The famous Liberace Mansion did not start as the single 15,000 sq. ft. mansion it is today. It was two separate homes that Liberace bought, built together then expanded and modified through the years. Many official records have been lost but through research and wonderful conversations with fans and friends we were able to piece together the mansion’s delightful story.
The original properties were built in 1962. Liberace purchased several properties in 1972 then immediately began a massive renovation project. It included the joining of two adjacent homes inside and out. The result is the celebrated Liberace Mansion. Liberace bought other properties next to the mansion but kept them separate for use by members of his staff. Liberace created and built a compound where the mansion served as the crown jewel undertaking the glamour and opulence of its incomparable owner. The site sits minutes away from the famed Las Vegas Strip but in 1972 the original area was considered secluded. Because of this, the mansion stood out against the other structures and desert backdrop of the day.
When Liberace died in 1987, the mansion and the other surrounding pieces were sold individually. The properties changed hands multiple times and at first the mansion remained a symbol of Liberace and his celebrated intrinsic “more is better” life maxim. As time evolved; the glitz slowly faded to glimmer and, the ownership of the mansion fell victim to inadequacy. Add to that the hardship that accompanies a suffering economy and the mansion fell deeper into disrepair and dilapidation. Once a grand representation of a luxurious, magical, charismatic celebrated glittering life-style of the era, the mansion fell victim to abandonment, disregard, and neglect.
Martyn Ravenhill knew wonderful successes as a business man. Martyn also knew of Liberace through numerous television broadcasts back home in the UK. Liberace’s immense talents and showmanship fascinated Martyn, inspiring him to learn the piano. So, it seems serendipity called on Martyn to stumble on an internet video depicting Liberace Mansion and its decline. Armed with the depressing information, Mr. Ravenhill wanted to see the property first hand. A walk through was arranged with a realtor whilst Mr. Ravenhill was in Las Vegas. Because the property had been in foreclosure and on the market for some time, it was not surprising to hear about the realtor’s skepticism at this particular showing. So, when Mr. Ravenhill decided to purchase the property, the realtor was truly overcome with joyous disbelief. It was August of 2013; Martyn Ravenhill became the new proud owner of the Liberace Mansion.
Martyn’s vision for the famous mansion is one of loving restoration, not renovation. As would be expected, there were numerous apparent repairs needed. However, the costliest and most urgent thus far was not apparent until a deeper inspection was performed. A huge sink hole was discovered under one of the corners of the mansion. On the inside of the mansion, the area correlates to the famous master bedroom. This put the immediate area of the master suite with its famously spectacular replica Sistine Chapel ceiling mural in jeopardy; moreover, the entire mansion could be lost should the corner collapse. The sink hole was filled and the foundation stabilized and the restoration begun.
Today the Liberace Mansion is a registered Historic Landmark, the first in Clark County.
Restoration work continues…