'Queen of Versailles': Tale of Mega-Mansion Headed for TV

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When it comes to houses, there's "as is" -- and then there's "as is." In the case of the Windermere, Fla., property nicknamed "Versailles," "as is" includes 90,000 partially built-out square feet, with room for 10 kitchens, 30 bathrooms, and a 7,200-square-foot ballroom big enough to seat 500 people.

The biggest house in America also comes with a helluva story, chronicled in the documentary film, "The Queen of Versailles," which debuted at this year's Sundance Film Festival (and snagged top honors for director Lauren Greenfield).

The story of Windermere's construction--and the strain it put on billionaire David Siegel, his wife Jackie (pictured left with Greenfield at the film's Sundance premiere) and their eight children -- is now set to reach a wider audience as Bravo has acquired the right to broadcast the film.

When AOL Real Estate last reported on the unfinished mega-mansion -- as as an object lesson of a work in progress -- it had just gone on the market for $75 million. According to what its makers and movie critics are saying about the "The Queen of Versailles," the lessons go far beyond that, confronting issues of greed, the Great Recession and the American Dream.

The documentary chronicles the Siegels' attempt to build the biggest and arguably most over-the-top house in America in the face of looming financial crisis.

17 PHOTOS
David Siegel's 'Versailles'
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'Queen of Versailles': Tale of Mega-Mansion Headed for TV

In a June 2010 photo, Realtor Lorraine Barrett looks at a rendering of what the unfinished mansion nicknamed "Versailles" will look like when completed in Windermere, Fla. The mansion is currently for sale "as is" by owner and timeshare tycoon David Siegel.

David Siegel's "Versailles" as it looked in June 2010.

The main room at the entrance, designed for entertaining guests.

An octagon-shaped sleeping room, intended to hold a rotating bed.

The main swimming pool overlooking Lake Butler at "Versailles" in Windermere, Fla.

An unfinished roller rink on the ground floor of unfinished mansion.

The aerial view of of 6121 Kirkstone Ln., Windermere.

An interior rendering of what the unfinished mansion nicknamed "Versailles" will look like when completed.

An interior rendering of what the unfinished mansion nicknamed "Versailles" will look like when completed.

The aerial view of of 6121 Kirkstone Ln., Windermere.

A rendering of what the unfinished mansion nicknamed "Versailles" will look like when completed.

Lake Butler Sound entrance

Master Bedroom Closet

Nanny's living area.

Upper Landing

Boat House

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The story: Jackie and David Siegel and their eight children live in a 26,000-square-foot mansion in Orlando while overseeing construction of a dream castle -- a palace modeled on Versailles, in France, that would include three swimming pools, a two-story wine cellar, and a full-size baseball diamond along with the aforementioned kitchens, bathrooms, and ballroom.

But in 2008, their plans go awry as David Siegel's Westgate Resorts timeshare empire takes a hit in the stock market crash -- and turns the biggest house in America into perhaps its most famous distressed property.

"The Queen of Versailles" will premiere on the Bravo channel in 2013, alongside a real-estate driven lineup that includes "The Real Housewives of Atlanta" and "Million Dollar Listing: New York."

In the meantime, the drama continues as the Siegels have sued the Sundance Institute and Greenfield for defamation, for the way they were described in the documentary's promotional material. The dispute didn't keep Jackie Siegel from basking in the limelight at Sundance, though.

While it appears that the Siegels have since recovered their financial footing and plan to finish their dream palace in the next year or two, it is still for sale, Bloomberg BusinessWeek reports -- but now at a $10 million discount, for $65 million.

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Luxury Shelters With No State Income Tax
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'Queen of Versailles': Tale of Mega-Mansion Headed for TV

With Tax Day just around the corner, Americans all around the country will soon settle up with the federal government. 

But for the lucky ones the payout stops there: In nine states Americans don't have to pay a dime in state income tax. 

Click through our gallery to see a premium property in each one of them. 

Location: Fall City, Wash.
Price: $5.998 million
Beds/Baths: 4/7
Sq. Ft.: 7,500

This luscious house isn't just the perfect pastoral retreat; since it's in Washington, it also provides refuge from the taxman -- you don't pay them (well, excluding sales taxes) in the Evergreen State.

See the listing for more details.  

The home has a cavernous great room with vaulted ceilings and floor-to-ceiling glass on both sides of its stone fireplace. 

See the listing for more details

A verdant swath of the home's 80 acres is viewable through the home's dining room windows. 

See the listing for more details

Location: Las Vegas 
Price: $1.999 million
Beds/Baths: 6/9
Sq. Ft.: 7,679

The state's home prices may have taken a beating in recent years, but Nevadans can still take comfort in the fact that they take less of a hit when tax season rolls around. This estate has the hallmarks of a Tuscan villa, with extensive stonework and elaborate landscaping, the listing says.


See the listing for more details.  

Pictured is the home's lavish "oasis," furnished with a swimming pool, spa, waterfalls, fire pit and outdoor kitchen.

See the listing for more details

Other amenities include an entertainment center, balcony patio, home theater, office, wine room and gourmet kitchen. 

See the listing for more details

Location: Jackson Hole, Wyo. 
Price: $24.25 million
Beds/Baths: 4/7
Sq. Ft.: 7,742

Out in Wyoming is the River Bend Ranch, a sprawling 395-acre property whose pastures border the Snake River. 

See AOL Real Estate's article on the home, or see the listing

The ranch home's 7,742-square-foot interior features wood-burning fireplaces, soaring ceilings and a wood-and-granite motif.

See AOL Real Estate's article on the home, or see the listing

Location: Sioux Falls, S.D. 
Price: $1,149,500
Beds/Baths: 4/5
Sq Ft: 5,572

For just over $1 million, you can snatch up this 1.23-acre plot, and it's contemporary home. The home's stylish asymmetry makes it a riveting example of modern architecture.

See the listing for more details

The home's edgy style doesn't end at its wood and glass exterior, as the interior pushes the boundaries of conventional decor. 

See the listing for more details

The striking contemporary stretches a total of 5,572 feet, has four balconies, and affords  panoramic views of lush surroundings.


See the listing for more details

Location: Austin, Texas
Price: $4.995 million
Beds/Baths: 6/9
Sq. Ft.: 7,210

This Lone Star State home offers 220 feet of Lake Austin waterfront, and has a two-stall boat dock  and party deck to take full advantage of its setting.  

See the listing for more details

Commanding nine acres of richly landscaped property, the home features a breathtaking two-level pool that looks out onto Lake Austin. Rivaling a resort in its level of luxury, the pool has waterfalls, swim-up bars, grottos and a slide. 

See the listing for more details

It features two game rooms, a media room, an exercise room, an office, a private patio and five-car garage. 

See the listing for more details

Location: Nashville, Tenn. 
Price: $2.999 million
Beds/Baths: 4/6
Sq. Ft.: 5,598 

This Nashville modern nestles into hillside with windows that look out onto the property's nearly three acres of lawn and woods. 

See the listing for more details

Through floor-to-ceiling glass, the home overlooks a sweeping pool that is tantalizingly close to its rear exterior. The home rises four stories, and has a total of 14 rooms. 

See the listing for more details

The house is mostly minimalist in layout and decor, but offers streaks of boldness in the color of its walls.  

See the listing for more details

Location: Miami Beach, Fla. 
Price: $3 million
Beds/Baths: 5/8
Sq. Ft.: 6,681

This mission-style residence boasts a modern interior that complements its traditional facade. Amenities include a three-car garage, bar, pool with whirlpool, marble floors and French doors.

See the listing for more details

There's no shortage of bathrooms in this lavish house, which has eight.

See the listing for more details

The home's interior features marble and wood floors along with recessed lighting throughout.

See the listing for more details

Location: Anchorage, Alaska
Price: $849,000
Beds/Baths: 8/6
Sq. Ft.: 6520

It’s north to the future with this capacious home, which offers majestic views of hill and mountain, as well as the city of Anchorage. The property also has a four-car garage and RV parking space.

See the listing for more details

Inside is a two-story great room designed for maximum comfort.

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Alaska's scenic beauty forms the backdrop of its elegant master bath.

See the listing for more details

Location: Gilford, N.H. 
Price: $10.5 million
Beds/Baths: 6/10
Sq. Ft.: 11,120

This breathtaking home lies on the lakefront side of a woodsy 2.82-acre plot. 

See the listing for more details

The home's exquisite interior spreads over 10,000 feet, done in a palette of fine finishes. 

See the listing for more details

The features beyond its striking appearance include a children's wing, library, conservatory, hobby room, spa, theater and golf room.

See the listing for more details

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