As of this writing, Forbes lists Bill Gates' net worth as $97.5 billion. How do you even begin to spend such an absurd amount of money?
Well, if you're Warren Buffett, you hoard a lot of it and continue to live in an old house. But Bill Gates isn't Warren Buffett. He did what any of us would likely do in that position: Create the kind of house a cartoon billionaire would make.
Bill Gates' house is so massive it has its own Wikipedia page. It's named Xanadu 2.0 in honor of Xanadu, the fictional mansion of the protagonist in Citizen Kane, a film that is entirely about how money and possessions were unable to make a tycoon happy. Make of that what you will.
None of this is much of a surprise to anyone who knows who Bill Gates is and how he got successful. Mild-mannered he may seem, but he is still the co-founder and public face of Microsoft, the company that played such a large role in making computers a must-have for household had. Microsoft ended up expanding well beyond its humble beginnings, and by the mid-80s at just the age of 31, his net worth reached $1 billion.
Microsoft, along with a consistent and impressive investment portfolio, made Gates the richest man in the world for a long time, until Amazon's Jeff Bezos overtook him. He must now settle for being only the second richest man in the world. This indignity has still afforded him a behemoth of a house in Medina, WA. Here are some of the most absurd facts about a truly absurd house.
Xanadu 2.0 took seven full years to make. Gates purchased the lot in 1988 for just $2 million, and spent $63 million to create the house. It took 500 Douglas fir trees to create the house, with hundreds of workers busy building it. This one single house measures an astonishing 66,000 square feet.
$65 million is an exorbitant amount of money, to the point where one would think making a profit on the house simply would not be possible. And yet, in 2017 the Kings County Department of Assessments valued the mansion at about $127.484 million. Yes, Gates has doubled the value on that mansion, and when you see what's inside it, you'll very quickly see how.
The grandfather of modern computer technology, it's no wonder that Bill Gates' mansion has incredibly futuristic technology, the kind of tech they would put in a movie specifically to indicate that the person who owns this house is very rich.
Using sensors and wearable technology, guests of Xanadu 2.0 are able to change the lighting, music and temperature in a room. This works with the help of an electronic pin that is placed on the guests' clothes when they enter the house. There are also speakers behind the wallpaper in every room to ensure that you can take your music with you to any room in the house. That's all still impressive for today's times; for the late 90s when Gates was finally able to move in, it likely seemed downright revolutionary.
Xanadu 2.0 is so large that there was concern about the runoff its retaining walls could potentially cause. Gates' solution? Place an artificial stream with water on the premises. It's not just there for convenience or aesthetic value; the stream is actually filled with salmon, as well as sea-ran cutthroat trout.
It's not the only outdoor point of pride Gates has for his house. His personal favorite touch outside is a maple tree! It grew near the large driveway of the house and Gates took such a shine to it that he decided to make sure it was continually monitored by computers. Should the computer deem the maple tree as two dry, water gets pumped into it. Even Gates' maple trees live in luxury.
Kitchens is plural on purpose. Gates and his wife Melinda have a total of 6 kitchens throughout their sprawling mansion. This may seem like an unnecessary amount of kitchens just to make sure every room in a massive house has some sort of purpose... and that may be the case. But they were also put in specific spots to serve a practical purpose. With 6 kitchens, there is always a kitchen near where people are in the event of a large get-together. And with a 66,000 square foot house, large get-togethers seem pretty inevitable.
Guests at Xanadu 2.0 aren't going to have to worry about whether there's enough room for them to crash. In addition to the 6 kitchens, Gates' house boasts 7 bedrooms. Seven. His house is basically a guest house within a house - and that's in addition to the actual 1,900 square foot guest house on the property.
And with two of Bill and Melinda's three kids now out of the house, there's even more room for guests. Take your pick of rooms.
The hallmark of a really big house is the huge library inside it, and Gates made sure to include a 2,100 square foot one, complete with a domed roof. And in yet another example of a "thing that would be put in a movie to show you how rich the character is," the library features two secret pivoting bookcases - one of which even turns into a bar.
That's not even close to being the most impressive part of the library, though. No, that honor goes to the Codex Leicester, a 16th century notebook that belonged to none other than Leonardo da Vinci. Gates picked up this impressive relic at a 1994 auction and had to pay $30.8 million to get it.
The pool here is so large that it has an indoor and an outdoor section. Most of that 60-foot pool is indoors, though, inside a 3,900 square foot building. If you've been paying attention, you may notice that means the pool building is twice as big as the guest house.
Those who take a swim in the indoor pool may swim under a glass wall should they choose, and they'll come back up outside near a terrace. If you want to listen to music in the pool, you can listen to music literally in the pool thanks to an underwater speaker system. And once guests leave the pool, they can clean themselves off in the locker room, which has four showers.
For much of the Gates family's time in this house, they had three young kids. How would you try to make a special room designed for entertaining your kids if money was no object? Bill Gates decided to make an entire room of trampolines.
Technically it's actually part of his fitness facility, but a trampoline room with a 20-foot ceiling is for fun more than anything else. But if someone was to actually want to use it as part of a fitness regime, the building also boasts a sauna and steam room.
Everything that has been mentioned is but a small part of Xanadu 2.0. In addition to everything that has been mentioned so far, Bill Gates' house also has the following:
- 24 different bathrooms, 10 of which have baths
- An elevator
- A reception hall that can fit up to 200 people
- A garage that can fit 23 cars
- A home movie theater with 20 plush seats and a popcorn machine
- A beach with imported Caribbean sand
It's all overwhelming. Gates has auctioned off tours of Xanadu 2.0, which have gone for as much as $35,000.