American Versailles: An Update

Versailles_house

Courtesy of Wikipedia, Creative Commons.

For me, excess is letting the faucet run so that I can get a really cold glass of water. Or eating desert after lunch AND dinner. And absolute excess is a day of shopping followed by dinner out. A day like that, and I feel like a f*ckin’ Rockefeller.

But what is the apex of excess? How about building the largest house in the United States and calling it Versailles.

Versailles is the brainchild of billionaire time-share mogul David Siegel and his wife, former Mrs. Florida, Jacqueline Siegel. You may know them from the documentary The Queen of Versailles, which chronicles the often-nutty shenanigans surrounding the couple’s construction of the home on Lake Butler, in equally nutty Florida.

Construction of Versailles has been underway for more than a decade at this point, and was stalled during the recession. So stalled that David Siegel considered selling the property—for $100 million.

Image-1-The-Queen-of-Versailles

Courtesy of Fox 35 News.

But the Siegel’s have apparently recovered. This year, they announced that they are back on track and looking forward to completing their dream home by 2018.

So what makes this place even vaguely worthy of the name of a world-famous chateau? For starters, 90,000 square feet of luxury. For comparison, the real Versailles is 721,206 square feet—not counting their breathtaking grounds. And for additional comparison, the average house size in the US is 2,600 square feet—smaller than Jacqueline’s master bedroom closet, which measures at 3,000 square feet. HAHAHAHAHAHA!

Here are the rest of the known stats on the Siegel’s Florida chateau:

  • 15 bedrooms (including an 8,000-square-foot master suite)
  • 30 bathrooms
  • 11 kitchens (whyyyyyy???)
  • More than five indoor and outdoor pools
  • Two tennis courts
  • Two movie theaters and
  • A 30-car garage, below ground.

A house of this size generates some serious rich people problems—like not being able to find your eight kids in the house without using a cell phone; having to hire a staff of more than two-dozen; or calculating monthly energy bills.

The-Queen-of-Versailles-33056_1

So how does this happen? According to a 2014 interview with Jacqueline in the Arizona Daily Star, it happens almost without you realizing it!

“It all happened gradually. When I met my husband we had a four-bedroom house together. And then we started having babies and he said we needed a bigger house. We started getting more children and we needed a bigger house so we bought the one we have now, which is also on a private island that we call Siegel Island. I like being on a private island because I don’t have to deal with neighbors. While we were there and business was booming, my husband said, ‘I really want to build our dream home.’ So then we started planning it on paper and it looked small on paper. I didn’t know it was the largest home in America until this movie came out. I knew it was big, but it’s much bigger in real life than when I was drafting it with an architect.”

Fascinating.

Stay tuned–you’re going to want to see this when it’s done.

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