Posted in Features on April 10, 2008
What type of house would you live in or build if you were a celebrity? Would you build a home that depicts your hobbies, or would you build a place that is so “you” or so overpriced that you couldn’t sell it no matter how hot the market? With those questions in mind, we sought the ten top most ridiculous, obnoxious, and just plain ugly celebrity pads around. Of course, beauty is in the eye of the beholder, so what we think is tacky might seem gorgeous and practical to another beholder…The list below is in no particular order. While the sites are numbered, the numbering does not indicate that we favor one site over another or that they are listed in order of value.
- Britney Spears: According to public records, Spears purchased the Malibu, California house through her Love Shack Trust in October 2004 for $6,300,000. The 7,400 square foot home boasts a pool, a spa, tennis court and gym, a maid’s quarters, seven bedrooms and six and a half bathrooms. Spears put the home on the market in January 2007 for $13.5 million, but the price dropped in March to $11.8 million. The house, which is located in the exclusive gated Serra Retreat area where such stars as Mel Gibson live, may have priced itself out of the market for the moment. Additionally, rumor has it that the gated estate was too overly-customized to Mr. and Mrs. Spears’ tastes. According to the linked source, “A bar in every room was too over-the-top for the average potential buyer in that price range - not to mention the lavish poolside bar built over which once was the tennis court.” This past March, papers were served to Britney and she was almost evicted because she hadn’t paid the rent. It appears that Britney’s financial team screwed up, but that all payments now are current.
- John Travolta: No, this isn’t an airline terminal. It’s the home of John Travolta and family, built specifically to house his Gulfstream and Boeing 707B. The home is located immediately off a main airstrip in Ocala, Florida, and it’s designed so his jets can taxi right up to two outbuildings connected to the main structure that’s shaped like a truncated air-control tower. Although the property came equipped with a 7,500-foot runway, Travolta extended the taxiway to reach the house. Actress Kelly Preston, Travolta’s wife, can tell when John’s home, as the planes are visible from the living area inside the home. If that’s not enough airline for you, wait until you see the mural in the dining area that was culled from a 1937 Fortune magazine ad. Diners can pretend they’re eating in the lobby of a 1930s Paris airport.
- Michael Jackson: Michael Jackson’s Neverland Ranch served as the pop singer’s private amusement park and home when the facility opened in 1988, but it’s no longer in operation. This ridiculous property, which lies over 2,800 acres, contains a zoo, a theme park with Ferris wheel, merr-go-round, zipper, spider, sea dragon, wave swinger, super slide, dragon wagon kiddie roller coaster, and bumper cars. Named for Neverland, the fantastical island in the story of Peter Pan where children never grow up, the ranch is located near Los Olivos, California. As of March, 2008, the property remains in foreclosure proceedings, with a possible auction slated unless Jackson clears his debt. The auction may be forestalled by a loan extension offered by his loan holder Fortress Investments, according to Fox News.
- Ira Rennert: Rennert, a publicity-shy billionaire founder of the Renco Group, is known more for his obnoxious New York Hamptons home than he is for anything else. This mansion is considered one of the largest occupied residential compounds in America, and - if put on the market - may be the valued as the most expensive home on earth. The home sits on 63 acres, and the buildings cover over 110,000 square feet including the 66,000 square foot main house. The main building contains a 91-foot long dining room, 29 bedrooms and 39 bathrooms. Fair Field, named after the adjoining Fairfield Pond, also contains a bowling alley, tennis and squash courts, and a $150,000 hot tub.
- Candy Spelling: Producer Aaron Spelling tore down Bing Crosby’s old home to build this ridiculous 56,000-square-foot, 123-room Los Angeles, California estate. Unarguably the largest estate in California, this hotel-sized mansion sports a bowling alley and a single room devoted entirely to gift wrapping. While rumors ran rampant that Aaron’s widow, Candy, would sell the home in 2006 following Aaron’s death, Candy dispelled the rumors and continues to reside alone in the mansion. Candy Spelling is the mother of Tori and Randy Spelling, both actors. Candy and Tori have remained hot in celebrity mags, thanks to their feuds over Aaron’s inheritance, Tori’s portrayal of her mother in a VH1 sitcom, and other family feudal issues.
- Will Smith: This is Will and Jada Smith’s ridiculously obnoxious mansion, located in California. Their estate is described as a Calabasas castle, as it has its own lake, basketball court, tennis court and a pair of private par threes in the backyard. The estate took over seven years to build at $20 million. Smith stated, “The problem is that you build your dream home, but then you’re seven years older so it’s the house you used to want real bad!” By 2004, when they had seven months until they could move in, Smith added, “We’ve got about seven more months (before we move in). Everybody is excited because we went (to the house) and we let the kids come in and they picked out their rooms. Some of them are not gonna live there because they’re gonna have their own home by the time we actually move in!” The Smith family was forced to leave this home in 2005 when a bush fire threatened to destroy it and several other houses in the same area.
- Donald Trump: Donald Trump’s Palm Beach, Florida mansion was primed for the real estate market in 2006, and this 80,000-square-foot estate was priced at $125 million well before the housing meltdown. This obnoxious mansion, which resembles a civic center, totals 62,000 square feet, with nine bedrooms, a ballroom, media room, art gallery, beauty salon, and a 4,100-square-foot conservatory. Additionally, the 6.5-acre property with 475 feet of ocean frontage includes two guest houses, a pool, and parking for 40 cars. Trump purchased the estate for $41.35 million in a 2004 Florida bankruptcy-court auction. Trump renovated Maison de l’Amitié during his tenure, and during the sale it was listed as the most expensive home on the market anywhere in the U.S.
- Saudi Prince Bandar bin Sultan bin Abdul Aziz: Shortly after His Royal Highness Prince Bandar bin Sultan bin Abdulaziz was appointed Secretary-General of the National Security Council by the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Abdullah on October 16, 2005, he put his house in Aspen, Colorado up for sale. His reason for purchasing this home, which sits on 95 acres, includes his position as Ambassador of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia to the United States of America from October 24, 1983 to September 8, 2005. However, it appears that His Highness rarely stayed at this U.S. palace. The main portion of the house, which is larger than the White House, includes 16 bathrooms, 15 bedrooms, stables, a tennis court, an indoor swimming pool, outdoor water features and a snowmelt driveway. The price? At the time, the asking price was $135 million, ten million more than what Trump asked for his Palm Beach estate. The Prince took the house off the market in November 2007 after a lack of offers.
- Michael Vick: The former quarterback for the Atlanta Falcons is languishing in jail and no longer lives in this somewhat tacky Surrey County, Virginia home since he was convicted for dog fighting. The house includes 5 bedrooms, 5 bathrooms, a white brick exterior, hardwood floors, and a full basketball court in the backyard. Although the Surry County, Virginia Commissioner of the Revenue stated the dwelling itself is valued at $647,000, and the 15 acres of land upon which the home sits was valued at $100,000, it would be very spooky to live in a home where this celebrity buried dog carcasses. The home sits across the street from a Baptist Church and is surrounded by a large, white fence and was sold at auction in November 2007.
- Martha Stewart: Would you pay $8.9 million for this house? That’s what Martha Stewart wants for her Westport, Connecticut home called “Turkey Hill.” The Georgian style house sports nine bedrooms, three baths, several outbuildings and “the nicest garden in town.” However, we feel that - given Martha’s gift for creativity - this house really is a turkey. At least it has plenty of room to roam on 4.03 acres. But, that wallpaper effect on the stairwell needs to go (follow the link to view the images).
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