With a net worth of $81.5 billion, Microsoft cofounder Bill Gates is the richest man in the U.S.
It shouldn’t be too surprising that one of the wealthiest people in the world also has an insanely extravagant home.
It took Gates seven years and $63 million to build his Medina, Washington estate, named Xanadu 2.0 after the fictional home of “Citizen Kane”‘s Charles Foster Kane.
At 66,000 square feet, the home is absolutely massive, and it’s filled with high-tech details.
The Bill Gates family lives in the exclusive suburb of Medina, Washington, in a huge earth-sheltered home in the side of a hill overlooking Lake Washington.
Billionaire Bill Gates home is a very modern 21st century house in the “Pacific lodge” style, with advanced electronic systems everywhere. In one respect though it is more like an 18th or 19th century mansion: it has a large private library with a domed reading room. While it does have a classic flavour, the home has many unique qualities.
Lights would automatically come on when you came home. Speakers would be hidden beneath the wallpaper to allow music to follow you from room to room. Portable touch pads would control everything from the TV sets to the temperature and the lights, which would brighten or dim to fit the occasion or to match the outdoor light.
Visitors to Bill Gates House are surveyed and given a microchip upon entrance. This small chip sends signals throughout the house, and a given room’s temperature and other conditions will change according to preset user preferences. According to King County public records, as of 2002, the total assessed value of the property (land and house) is $113 million, and the annual property tax is just over $1 million.
According to the National Association of Home Builders, the median American house size is slightly more than 2,000 square feet. Microsoft founder William Gates III house is more than 30 times that size.
- Bill Gates Mansion satellite view from Google Maps
- Bill Gates House Aerial view from MSN Virtual Earth
There has been lot of speculation that the home of Bill Gates on Lake Washington was designed on a Macintosh. Pictures of the Gates’ complex are both private and copyrighted, so in order to see what this place really looks like you need to go to BCJ’s website. Following the “residential menu” click on the forward arrow key at the bottom of the pictures to advance to the house entitled, “Guest House and Garage, Medina, Washington”.
USNews.com provides an interactive tour of Bill Gates home that covers the Pool building, Exercise facilites, Library, Theater, Formal dining room. Microsoft’s own Seattle Sidewalk site has a birds-eye view of the project under construction. (Medina Washington project)
It took seven years to build the 40,000-square-foot Bill Gates mansion on a wooded five-acre compound in the moneyed Seattle suburb of Medina. [Bill Gates House Address: 1835 73rd Ave NE, Medina, WA 98039 map – arial photo] Much of the Bill Gates house is built underground into the hill, so the house looks smaller than it actually is. Unfortunately the hidden section underground did not escape the taxman’s view; Bill paid over a million dollars last year on property taxes.
Earlier, Bill Gates organized a private party at his waterfront mansion. The U.S. Department of Homeland Security announced a “temporary security zone” around Gates’ Lake Washington home which locked down all of Lake Washington south of the Highway 520 bridge and stayed in effect for two days. Gates’ homestead is approximately 48,000 square feet with a garage that reportedly accommodates 30 cars.
The architects who designed Bill Gates’ famous residential compound in Washington were James Cutler Architects and the architectural firm Bohlin Cywinski Jackson (BCJ).
Inside Bill Gates’ Garage, you’ll find a 1999 Porsche 911 Convertible and 1988 Porsche 959 Coupe. Steven Ballmer drives a 1998 Lincoln Continental. In fact, due to the 959’s questionable emissions and unknown crash ratings, it took a federal law signed by President Clinton for Bill Gates to legally drive his 959 on American roads.
Read this interview with James Cutler, FAIA, the best-known architect of Northwest Style and the designer of the Bill and Melinda Gates residence on Lake Washington near Seattle. Firm: Anderson Cutler Architects (formerly James Cutler Architects), on Bainbridge Island, off the Seattle coast.
The 97-million Bill Gates mansion in Washington spans more than 66000 square feet, and sits on a 2.1 hectare lot.
Interios Bill Gates’ Residence
Bill Gate’s Automobile
19 Crazy Facts About Bill Gates’ $123 Million Washington Mansion
We’ve rounded up some of Xanadu 2.0′s most over-the-top features here.
1. It’s worth at least $123 million.
According to the King County public assessor’s office, the property is worth $123.54 million as of this year. Gates purchased the lot for $2 million in 1988.
He reportedly pays around $1 million in property taxes each year.
2. Half a million board-feet of lumber was needed to complete the project.
The house was built with 500-year-old Douglas fir trees. 300 construction workers labored on the home — 100 of whom were electricians.
3. A high-tech sensor system helps guests monitor a room’s climate and lighting.
When guests arrive, they’re given a pin that interacts with sensors located all over the house. Guests enter their temperature and lighting preferences so that the settings change as they move throughout the home. Speakers hidden behind wallpaper allows music to follow you from room to room.
4. The house uses its natural surroundings to reduce heat loss.
Xanadu 2.0 is an “earth-sheltered” house, meaning that it’s built into its surroundings to regulate temperature more efficiently.
5. You can change the artwork on the walls with just the touch of a button.
$80,000 worth of computer screens are situated around the house. Anyone can make the screens display their favorite paintings or photographs, which are stored on storage devices worth $150,000.
6. The pool also has its own underwater music system.
The 60-foot pool is located in its own separate, 3,900-square-foot building. People in the pool could swim underneath a glass wall to come up to a terrace area on the outside.
There’s also a locker room with four showers and two baths.
7. There’s a trampoline room with a 20-foot ceiling.
No word on how big the trampoline itself is, but we can imagine it would be a fun alternative to your standard exercise routine.
The exercise facilities total 2,500 square feet and also include a sauna, steam room, and separate men’s and women’s locker rooms.
8. An enormous reception hall could accommodate up to 200 guests.
The 2,300-square-foot hall could seat up to 150 people for a dinner party, or 200 people standing up at a cocktail event. A six-foot-wide limestone fireplace dominates one wall, while another wall has a 22-foot-wide video screen.
9. The house has 24 bathrooms, 10 of which are full baths.
Those bathrooms would definitely be useful if Gates were throwing such a big party. Otherwise, it seems a little over-the-top.
10. There’s a total of six kitchens.
They’re situated at different parts of the house so staff can be ready for any event.
11. An enormous library houses a manuscript Gates paid more than $30 million for.
The 2,100-square-foot library has a domed roof and two secret bookcases, including one that reveals a hidden bar. On the ceiling you’ll find a quote from “The Great Gatsby” that reads: “He had come a long way to this blue lawn, and his dream must have seemed so close that he could hardly fail to grasp it.”
The library is home to the Codex Leicester, a 16-century Leonardo da Vinci manuscript that Gates bought at auction for $30.8 million in 1994.
12. The home theatre can accommodate 20 guests in plush seats.
It’s designed in an Art Deco style, with comfortable arm chairs, couches, and even a popcorn machine for snacking.
13. An existing home was removed by barge to make room for a separate activities building.
The 900-square-foot building sits next to Gates’ sport court, putting green, and boat docks.
14. The guest house is just as high-tech as the main house.
According to US News, the 1,900-square-foot guest house was the first building to be completed on the property. The house — which has its own bedroom and bathroom — was meant to be a test of the technology that would eventually be used in the main house.
Gates wrote much of “The Road Ahead” here.
15. All together, Gates’ garages can accommodate up to 23 cars.
There are several different garages located at different points around the property. The most interesting one, however, is an underground cave made out of concrete and stainless steel. That garage alone can park 10 cars. Some of the concrete was purposely broken to give it a rough, “deconstructivist” look.
16. Gates has a favorite tree, and it’s monitored electronically 24 hours a day.
He reportedly became fond of a 40-year-old maple tree that grew close to the home’s driveway. It’s monitored by computer, and if at any point it becomes too dry, water is automatically pumped into it.
17. An artificial stream is kept stocked with fish.
The stream and wetland estuary were created to solve any problems with runoff that the property’s large walls might have created. The water is kept stocked with salmon and sea-run cutthroat trout.
18. The sand on Gates’ beach is imported from the Caribbean.
The lakefront shore contains sand that’s delivered in large quantities by a barge from St. Lucia each year.
19. Someone once paid $35,000 just to tour it.
Microsoft holds an auction each year, where employees donate products and services to be bid on. Proceeds go to the company’s charitable fund.
Gates has donated private tours of Xanadu 2.0 in the past. According to the Puget Sound Business Journal, a Microsoft employee once won the tour with a bid of $35,000.