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The specialty features of luxury homes are pretty commonplace: wine cellar, home gym, swimming pool and perhaps an equestrian stable. Yet for some of the most exclusive addresses, there are distinctive features that set them apart from the rest.
reached out to its network of real estate professionals throughout the country to find some of the most compelling homes on the market listed for upwards of a million dollars — in many of the following cases, far north of a million.
The following 10 properties show a lot of different ways to party. They include a disco, 3-D projector screen, a target practice range and a once-illegal bar. They also have numerous ways to enjoy the outdoors: One features retractable walls and roof, while another has a resort-like private water park. Here is TopTenRealEstateDeals.com’s list of multimillion dollar homes with big surprises.
By Colleen KanePosted 21 August 2012
Location: New York
Price: $3.9 million
Square Footage: 2,400
It’s hard to miss a pivotal element of this East Village penthouse duplex, made from two apartments: a slide between floors. TopTenRealEstateDeals.com says it belonged to Phil Galfond, a 27-year-old pro poker player who had the slide installed so he could fly back to his seat at the computer after a break. Following the U.S. crackdown on Internet gambling, Galfond moved to Canada, which is how his customized penthouse reached the market.
Features include top of the line appliances, Celador Oyster Stone countertops, white maple hardwood floors and an Italian-crafted Rintal staircase to bring the occupant up for a return trip on the slide. Outdoor space includes two glass-walled terraces, a private roof deck and a common roof deck. That area contains a pool, cabanas, BBQ area and a courtyard.
Location: San Diego
Price: $6.499 million
Square Footage: 2,550
This beachfront house has a 30-foot-tall fully retractable glass atrium with floor-to-ceiling retractable glass walls, allowing for unlimited stargazing and sea breezes. The home also has features to block out Peeping Toms, in addition to automated window coverings and an indoor/outdoor surveillance system. Also on hand are fireplace, lighting and audio visual elements. This unique home also has a glass-walled Jacuzzi, an opulent glass-topped bar and a beachfront master suite with a steam shower and spa tub.
Location: Greater World, N.M.
Price: $1.5 million
Square Footage: 5,400
Expensive homes are the architectural equivalents of gas-guzzlers — the opposite of eco-friendly. That has changed — homes are increasingly built with renewable and repurposed materials, and more than ever are being designed to use alternative energy. But passive solar homes made by Earthship Biotecture are way ahead of this curve — they’ve been built green and off-grid for many years.
This particular Earthship structure boasts a waterfall and something you don’t see in any other home: “a jungle in which you can catch fresh fish for dinner.”
Mike Reynolds, architect of the Phoenix Earthship, says it best. "There's nothing coming into this house: no power lines, no gas lines, no sewage lines coming out, no water lines coming in, no energy being used. ... We're sitting on 6,000 gallons of water, growing food, sewage internalized, 70 degrees [or 21 degrees Celsius] year-round. ... What these kind of houses are doing is taking every aspect of your life and putting it into your own hands. ... A family of four could totally survive here without having to go to the store."
If this unusual house looks or sounds familiar, a humbler and drastically cheaper Earthship home appeared previously on CNBC in the “Weird but Wonderful Homes” slideshow.
Price: $4.75 million
Square Footage: 11,000
This stone Norman-style mansion on more than 5 acres boasts a hidden speakeasy [entrance to speakeasy seen in bottom left photo of the game room, speakeasy pictured at bottom center]. It was built in 1932, a year before the end of Prohibition. As TopTenRealEstateDeals.com points out, building a speakeasy into a home was as common as having a home theater today — if you had the money. A major part of the mansion’s interior is more than 350 years old — the wood paneling in the Great Room is from the circa 1650 hunting lodge of England’s King James II.
It also has a bowling alley, master suite with a fireplace, his and her offices, a conference room and a three-bedroom guest cottage. Adding to the elegance of this property is a porte-cochereleading to the garage in a second walled-in courtyard.
Price: $10.9 million
Square Footage: 10,124
It’s been said that luxury homes are America’s castles, but this one in Miami comes with a massive moat. This mansion, built in 2007, takes the royalty theme further, beginning with a dramatic wrought iron gate entrance, and the home’s towers have pointy vaulted ceiling bedrooms. Modern conveniences include elevator, median room, and something rather forward-thinking: a full house generator. The 14-acre grounds also have formal gardens, koi pond, fountain, guest house and gazebos.
Location: Bradbury, Calif.
Price: $78.8 million
Square Footage: 44,416
This bombastic new mega-mansion “trophy property” can be yours for just shy of $80 million. What does that kind of scratch net a homebuyer these days? A 32,000-square-foot main Palladian mansion with a spacious 3-D theater, for one. Other features include an underground rifle range, two master suites, a two-story library, a walk-in refrigerator and freezer, a poker room with built-in humidor, a 2,000-bottle wine cellar, a 10-car garage topped with a guest house and a pool house larger than most people’s homes at 5,716 square feet. Also on the property are a temperature-controlled trout pond (one doesn’t want the trout catching a chill, after all) and a two-story waterfall.
Location: Los Angeles
Price: $8.9 million
Square Footage: 16,000
This all-glass contemporary party palace with views of the City of Angels comes with its own 4-foot-tall blue glass tile HOLLYWOOD sign, which glows along the wall of the 40-foot pool. More Hollywood–like features in this newly built home include a theater with 160-inch screen, gym, billiards, pingpong, and a large outdoor deck and three yards. The main (of two) master suites have a fabulous pair of dressing rooms. Colored and neon lights complete the package: under the beds, behind frosted panels, around the hot tub and in recessed skylights. To top it all off, there is a disco complete with bar and dance floor that opens to the pool area, including the home’s Hollywood sign.
Location: Birmingham, Ala.
Price: $13.9 million
Square Footage: 55,000+
This lemon-hued “Versailles-style” mansion is on 27 acres with equestrian facilities in Shoal Creek, billed as “one of the most attractive secluded areas in Alabama.” It has all the trappings of a classic-styled luxury home: a grand two-story dual-staircase foyer, coffered ceilings, a 25-seat movie theater. It’s built from materials like limestone and marble, maple flooring, copper gutters, antique light fixtures and a Crestron home automation system. TopTenRealEstateDeals.com attributes these features to the International Fine Art Conservation Studios, which is also behind Buckingham Palace opulence.
But the casual observer would never guess that when viewed from above, the mansion is just a building at the business end of a colossal guitar-shaped driveway, which includes a fountain at the sound hole.
Location: Paradise Valley, Ariz.
Price: $5.699 million
Square Footage: 10,501
This walled-in property has less than 2 acres of outdoor fun facilities in Arizona’s Pleasant Valley. TopTenRealEstateDeals.com runs down the list of celebs that live nearby: Joe Garagiola, Muhammad Ali and Alice Cooper. The late Leslie Nielsen and Erma Bombeck also lived here. But this home will probably be more popular with the grandkids who have likely never even heard of any of those famous neighbors.
On the landscaped grounds are a heated lazy river pool with a slide, waterfalls and two spas, as well as a 5-hole pitch and putt golf course. Other outdoor features include a barbecue patio with pizza oven, a fireplace ramada and a front courtyard with a cantera fountain. For those avoiding the sun, the main home and guest house have disappearing glass walls.
Location: Brooklyn, N.Y.
Price: $19 million
Square Footage: 7,000
The iconic Clock Tower penthouse apartment known by its One Main Street address and was called “Brooklyn’s priciest pad” by Curbed, where continuing coverage shows that it last sold for $7 million. It re-entered the market at a whopping $25 million and has taken a cut down to $19 million.
Another name it goes by is the Esquire Bachelor Pad of the Year, when it featured a hologram in residence bachelorette, a “digital ghost” named Charlotte. In addition to having the sweeping views of Brooklyn and lower Manhattan through the four 14-foot glass clock windows (each electronically synchronized), the apartment has an elevator leading up to the master suite and a glass roof terrace with a 400-square-foot open terrace space. In addition, the apartment is wired so residents can project their computer desktop across the slanted ceiling.