Weird how everything goes in cycles. In so many ways, it’s the year 2000 again: the mood is apocalyptic, the 90s influence is quickly waning, we have a divisive, comical Republican president, and the aesthetic of minimalism/austerity is giving way to one of conspicuous excess. My first thought after Trump won (okay, not my first thought) was, “Hummers are definitely coming back.” And a scant two months later, the crown of “Most Expensive House In the US” passes onto this, ahem, colorful $250 million home.
For a while there, the ultra-rich were going the subtle route – think Mark Zuckerberg wearing the same t-shirt and hoodie every day – but when you have a wealthy president who insists on sporting a strip mall-quality spray tan and stacks his cabinet with billionaires, what’s the point of underplaying things? Why opt for tasteful Scandinavian lines when you can have a bedazzled camera the size of a compact car?
This four floor Bel-Air super-mansion has 38,000 square feet of space, 12 bedrooms, 21 bathrooms, a movie theater, a pool with a swim-up bar, and three kitchens. There are also 270-degree views of the Pacific and downtown LA.
Developer Bruce Makowsky built the house on spec, meaning he sunk hundreds of millions of his own money into the project with no buyer lined up beforehand. This is the ninth megamansion he’s built, all of them funded with the fortune he made selling handbags on QVC. (Was that the most American sentence ever typed?) He’s the guy who sold the Minecraft billionaire his $70 million Beverly Hills bachelor pad, a house for which he had to outbid Beyonce and Jay-Z. People were staggered by the price tag for that home, but only a few years later, Makowsky is set to nearly quadruple it.
Makowsky’s trademark is the fully-furnished mansion, for the billionaire who’s too busy to go to IKEA. His houses come with staff in place, artwork hanging on the walls, and luxury furnishings; he says that when you move in, “you don’t even need to bring a toothbrush.” This house comes complete with a $30 million car and motorcycle collection …
several fully-stocked wine cellars …a bowling alley complete with bowling shoes in every size …and a helicopter on the rooftop landing pad. (It’s just for show, though, since the house doesn’t actually have a permit for takeoffs and landings.)There’s even a candy room, which is a Makowsky house trademark. (Do you want diabetes? Because having a “candy room” in your house is how you get diabetes.)These Seven Dwarves art pieces are worth half a million dollars. Yeah, rich people are weird.Makowsky only builds in a ten-mile radius of the most exclusive section of Los Angeles, a part of town where you and I would immediately be arrested for vagrancy if we so much as strolled down the sidewalk. If that sounds vaguely depressing to you, you’re not alone. Just as having massive wealth can actually be quite alienating (though like you all, I’d be glad to struggle with that particular problem), wouldn’t living in a prefabricated, prefurnished McMegaMansion be sort of depressing? Not to quote my grandmother’s framed needlepoint, but while this is definitely a house, is it a home? Look at the photos below; that’s not a living room, that’s a Skymiles VIP airport lounge. If I was planning a trip and my girlfriend sent me that photo and told me it was the lobby of the hotel she was thinking of booking, I’d be like, “no way, keep looking.” How cool is it to have all this cool stuff if you only know it’s cool because the developer who picked it out and sold it to you assured you that it is? On Instagram, there are photos of the Minecraft billionaire and his posse eating McDonald’s in his $70 million prefurnished mansion, a bunch of nerds with plenty of money but no taste. Even they seem kind of sad. It brings to mind the super-wealthy new President, who achieved a historic victory but still seems mostly angry and desperate for affirmation, sitting in his luxurious new house and tweeting at 3AM. It’s going to be a looooong year. (And it’s only the beginning; according to the LA Times, there’s another megamansion being built right up the street, this one with a projected $500 million price tag.)