The Top 10 of the 1%
December 2, 2014 2:18 AM   Subscribe

Here's a list of 10 of the "most offensively decadent homes in the world", ranging from "The World's First Billion-Dollar Home", in Mumbai, India, to Michael Jackson's Neverland Ranch. A collection of wretched excess at its most excessive. (Interestingly, the list is hosted at the website for Chadwicks Building Materials in Ireland, pretty much ensuring they won't get any business building the biggest mansions in the Emerald Isle.)
posted by oneswellfoop (85 comments total) 30 users marked this as a favorite
 
Gold gilded, really?

Also what does it mean that Neverland Ranch is a "no longer functioning estate"? I don't really catch the meaning.
posted by Literaryhero at 2:29 AM on December 2, 2014 [1 favorite]


Neverland Ranch is a "no longer functioning estate"

There was a post here in the past year, two or three guys climbed over a fence, bypassed the security guards and spent the night there roaming the grounds and photographing its current dilapidated state. They managed to get inside as well. Spooky.
posted by TWinbrook8 at 2:40 AM on December 2, 2014 [1 favorite]


I thought it was broken up and parts sold off to cover Michael's debts after his death?
posted by efalk at 2:40 AM on December 2, 2014


they won't get any business building the biggest mansions in the Emerald Isle

The Emerald Isle is pretty much finished building mansions, probably houses full stop.

Telegraph on Housing Developers ruining Ireland

Meanwhile, the peak-to-trough fall in house prices – 65 to 70 per cent, by the time it finally “bottoms out” – means that Ireland is experiencing the worst property crash globally since the end of the Second World War.

Celtic Tiger turned out to be a pussy cat
posted by C.A.S. at 3:10 AM on December 2, 2014 [1 favorite]




honestly when i think of ridiculous overdone 1% residences, i think of mega yachts.

That thing has a $60,000 railing in a stairway.

I'm aware there's more expensive stationary houses out there, but something about an extravagant yacht(especially the upkeep) strikes me as much more of an extended middle finger to the populous.
posted by emptythought at 3:21 AM on December 2, 2014 [8 favorites]




No. 1 is ugly, but at least it is not as bland as most of the entrants. I’m happy in my 65 m² condo, but if you had that kind of money to throw at housing, wouldn’t you want to call Calatrava or somesuch to make a statement? There's no Fallingwater among the lot of those buildings...
posted by bouvin at 3:32 AM on December 2, 2014 [7 favorites]


While not quite Kensington Palace Gardens, when I was a teenager some friends and I went trick-or-treating down The Bishops Avenue to see if David Bowie would give us sweets (he was rumoured to live there). We got a couple of really stressed and confused butlers, and the only place that seemed to be occupied and armed with Halloween treats was the old people's home.
posted by dumdidumdum at 3:42 AM on December 2, 2014 [5 favorites]


I always felt that it was incredibly sad that Jackson basically bankrupted himself by trying to live like Nero, instead of being satisfied with a more modest ultra-rich celebrity lifestyle. "Michael Jackson in Disneyland/Don't have to share it with nobody else/Lock the gates, Goofy, take my hand/And lead me through the world of self" sang Warren Zevon. He must have been so unhappy (the drugs and surgery of course speak to this too).
posted by thelonius at 3:52 AM on December 2, 2014 [2 favorites]


Weird list. Villa Leopolda 'was built by a king in 1901', that would be Leopold II
Leopold extracted a fortune from the Congo, initially by the collection of ivory, and after a rise in the price of rubber in the 1890s, by forced labour from the natives to harvest and process rubber. His regime was responsible for the deaths of an estimated 2 to 15 million Congolese. They were severely abused under this system. Reports of the deaths and abuse led to a major international scandal in the early 20th century, and Leopold was ultimately forced in 1908 by the Belgian government to relinquish control of the colony to the civil administration.
Fair Field apparently has 29 bedrooms and 39 bathrooms. Somebody is scared of being caught short!

It is interesting how the 0.01% have property that is a small fraction of their 'worth' whereas most the rest of society, at least those who can afford to own property at all, have property that is usually their most valuable asset by far.
posted by asok at 3:58 AM on December 2, 2014 [7 favorites]


If you're going to make a mock-Palladian manor I would think you could at least try to get the details correct for that kind of money.
posted by winna at 4:05 AM on December 2, 2014 [6 favorites]


Larry Ellison’s Japanese-style home is worth an estimated $43 Billion and set over 23 acres.

Surely that's a typo?
posted by TWinbrook8 at 4:18 AM on December 2, 2014 [4 favorites]


I've been in the Chadwicks off Thomas Street in Dublin. As other commenters have alluded, I don't think Chadwicks is losing any business to ultra-wealthy Irish and they might gain business expressing the popular mood in the country (as I understand it from my Irish friends, anyway).

I have to admit, stores like Chadwicks were a bit of a shock to an American, like me, used to Home Depot and the like. During the year we lived in Dublin, it took us a longer while to get used to grocery shopping in smaller stores and buying fewer groceries on more frequent trips.
posted by Slothrop at 4:18 AM on December 2, 2014


There's no Fallingwater among the lot of those buildings...

There's not much there that doesn't look like a blown-up suburban mcmansion. You'd hope that people with that much money would have some taste but obviously not.
posted by octothorpe at 4:24 AM on December 2, 2014 [2 favorites]


The Emerald Isle is pretty much finished building mansions, probably houses full stop.


Actually we now have a housing shortage from a lack of houses being built and a growing population. That article in the Telegraph is from 3 years ago, and while the problem of ghost estates is still very real the bigger problem is the developers all disappeared, but the demand for houses (especially in Dublin) didn't. So prices are rising again (as are rents) because there is simply not enough demand to meet supply.

A more recent article from the Irish Times

Welcome to Bubble 2.0!
posted by Not on your nellie at 4:29 AM on December 2, 2014 [2 favorites]


"Larry Ellison’s Japanese-style home is worth an estimated $43 Billion." Yeah, no, Ellison is worth US $28 billion.

Proofreaders are priceless.
posted by vapidave at 4:36 AM on December 2, 2014 [3 favorites]


As someone born and raised in Newport, these modern Robber-Barons need to step up their game.
posted by Slap*Happy at 4:52 AM on December 2, 2014 [5 favorites]


Land of Excess
posted by Jode at 5:06 AM on December 2, 2014 [2 favorites]


Oops, TWinbrook8 got there before me and did a better job of it as well. I Ctrl+f, I swear.
posted by vapidave at 5:06 AM on December 2, 2014


Hey remember when there were pensions and unions? Yeah....
posted by efalk at 5:13 AM on December 2, 2014 [24 favorites]


If I were leaking that much house money, I'd much rather have a modest home in the middle of a large lot than a large home just a stone's throw from the next tasteless billionaire. A cottage and stable in my own forest, my nearest neighbor, other than my handywoman/forester/ecologist, maybe a mile away by winding road.

But I suppose many of these gaudy homes are not the only homes these gaudy people own. They probably have grotesque "old-fashioned" country homes, too, where they employ local boys to set the bowling pins manually.
posted by pracowity at 5:19 AM on December 2, 2014 [6 favorites]


That Versaille, Orange County house is the subject of the great documentary The Queen of Versailles.
posted by PenDevil at 5:28 AM on December 2, 2014 [10 favorites]


There's not much there that doesn't look like a blown-up suburban mcmansion. You'd hope that people with that much money would have some taste but obviously not.

And THIS is why we need extortionately high taxation of the rich. Not because we need the money (though we do), but because the rich have proved themselves too tacky to keep it.
posted by You Can't Tip a Buick at 5:32 AM on December 2, 2014 [60 favorites]


I've been watching the listings of the mega rich on Chicago subsite of curbed and it is kind of fascinating just how bad an investment the super large suburban mansions are. Things like Michael Jordan's former home or the Big Hurt's sell for something like 50 cents on the dollar.

There is the combination of too few people with the level of wealth to support that kind of estate coupled with the fact that the people who do don't want to buy someone else's custom built house. They also tend to be spectacularly ugly.
posted by srboisvert at 5:57 AM on December 2, 2014 [1 favorite]


Folks with this kind of dough travel in style also — here's some billionaire's customized Boeing 727 (flip through the slideshow pix). Quoth the owner: “There’s something about a wide-body plane with 1,000 square feet of floor space that’s addictive, and I just didn’t feel like flying in a little tube of 300 square feet anymore."
posted by beagle at 6:17 AM on December 2, 2014 [1 favorite]


I'm intrigued by the high number of bowling alleys found in these mega-mansions. I wonder what's the fascination other than the desire not to mingle with the great unwashed.
posted by jonp72 at 6:21 AM on December 2, 2014


I've often thought that the building codes should change once a house gets over a certain value (or it should scale up) so that these super extravagant homes are as energy efficient and sustainable as they possibly can be. Basically we'd be forcing the super rich to install the solar panels, ground-source heat pumps, wind turbines, sustainable materials, and whatever other green tech I can't afford to install in own house.

I got the idea when I heard Jay Leno say in an interview, when asked about the wind turbine he installed to power his garage (he is a car collector) something like, "Well, it'll take something like 30 years for it to pay for itself but what do I care, I have more money than I know what to do with."

Not that these mansion wouldn't still be terribly wasteful but if they installed 20 normal home's worth of solar panels, they'd be a lot less bad.
posted by VTX at 6:28 AM on December 2, 2014 [8 favorites]


The guy who custom vans a 727 is pretty smart. Smarter than the guy who pays $195,000 to charter a Dreamliner to take 5 people and his dog from Tokyo to NYC and still has to sit/sleep in regular sized airliner seating.

Tanaka travels in Style
posted by C.A.S. at 6:30 AM on December 2, 2014


no longer functioning estate

I am so disappointed by the wasted opportunity to say "failed estate."
posted by Zed at 6:32 AM on December 2, 2014 [4 favorites]


I'm intrigued by the high number of bowling alleys found in these mega-mansions.

If you give Fred Flintstone a pile of money, you're going to get a home bowling alley. Also, Wilma will leave Fred for Stoney Curtis, Pebbles will make a sex tape with Bam-Bam, Betty and Barney will write a tell-all book, and Fred will be found floating face down in the pyool.
posted by pracowity at 6:33 AM on December 2, 2014 [10 favorites]


I've often thought that the building codes should change once a house gets over a certain value (or it should scale up) so that these super extravagant homes are as energy efficient and sustainable as they possibly can be. Basically we'd be forcing the super rich to install the solar panels, ground-source heat pumps, wind turbines, sustainable materials, and whatever other green tech I can't afford to install in own house

Building "green" is in vogue in some areas. Mrs. Fleebnork used to work for a high-end building contractor in Seattle. Many of their clients were interested in building energy efficient homes with such features.

Yes, she has been to Bill Gates' house.
posted by Fleebnork at 6:39 AM on December 2, 2014 [1 favorite]


You'd hope that people with that much money would have some taste but obviously not.

No taste, no imagination. Superman got Lex Luthor, the best we get is Elon Musk. Blech.
posted by Steely-eyed Missile Man at 6:41 AM on December 2, 2014 [1 favorite]


Forget bowling alleys, at least those are fun. What is it with the damn gift wrap rooms?? I know some fantastically wealthy folks in Florida who custom built themselves a castle-styled mcmansion and they have a gift wrap room above their theater.
posted by phunniemee at 6:57 AM on December 2, 2014


I was just in Florida last week for a visit to a friend, and together we went to visit a very rich older friend of hers who insisted on meeting me and taking us to lunch (and whom I think quite lonely). The area is definitely rich, but it's not obscene like the houses on that list. They are large-ish, but situated on what I thought were tiny lots. And you can look past them from the road and see some 50 ft. yachts docked on the canals in their backyards.

I didn't like the closeness of all the houses. And hoo, boy, her house was, well. I wish I could redecorate it. The outside of it was lovely, but the inside was all white shiny marble floors, low ceilings and wall colors that didn't suit the space. She had several pieces of 18th century furniture that, while they didn't suit the more modern architecture of the place, I just wanted to take home. They would fit right in the ESDA Galleries at the Met. A secretary in particular was on point. It must have been made with at least 6 exotic woods and all the trim was in gold, but subtle. And she was as acclimated to her stuff as I am to the cheapo second hand 50s furniture that I have. The furniture was well kept, but none of it was treated as "precious".

Her pride seemed to be in the art. The 2 Mirós are very nice. She has a Remington that President Obama has a smaller version of, and there were several excellently done paintings of her as a young woman in the mid-60s that were a testament to her beauty and her husband's love for her. They both had come from money. Her husband, though, now has Alzheimer's, and is now confined to a room in a different part of the house that we didn't see. So I guess having a big, art-filled house is nothing without your health, if you're just going to end up in one room to see out your days.
posted by droplet at 7:00 AM on December 2, 2014 [5 favorites]


Like PenDevil, I can recommend The Queen of Versailles, it was on Netflix last time I looked. Just make sure you watch it on something cheap because it is almost impossible to resist punching the screen during many scenes.
posted by AndrewStephens at 7:06 AM on December 2, 2014 [6 favorites]


wtf is a gift wrap room? A room where you keep staff on hand for wrapping gifts on short notice?
posted by ardgedee at 7:06 AM on December 2, 2014


You'd hope that people with that much money would have some taste but obviously not.

No taste, no imagination. Superman got Lex Luthor, the best we get is Elon Musk. Blech.


Really? Elon Musk is the closest we have to a real-life Bond villain. He's even got the right kind of name.

BOND: Ah, now I undershtand. You've hijacked the oil tankersh to drive the world to your electric cars.
MUSK: No, you do not understand, Mr. Bond. My world is beyond your comprehension. My Mars rockets will help create a new world, powered by batteries and solar cells. A world, sadly, you will never have an opportunity to witness. Activate the Solar-Powered Laser!
BOND: You think you can harnessh the power of the Shun? You're mad, Mushk!

posted by leotrotsky at 7:07 AM on December 2, 2014 [25 favorites]


Note that picture for Ellison is not of his Japanese villa in Woodside. It's his weekend cabin in Tahoe.
posted by bitdamaged at 7:08 AM on December 2, 2014 [2 favorites]


I refuse to believe that these people give many gifts.
posted by schmod at 7:10 AM on December 2, 2014 [2 favorites]


What is it with the damn gift wrap rooms??

I think if we had a house with more than three bedrooms, one of them would be a gift wrap room. My wife loves buying gifts for people for every imaginable holiday and I think she loves almost as much the wrapping paper, ribbon, and bows associated with it. She's a sweetheart that way, and that's part of the reason I married her.
posted by marxchivist at 7:11 AM on December 2, 2014 [5 favorites]


What is it with the damn gift wrap rooms??

When you want to buy lots of friends, you can't always just hand out piles of cash without seeming even more crass than you people of course think you are, but you can make sure nobody ever leaves one of your many social gatherings without a little "token of your esteem". And maybe Christmas means a truckload of little social bribes sent out to everyone in town. Pretty soon you need a little room devoted just to getting the presents out the door.
posted by pracowity at 7:12 AM on December 2, 2014


It's cute reading a clumsily-executed linkbait listicle. It's got the form ("10 things you will love to be revolted by!") but then the actual writing is just straight ahead, not breathless. They also forgot to paginate to get 10x the pageviews.

I don't think Chadwicks will lose any business from the ultra-rich in posting this parody. Many people at this level are delighted to revel in their excess. And many who are merely very-rich (say, a $10M estate) see this as aspirational.

Also not depicted: the Vatican, although the current tenant is living in the gardener's shack nearby.
Buckingham Palace. Tokyo Imperial Palace. Somehow it doesn't count if your obscene wealth is enshrined with political power.
posted by Nelson at 7:13 AM on December 2, 2014 [6 favorites]


That thing has a $60,000 railing in a stairway.

Bill Gates built a $200,000 mockup of his staircase in prime downtown NYC real estate.

But so what? He employed artists and engineers, and I'm not offended in the least. I'm impressed.
posted by StickyCarpet at 7:19 AM on December 2, 2014


I remember reading a couple of years ago about the rise (or sink) of 'iceberg mansions' in London. Because, due to planning restriction on listed properties, you can't build up or out the ultra rich were building vast multi-floored basment/cellar extensions beneath their properties. Last thing I heard the authories had started clamping down on this... I don't think they were totally worried that a number of streets might end up vast sink holes but I think it was a slight concern.
posted by fearfulsymmetry at 7:19 AM on December 2, 2014


You're mad, Mushk!

Now there's a sockpuppet name for you.
posted by Steely-eyed Missile Man at 7:26 AM on December 2, 2014


Drove past the Ambani place last weekend, and all I can say is... well, if I had that kind of money to spend on a house, I certainly wouldn't do it in downtown Mumbai, that's for sure.
posted by 43rdAnd9th at 7:30 AM on December 2, 2014


Windows covered with bars
Security guards
Is that a house or a fortress
Against the rest of the world?
posted by Aya Hirano on the Astral Plane at 7:47 AM on December 2, 2014 [1 favorite]


I'm sure plenty of the ultra-rich have good taste. If they had good taste then they wouldn't show up on this link-bait article.
posted by YAMWAK at 7:58 AM on December 2, 2014


Building these homes is a pastime.

My dental hygienist's son works for an architecture firm on the west coast and was steadily employed full time for 5 years by one customer who shared a lot in common with Sarah Winchester in that the house was continually under construction/revision during that time. Unlike Winchester, he was also routinely called to remove huge sections of the house because they weren't right. I recall hearing about a marble entrance that was built tom completion and then completely torn down because it wasn't right.

So apparently, if you have that much money you aren't burdened by the ravages of planning.
posted by plinth at 8:07 AM on December 2, 2014 [2 favorites]


And THIS is why we need extortionately high taxation of the rich. Not because we need the money (though we do), but because the rich have proved themselves too tacky to keep it.

What then the penance for the tacky non-rich?
posted by IndigoJones at 8:12 AM on December 2, 2014


So, did the 19th century robber barons just have a better sense of taste and decor? Or is it just survivor bias, where the worst examples of money-but-nothing-to-say have been demolished over the intervening century, leaving only stuff like Fallingwater and the Newport mansions?
posted by Kadin2048 at 8:13 AM on December 2, 2014 [1 favorite]


When I bought my house my dad warned me "you will forever be fighting against nature". Roofs, gutters, bugs, leaks, paint, stains, pipes, filters, gophers...the weekend to do list is never ending. And that's just the outside.

The shear volume of maintenance and upkeep on houses this large makes my palms sweat. "Larry, the garage door opener is busted, can you fix it after you repaint the guesthouse shutters and clear off the family of herons from the lower 40"?
posted by remlapm at 8:21 AM on December 2, 2014 [2 favorites]


So, did the 19th century robber barons just have a better sense of taste and decor?

They had better architects and better art advisers.
posted by IndigoJones at 8:25 AM on December 2, 2014


I'm sure survivor bias partly explains the quality of the Gilded Age homes. But also there was much more a consensus on what was right and proper art. And much more investment in that kind of high culture. Hearst used to spend months at a time in Europe buying decorative arts, and would hire whole teams of craftsmen from Europe to come over and do something right. Now Richy McRichson just picks tacky manufactured stuff out of a catalog and glues it on the wall.
posted by Nelson at 8:31 AM on December 2, 2014 [1 favorite]


Larry Ellison has a lot of houses that could be on this list.

The pictured Lake Tahoe house is on the market for a mere $28 million. The mentioned Japanese garden house in Woodside, California (as opposed to his actual Japanese garden house in Kyoto, Japan) is worth an estimated $70 million.
posted by eye of newt at 8:32 AM on December 2, 2014


What then the penance for the tacky non-rich?

Being non-rich is penance enough in this world.
posted by Steely-eyed Missile Man at 8:34 AM on December 2, 2014 [4 favorites]


honestly when i think of ridiculous overdone 1% residences, i think of mega yachts.

My uncle used to sell megayachts to the megarich (think Saudi Arabian princes and the like). According to him, annual maintenance costs are about 20% of the initial value. So a $7m yacht costs around $1,400,000 every year just to keep it running.
posted by dephlogisticated at 8:47 AM on December 2, 2014 [4 favorites]


So many things based on Versailles, when Versailles itself resembles a very gilded and marble heavy series of breaucratic offices and shoeboxes.

I'd like to propose a ban on tedious Neo-Classical and Imperial French decor. It's been done. You have to pick a new style. Try Sullivanesque, it's striking and modern and never got a decent shake in history. Bring the cast ironwork back in vogue. You can do it obscenely rich people and or thier decorators, I believe in you.
posted by The Whelk at 8:52 AM on December 2, 2014 [9 favorites]


NBC Revives 'Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous.' Alas, with Nick Cannon in lieu of Robin Leach, who's now reporting from Las Vegas, home to "the biggest entertainment, dining and travel stories of our time."
posted by Lyme Drop at 9:14 AM on December 2, 2014 [1 favorite]


I nominate art nouveau as the New Excess. It's such a lost form of craftsmanship, such feminine, elegant forms. I love the asymmetry too. I wonder why it hasn't had a comeback. My assumption is it's too hard to mass produce.

There's precious little art nouveau in the US. More in Europe; the Mucha museum in Prague is amazing, and the Musee Carnavalet has a marvelous interior worth the visit.
posted by Nelson at 9:15 AM on December 2, 2014 [5 favorites]


I remember reading a couple of years ago about the rise (or sink) of 'iceberg mansions' in London. Because, due to planning restriction on listed properties, you can't build up or out the ultra rich were building vast multi-floored basment/cellar extensions beneath their properties. Last thing I heard the authories had started clamping down on this... I don't think they were totally worried that a number of streets might end up vast sink holes but I think it was a slight concern.

Its true. I think areas like Belgravia Square have been so dug in that they probably will have issues. My sis-in-law lives in Kensington, which has had this happen. She's had a Russian (1/5 rich person's houses in West London are sold to Russians) build 3 stories below ground across the road from her, with a submerged swimming pool down there. They are on a slope, and she's convinced the water table is pooling against his foundations and god knows what subsidence will follow.

London is full of an underground world of water and submerged, built over streams that feed the Thames.
posted by C.A.S. at 9:20 AM on December 2, 2014


Oh man. This is like that one time I stumbled across Rich Kids of Instagram. I scrolled through photos for an hour before my disgust finally overwhelmed my awed incredulity and I had to close my browser.
posted by nicodine at 9:22 AM on December 2, 2014 [4 favorites]


I used to work for a contractor that built residences for very rich/sometimes famous people which was an interesting job if you're nosy like me. One thing that sticks with me is the number of separate bedrooms for him and her (or him and him), sometimes on totally separate levels, also some "dummy" kitchens as the owners never ate at home. Saw some cool projects too including this apartment that used to be an NYPD gym. I also really like this glass enclosed private squash court, I'd have one of them if I were filthy rich.
posted by jamesonandwater at 9:38 AM on December 2, 2014 [1 favorite]


Try Sullivanesque,

Go with Richardson Romanesque. Maybe his buildings weren't gaudy for today's rich enough but they were built to look like they'd survive the end of the world.
posted by octothorpe at 9:47 AM on December 2, 2014 [2 favorites]


Yes, art nouveau, the entire ethos of craftsmanship, one off art objects, the merging of the practical and the aesthetic, and house as total art object.

I'd also like to see more of the lush Secessionist style stuff, it always looked like a design that originated for Princessess Of Mars.
posted by The Whelk at 10:23 AM on December 2, 2014 [2 favorites]


So, did the 19th century robber barons just have a better sense of taste and decor?

Not really. Here's Senator William Clark's mansion, (he was a Montana copper baron who bought a seat in the Senate in a manner that would shock even today's jaded observers). The house was built around 1900 for the then princely sum of $7 million, and reviled at the time as extraordinarily tasteless. A developer knocked it down twenty years later to build apartments, and said he'd have paid more for the lot if there hadn't been a house on it.
posted by bepe at 10:40 AM on December 2, 2014


NBC Revives 'Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous.'

Venerating the rich is why we have the wealth gap in the first place.

People really want to believe, at their core, that there are "betters", people who deserve the extreme wealth and privilege they have. The best trick those "betters" have ever perpetrated was convincing the rest of us that "hard work" was the key, instead of "nobility" and bloodlines. The former seems accessible, however much it might not be, while the latter is clearly a closed system.

The actual system hasn't changed.
posted by maxwelton at 10:51 AM on December 2, 2014 [2 favorites]




If I was a billionaire, I would build my big house in the shape of a giant turd.

Then when onlookers go "hey, look your house is a piece of crap! Ha! Ha!"

I would say: "It's not a piece of crap, it's a whole crap!"

Then I would throw dollar bills at them.
posted by storybored at 11:35 AM on December 2, 2014 [1 favorite]


So I guess I'm the only one here who would totally build a huge house if I were a gajillionaire?

Wouldn't have a giftwrapping room though.
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering at 11:35 AM on December 2, 2014 [1 favorite]


...and holy crap that former gymnasium is stunning. Not sure about all the furniture choices but what a beautiful space to live in.

(As an aside I have a Thing about looking at floorplans from big fancy houses and I am always baffled as to how often walk-in-closets/dressing rooms don't connect directly from bathroom to bedroom. Seems lofical to me.)
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering at 11:39 AM on December 2, 2014


walk-in-closets/dressing rooms don't connect directly from bathroom to bedroom

I don't know, I'd be worried about that bathroom humidity on all my fine fabrics.
posted by JoeBlubaugh at 12:07 PM on December 2, 2014 [1 favorite]


Presumably you could have a dehumidifier installed to climate-control your gown-storage. Solvable problem. If I were rich and building a house, I'd want sort of a dressing-room/bathroom hybrid myself.
posted by blnkfrnk at 12:42 PM on December 2, 2014


some "dummy" kitchens as the owners never ate at home

This. I've got at least one extravagantly wealthy friend(ish) couple who have a magnificent, 6-figures to build kitchen stocked with the finest pro-sumer appliances, beautiful flatware, pricey Mauvel cookware, etc., etc., none of which has even been taken out of the cabinets because who wants dirty dishes when one can just walk out the front door, around the block and have someone handle all that food stuff for you for you.
posted by kjs3 at 1:06 PM on December 2, 2014 [1 favorite]


You don't really want your stylists (clothing, hair, makeup) and business/personal staff running around right where you bathe and shit.

So I guess I'm the only one here who would totally build a huge house if I were a gajillionaire?

I absolutely would. Those houses are basically office buildings for the Business of Being You - large event rooms, conference rooms, offices and workspace for whatever staff needs to be on hand at any given moment, catering kitchen (that's why you put in the huge kitchen, for events), business entertaining activities like bowling, etc, and then you and your family members all have dedicated living areas removed from the public space.

And then, if you're clever, you rent it out to other people while you're off in St. Tropez or spending the summer at Putin's dacha.

On the Jane Fonda episode of the Death, Sex, & Money podcast, she was talking about when she was married to Ted Turner, they'd be in Montana (Wyoming?) and he'd have business guests, and he just had homes every 2-4 hours so they'd talk business in the car and then stay a night or two and entertain at the hunting lodge or the horse ranch or whatever as they slowly road-tripped across the state. That was just how Ted do, and it was apparently pretty much the thing that really really rich people do. I mean, why pack a suitcase and stay in hotels when you can have a closet at every stop?
posted by Lyn Never at 1:12 PM on December 2, 2014 [3 favorites]


So many things based on Versailles, when Versailles itself resembles a very gilded and marble heavy series of breaucratic offices and shoeboxes.

The "Versailles" in The Queen of Versailles (which I also heartily recommend) is not really very much like the original, except for being really big (although nowhere near as big as the original). David Siegel based it on some building in Vegas.
posted by Halloween Jack at 1:47 PM on December 2, 2014


I am always baffled as to how often walk-in-closets/dressing rooms don't connect directly from bathroom to bedroom

This presupposes that people dress directly after bathing/showering instead of walking around naked for a while as is the civilized custom.
posted by dephlogisticated at 2:04 PM on December 2, 2014 [3 favorites]


srboisvert: "They also tend to be spectacularly ugly."

That's new money for you.
posted by Eyebrows McGee at 2:28 PM on December 2, 2014


Senator William Clark's mansion

You know how in The Haunting aof Hill House, the house is described as like an unseemly pile that refuses to go together? That's what I imagine it looks like. Yikes.

Also, if I thought I could get away with it I'd spring for separate bedrooms cause I am a loud snoring trasher and SO is a delicate sleeper who is startled awake by ghost farts.

And if I'm being honest sharing a bed just seems slightly off.
posted by The Whelk at 3:23 PM on December 2, 2014


Honestly if I got crazy rich I would totally build a house like Hill House.

I already have plans for an apparently bottomless fountain for the conservatory!
posted by winna at 3:58 PM on December 2, 2014 [2 favorites]


I knew a contractor who built huge custom multimillion dollar homes in the $10-30million range. He lived in a rather average 1500 square foot home. One weekend he tied a string to his front door and measured out how much string (on a ball of string) he used when he was at home. Later that week, he did the same at a customer's home that he had to do a repair on. He knew the customer well and knew how he used his (larger) space.

The contractor told me the only difference between his home experience and his wealthy customer's experience (once the novelty of great wealth wears off) is the amount of string one used to occupy the most commonly used room in the home. Interesting perspective.
posted by Vibrissae at 4:31 PM on December 2, 2014


Go with Richardson Romanesque. Maybe his buildings weren't gaudy for today's rich enough but they were built to look like they'd survive the end of the world.

And you could freak out the neighbors at the same time. Here's the Chicago Glessner House, designed by Richardson, built right up to the property lines, and the neighbor's mansions.
posted by jjj606 at 4:34 PM on December 2, 2014


I refuse to believe that these people give many gifts.

Pinky swear I'm not making any of this up. My dad used to co-own a high end landscaping company that pretty much exclusively did rich to super rich people's houses.

They give awesome gifts.

I went to a christmas party as a kid where every kid got gift bags like the fucking Oscars. Gameboy games, all kinds of sweet shit. Santa repelled in from a helicopter with night vision goggles on. There was a miniature rideable steam train that snaked through the whole party, inside and outside with elves on it you could jump on. Just so much ridiculousness. Everyone got presents and gift bags. And awesome food, and there was all kinds of fancy punch and cider even just for the kids. And like a freaking 30 foot tree.

So yea, these kinds of people give plenty of gifts. Even between each other. It's like some kind of dick measuring contest.
posted by emptythought at 12:11 PM on December 3, 2014 [2 favorites]


I think up until the late '80s/early '90s, people had things gift-wrapped at the stores (and up until that point, you could get amazing gorgeous work done in the gift-wrap department of any department store, even Penney's and Sears).

And then Candy Spelling built (what was at least up until a few years ago) the most expensive house in the US, and the three wrapping rooms were THE thing everyone was talking about. Like, that's what Candy Spelling was (is) famous for. Not only did it become de rigeur for high-end real estate (like it would be a selling point in the listing), but it immediately became aspirational - you bought your McMansion with one extra bedroom, so you could have one.

Ultimately, it's a sewing room, just like your mom might have finally gotten when you went off to college. It's a ladyspace for ladycrafts, and also shows your dedication to being a better person than everyone else because you spent $75 and four hours wrapping a present.
posted by Lyn Never at 1:40 PM on December 3, 2014


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