James Clark is a former high school dropout from Texas who became a billionaire after he founded the companies behind Netscape, the first mainstream internet browser, and WebMD, the first mainstream website to make you break out in a cold sweat at 3AM by convincing you that your headache is caused by a brain tumor. Although Netscape failed and WebMD is pretty much garbage, Clark is still a billionaire because, well, that’s how Silicon Valley works. Clark races yachts (of course he does), married a Victoria’s Secret model (of course he did!), and owns some of the finest properties in the world, from Bunny Mellon’s New York City townhouse, to this historic Palm Beach oceanfront property, which is now for sale. Interested? It’s listed at $95,000,000. You couldn’t even afford the pool cleaning fees. Looking at photos is still free though (pending the repeal of net neutrality).
The estate was built by Maurice Fatio, who also built Florida homes for the Vanderbilts and Rockefellers, and about whom Cole Porter wrote the lyric, “I want to live on Maurice Fatio’s patio…” This estate, Il Palmetto, is considered his masterpiece. Clark bought it for $11 million in 1999 and did extensive renovations before relisting it in 2016 for $137 million. (You did $126 million in renovations? C’mon Jimmy, we may not be billionaires, but we’re not stupid.)
Clark added this infinity pool within a stone’s throw of the literal infinity pool of the Atlantic Ocean. He’s trolling, right? He also built an underground tunnel from the estate to the beach, so he wouldn’t have to cross the road to get to the ocean. I’d make a snarky comment here, but I’m somewhat familiar with Florida drivers, so this doesn’t strike me as unreasonable.
This is the two-bedroom guest house, which is nicer than most of the main houses in Palm Beach.
The extensively landscaped grounds has many secluded alcoves that look like scenes in those 3D framed landscapes with light-up frames you see at dollar stores.
This is the antique boathouse, which also boasts two bedrooms. Yes, there’s a two bedroom guesthouse and a two bedroom boathouse. Even if I had $95 million lying around, I probably wouldn’t buy this place, just because it would be exhausting to constantly have to make up excuses as to why your friends can’t stay in the guesthouse or boathouse for a week. (“There’s, like … mold or something? And they’re painting. Yes, again.”)
The house does have stunning views, on both sides, of the water. On a clear day you can actually watch sea levels rising from climate change.
You know it’s a nice place when even the patio has pillars.
Another one of Clark’s additions: an all-limestone wine cellar that holds 20,000 bottles. Which is a ludicrous amount of bottles. Even if you had a party every single night where you popped 4-5 bottles, that’s 14 years worth of wine. But then maybe that’s how billionaires live? (Man, this billionaire thing sounds alright. Where do I apply?)
This is the kitchen. There are three separate marble-topped islands, and I wouldn’t be surprised if there was a fourth one lurking outside the frame of this photo. This was the photo that convinced me that Clark was definitely trolling us when he renovated this place.
The living room is fifty feet long and looks like the lobby of a hotel where the front desk guy comes over the instant you sit down and says, “I’m sorry, you’ll have to leave if you’re not a guest of the hotel.” And then when you show him your room key, he still asks to see your ID.
This billiards room looks like the setting of every movie scene where the rich father-in-law tells the young husband How Things Really Are, and then asks him to go shred a bunch of company files before the accountants get there. Also, that looks like a real Paul Klee on the wall. I bet there’s at least a 50/50 chance Clark would throw it in if you bought the place and just asked nicely.
This is the Moroccan Room. As ethnically-themed mansion rooms go, it’s actually pretty tasteful, if not still faintly ridiculous. Is this a “Casablanca” thing? I’ve never seen it. I’m fairly sure it’s not a Paul Bowles thing.