A while back we attended a charity event at an estate in Beverly Hills that was on the market for $125,000,000. And no, that is not, unfortunately, a typo. This home, a brand new, 45,000 square foot villa with inlaid marble floors, frescoes, leather walls and gallons of gold leaf, is modeled after the Palace of Versailles.
I’m not kidding.
Although guests weren’t allowed inside (it was a garden party), the owner is close with a friend of mine, and my friend took us on a hush-hush private tour of some of the rooms, like the 40-seat theatre (with adjacent candy room), the ballroom, the wine cave, and the catering kitchen, which is larger than our entire house and had racks of flatware and china for 200 – always a plus if your friends work up an appetite trying to find their way back from one of the 15 bathrooms.
“Holy crap,” I thought as I stood in one of said bathrooms, where a masterpiece was mounted over the toilet, “I’m peeing under a Renoir.” What kind of person builds a home like this? What kind of desperate need to impress is this?
As we wandered back through the gardens and out to the pool, my friend walked up to the lady of the manor and introduced us. A well-preserved fiftysomething blond, she was standing with her gorgeous 26-year-old Italian boyfriend who appeared to have fallen out of the pages of the most recent Vanity Fair. I noticed that she was holding a plastic iced tea cup, so I said, by way of conversation with someone who had about six more zeroes behind her name than I did, “Oh, a Starbucks fan, huh?”
She glanced at the glass, and laughed heartily. “Are you kidding me? They charge three bucks for an iced tea. I make my own!”