Conjuring up a castle

Times Staff Writer

What’s taking shape in the desert near Las Vegas is no illusion. It’s a magician’s castle -- complete with parapets.

Magician Lance Burton, headliner at the Monte Carlo Resort and Casino in Las Vegas, hired Colin Summers of Outside the Lines Studio in Santa Monica to design, construct and furnish the home.

Summers built the six-bedroom, 6 1/2 -bathroom fortress on a 10-acre hilltop that he reshaped to create an acre-sized pad.


The 15,000-square-foot castle, more contemporary than medieval, is clad in black split-faced concrete block to match the hillside, which is covered in black volcanic rock and desert vegetation. The county assessor values the land and improvements at nearly $3 million.

Burton, 47, had lived in a gated, Mediterranean-style house facing the mountains in northeast Las Vegas, but after 20 years he wanted more room. He often had friends over for a barbecue or a swim, but the indoor space didn’t provide much allure for guests.

“The general idea was for Lance to have a place to entertain,” Summers said. He designed the castle so Burton has the same square footage in private spaces for himself -- about 3,500 -- as he had in his old home, now listed at $700,000 with Dulcie Latorre of Re/Max Advantage in Henderson.

The castle has a cylindrical tower containing the staircase and spacious public areas: a reception hall, a dining room with seating for 20 and a room for watching three big-screen TVs at once or gazing through a 20-by-40-foot window at the local mountains and the Las Vegas Valley.

Interior walls in lively colors complement floors of unusual materials. Throughout the castle are magical touches: A wall hanging depicts Houdini, a two-story library features books on magic and a hidden passageway leads to bookshelves on the second floor.

Burton has shared his quarters with his golden retriever, Monty, for 11 years. His 13-year Monte Carlo contract is reported to be worth at least $110 million.



No arresting this sale’s development

Actor Jeffrey Tambor, who gained fame as Garry Shandling’s sidekick on HBO’s “The Larry Sanders Show” in the ‘90s, has sold his Pacific Palisades home for about its $2.9-million asking price.

The shingle-clad Cape Cod-style home, built in 2003, has a widow’s walk, five bedrooms and 4 1/2 bathrooms in 4,200 square feet.

Tambor played Diane Lane’s divorce lawyer in “Under the Tuscan Sun” (2003) and was the voice of King Neptune in “The SpongeBob SquarePants Movie” (2004).

He played George Bluth Sr. in TV’s Emmy-winning “Arrested Development.”

James Respondek of Sotheby’s International Realty, Pacific Palisades, had the listing; Billy Rose and Blair Chang of Prudential California Realty, Beverly Hills, represented the buyers.


Who will hop on Cottontail Ranch?

Generations of families have sent their children to this camp in the Malibu hills. Now, for the first time in nearly 50 years, the property is on the market.

Known as Cottontail Ranch, it is near the Malibu campus of Pepperdine University, which owns the property. The 23-acre ranch, which sleeps 300 campers, has a swimming pool, softball field, basketball court, minibike track, archery range, corrals and trails. It is priced from $8 million to $9 million.


Among the campers have been Rod Stewart’s son and daughter, Bob Newhart’s son, Jaclyn Smith’s daughter, Pierce Brosnan’s son, Cher’s son, Sammy Davis Jr.’s son and the Getty grandchildren, according to Dennis Torres, director of real estate at Pepperdine, who is the contact for the sale. The camp was donated to the university, which ran it for years but decided to sell because it does not fit in with the university’s mission, he explained. “We’re not in the camp business.”