A New York restaurant designer duo takes on its first residence and puts a new spin on "desert modern."
Custom furniture designs by Home Studios in this Soho Lofts penthouse were fabricated by Nicaragua’s Maderas Collective.
Las Vegas is a city built on reinvention, so it makes perfect sense to join the classic, mid-century modern aesthetic of Palm Springs and Las Vegas with designs from an influential, contemporary Brooklyn-based brother duo. In fact, the unlikely marriage works perfectly in the Downtown penthouse of James Weidner, managing partner of Lucky Dragon Las Vegas and founding partner of Nicaragua furniture manufacturing facility Maderas Collective. Located in the Soho Lofts, what began as a skeleton space lacking most standard living necessities beyond a roof is now puts a new spin on the desert modern aesthetic in the city.
“I always loved Palm Springs; I love the Frank Sinatra house,” Weidner says. With that mid-mod aesthetic serving as inspiration for the design, he recruited Evan and Oliver Haslegrave of Home Studios in Greenpoint, Brooklyn, who he’d originally met when considering their ideas for a local bar. The Haslegraves, well known for mastering the BK vibe of many of their neighborhood watering holes, first met Weidner at Elsa—their first commercial project. Located in Manhattan’s East Village, it was modeled after a fashion designer’s workroom, warmly industrial with its Edison lightbulbs and a quirky beer tap built into a sewing machine. That was 2009, around the time Weidner had begun looking for a permanent residence—he spends the bulk of his year traveling.
Unable to settle on the right space, the natural transition was to Weidner’s newly acquired Downtown spot. And with that came the Haslegrave’s first residential project. “Although we predominantly work on hospitality projects, we are interested in residential and retail as well for the different opportunities they offer,” Oliver says adding, “James was a dream client who trusted our aesthetic sensibilities and was open to some fun experimental ideas.”
For the Haslegraves, a new take on desert style meant a minimal approach, clean geometry and elemental materials. Weidner approved, not only because of his familiarity with their work in New York but also in part because the brothers have worked with Maderas Collective. The custom furniture and millwork, all designed by the Haslegraves, were crafted at Maderas.
“James’s loft is a great example of their work,” Dave Grossman, CEO of Maderas Collective, says. “They designed everything from top to bottom, and we worked on it from the start with them in nailing every little detail.” The home became a fusion of Haslegrave’s staples—materials like wood, tile, plaster, concrete, steel, copper—and the mid-century modern look Weidner desired. This includes that desert feel, which is reflected through the muted tones and best seen in the central living space with its double height ceilings, oversized windows, second floor office/balcony and restrained material palette. Oliver calls this the essential desert modern aesthetic for “entertaining, glamour, and meticulous attention to detail.”
“With such an awe-inspiring view of the Las Vegas Strip,” he adds, “we wanted this space to be a vantage point to observe the magical and intense world through the window, and also to have that world be part of the interior.”