Tour Bill Gates' Futuristic Pad, Only $35,000ish
One lucky (and rich) Microsoft employee will get the chance: Microsoft Chairman Bill Gates is auctioning off a private tour of his home, with him as the guide. The auction kicks off a charity fundraiser at Microsoft and bidding is up to $35,000. Steep, yes, but what better way to get face-time with the big boss! And hell, with five acres and more than 66,000 square feet, that tour's gonna take a while. Some savvy Microsoft employee could have a raise by the time the tour's over and recoup those 35 bills, easy.
So what will they get to see?
Well, as you can imagine, the richest man in America 16 years running (according to the Forbes 400) lives pretty damn well in Medina, Wash., with wife, Melinda, and three kids. And as would only be appropriate for Microsoft founder, the thing is downright futuristic. Here's a run down of features:
- It's green! He's outside of Seattle so of course he's going to use recycled Douglas Fir, earth-covered roofs and architecture that blends with the landscape. The lights and heating adjusts itself based on outside conditions and whether anybody is in the home.
- It's a sweet spot! The home is built into a hill facing Lake Washington, Olympic Mountains and the Seattle skyline.
- It's fun! Built partially underground, the home is meant to give the feeling of moving underground to reveal the mountains and lake beyond. Plus, it's got a trampoline room, indoor swimming pool and 20-car underground garage.
- It's wired! The house is wired with 100 micro-computers and once inside Bill wears a pin that identifies him and automatically adapts to his tastes. As he travels room to room, his music, television shows or movies all travel with him to the digital screens in each room. The high-res art displays even change. The room temperature adjusts itself. And if he gets a phone call, only the phone nearest him rings.
- It's pricey! The property taxes alone in 2009 were reported to be $1.063 million and the assessed value of the home, a whopping $147.5 million.
Take this video tour of the home below. Also Bohlin Cywinski Jackson Architects have a slideshow of the home on their site (listed as Residential Compound, Private Client, Bellevue, Wash.) or navigate an interactive map of the property at usnews.com.