With more than 1,500 billionaires in existence in the world, it is safe to assume that there are some very large, lavish homes out there. While some high-net worth home owners aim for the most unique house or the most expensive house in the area, others decided that the only way to approach their residence was to go big. This resulted in what are called “mega-mansions”, houses that are typically larger than 20,000 square feet and that contain amenities rivaling those of a luxury hotel.
Unsurprisingly, many of these homes are located in the USA. This is in part because America has the highest number of billionaires and also because it aligns nicely with the notion of the American Dream. In Europe, residences of this scale were typically only built for members of royal families and are either still used by them or are now public historic landmarks. In America, large-scale mansions started being built during the Gilded Age for those who were successful entrepreneurs, like the Vanderbilts and the Rockefellers. With their great self-made and tax-free incomes, all they needed were homes of palatial proportions to secure their positions as American royalty.
It would seem that this tradition is still strong today. In Europe, the construction of manors has somewhat slowed down and the size of these homes have remained mostly steady. However, in America and elsewhere, homes are reaching new heights, widths, and lengths.
Here are 5 of the biggest single-family private homes in the world.
5 Fairfield Pond, New York, USA – 43,000 square feet
The Fairfield Pond mansion is located in The Hamptons, an area long known for its large, expensive, and opulent homes. Due to its proximity to New York City and its composition of lovely seaside villages, The Hamptons is a place that is appealing to billionaires like Ira Rennert, Fairfield Pond’s owner. When Fairfield Pond was first being built, there were rumors about its use, some of them being commercial which resulted in the town putting a halt on construction. These rumors were eventually dispelled and construction resumed on the private residence. In the end, the mansion’s size is not even confirmed due to the multitude of buildings on the 63 acre property and what is considered to be truly part of the house. Forbes lists the mansion as being 43,000 square feet and containing 29 bedrooms, 39 bathrooms, a bowling alley, a 164-seat movie theater, and anything else you could possibly imagine.
4 The Spelling Manor, California, USA – 56,000 square feet
Along with producing television shows such as Charlie's Angels and Beverly Hills 90210, Aaron Spelling is known for building the Spelling Manor. Sometimes simply referred to as The Manor, the residence was built after demolishing the original house on this property that was previously owned by Bing Crosby. What replaced Crosby’s house would have been unimaginable in his day; a house containing a dog grooming room, five bars, a wine cellar and tasting room, a China room, a “gift-wrapping” room, a flower-cutting room, a home theater, multiple games rooms, a bowling alley, and a even beauty salon. Funnily enough, the house has only seven bedrooms. Once Spelling died, his wife sold the house to Formula One heiress Petra Ecclestone and her husband James Stunt, a London businessman. It is said that they paid for the $85 million manor in cash.
3 Pensmore, Missouri, USA – 72,000 square feet
It is a little hard to believe that one of the largest houses in America is being built in the Ozark Mountains of Missouri. Perhaps this is why the unfinished private residence is the subject of a variety of conspiracy theories, including that it is the future governing site of the Illuminati. Though the thought of people ruling the world from Missouri is highly entertaining, one must wonder who will actually be purchasing this massive mansion. Interestingly, despite the huge expense of purchasing the property, the mega-mansion is expected to cost next to nothing to heat and cool due to its construction and use of sustainable technologies. This is partially why Missouri was chosen as the site for this house, the variable climate provides an excellent testing ground. Furthermore, Missouri is subject to natural disasters, and this house has been designed to resist them all from tornadoes to earthquakes.
2 Versailles, Florida, USA – 90,000 square feet
The house that is set to be the largest single-family residence in America is still under construction, just like Pensmore. Nicknamed Versailles due to its size and design, the house is set to be complete in 2015 after 11 years of construction. For a number of years, construction was halted by owner David Siegel due to financial issues. Similarly, the construction of the original Versailles nearly bankrupted the entire nation of France, a resemblance that the Siegels are probably less eager to point out. When it is complete, the home will feature a spa, an industrial-grade kitchen, yoga studio(s), “man cave(s)”, and many more luxurious amenities. Due to the record-breaking size of the house, interest in the family who owned it grew, and a documentary was made about the house and the family, entitled The Queen of Versailles. The film itself was received well by viewers and critics alike, and even won an award at the 2012 Sundance Film Festival. However, Siegel did not like how he and his company were portrayed in the film and filed a civil suit. The suit was later ruled not defamatory to Siegel or Westgate Resorts and required them to pay $750,000 to the director.
1 Antilia, Mumbai, India – 400,000 square feet
The only residence to make the list that is not built on American soil is Antilia, a 570 foot-tall structure located in downtown Mumbai. The owner of the building is Mukesh Ambani, the chairman of Reliance Industries, an Indian holding company. The building, which is almost as large in square feet as Windsor Castle in England, has 27 floors but because most floors have extra-high ceilings, its height is comparable to a 40-storey building. Among these 27 storeys lie a health floor, movie theater, several levels of parking, and much more. The house is so large and contains so many amenities that it is valued at over $1 billion, making it the most expensive house in the world. Because it is so otherworldly, its name comes from that of a mythical island that was said to exist west of Portugal in the Atlantic Ocean. Unfortunately, the level of luxury that Antilia embodies and conveys is but a myth to many who live in India, as most of its citizens live on less than 2 USD per day. Because of this, Antilia and its owner have many critics, with many calling the construction “inappropriate” and one writer even declaring it a potential “regretful nightmare”.