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Thread: 'Biggest house in America' up for sale

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    Elite Member Honey's Avatar
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    Default 'Biggest house in America' up for sale

    The biggest house in America has been put up for sale at a bargain basement price of £50million.
    And, in the jargon of estate agents worldwide, it's a 'fabulous fixer-upper opportunity' because it is not yet finished - with estimated £17million worth of work still to do.
    The 30-bedroom mansion - modelled after France's Palace of Versailles - is the latest victim of the economic downturn in America.
    The house boasts its own bowling alley, roller skating rink and Olympic-sized swimming pool, and is the largest family home ever built in the U.S.

    'Fixer-upper opportunity': With 30 bedrooms, three swimming pools, 11 kitchens and 90,000 sq ft of floor space, you probably won't even notice that there is still major construction work going on

    At more than 90,000 square feet it is the equivalent in size to almost 50 average family homes in the UK. Time share mogul David Siegel and his former beauty queen wife Jacqueline began building the huge estate three years ago.
    With almost 18 months of work still to be carried out on the property, they have put it on the market at $75million. Experts believe a further $25million needs to be spent before anyone can move in.
    The shell of the house has been completed, but all the interior work including fixtures and fittings have yet to be installed.

    Plenty of room to move: When it is finished, the 120ft Grand Hall will feature two staircases and a massive central chandelier, hanging beneath a 30ft stained-glass dome. Perfect for a quiet night in with friends

    Estate agents said there has already been interest from Russia and the Far East for the property in Windermere near Orlando, Florida.
    The Siegels planned to spend more than $100 million creating their perfect family home. As well as 30 bedrooms the home would have had 23 bathrooms with spectacular views over Lake Butler, about 20 miles from Orlando.
    The hand-built windows for the house cost more than £2 million and other luxuries included a ballroom and children's theatre.
    No expense has been spared on the construction, with materials flown in from around the world.
    There are three swimming pools, a large boat house, formal gardens, a one-story gatehouse with an apartment - and an underground garage with enough space for 20 cars.

    Brochure: Despite being unfinished the property, named 'Versailles' because it is modelled on the French palace, is on the market. Estage agents are confident that they will find a buyer

    There is also: a baseball field; two tennis courts; a 60ft by 120ft Grand Hall with a 30ft stained glass dome; two grand staircases; a 37ft by 30ft 'master' kitchen; 10 satellite kitchens, a two-story wine cellar; and a rock grotto with three separate spas behind an 80ft waterfall.
    All 23 full bathrooms will have full-sized hot tubs, and 160 triple-pane windows and Brazilian mahogany French-style doors promise plenty of light.
    There is also a His and Her office space with a 12ft two-sided aquarium.
    The property was called Versailles as the entrance was modelled after the Palace of Versailles in France.

    Floorplan: The main level has offices, a media room, the Grand Hall, pool deck and outdoor 'summer kitchen'

    Upstairs: The upper level has the lion's share of the bedrooms, as well as the children's theatre

    Downstairs: The lower level has a 20-car garage, skating rink, bowling alley, games arcade and indoor pool

    The Siegels are currently living in the Isleworth estate, where they are close neighbours of sex shame golf star Tiger Woods.
    Mrs Siegel, 42, who won the Miss Florida beauty title in the 1990s, is well known on the social circuit in Florida. She has a team of five nannies to help her look after her children, aged from four to 15.
    Perhaps stating the obvious, local estate agent Kelly Price said: 'Versailles will probably be a house that will appeal to the uber-wealthy that don't ever think about the issues of money.
    'It might be a second or third - for all we know - it could be a seventh or eighth home.'

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  2. #2
    Super Moderator twitchy2.0's Avatar
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    What it looks like now:
    Pictures: David Siegel's mansion for sale for $75 million - 23 pics

    Queen of Versailles

    In a town known for making “Dreams Come True,” it should come as no surprise that just outside the Disney gates a real-life fairytale exists, complete with a castle, king and queen. Jacqueline Siegel, well-known socialite, wife to David Siegel (the Westgate Resort timeshare mogul), and mother to eight children is building the largest home in America, right here in Windermere.

    Written by Jana Waring
    Portraits by Katie Meehan

    It seems hard to define what is normal in the world today. For example, I asked for and received a $130 electric toothbrush for Christmas. The Triumph, as it is appropriately titled, comes equipped with a video timer that tells me where to brush again and when I’m brushing correctly. I can never go back to a regular brush. I know I don’t actually need the Triumph, but now that my perception of reality has changed, I believe I do. This is what I imagine it’s like to be the wife of a billionaire. Because as Jacqueline Siegel tells me about her life, I am not sure she knows how extraordinary it sounds and how different it is from my life.

    “Even though we are building the biggest house in America,” she tells me as we are touring her “temporary” home in Isleworth, “We want it to be a home.” Jacqueline didn’t set out to break any record; her good friend Robin Leach (of “Champagne Wishes and Caviar Dreams” fame) was the one to tell her first. The Siegels broke ground on the 90,000 square foot “Versailles” a couple of years ago. It sits adjacent to Lake Butler and is named after the French palace that inspired its design.

    The digitally-created rendering gives a sneek peek of the front of the largest house in America.

    It wasn’t always palaces and champagne for Jackie (as her friends call her). She grew up in Binghamton, a tiny town in upstate New York, in a modest home with two hardworking parents and three siblings. The entire family shared one bathroom during her childhood and she remembers the inconvenience of having to wait in line to use it. Perhaps that is the reason “Versailles” will boast 30 bathrooms. Jackie will never have to wait in line again.

    Looking to escape her small town and make something of her life, Jackie put herself through college and received a Computer Engineering degree. She landed a job at IBM. Her dream of owning a home valued at $100,000 was well on its way to becoming a reality. But when she noticed her cube-dwelling office peers were counting down the days to retirement, she was motivated to move to Manhattan to model. After finding success there, she moved to Florida to compete in the Mrs. Florida pageant (and won). Then, as David explains, when Jacqueline walked into a party hosted by a mutual friend, it was love at first sight. David romanced Jackie and whisked her into his world: The world of a billionaire.

    Coming home to a house full of at least fifteen people is typical for the Siegel family. After all, there are eight children and five nannies that roam the marble floors there. As we tour the backyard complete with a lakefront custom pool, three of her dogs, all of them with white fur, are jumping all over her. “We like white animals. See our peacocks over there? They’re white. We used to have a white tiger too, as a pet, but not anymore.” She talks of her peacocks and pet tiger in the same way that most American families talk about their family dog.

    Top to Bottom Row, Left to Right: Jonquil, Debbie, Jacqueline, Daniel, Victoria, David, Jacqueline, Jordan, Drew

    It’s not until I am driving her to the site of “Versailles” or what she describes as her new home (and I describe as a potential Disney resort) that it dawns on me that I am responsible for a beautiful billion-dollar commodity sitting in my van. This unsettling realization makes me want to floor it to our lunch destination as quickly as possible, although I am driving more slowly and carefully than ever before. It gives us time to make conversation.

    “David and I did not exchange Christmas gifts this year,” she says, “We decided not to, you know, since times are tough.” For one second, I am rushed with guilt for selfishly wanting a luxury toothbrush. “How sweet … and normal,” I think. Then, I see “Versailles” and think again. Perhaps there is no such thing as normal.

    The following interview with Jacqueline Siegel was conducted during a tour of her current home in Isleworth, while visiting Versailles and over lunch at Bravo on Sand Lake Road with her mother Debbie Mallery and friends Nita Bass and Shari Crabtree.

    What are the names and ages of your eight children? I’ll start with the twin girls, Jacqueline and Jordan, who are two years old. Then we have Drew, who is a boy and five. Then we have Debbie who is seven, Daniel who is eight, David who is nine, Victoria who is 12 and Jonquil, who is 15 [and actually an adopted niece]. Everyone’s name begins with a D or J, named after one of us. All three boys have the same birthday and were born on Memorial Day … conceived on Labor Day.

    Wow, how did you do it? That is a lot of kids in a short period of time. I was the most fearful for the first one. I didn’t start having kids until my thirties. I was afraid because I was a model. I thought it would ruin my figure. But after the first one, I got my figure back pretty quick. I went to the beach and was wearing a bikini, like, a week later. So for the rest of them, I went into auto-pilot.
    Nita: And she had them all naturally.
    Yeah there were no c-sections. We love having a big family. Even though we are building the biggest house in America, we want it to be a home. Sometimes you hear fighting and screaming but other times you hear laughter. I think that when the day comes that I don’t have that anymore, I’ll really miss it.

    A digital rendering of what will be the exquisite ballroom inside the biggest home in America.

    Did you set out to build the biggest house in America? No, not at all. We were just building the house that we wanted for our family. Then we kept adding things to it, so it slowly started getting bigger. Robin Leach was actually the person who told us. We’re friends with him and he used to have that show, you know, about those big homes. [She is nonchalantly referring to Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous. ] Then other people starting approaching us to sell us things like security systems and they would tell us, too. It turns out it’s the biggest house under one roof that will be resided in. The Biltmore in North Carolina is bigger, but it’s a museum now, not a residence.

    Do you have an estimated time of completion for the house? No, it will probably take a few more years. My husband was originally pushing to get it done so we could throw his mother’s 100th birthday party at the house, but then she passed away. So, now there is less of a sense of urgency. Then all this stuff with the economy hit and the banks are in trouble. We’re still doing stuff slowly, but we are also using a lot of our personal money to fund my husband’s business and the Westgate Foundation that provides money for David’s employees who are going through financial hardships. It is really important to us that we help these families who have helped us so much. They have children and we want to take care of them, too. So the home building process has slowed down, but we are still working on it.

    What is going in your house that you are most excited about? We are looking forward to all the fireplaces and cozy bedrooms. There are so many different sections, so the home will not feel as large as it is. There will be two movie theaters, one for us and one for the children. Ours will look like the Paris Opera House and will have those private balconies on the second floor. I think my husband is most excited about that room. He just got me Gone With the Wind and the Godfather series. I have never seen those movies. The whole reason I am waiting, is to experience the movies in the new theater. My husband wants me to see them there. I am also pretty excited about the water slide for the kids and the ballroom. I am so looking forward to throwing some amazing parties there.

    How many people do you have on staff in your home? We have five nannies right now. They each have their own assignments, with one specifically for the twins. One of the nannies is considered the driver and takes the kids to school, lessons and friends’ houses. We also have a housekeeper. We used to have more, but my husband thought we should cut back because of the bad economy and the layoffs he had to make at his company. He thought we should suffer too. We even have our kids doing chores now. They take out the garbage and stuff like that. We explained that the whole country is going through a hard time right now and they have to pitch in. They understand.

    What do the nannies provide that you cannot? For one thing, they provide safety for our children. Living in a big home, with two-year-old twins, it’s difficult. One twin starts running down one hall and the other twin runs down the other. As one person, you don’t know which one to go get. Or sometimes they can even get lost in the house. We have a big pool and we live on a lake. I wouldn’t tolerate it for one minute if they were not being watched and ended up floating in the pool or something. They also provide love. For me, nannies are employees. But for the children—and I talked to a pediatrician about this—they are like extended family.

    What is a typical day like in the life of Jacqueline Siegel? Every day is a new day—I have no regular routine. My day usually starts off with three of the four dogs jumping on me. One of the nannies will be cooking breakfast and that will wake the dogs up and they’ll come find me. That’s at around 5:30 a.m. Then I have breakfast with the kids, ride to school with them, exercise and get my husband off to work. And then I usually have a lunch meeting for charity, social obligations, the Mrs. Florida Pageant or TravelHost Orlando Magazine . [She is the producer of the pageant and a partner in J&S Media which publishes the magazine.] But then my day can change. My husband can call and tell me, “Hey, we have to go to Las Vegas this afternoon.” We have our own private plane. In an instant we can take off to go look at a property in Cancun or meet with a banker in New York.

    Has having so much money affected the people you choose to surround yourself with? I remember when I had my 20-year high school reunion. One of the friends I reconnected with started emailing me all the time. She wanted me to buy her a new car. I told her that I didn’t earn the money and didn’t have the right to do that. She never called me again. Some people are moochers - others are true friends. I have closed down my huge circle of friends. Now I focus more on my family and have a smaller handful of friends that I enjoy more.

    Some people may think it’s easier to raise kids having money. Would you agree with that? Money certainly helps. The kids need clothes and a nice pair of sneakers. [Jackie asks her friend Shari what she thinks.]
    Shari: I would say no. Raising kids is difficult no matter what.
    Both David and I came from modest beginnings. He was raised in a one-room apartment in Miami Beach. His parents would hang a sheet to separate the room so they could have some privacy. We never forget where we came from and that helps us to not spoil our kids.

    Do your kids know that your financial situation is not like everyone else’s? They do know there is a difference. They see it when they go to their friends’ homes. They are not spoiled by any means. I do remember a funny story though. One time, we flew commercial for some reason, and one of the younger kids asked, “Mommy, what are all these strangers doing on our plane?” They are used to traveling on our private jet.
    Do you think having money changes the way you must parent your children? It doesn’t for us, because my husband is very careful about how he spends money and doesn’t spoil the kids. We have to shut the lights off every time we leave a room. We drive regular cars and keep them for a long time. The only reason we own a plane, we actually own two, is so that David can run his business efficiently and easily visit his resorts. Before he owned all of the resorts, he could have had a plane, but didn’t. It’s not a luxury for us; it’s more of a necessity. We believe in hand-me-downs for the kids’ clothes. And if you look at our current house—to go through the whole tour it takes about 45 minutes—we use every single inch of it. It’s very lived in.

    How do you set rules and boundaries in your household? I’m not a super strict mom. I think I use my husband, like, “If you don’t listen I’m going to tell Dad.” I don’t know if that’s the best way to do it but it seems to work. I put the fear of Dad … or God. [Laughs]

    Were there things in your upbringing that you felt necessary to incorporate into your children’s lives? Show the children a lot of love. Give them hugs. Give them praise. Something may not be that important to you, but it’s important to them and you have to acknowledge it. Even if they pick a flower and give it to you and you’re really busy, you have to take the time and say, “Thank you so much.” My twins did that. They picked some flowers and I stuck them in my hair to show it meant something to me. [During the photo shoot, little Debbie Siegel did pick a flower for her mom and you could see Jackie's face light up.]

    You’ve mentioned that you think Central Florida is a great place to raise a family. Where do you and your family spend time outside the home? We ride our bikes down trails and through Isleworth. My kids love having me around. We play kickball. Just last weekend, we went out on a field and had chicken fights and played Ring Around the Rosie. We enjoy the water parks and theme parks: SeaWorld, Universal and Disney. We can see the Disney fireworks from our backyard. We don’t overdo it with the parks, but we go a few times a year to each one. After all, we live where every child in the country dreams about.

    Is there ever a time when you take a moment to realize how different your life is from what you imagined as a child? My biggest wish for myself, as a child, was to find love. I remember thinking on our wedding day that I couldn’t believe it took me 30 years to find my true love. David is the man of my dreams. I sat back and took a moment to thank God for that. I do feel like I have to pinch myself sometimes. My life is like a fairytale in so many ways.

    Exactly what does it take to be the largest home in America?
    90,000 Square Feet
    30 Bathrooms
    15 Bedrooms
    11 Kitchens
    6 Pools
    2 Movie Theaters
    8,000 Square Foot Master Suite
    Two-story Front Door (weighing more than a ton)
    3.7 Million Dollar Custom Windows
    Full-service Health Spa (with massage rooms)
    Indoor Roller Skating Rink
    Two-lane Bowling Alley
    Stadium Tennis Court (seating 200 spectators)
    Full-sized Baseball Diamond
    Underground Parking for 30 Cars
    Wine Cellar (holds more than 20,000 bottles of wine)
    Information provided by Joe Bathalter, Project Manager for Versailles

    Queen of Versailles | PLAYGROUND Magazine
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    Elite Member Grimmlok's Avatar
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    Elite Member MsChiff's Avatar
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    30 bathrooms?

    6 pools? 6 are needed? do they swim 1 at a time.. strange.

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    Elite Member witchcurlgirl's Avatar
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    It looks like a mafia run catering hall.
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    Elite Member MsDark's Avatar
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    So even if the whole family has the shits at the same time....the staff still has a place to go use the potty. Convenient.
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    Elite Member Mivvi21's Avatar
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    Disgusting excess. Fuck them.

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    A*O is offline
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    It reminds of a location in a Lara Croft PC game.
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    Elite Member Brookie's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by MrsDark View Post
    So even if the whole family has the shits at the same time....the staff still has a place to go use the potty. Convenient.
    The staff? Hell, try the whole goddamn city.

    Nearly makes Candy Spelling's place look like the projects.

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    Elite Member cupcake's Avatar
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    Yes, but does it have enough walk-in closets? Hehe The closets are probably the size of my master bedroom..hehe

  12. #12
    Elite Member McJag's Avatar
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    Such a cozy house.
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    Elite Member OrangeSlice's Avatar
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    Meh, I prefer Biltmore. I'm saving my millions for that real estate opportunity.

    (I actually have a season pass to Biltmore and that place outclasses this tacky-ass monstrosity 100 to 1. Nothing about that place says "home" to me at all.)
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    Elite Member Brookie's Avatar
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    In the "D"


    Can you imagine the monthly mortgage payments on that thing?????
    Life is short. Break the Rules. Forgive Quickly. Kiss Slowly. Love Truly.
    Laugh Uncontrollably. And never regret ANYTHING that makes you smile.

    - Mark Twain

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    Elite Member Algernon's Avatar
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    Oh for fuck's sake! WHY? Filthy excess at its finest.
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