Monday, August 23, 2010

Out With the Old Mansion, In With the New

"Megamansion estate sale mainly draws the curious"
CNN (August 22, 2010)

"Some came for the bargains. Others arrived just to capture a glimpse of a lifestyle from a largely bygone era of decadence and conspicuous consumption.

"Technology entrepreneur Larry Dean priced and tagged almost every possession at his former residence, a 32,000-square-foot megamansion appropriately called Dean Gardens.

"Parts of the home's architecture, such as the rotunda in the foyer that inspired by the dome of the Brunelleschi Cathedral in Florence, Italy, also were up for bids at the weekend estate sale.

"The megamansion was recently sold after sitting on the market for more than a decade. Dean decided to liquidate most all of the home's contents after learning of the new owner's plans to level the palatial estate...."

The CNN article has quite a bit of human interest: like the mother who got her kids a gumball machine from the mansion's game room. And a sort of ultra-short story of the mansion and its owner:

"...After the company went public and Dean earned his fortune, he and his first wife, Lynda, spent four years and $25 million to create the home of their dreams -- a neoclassical mansion for the nouveau-riche featuring 10 bathrooms and eight bedrooms. It is situated on 58 acres of landscaped Italian and French gardens that rival that of Versailles. The grounds feature an 18-hole golf course, grass tennis courts, an amphitheater and a conservatory.

"Soon after the home was complete, the couple split, and Dean was faced with operating costs ranging from $750,000 to $1 million a year..."

There's more: including speculation about the new owner - who plans to build a mansion that's - what else? - "sustainable."

I don't have a problem with that: although I don't much care for the 'more environmentally-conscious than thou' attitude I associate with such claims. Whoever bought the property is presumably using his or her own money: and as long as the result isn't so "sustainable" that nobody can use it, I don't see a problem with haring after that notion.

As for the kitschy decor? I like the idea of somebody building a house and furnishing it to suit his taste. In contrast, whoever arranged for the inside of their home to resemble an upscale hotel lobby: Come to think of it, somebody might actually have like that blandly opulent look.

Me? As I said, I like the idea of somebody building a place with a dome that's like one in a European cathedral, a 24-karat gold sink, and a gumball machine.

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