Saturday, 25 October 2008

Inside the homes of tech czars!

What is it that makes all tech billionaires have in common, of course other than their fat bank accounts: Larger-than-life palatial homes. Spread over hundreds of acres, these stunningly beautiful houses, eye-popping extras, stand as testimony to their owners' deep pockets.

Here's peeping into the houses of technology czars: homes with music-system fitted pools, lakes, five-level terraced lawns and also a legal battle to boasts of.

Bill Gates
The former chief architect of world's biggest software company Bill Gates lives in 66,000 square feet house built situated on the edge of lake Washington. The address is 1835 73rd Ave NE, Medina, WA 98039.

The house is famous for its design and the technology it incorporates. Nicknamed Xanadu 2.0, Gates reportedly purchased several pieces of land and houses and built this house adjoining all those. Much of the house is built underground into the hill, so the house looks smaller than it actually is.

The house built in the Pacific lodge style has many marvels including the 17-by-60-foot swimming pool has an underwater music system and a floor painted in a fossil motif. Swimmers can dive under a glass wall and emerge outdoors by a terrace.

Then there's ornate, paneled library with a domed reading room with oculus (light well), fireplace, and two secret pivoting bookcases, one containing a bar. It's the fitting home for Leonardo da Vinci's 16th-century notebook, the Codex Leicester, which Gates bought for $30.8 million.

The 20-seat art deco theater is outfitted with plush chairs, couches, and a popcorn machine. Towering Douglas fir beams support the stainless-steel roof and are surrounded by walls of glass, concrete, and stone. While much of the house is buried into the hillside, windows on the lakefront side provide views of Seattle to the west. There are 84 steps down from the entrance to the ground floor.

Larry Ellison
The flamboyant chief executive officer of Oracle Corp has been in buzz for spending nearly $200 million on near a dozen properties in posh Malibu town of US.

Ellison's Japanese-style imperial villa includes a traditional tea house, bath house, gardens, several ponds and waterfalls. The house also has Japanese screens and two Japanese flooring rooms.

The house has a man-made 2.3-acre lake and with extensive seismic retrofit.

The exquisite 23-acre property is located in Woodside, California, one of the most expensive areas in the US.

Michael Dell
The house of Michael Dell in Austin, Texas is said to be one of the largest house in the world, and one of the most expensive houses built in Texas.

Built in 1997, Dell's 33,000-square-foot mansion is set on a 20-acre spread; a stone's throw from Dell's headquarter. It is known locally as `the castle', courtesy its high walls and tight security.

The house has 8 bedrooms and bathrooms, 13 half baths, a conference room, an exercise room, an indoor pool and outdoor pool, cabanas, a five-level terraced lawn and a stunning view of lake Austin.

Dell's mansion reportedly became a bone of contention between Dell and city appraisers, who assessed the value at $22.5 million. This left Michael Dell with a property tax bill of more than a $500,000. The dispute was finally settled for $12 million.

Steve Jobs
Apple CEO Steve Jobs' 17,000 square feet 14-bedroom Jackling House in Woodside, California is reported to be worth $5.4 billion. The 30-room Spanish Colonial home dates back to 1926. The home was built for copper baron Daniel C Jackling, who revolutionised the refinement of copper and founded the Utah Copper Company. In 1984, Jobs purchased the mansion designed by George Washington Smith.

Jobs lived in this house for about 10 years. Jobs initially wanted to demolish the mansion; however, he lost his bid to demolish the Woodside mansion that preservationists call a historical treasure.

Jobs bought the house in 1984 but haven’t lived there for a decade, as he wanted to tear it down and build a new, smaller unit that would be more appropriate for his family. They now live in Palo Alto.

Preservationists cried foul and said the house should be protected. A group calling itself Uphold Our Heritage sued the city to stop the demolition.