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Home feature: Bill Gates' mansion

Rising up from the pages of almost every science fiction novel, Bill Gates' US$63 million mansion - nicknamed Xanadu 2.0 after the fictional estate in the movie, Citizen Kane - is a technological marvel that rivals anything we have seen in the property market.

Overlooking Lake Washington in Medina, Washington, United States of America, the 66,000 square foot mansion located in the side of the hill, took seven years to build.

In 2009, the home was valued at US$147.5 million. The property taxes he paid then were reported to be about US$1.063 million.

That's a lot of money but expected when factoring in the facilities. Like most mansions, Gates' sprawling estate has numerous facilities.

Unlike most mansions, his facilities run the gamut in excessive luxury.

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Some of these facilities are an 18m swimming pool with an underwater music system, a 1,000 sq.ft dining room and a 2,500 sq.ft gym.

A 1,500 sq.ft theatre that can sit 20 people, a reception hall for 150 people, 24 bathrooms with 10 baths and a 23-car garage add to an already luxurious home.

The mansion also has a 2,100 sq.ft library complete with fireplace and two secret pivoting bookcases, one of which hides a bar.

That feature while cool is hardly notable when in the library sits the Codex Leicester; Leonardo da Vinci's 16th century notebook that Gates purchased on November 11th 1994 for US$30.8 million.

All of this sits within a mansion that is considered an ‘earth sheltered house'. This means the house uses its natural surroundings to regulate temperature and reduce heat loss.

The floors and driveways, however, are heated to provide comfort when cold.

Exorbitant costs and size aside, Xanadu 2.0 is an abode tailored specifically for the man that made Microsoft, the Windows operating system and the PC (personal computer) a global brand.  

True to its legacy, the mansion is well-known for its design and the high tech technology incorporated into every part of the mansion.

For easy maintenance, the mansion has a server system with hidden service hallways that runs throughout the main buildings.

All electrical outlets and phone jacks are also hidden so as to project a seamless and uncluttered environment.  

Most notable however, are the special pins that are issued to guests. These GPS tracking pins are programmed to interact with sensors that are installed and hidden throughout the house.

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This enables the pins to automatically adjust temperature, lighting and music according to specific preference of the guest no matter which room he or she is in.

Speakers that are hidden within the walls will play their favourite song for them should they request for it.

With the GPS, the music will follow them to any room they enter.

Guests can also call up images of paintings and pictures that will be shown on the high definition LCD monitors.

Movies or TV programs can be chosen from a computer terminal and guests can have their choice of programming follow them wherever they go in the house.

 

All this is done via high definition LCD monitors that are installed throughout the mansion.

If there are two or more guests in a room, the sensors will either intelligently switch to a program or song that is mutually enjoyed or it will go with what the first person in the room was doing.

The intensive computer network system is reputed to have cost US$150,000 and the TV-computer screens, a mere US$80,000 in comparison.

No expense was spared in the creation of this technological leviathan.

If the property taxes and valuation made in 2009 are any indication, Bill Gates' home is an inspiration and potential model for the smart-home trend we are seeing now.

Written by: Christopher Chitty

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