Dream House | The worldwide dream
Called the eighth wonder of the world, the extravagant monolith in the very populated neighbourhood of Belair in Los Angeles, California, was recently America’s priciest home at US$250 million.
One of the largest and most famous houses, also in Belair, California, is the Chartwell Estate, used in the hit 1960s TV series, The Beverly Hillbillies. Easily one of the most expensive listings ever in United States (US), history. Price tag, US$350 million.
This other house, with its nine high-speed elevators, is in a super class all by itself. Antilia, in Mumbai, India, has its own ‘snow’ room to beat the heat. Now valued at US$2 billion, it’s surrounded by neighbourhood slums.
Compare them (and others like them) to a spectacular house known as Falling Water, in Bear Run, Pennsylvania, US. Constructed dramatically to overhang a waterfall, surrounded by thick vegetation, it was featured on the cover of Time magazine, and listed by the world’s largest research museum, The Smithsonian, as one of the 28 places to visit before you die. It is designated a US National Historic Landmark and included as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The American Institute of Architects (AIA) selected falling Water as the ‘Best all-time work of American architecture’.
Take the natural waterfall out of the equation, and I don’t believe that house would have received so much fame and accolades!
This exotic north coast residence is inextricably interwoven with its one-of-a-kind, quiet, natural surroundings.
Sequestered just outside Hopewell, Hanover, it has an elevation which allows sweeping, irresistible panoramas of rolling lawns, jungle, golf course, unrivalled seascape with nearby private beach, and a mountain spring flowing through parts of the larger property.
The Hindu-worshipping island of Bali is part of Indonesia, and its sacred architectural philosophy is based on harmony and balance with people, nature, and the spiritual.
Designed by architect Prince Kasimir Korybut, it was extensively extended and significantly renovated into a colossal Balinese work of art.
It is a series of pavilions on three levels, housing separate areas: living; dining; lounge; gallery; bar; outdoor shower; along with six bedroom suites, including a master bedroom tower. All this is linked by a colonnade; stone-pebbled walkways, porches, water-lily fish ponds with fountains; courtyards and epic sculptured gardens with monks and other bronze statues.
Distinctive attributes include bronze dragons at the front-door entrance known as ‘Guardians of the Temple’. The ornately sculptured solid teak front doors were rescued from the burnt-out royal palace in Mandalay, Myanmar (former Burma). A major monument with statues of princesses spewing water into water gardens was a gift from a prince taken from his royal palace in Bali. Some rattan ceilings; teak railings from Myanmar; floors of marble and cut-stone; roof shingles shipped in from Indonesia and statues of lions protecting driveway entrance can be found in this house.
Interiors amaze with a 17th-century gold-layered, bronze Buddah. An illuminated table created from 33 cubes of precious onyx, gemstones and alabaster; and a shan table from a Buddhist monastery in Myanmar; with much more, including that from Cambodia.
Double staircases descend to a fabulous stone-waterfall swimming pool, with open domed-roof hot spa, and gazebo – all this on a 3½-acre compound.
Worshipped by first-time visitors, this ‘House of the Gods’, with its seamless integration of indoor and outdoor spaces, like Falling Water, is also in an ideal natural environmental setting!
Bill Gates’ incredibly futuristic US$125-million mansion in Medina, Washington, has a man-made waterway filled with salmon and trout, and its lakefront beach is maintained yearly with sand imported from St Lucia, in the Caribbean.