Ever wondered what sort of house Bill Gates lives in? With all that money, it must be somewhere pretty cool, right? Read on and find out for yourself!
Planet Earth is home to almost 9 million different species of animal, including us, human beings. As of March this year, there are some 7.4 billion of us that if we were to form a line holding hands, we would circle the planet over 200 times. (Of course, many of us would drown if we were to do anything of the sort, so it’s probably best if we didn’t).
Now, of the 7.4 billion of us, about 2,000 are billionaires. Of those 2,000 billionaires, there’s one that trumps them all in terms of 10 and even 11-digit bank accounts, and that’s none other than Bill Gates.
With a current estimated net worth of $78.1 billion, Forbes named the tech mogul turned philanthropist the richest man in the world, a title he has held between 1995 and 2007, again in 2009, and since 2014. That’s a total of 17 times, in case you were wondering.
While most of us barely have two cents to rub together, dear old Bill has $78.1 billion to spare – $78.1 billion (that number will never stop amazing us) – and it’s safe to say he’s only too familiar with luxury living. In fact, his Lake Washington home in Medina, Washington can only attest to that.
Nicknamed Xanadu 2.0, after the title character’s estate in the 1941 Academy Award-winning film Citizen Kane, construction of the earth-sheltered house began in 1988 and was completed seven years later, in 1995, at a total cost of $63.2 million. But just what exactly makes Xanadu 2.0 so damn special?
Well, let’s take a look inside the richest man in the world’s home and find out, then, shall we?
The Main House
Okay, you know your house is famous when it even has its own Wikipedia page.
Located at 1835 73rd Ave NE, Xanadu 2.0 is the brainchild of Bohlin Cywinski Jackson Architects and Cutler-Anderson Architects and is made of steel, at least seven different types of stone, and 500-year-old Douglas fir trees which were rescued from an ancient lumber mill and painstakingly sanded and refinished to a satin glow. And, quite naturally, it has a lot of windows.
The 66,000-sqare-foot lakefront estate is absolutely massive: it has seven bedrooms, a whopping 24 bathrooms (including 10 baths), a 20-seat, 1,500-square-foot art deco home theater (complete with plush chairs, couches, and a popcorn machine), a formal dining room that can accommodate up to 24 guests, and a total of not one, not two, but six commercial-grade kitchens. But that’s not all: there are also several different garages scattered around the property that can collectively accommodate up to 23 cars, including one that is built entirely underground and where some of the concrete walls are purposely broken to give a “destructivist” look. It reportedly took 300 construction workers to build the house, 100 of which were electricians.
Which brings us to Xanadu 2.0’s most impressive feature: its high-tech sensor system. Guests wear a small pin that lets the system know who and where you are, and that interacts with sensors located in each room in the house. Depending on the preferences you have entered into one of the house’s computer terminals, the lighting, temperature, music, movie, and even artwork will change as you move from room to room. Basically, if you’re watching The Godfather in one of the bedrooms, it will follow you on the house’s many computer screens (worth an estimated $80,000) into the kitchen. Lights automatically switch off when you exit a room, speakers are hidden behind the wallpaper, and paintings and photographs are stored on storage devices worth some $150,000.
The property is currently estimated at $167,488,742 according to real estate website Zillow, while just renting it will set you back $586,894 a month. Property taxes, meanwhile, average at $1 million – annually. Then again, that’s peanuts to the richest man in the world.
Bill is an avid reader, so it comes as no surprise that he had his own private library built in Xanadu 2.0, which houses a huge collection of rare books selected by a professional book dealer. Somewhere in the library is also the Codex Leicester, a 72-page collection of scientific writings by Italian polymath Leonardo da Vinci, which Bill bought at auction in 1994 for a whopping $30,802,500. It is put on display once a year in a different city around the world, and was recently exhibited at the North Carolina Museum of Art in Raleigh, North Carolina between October 31, 2015 and January 17, 2016.
The 2,100-square-foot ornate, paneled library features a domed reading room (complete with an oculus, a circular opening in the dome), a fireplace, and two secret pivoting bookcases – one of which actually hides a bar. Moreover, Bill had a line from F. Scott Fitzgerald’s 1925 novel The Great Gatsby inscribed around the base of the dome: “He had come a long way to this blue lawn and his dream must have seemed so close he could hardly fail to grasp it."
The Reception Hall
Being a billionaire like Bill Gates, you can expect to throw a couple of parties, charity benefits, and galas in your lifetime, you know, when you’re not busy making more millions for yourself. All this event planning can be very time-consuming, to say the least, especially when you have to jet set from city to city and country to country, which is probably why the Microsoft co-founder decided to add his very own reception hall to his Medina home.
Located off the main house, the 2,300-square-foot hall can accommodate up to 200 guests for a cocktail event or 150 sitting guests at a dinner party. On one wall is a six-foot-wide limestone fireplace and on the other is a 22-foot-wide video screen which is made up of 24 40-inch individual monitors, making it quite possible the most high-tech reception hall in the country.
The Guest House
Like most luxury homes, Xanadu 2.0 has its very own guest house – which, naturally, is just as impressive as the main attraction. The 1.900-square-foot guest house was actually the first building to be completed on the site, in 1992, to test the technology to be used in the main house.
The burrowed one-bedroom, high-tech structure also served as a retreat to the billionaire: he wrote most of his 1995 book, and New York Times bestseller, The Road Ahead in which he discussed the implications of the personal computing revolution and described a future profoundly changed by the arrival of a global information superhighway.
The Exercise Facilities
Finding a good health club must have been a real nightmare for the tech magnate – that’s the only logical explanation behind the 2,500-square-foot exercise facilities located on the property. Perhaps unsurprisingly, it’s better equipped than most health clubs in the country.
Not only does it feature a sauna and a steam room, but also separate men’s and women’s lockers and, best of all, a trampoline room with a 20-foot ceiling. While it’s hard to imagine someone like Bill Gates jumping on a trampoline – which is said to cover the entire room’s floor, by the way – it’s certainly entertaining.
There’s also a nearby outdoor spa, while a separate 900-square-foot activities building (which sits next to a multisport court, putting green, and two boat docks) replaced an existing home that was removed by barge during the estate’s construction.
The Swimming Pool
Luxury living requires at least one swimming pool; it’s an unspoken rule. The 60-year-old billionaire not only added one to Xanadu 2.0 but also went one step further and made it a high-tech swimming pool. After all, we are talking about the richest man in the world who made his fortune by founding Microsoft, the leading software and technological solutions company in the world.
Bill’s private 60-foot pool is housed in its own 3,900-square-foot building and has its own underwater music system. That’s right: a frigging underwater music system. Meaning, you can listen to your favorite Celine Dion, AC/DC, or Johnny Cash tunes while splashing around in your pool.
Meanwhile, if you don’t really want to swim inside, you can swim underneath a glass wall to come up to a terrace area on the outside. The building also features a locker room with four showers and two baths.
Would you live in Bill Gates’ state-of-the-art home? Perhaps you have a few other luxury homes in mind that would rather live in? Tell us in the comments section below, and don’t forget to share this article with family and friends!