Saturday, 21 April 2012

Homes of Billionaires

Modesty is a term rarely associated with luxury loving billionaires. But yet there are some who epitomize “modesty” and are exceptions to the lavish lifestyle flaunting ways of most opulent folks.

Bill Gates

Medina, Wash.
Net Worth: $53 billion
Rank: 2
Gates’ 66,000-square-foot compound is built into a hillside on the edge of Lake Washington, near Seattle. Its enviable amenities include: a 60-foot swimming pool with an underwater music system, a 2,500-square-foot gym and a 1,000-square-foot dining room, which seats 24. For a personal touch, out-of-shape visitors can skip the 84-step hike to the ground floor and opt for an elevator ride instead.

Warren Buffett

Omaha, Neb.
Net Worth: $47 billion
Rank: 3
The world’s third-richest man still resides in the 6,000-square-foot, five-bedroom gray stucco home he bought in 1958 for $31,500. The home has everything the 79-year-old needs, including his very own handball court that he uses to keep fit. An intruder armed with a fake gun tried to break into the modest, ungated property in 2007 but was ultimately thwarted by security.

Lakshmi Mittal

London, England
Net Worth: $28.7 billion
Rank: 5
In 2004 Mittal paid $128 million for his 12-bedroom townhouse in London’s luxe Kensington district. Mittal’s mansion, tucked between Kensington Palace and the Sultan of Brunei’s spread, has an indoor pool, Turkish baths and garage space for 20 cars. The super-home is also embellished with marble taken from the same quarry that supplied the Taj Mahal.

Larry Ellison

Woodside, Calif.
Net Worth: $28 billion
Rank: 6
Over the last few years the Oracle co-founder has dropped $200 million by some estimates on near a dozen properties in Malibu to create a custom compound. His 23-acre estate in Woodside, pictured here, is inspired by the Japanese city of Kyoto and is reminiscent of a 16th-century imperial Japanese palace. It reportedly cost upward of $200 million to build.

Michael Dell

Austin, Texas
Net Worth: $13.5 billion
Rank: 37
Built in 1997, Dell’s 33,000-square-foot hilltop manse sits on a 20-acre spread close to where he founded his eponymous computer company. The eight-bedroom house equipped with a conference room and both indoor and outdoor pools is known locally as “the castle” thanks to its high walls and tight security.

Oprah Winfrey

Montecito, Calif.
Net Worth: $2.4 billion
Rank: 400
The self-made media mogul paid $50 million in 2001 for the 23,000-square-foot Georgian-style home she calls the “Promised Land.” Although renovations were underway when she purchased the estate, Oprah simply altered the plans to ensure they matched her style. With the chaos of construction behind her, she now enjoys the home’s mountain and ocean views in peace.

Mukesh Ambani

Mumbai, India
Net Worth: $29 billion
Rank: 4
Mukesh Ambani isn’t just building a home in Mumbai: he’s constructing a family skyscraper. This 27-story lavish tower known as Antilla has been in the works for years and is being built with an attention to detail. Inside, no two floor plans are alike and each space uses different materials, such as one bathroom’s Gingko-leaf sinks whose stems guide the running water into the leaf basins.

Donald Trump

New York, N.Y.
Net Worth: $2 billion
Rank: 488
The blustery real-estate-magnate-turned-reality-TV-star may have the Billionaires Club’s shortest commute: he lives in the 32,000-square-foot triplex penthouse of his Trump Tower office building. The monument to marble and gold was renovated after Trump’s third wife, Melania, gave birth to his fifth son, Barron. The tyke’s room has a d├ęcor inspired by Louis XIV.

Steven Spielberg

East Hampton, N.Y.
Net Worth: $3 billion
Rank: 316
Called Quelle Farm, Spielberg’s 12-acre summer retreat sits on Georgica Pond, the A-lister playground of Ron Perelman and Calvin Klein. The Hollywood kingpin and his wife play host to a retinue of top stars and their families each summer, including the Clintons and Gwyneth Paltrow.

George Lucas

Marin County, Calif.
Net Worth: $3 billion
Rank: 316
The acclaimed Star Wars filmmaker lives and works on his famed Skywalker Ranch. The 5,156-acre spread, which has its own fire brigade, houses Skywalker Sound, Lucas’ post-production company (Cast Away, Million Dollar Baby), as well as five acres of olive trees and a herd of longhorn cattle. Lucas displays his Hollywood memorabilia–the Holy Grail from Indiana Jones, Charlie Chaplin’s cane–inside the 50,000-square-foot main house.

Ralph Lauren

Montauk, N.Y.
Net Worth: $4.6 billion
Rank: 173
America’s original fashion mogul bought this stone and wood beach house situated on 5.5 acres in 1981. The rustic, cozy home, which boasts a clay tennis court, once belonged to John Lennon and Yoko Ono.

Lev Leviev

London, England
Net Worth: $1.5 billion
Rank: 655
In 2008 the world’s largest diamond cutter decamped from Israel to the posh North London suburb of Hampstead. Leviev’s $65 million home, called the Palladio, is an extravagant 17,000-square-foot, seven-bedroom estate replete with an in-house nightclub and a gold-plated indoor pool.

Steve Jobs

Woodside, Calif.
Net Worth: $5.5 billion
Rank: 136
The tech superstar owns Jackling House, a 30-room historic-though-dilapidated Spanish Colonial home set on six acres. Jobs has tried to demolish the 17,000 square-foot mansion for many years in order to build smaller, newer digs, but Woodside residents have fought hard to keep the original structure intact. No matter. Word is Jobs and his family haven’t lived in the house for years.

James Packer

Sydney, Australia
Net Worth: $3.5 billion
Rank: 258
The young media heir was raised at the Packer family compound in the tony Bellevue Hill suburb of Sydney. The centerpiece of the five-property spread, which stretches nearly three acres, is Cairnton, the main house, bought by Packer’s grandfather in 1935.


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