegas.

Now, incised into the McCullough mountain range, 1,000 feet above Henderson’s valley floor, are terraformed lots that constitute Ascaya, a new, ultra-high-end Desert Modern custom-home enclave. The first group of six homes, called Inspiration Homes, are underway, now being created by world-renowned architects and designers. 

The first home has just been completed by SB Architects. SB Architects is known for site-sensitive designs, and this estate of stone and light is no exception. A significant example of this site sensitivity is the use of expanses of glass, allowing the home to embrace the surrounding desert landscape, and at night, to view the distant, glistening lights of the Las Vegas Strip. 

 The great room of the Ascaya estate: neutral and natural materials are used throughout the great room interiors, with a desert contemporary colour scheme: black, grey and off-white, with splashes of desert colour, and a wood-plank ceiling. The great room is framed by two sets of parallel glass walls that can be opened and closed anytime. 

Dining and kitchen area of the great room, with grey stainless-steel Miele kitchen appliances.

But glass is just one element used to reflect and refract the desert landscape. Limestone flooring and western red cedar ceilings are also used to define the nuanced colours, moving the outside in. The home also features a covered outdoor, north-facing dining room, taking advantage of Las Vegas views, while at the same time, allowing for enhanced shade opportunities. The master bedroom nearby also has a panoramic north and west view. 

From there, and from many other areas of this home, the fire pit can also be seen. And for everyone who wants to ponder sunrises and sunsets, moonrises and moonsets, an unimpeded view in all directions can be observed on the pool terrace, or upstairs on the roof deck.

Master bedroom, first floor, with “disappearing” glass walls — this allows protection from desert weather, and on clear days, allows a perfect view of mountains and Las Vegas in the distance. The master bedroom has its own living room and direct access to the pool outside. 

Master bathroom, with standing shower, view from inside going to outside entrance, to the pool and spa. There is also a master bath sitting room, and entrance from the master bedroom. 

From the lap pool, a view into the first-floor master bedroom, the yoga platform to the left, and the third and fourth bedroom entrances above.

“The home is a respite from often harsh desert elements,” says Scott Lee, president of SB Architects. “The overhangs and solid walls deflect sun and wind, while the operable doors provide views and natural ventilation and an inextricable connection to the desert. If there was no harshness, then no one could really appreciate shelter, safety and beauty, which is what our home provides.”

Matt Page, vice president of SB Architects, adds, “Drawing from our hospitality experience, we approached the Ascaya estate as a smaller-scale resort — incorporating an open layout with substantial gathering places, fluid connectivity from indoor-outdoor spaces, where future homeowners can create different settings and experiences. But in all, we wanted to create this sense of decompression, a place to breathe deeply and relax.”

Written by Susan Kime   Photosgraphy by Ciro Coelho/SBArchitects
Price: $7,950,000