The House with 95 Windows
From a recent e-mail that went around:
Building officials from a dozen local municipalities toured Bill and Melinda Gates' house last month. The house, nearing completion is built on a 600 acre tract just outside Seattle and cost 51 million dollars (that does not include over $5.5 million in spec changes Gates insisted on as the house was being built).
Below are the comments from one of the local officials:
- Currently 300 workers, including 104 electricians.
- No visible electrical outlets anywhere. Gates does not like "clutter".
- Construction likely complete in September 1997, 3 months behind owner's schedule.
- 112 steps from the main floor to the main entry (or take the
- Wood columns from main floor to roof in entry area are over 70 feet tall.
- Theme throughout main floor is "High Tech Lodge". Primary
structure is all exposed similar to large logs in a lodge except the logs are PERFECTLY finished.
- All timbers used inside and out are finished the same - 3 inches have been removed from the exterior of the wood and then sanded to a satin finish.
- All timbers are nearly perfect in that there are almost no knots.
- All connectors are structural grade stainless steel.
- All bolts throughout the house are stainless steel and oriented the same direction.
- All woodwork is flawless. Much of the woodwork is of various
rare species from all over the world - imported especially for the
- Some of the interior passage doors weigh over 800 lbs, but are
balanced for easy use.
- Acoustics are a concern throughout. Various woods and fabrics are being used. Acoustic panels in the ballroom move out of sight on their own.
- Roofing is stainless steel.
- Floor is heated everywhere including the driveway and walks.
- Ventilation system also conditions the air for health and comfort.
- Security system (automated and personnel) is redundant. Hidden cameras everywhere including interior stone walls. Sensors in the floor can track a person to within 6 inches. System is monitored at the Microsoft campus.
- Gates has a personal 4-car garage. House for the maintenance
staff has its own 3-car garage. Nanny parks in the 6-car carport across from the main entry. An additional 10 cars can be parked in a subterranean arched concrete building which through an electronic transformation becomes a basketball court.
- Nanny lives in plush quarters in the main residence near to the
- Existing cedar tree was determined by Gates to be in the wrong
location and moved 6 inches.
- Gates insisted on saving a 140-year-old maple adjacent to the
driveway. The tree is monitored electronically 24 hours per day via computer. If it seems dry, it gets just the right amount of water automatically delivered.
- There will be an 18-hole putting range.
- A salmon hatchery is being finished.
- If you wish, your music will follow you throughout the house - even at the bottom of the pool.
- Many doors are blended so well with the walls that it is hard to see them.
- Theatre (underground in a concrete shell) is most state-of-the-art theatre in the world according to specialty contractor.
- Entry gate senses when your car approaches and opens fully by the time you arrive.
- Antique cabinets from China have been brought in and built into the walls with adjacent paneling built to match the cabinets exactly.
- 52 miles of communication cable in the building.
- Shower curtain next to the spa is a 4500 lb slab of granite.
- Melinda has 42 linear feet of clothes hanging space in her closet operated like a dry cleaner's rack.
- Master bathtub can be filled to the right temperature and depth by Gates as he drives home from work.
- Only two guest bedrooms.
- There is a 28-foot high cantilevered retaining wall.
- Reinforcing steel in all concrete is four times the code minimum. No.18 steel wrapped with no. 5 ties was common for simple columns.
- There is a loading bay within the building.
- All work is virtually flawless.
- An interior designer disagreed with the layout of a portion of the home. Demolition resulted and 160 cubic yards of cured, cast-in-place concrete was removed.
All building officials were suffering "sensory overload" shortly after the three hour tour started....
For a Seattle Times story on it, click here