So you’re the richest man in the world and you want to build a house…
In March 1997 officials from a dozen local municipalities toured Bill and Melinda Gates’ house under construction on Lake Washington. Following are some of the observations of one of the officials:
* Currently 300 workers on the site including 104 electricians.
* No visible electrical outlets anywhere. “Gates does not like “clutter”.
* 112 steps from the main floor to the main entry (or take the elevator).
* Wood columns from main floor to roof in entry area are over 70 feet tall.
* Theme throughout main floor is high-tech lodge. Primary structure is all exposed similar to large logs in a lodge except the logs are PERFECTLY finished.
* All timbers used inside and out are finished the same… 3 inches have been removed from the exterior of the wood and then sanded to a satin finish.
* All connectors are structural grade stainless steel.
* All bolts throughout the house are stainless steel and oriented the same direction.
* All woodwork is flawless. Much of the woodwork is of various rare species from all over the world imported especially for the Gates.
* Some of the interior passage doors weigh over 800 lb., but are balanced for easy use.
* Acoustics are a concern throughout. Various woods and fabrics are being used.
* Acoustic panels in the ballroom move out of sight on their own.
* Roofing is stainless steel.
* Floor is heated everywhere including the driveway and walks.
* Security system (automated and personnel) is redundant. Hidden cameras everywhere including interior stone walls. Sensors in the floor can track a person to within 6 inches. System is monitored at the Microsoft campus.
* Gates has a personal 4 car garage. House for the maintenance staff has its own 3 car garage.
*Nanny parks in the 6 car carport across from the main entry. An additional 10 cars can be parked in a subterranean arched concrete building which through an electronic transformation becomes a basketball court.
* Nanny lives in plush quarters in the main residence near to the Gates’ bedroom.
* Existing cedar tree was determined by Gates to be in the wrong location and moved 6 inches.
* Gates insisted on saving a 140 year old maple adjacent to the driveway. The tree is monitored electronically 24 hours per day via computer. If it seems dry, it gets just the right amount of water automatically delivered.
* If you wish, your music will follow you throughout the house even at the bottom of the pool.
* Many doors are blended so well with the walls that it is hard to see them.
* Theater (underground in a concrete shell) is most state-of-the-art theater in the world according to specialty contractor.
* Entry gate senses when your car approaches and opens fully by the time you arrive.
* Antique cabinets from China have been brought in and built into the walls with adjacent paneling built to match the cabinets exactly.
* 52 miles of communication cable in the building.
* Shower curtain next to the spa is a 4500 LB slab of granite.
* Melinda has 42 linear feet of clothes hanging space in her closet operated like a dry cleaner’s rack.
* Only two guest bedrooms.
1 The mansion took seven years to building and cost $63M.
2. The swimming pool runs 60-feet-long and includes underwater music system. A locker room has four showers and two baths.
3. The home includes a 2,500 square-foot gym, which isn’t crazy per se. But, have you seen Gates? There’s no way he’s using a single square foot of that gym, let alone 2,500 of them.
4. The dining room is 1,000 square-feet.
5. When a guest arrives, they are given a pin that interacts with sensors in each room in the house. Depending on their preferences, the temperature, music and lighting will change in the house wherever they are.
6. Bill Gates pays $1M a year…on taxes on the house.
7. The house has a trampoline room with a 20-foot ceiling.
8. Located somewhere inside the house is Leonardo da Vinci’s 16th-century notebook, the Codex Leicester, which Gates purchased for $30.8 million.
9. The 2,300 square-foot reception hall can seat 150 people for dinner or 200 for a cocktail party.
10. The house contains 24 bathrooms.
11. The home comes with a 23-car garage. Twenty-three people can drive to his house, get their own parking spot.
12. Anyone in the house can “call up” a favorite painting or photograph on $80,000 worth of combination TV-computer screens that is run by several $150,000 computer-storage devices.
13. The total assessed value of the estate in 2006 was $125M. In 2009, the value was $147.5M. Gates purchased the lot for $2M in 1988.
14. Early in construction of the house, an interior designer didn’t like the layout of one section. Sixty cubic yards of concrete were demolished and redone.
15. The 17-by-60-foot swimming pool comes with a fossil-motif on the floor and an underwater music system. A locker room includes four showers and two baths.
16. The 2,100 square-foot library includes two secret pivoting bookcases, one of which contains a bar.
17. A quote from The Great Gatsby is engraved on the ceiling of the library, “He had come a long way to this blue lawn, and his dream must have seemed so close that he could hardly fail to grasp it.”
18. The 1,500-square-foot, art deco theater contains twenty plush seats as well as couches. There’s also a popcorn machine if you get hungry.
19. The 1-BR, 1-bath guesthouse is 1,900 square-feet was the first structure completed on the estate. Gates wrote most of his book The Road Ahead here.
20. Outside the home is an artificial stream and wetland estuary stocked with salmon and sea-run cutthroat trout.
21. Want to tour the home? It will cost you $35,000, that goes to charity, if that makes you feel better. You can write it off..
22. Every door handle in the house is custom-made and cost $200 each.
23. The estate’s sand on the lake bank is not natural to Lake Washington. It is actually delivered via barge annually from a tropical beach in St. Lucia.
To put things in context, photo below is OJ Simpson’s 80 sq ft digs. Unlike Gates’, Simpson doesn’t have to pay taxes on this property and security is probably better.