The charming Italian streetscape known as “Little Italy” is a striking feature of Lara Stone’s custom-designed home.
The “street” transforms the home’s basement light well into a cozy Italian retreat with a decorative fountain, intimate café tables and realistic storefronts.
“I wanted to do something unique with the space,” Stone said. “I didn’t want to leave it empty. My mother was my interior designer and she happened to be out one day and saw a one-dimensional Parisian Street painted on the side of a building. She said to me: ‘How fun is this.’ ”
Stone worked with artist Eric Belanger from Art Tech to create the special feature. Belanger used photos of the streetscape taken by Stone’s mother as the genesis of his design.
“He was a very creative guy,” Stone said. “He took the idea and ran with it. He came up with the concept of replicating an Italian street and we thought it was a great idea.”
Belanger crafted personalized three-dimensional storefronts named after the Stone’s three children with removable glass frontage panels that look like windows.
The street name, Via Di Pietra, reflects the family’s last name. Pietra means stone in Italian. Lining the charming street is the Ristorante Jaredino, named after their son, Jared.
Allison Ciocco — a chocolate shop across from the restaurant — draws inspiration from their daughter, Allison, and Chez Andre, a wine and cheese shop named after their son, Andy.
“He did such a phenomenal job,” Stone said. “We’ve traveled all over but loved everything about Italy, and we felt the Italian streetscape fell right into the home’s overall European design. It’s a fun and peaceful place to sit and enjoy the ambiance.”
The streetscape enhances the basement’s overall entertainment space. Oversized glass doors open completely into the area’s bar named Stone Pub. The pub features a game room and a state-of-the art movie theater with leather recliners. The subterranean level also features a 600-bottle, temperature-controlled wine cellar with a custom wrought iron door and tasting room.
In addition to Little Italy, Belanger created other personalized art pieces, including the wine cellar’s ceiling and an oversized mural leading into the kitchen and family room.
“He did this beautiful mural of an Italian countryside,” Stone said. “He personalized it for the family by incorporating elements into it. For example, my twins were born in Las Vegas, so he buried a Las Vegas welcome sign. It sounds odd but it worked. It was gorgeous. One thing I can say about the house is that it was our family home.”
The Italian streetscape is one of many unique features offered in the gorgeous European-styled property, designed by architect Richard Luke.
Showcasing 9,771 square feet, the three-level estate embodies refined elegance and functionality. It boasts six en suite bedrooms, formal living and dining, an executive office/library with built-ins, a craft room/office and an elevator. In addition, the grounds offer a swimming pool with fire features, an elevated spa, a sunken outdoor kitchen and a half-basketball court.
Located at 15 Bright Hollow Court in The Ridges’ prestigious double-gated Azure community, Stone’s home sold for $5.9 million. It was listed for just under $6.3 million through Michele Sullivan of Douglas Elliman, Nevada. The sale was finalized on May 30 to a homeowner living in The Ridges in Summerlin.
Striking design touches include coffered ceilings, distinct architectural detailing, Venetian plaster walls, linear vents, wood-trimmed windows and cherry hardwood floors.
“Overall, this is a gorgeous home,” Sullivan said. “The design was ahead of its time. It’s a bit of a Tuscan feel but is somewhat modern and timeless. But what I love about this home is the view. The way Richard Luke designed it is every room has a view.”
Stone said the family was drawn to the master-planned community for its views and amenities. So when they purchased the cul-de-sac property, they were the first to custom-build on the western edge adjacent to the nature preserve.
“It’s just beautiful and peaceful back there,” Stone said. “They hadn’t even added electricity to that area, so they had to do some work before we could purchase the lot.”
Stone said it took about 18 months to design and custom-build their family’s dream home. The home, built in 2011, is sited on a half-acre.
Stone’s mother, Sharon Kasser, a California-based interior designer, designed the interior. When the home went on the market, Stone removed some original design elements to stage the house for sale.
“She was wonderful,” Stone said. “Originally, we had all sorts of interesting colors, fabrics and styles. Then we had furniture with a European style and Italian tapestries hanging over the fireplace. It was beautiful, warm and inviting.”
Since it was their primary residence, functionality and practicality were essential for Stone. Therefore, she incorporated unique details in the design to accommodate her family, such as elevated study areas in each of the children’s bedrooms, a built-in breakfast area and breakfast bar and a highly functional floor plan.
“They centered the home around family,” Sullivan said. “So the house is extremely functional but beautiful. The continuity between the kitchen and the family room works well. The whole family can be together when you’re cooking or entertaining.”
The main level displays a sunken formal living room with a fireplace, formal dining, butler’s pantry, chef’s kitchen, breakfast nook and casual family room. Voluminous doors open to the patio and pool deck for seamless indoor/outdoor living.
Nestled between the formal dining and the great room is the stylish, European-inspired chef’s kitchen providing a visual anchor for the space. The distinct hub’s exterior pass-through windows augments the ability to entertain. The kitchen features everything an aspiring gourmet needs, including a high-end La Cornue stove, a Miele espresso machine, stainless steel appliances and an oversized central island with a granite counter.
“The La Cornue is the Ferrari of stoves, costing about $50,000,” Sullivan said. “The French have a certain way of cooking and this stove is incredible.”
A private upper-level primary suite boasts a fireplace with Onyx surround, fitness area, separate sitting area, private balcony with fire pit and luxurious bath.
“This is the multimillion-dollar view,” Sullivan said about the primary bedroom’s vistas. “It’s a beautiful backdrop.”
Additional features include Crestron 4 Smart Home Technology, a four-car garage and porte-cochere entry.