The most expensive home in the United States (and the largest private home in Los Angeles, for whatever that’s worth) went on the market this week, for a cool $200 million, having just recently changed hands for $85 million. According to various online mortgage calculators, a 30 year mortgage would cost you around $945,000 a month, which basically means you’d have to rob Kim Kardashian every year for the next thirty years to make the payments. Let’s hope she doesn’t catch on.
The property, officially known as “The Manor” (which sounds like a really bad nightclub filled with people who have tribal armband tattoos), was built by TV producer Aaron Spelling back in 1988, at the relatively paltry cost of $12 million, and is located in Holmby Hills which, along with Bel Air and Beverly Hills, form “The Platinum Triangle.” (Can we please make it a law that rich people aren’t allowed to name stuff anymore? Yeesh.) The house is bigger than the White House, and has over one hundred rooms – we don’t know how many rooms there are, exactly, because neither of the two owners have ever counted. (The Rich: They’re Just Like Us!) Wikipedia describes the architectural style as “Chateauesque,” which as a general descriptor is like when you’re in a writing class and the professor describes your prose as “Hemingwayesque” or “Faulkneresque,” i.e. it’s a kind, roundabout way of saying “this kind of sucks.”
There are 14 bedrooms and 27 baths over a 56,500 square feet – for proportion, consider that the average newly constructed US home is 2,400 square feet. The grand entrance (known in regular houses as “the front door”) features a massive fountain and circular drive, and the entryway by itself is over 5,000 square feet. (Yes, the foyer is bigger than two average American houses put together.) There’s a bowling alley, a spa, and even a 20-seat theater where Mel Gibson has dropped by to screen some of his films with the present owners. (I wonder if they watched any of his good ones? Trick question, he’s never made a good one.) Worried about parking? Of course you are. Well, never fear, this house has parking for up to one hundred cars. I don’t even have a wisecrack for that one, it’s just ridiculous. If you have parking for a hundred cars, you don’t live in a house, you live in a Sam’s Club. (And in fact, some neighbors reportedly grumbled that the house was so large and so clearly intended for commercial/entertainment purposes, it should never have been zoned as residential.)
The master bedroom is really probably the most masterful master suite on earth, though; it’s 7,000 square feet, with a living room, a two-level walk-in closet with double staircases connecting the levels, and its very own kitchen. (There are a total of five kitchens in the house.) While this is impressive, I personally think it sounds ruinous; at least twice a week, I find myself lying in bed, slightly hungry and thinking about the half-pint of ice cream in the kitchen, but I end up just going to sleep hungry because I’m too lazy to go get it. If I had a full kitchen right in my bedroom, I’d be making breakfast skillets from my actual bed, using a custom-made spatula with a telescoping arm. I’d be sweating butter onto my pillow as I slept. No thank you.
The house also addresses some of the pressing existential dilemmas that we all wrestle with daily. For example, there’s a room just for wrapping gifts. Think of all the times you’ve been late for work, rushing out of your apartment, and you’ve tripped over rolls of wrapping paper and scotch tape dispensers. Oh man! If only you had a separate room designated just for gift wrapping! Well, now you could. (But seriously, no one who lives in a $200 million house is wrapping their own gifts, so this room is actually even more comically absurd than it first seemed.) There also used to be a room just for the display of dolls (i.e., “The Nightmare Room”), but it’s been converted to a home spa, complete with tanning and massage rooms, and manicure/pedicure stations.
It’s uncertain whether the house will sell for anything close to the asking price of $200 million. Listed in 2008 by Spelling’s widow for $150 million, the house languished on the market for three years before selling for $85 million to a British heiress named Petra Stunt, nee Eccleston, who I’d nominate as the worst person on earth based solely on the fact that she had a $19 million wedding. She spent $20 million renovating the house (the makeover was somehow completed in only nine weeks), before listing it this week for the above record-breaking sum. Considering that she already turned down a $150 million offer a couple years ago, it seems likely that she’s going to turn a jaw-dropping profit on what might be the most audacious house flip in history.