Amazing American Mega-Mansions

Super Size It: When Huge Just Isn’t Big Enough

During the go-go economic years of the early 2000s, mega-mansions became the real estate rage among America’s super rich. In June of 2008, there were at least 20 residences larger than 20,000 square feet in the works in Los Angeles alone. Today, in the aftermath of a major economic meltdown, it’s far more common for a wealthy individual to heave their supersized mega-mansion onto the market with a ballroom-sized asking price than it is for a bigger-is-better elite to build a 40,000 square-foot house. The good news for those looking to unload their hotel-sized homes is that there will always be wealthy people with the means and desire to buy lavish and unimaginably large homes complete with unnecessary luxuries like bowling alleys, beauty parlors, perfume refrigerators and underground garages for a fleet of luxury cars. Photo Credit: Jeff Milner


Hillsborough’s House on a Hill

In the sleepy and swank community of Hillsborough, Calif., a sprawling 30-room Cotswald-style Tudor built in the early 1930s for banking heiress Celia Tobin Clark is currently owned by a retired businessman looking to downsize. The original intention of the current owner, who bought the estate in 1992 for $3.5 million in a foreclosure sale, was to raze the residence and divide the estate into six smaller but still luxurious mini-estates. Instead, he and his wife spent nearly two years and more than $19 million restoring the historic mansion and upgrading the bathrooms and kitchens. Photo Credit: Worlds Great Estate


Hillsborough’s House on a Hill (cont.)

The estate is offered as a “for sale by owner,” an unusual circumstance in real estate of this magnitude. Marketing materials currently show the asking price as “by request,” however in the early naughts when the property first hit the market it carried a knee-buckling asking price of $45 million. Given the sorry state of the high-end market, one assumes the price is significantly less now. Photo Credit: Worlds Great Estate


Hillsborough’s House on a Hill (cont.)

The estate sprawls across six walled, gated and fully landscaped acres. The multi-winged main house measures approximately 35,000 square feet and has seven fireplaces, nine bedrooms, 11 bathrooms, plus a separate VIP suite and staff accommodations. The entire property is protected by a state-of-the-art security system that begins with the manned guardhouse at the main entrance. Photo Credit: Worlds Great Estate


Hillsborough’s House on a Hill (cont.)

In addition to a reception foyer with a checkered black and white marble floor, the titanic Tudor has a leviathan living room, banquet hall-sized dining room, a library with 17th century English paneling, a 55-foot-long music room, recreation/media room, bar and cigar rooms, a card room, fitness center, silver vault and wine cellar. There is a six-car garage and an elevator gently carries residents to both living levels and the basement. Photo Credit: Worlds Great Estate


Hillsborough’s House on a Hill (cont.)

The estate has hosted a slew of Republican bigwig politicos including Presidents Nixon, Reagan, Bush and Ford; former British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher; King Hussein of Jordan; Senators John McCain, Phil Gramm, Lamar Alexander and Bob Dole; and former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich. Photo Credit: Worlds Great Estate


Hillsborough’s House on a Hill (cont.)

The perfectly maintained grounds include a massive cobblestone motor court and parking for up to 30 cars; a swimming pool complex and adjacent cabana; meandering pathways that lead to secret sitting areas and a small pond and waterfall; prairie-sized patches of perfectly mowed grass and several formal gardens, some of which provide night views of the sparking lights of the Bay Area. Photo Credit: Worlds Great Estate


A Suburban Monster Manse

The housing market may have taken a tumble in 2008 and 2009, but that hasn’t stopped the super rich from building brand new supersized homes. Case in point: A 24,000 square-foot monster manse in the Chicago suburb of Northfield that is currently listed at $5.5 million. The almost new, faux-French Normandy-style house encompasses 24 rooms including seven bedrooms, seven full and three half bathrooms, a train station-sized entrance hall with inlaid marble floors and what listing information calls a “bridal staircase.” Photo Credit: Sharon Friedman / Coldwell Banker–Winnetka South


A Suburban Monster Manse  (cont.)

There are both family and game rooms, media and music rooms, an exercise room, a colossal eat-in kitchen with two work islands and at least one of every appliance you could imagine. There is a second full kitchen in the basement entertainment area as well. The 1.25-acre estate also includes a large circular drive, three-car heated garage, hardwood and marble flooring, an indoor swimming pool and spa and an outdoor tennis court Photo Credit: Sharon Friedman / Coldwell Banker–Winnetka South


The Biggest House in Alabama

Located inside the gates of the exclusive Shoal Creek community outside Birmingham, Ala., sits a 27-acre estate where the biggest house in all of Alabama is currently listed at $17.9 million. There is an almost shocking 50,000 square feet of interior space that includes 15 bedrooms and 16 full and six half bathrooms in the main house as well as two poolside cabana homes, a guest/service house and living quarters attached to the barn. The French Chataeu-esque mansion has 14 fireplaces, garage space for 11 cars and parking for at least as many more, four laundry rooms, a home office with 12 cubicles, a 25-seat movie theater, four pastures, a state-of-the-art six-stall horse barn and one cupola sitting on top of the house. Photo Credit: Pam Ausley / ReMax Southern Homes-280


A Biggun in Bel Air

The uber-posh Bel Air community in Los Angeles is certainly no stranger to large and lavish mansions, but Le Belvedere is like a cherry on top of a real estate sundae. The 2.2-acre estate, completed in 2006 and currently listed at a bone chilling $72 million, spans approximately 48,000 square feet over three floors and includes 10 bedrooms, 14 bathrooms and secure parking for up to 20 cars. Photo Credit: Joyce Rey / Coldwell Banker Previews


A Biggun in Bel Air (cont.)

The unapologetically extravagant interiors bend toward the Baroque with elaborate carved mantelpieces, intricately detailed wood paneling and gobs of gilding. The backyard includes a swan pond, infinity swimming pool, formal gardens and a 280-degree view of the glittery lights of Tinseltown. Photo Credit: Joyce Rey / Coldwell Banker Previews


Behemoth in Boca Raton

A tremendous 23,800+ square-foot Italianate mansion in Boca Raton, Fla., has eight bedrooms, nine full and four half bathrooms and an equally mammoth asking price of $24.9 million. The palatial property, owned by the ex-wife of business bigwig and convicted felon Dennis Kozlowski, drips with Old World details such as walnut paneling, stained glass windows, stone floors and hand-stenciled ceilings. All the old is mixed with the new comforts expected in a mega-mansion, including a cook’s kitchen with adjacent butler’s pantry and “spice room” (whatever that is). Deepwater shoreline with multi-yacht docking capabilities wraps around the backyard that is dotted with palm trees, formal gardens and a waterside swimming pool. Photo Credit: Luxury Real Estate


Gargantuan Gilded Age Opulence

Few if any places in the U.S. have as many historic mega-mansions as Newport, R.I., the summertime playground of Gilded Age tycoons and American aristocracy. Belcourt Castle, an ornate Louis XIII-style hunting lodge, was built in the 1890s for Oliver Belmont, a well-bred bachelor who inherited $60 million in 1890. Belmont later married Alva Vanderbilt, who owned the immense crib until her death. The 3.3-acre estate — all Gothic arches, stained glass, linen fold paneling, antique boiserie and hand carved plaster ceilings — is currently listed at $7.2 million. The hulking house has a total of 60 rooms on three floors, 27,000 square feet of space, 10 bedrooms, seven full and four half bathrooms and 120 years of history. Photo Credit: Judy Chase / Coastal Rhode Island Real Estate


Colossal in Coeur d’Alene

In the picturesque resort community of Couer d'Alene, Idaho, a 15-acre estate with a very contemporary 26,000 square-foot monster manse recently endured a massive $10 million price chop to its current asking price of $17.5 million. The glass and stone home has 10 fireplaces, a nine-car garage with room for a limousine, three bedrooms in the main house and another two bedrooms in the guesthouse. There are 16 bathrooms, enough that a different one can be used every day for more than two weeks. Photo Credit: Hurwitz James Company


Colossal in Coeur d’Alene (cont.)

Enormous glass walls disappear at the touch of a button, evaporating the distinction between inside and outside where there are expansive terraces, acres of meticulously maintained lawns, panoramic views of Lake Coeur d’Alene and a helipad for easy in and easy out. A state-of-the-art security system that includes numerous closed circuit surveillance cameras ensures privacy and peace of mind. Photo Credit: Hurwitz James Company


Colossal in Coeur d’Alene (cont.)

Coeur d’Alene is a popular hive of both winter and summertime activities and the manicured estate comes equipped with every convenience for every season including an outdoor kitchen, bar and fireplace, a par-3 golf course, a gigantic game room with a bowling alley, indoor and outdoor swimming pools and indoor and outdoor tennis courts. Photo Credit: Hurwitz James Company


A Major Manhattan Mansion

On New York City’s high-nosed Upper East Side, a dignified five-floor mansion — plus an English basement and full sub-basement — is an unheard of 45-feet wide, measures more than 20,000 square feet and carries an equally titanic asking price of $75 million. The grandiose, neo-Italian Renaissance-style mansion was commissioned in 1992 by high society architect Cass Gilbert for German businessman Julius Forstmann. Photo Credit: Sotheby's International Realty


A Major Manhattan Mansion (cont.)

The interior spaces retain much of their original detail and grandeur including a sky-lit marble staircase as wide as that length of a Mercedes, multiple marble fireplace surrounds, hand-carved moldings and coffered ceilings. Proposed plans call for a full upgrading and overhaul of the mansion resulting in a full-floor master suite with dual baths and dressing rooms, five additional bedrooms with en suite baths, three staff suites, a home fitness center with sauna and steam room, a 40-foot-wide living room with two fireplaces, two wine cellars, two kitchens and a sprawling roof terrace. Photo Credit: Sotheby's International Realty


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