Did you really think that the richest man in the entire United States would live in a three-bedroom house in the suburbs with a nice lawn and maybe a pool in the backyard?
Guess again! With an estimated net worth of $81.5 billion, Bill Gates likes to spend his money frugally and is well-known for his countless charitable donations. However, when it came to his house, the founder of Microsoft decided to splurge for once in order to build the home of his dreams.
Estimated to cost $63 million to build (the most on record for an American residence) and taking seven years to complete, the stunning home is nestled among the hills of Medina, Washington where it is sure to impress. Stretching an incredible 66,000 square feet and nicknamed Xanadu 2.0 as a nod to Citizen Kane, we found 28 rare photos from inside this exquisite home as well as a sneak peek that you definitely won’t want to miss. Sit back, relax and get ready to be impressed!
#39 – Privacy Please
Excuse me, do you mind? Privacy is something we all value but, sometimes it’s hard to get especially if you’re Bill Gates and spend the majority of your life in the spotlight. To ensure his privacy and protection from nosy neighbors and overly curious fans, Gates surrounded his Xanadu 2.0 estate with a variety of trees and shrubbery to create a natural privacy fence. What’s even cooler is that the greenery doubles as a shelter for the house and helps regulate temperatures in every season. Of course, if you’re trying to get a sneak peek of the billionaire, take a look beyond the trees and down by the lake where he often relaxes on the St. Lucian sand imported straight from the Caribbean.
#38 – The Taxman Cometh
When you’re worth $81.5 billion (and counting), a few million dollars most likely seems like pocket change but, there’s a good chance that even Bill Gates does a double take during tax season. So, how much does the Microsoft founder pay when the tax man comes knocking on the front door of his Xanadu 2.0 estate? While the average American household spends around $2,100 on property taxes each year, that’s mere peanuts for Gates who forks over more than $1 million to the IRS. And, truth be told, he probably doesn’t even miss it!
#37 – Always Streaming
Originally purchasing the lakefront property for $2 million in 1988, Gates has done everything in his power to ensure his dream home doesn’t have a negative impact on the environment. Built into a hill as part of its earth-sheltered design, Gates was concerned about potential runoff from the walls of the massive estate. To combat the problem, he collaborated with the two architectural firms who designed the home to create an artificial stream on the property to catch the runoff. And, in true Gates fashion, he took the design up a notch and has the stream stocked with salmon and trout giving even the wildlife a fisheye view of the most expensive home in America.
#36 – Through the Trees
Still a kid at heart, Bill Gates may be one of the most innovative and wealthiest men in the world, but he still appreciates the small things – even when it comes to a tree. After seven years of construction, Gates moved into his Xanadu 2.0 home and, shortly after, became enamored by a 40-year-old maple tree growing near his driveway. Recalling his days as a child climbing trees and planning extravagant boyhood adventures, Gates has taken every precaution to protect the tree and even equipped it with cameras and sensors that monitor its moisture levels. And, if it gets too dry, a water system automatically pumps water into the soil as an added precaution.
#35 – Jump Around
How high can you jump? Though we don’t have an official photo of one of the coolest rooms at Xanadu 2.0, we found a picture that is similar to what you could expect from Gates’ famed trampoline room. Located inside a massive 2,500 square-foot gym, the larger-than-life trampoline takes up the entire room and offers peace of mind with its 20-foot ceiling that ensures anyone brave enough to put a new spin on their cardio routine won’t bump their head. While it’s hard to imagine Mr. Gates jumping around on the trampoline himself, when you’re a billionaire and can afford it, anything is possible!
#34 – Fine Dining
With six kitchens scattered across the house and a private chef on call 24 hours a day to ensure Gates and his guests are well-fed and content, it’s no surprise that the dining rooms at Xanadu 2.0 are just as plentiful and exquisite. Pictured here is one of the main dining rooms that offers up to 10 guests a stunning view of the gardens with a majestic floor-to-ceiling window. Contrasted against white walls, hardwood floors and ambient lighting, the room is the perfect setting for any dinner party or meal. Even when Gates lived on burgers and fries for an entire week, at least he was dining in style!
#33 – In the Woods
Taking a break from the high-tech world where he made his fortune to get back in touch with nature, Bill Gates enlisted the help of the renowned Bohlin Cywinski Jackson and Cutler-Anderson architectural firms of Pennsylvania and Washington to bring his vision to life. Sparing no expense on the 66,000 square-foot estate, the architects designed a Pacific lodge style home that reflected Gates’ Washington roots, love of nature and modern style. Of course, not even the founder of Microsoft could stay unplugged for too long as he ensured Xanadu 2.0 was equipped with state-of-the-art technology including a server that reaches across the entire estate. We can only imagine the internet runs at lightning speed as well!
#32 – Pulling In
While you could drive up to Xanadu 2.0 and park in the heated driveway (yes, it’s a real thing when you’re a billionaire), why not arrive in style by boat? Located on Lake Washington, Bill Gates made sure his lakeside mansion has plenty of docks available for friends and family to use during summers spent on the lake. He even keeps several of his boats here but, unfortunately, there isn’t enough room for his $330 million yacht. And, while it might be hard to imagine Gates hanging out in swim trunks and drinking a beer, we have no doubt that Fourth of July spent on the lake at Xanadu 2.0 is something to remember.
#31 – Rustic Living
Launching Microsoft alongside Paul Allen in 1975, Bill Gates has spent the last 41 years in a high-stress and fast-paced environment that would leave anyone, even the world’s wealthiest man, desperate for a place to get away from it all. Creating exactly that with Xanadu 2.0, the heart of Gates’ Washington getaway features a stunning pool lined with fountains, palm trees and rustic art that make relaxation instant and easy. Even taking a quick dip in the pool is an exquisite experience with an underwater sound system that blasts the music of your choice. How’s that for a little rest and relaxation billionaire style?
#30 – Indoors and Out
Who says you can’t have it all? At Xanadu 2.0 you can be both indoors and out at any given time thanks to the extravagant rooftop patio that offers breathtaking views of the city while ensuring Gates and his guests every element of comfort imaginable. Want privacy? Draw the curtains. Looking to sit back and relax? Pull up a chair by the fire. Built with high-tech temperature controls in the floor and ceiling, the private deck feels like a home within a home whose vibrant blue pool, blazing fire pit, lounge chairs and plush outdoor bed can be enjoyed rain or shine, all year long.
#29 – Reception Hall
Now estimated to be worth at least $123 million, Gates’ Xanadu 2.0 estate is sure to be the site for some of the biggest parties in billionaire history. And why not? Located just off the main house down from the stone fountain wall pictured here, a 2,300 square-foot reception hall can seat 150 guests for a sit-down dinner or 200 for a lively cocktail party. Features like a 6-foot wide limestone fireplace and a 22-foot wide display of 24 40-inch television monitors make this one of the most high-tech reception rooms in the state of Washington.
#28 – Garage
When it comes to billionaires and cars, the two seem to go hand and hand – don’t you agree? The Xanadu 2.0 estate features a variety of different garages throughout the property that can accommodate a total of 23 cars. One of the most interesting garages is an underground cave that holds 10 cars between its concrete and stainless steel walls that give it a rough deconstructed feel of a genuine “man cave.” No, we seriously doubt Gates is storing a Honda in there!
#27 – The Guest House
It would be rude, of course, for Gates to have completely forgotten or ignored the comfort of his visitors. In true Gates fashion, the 1,900 square-foot guest house was the first building constructed on the property and features a modern kitchen, living area, luxurious bedroom and spacious bathroom leaving visitors little need to venture into the main house other than for entertainment. Initially built to test the technology intended for the main estate, the guest house is a miniature version of the larger home as it is filled the same modern technology and amenities.
#26 – Home Theatre
Speaking of guests and entertainment, the Xanadu 2.0 doesn’t shy away from having a little movie night fun. Designed in Art Deco style, the 1,500 square-foot theatre seats 20 guests comfortably in plush chairs and couches. The theatre even features a popcorn machine that makes every movie lover’s dreams come true with the perfect ratio of buttery goodness! Now that’s a theatre we’d like to see!
#25 – Library
One of the most unique rooms in the entire estate, Gates spared no expense when it came to furnishing his 2,100 square-foot private library. Complete with a domed roof and two secret bookcases (one of which reveals a hidden bar), the room features a quote from The Great Gatsby on the ceiling that reads, “He had come a long way to this blue lawn, and his dream must have seemed so close that he could hardly fail to grasp it.” What makes the room even more special, however, is that it’s home to Leonardo da Vinci’s 16th century Codex Leicester, which Gates purchased for $30.8 million in 1994.
#24 – The Digital Aquarium
In a high-stress world of business, Gates made sure that his home offered relaxation and tranquility. Here, you see a massive aquarium with a living-room style setting that offers a beautiful and exquisite view into the world of rare marine animals. From dolphins and whales to sea creatures and sharks, Gates went to great lengths to ensure that the marine inhabitants would thrive and never do harm to one another.
#23 – The Dust Room
Often considered one of the messiest rooms in any home, this dust room at Gates’ Xanadu 2.0 estate proves to be the exception. Exposed wood beam ceilings and a unique stone grey fireplace make this a stunning room to enjoy even the rainiest Seattle days. We especially love the wood table and the natural color palette that seamlessly transition the home’s modern interior to the beautiful Washington outdoors.
#22 – Natural Lakefront
The exterior of the Gates home is just as impressive as its interior. Located off the shore of Lake Washington, the estate offers exquisite views of Seattle from every window in the house. Built into the hilly landscape to help the structure regulate temperature more efficiently, the residence and exterior additions were constructed using half a million board feet of lumber from 500-year-old Douglas fir trees as over 300 construction workers nestled the home into the surrounding evergreens. Everything from the boat ramp and the upper parking area to the imported Caribbean sand on the shoreline is well-planned and breathtakingly remarkable.
#21 – Glass Walls
With beautiful views of Lake Washington and Seattle, glass walls seem like an obvious choice throughout many of the rooms. To make the views even better and the rooms even more relaxing, Gates included a moat-type water feature and intimate blue lighting inset into a stone ceiling. Add in gorgeous slate interior floors and plenty of lighting to illuminate the space and it’s no wonder that a Microsoft employee donated $35,000 during Microsoft’s annual charitable auction for a private tour of more rooms like this in Xanadu 2.0.
#20 – Living Stream
Wanting to ensure his home was environmentally friendly, Gates did more than simply have contractors build the estate into the hillside. He took things a step further by asking landscapers to add ponds and artificial streams throughout the property to resolve runoff problems caused from the property’s large walls impacting the surrounding landscape. Incorporating streams and wetland estuaries, Gates now stocks Xanadu’s streams with salmon and sea-run cutthroat trout.
#19 – Modern Style & Grand Staircase
Where modern meets natural elegance, every inch of the Xanadu 2.0 embodies ultimate luxury. The grand staircase pictured here features a modern and streamlined design incorporating steel, wood and glass elements seen throughout the rest of the house. Visitors daring to ascend to the estate’s stainless steel roof where walls of glass, concrete and stone open to a view of Seattle must climb the 84 steps stretching 92 feet long and 63 feet high to experience the view of a lifetime. Timid guests are welcome to take the elevator just down the hall.
#18 – Modern Home Gadgets
It wouldn’t be a true Gates estate if technology wasn’t involved. Modest in terms of gadgets but filled with smart technology, Xanadu 2.0 features a high-tech sensor system that allows guests to control the temperature and lighting simply by walking into a room. Additionally, guests can interact with the artwork throughout the estate thanks to $80,000 worth of computer screens and $150,000 worth of storage devices that let guests change the artwork displays to their favorite paintings or photographs at the touch of a button.
#17 – The Master Bathroom
The biggest of 24 total bathrooms (10 of which are full baths), the master bathroom features the same glass walls and blue lighting we’ve seen in other rooms throughout Xanadu 2.0. Here, the bathroom offers an array of textures and colors in its design from the tiled wall and sinks to the massive round column itself. The large square tub helps anchor the room as the prime spot for relaxation and tranquility thanks to its surrounding pebble-filled moat and lush backdrop of the cityscape.
#16 – Walking on a Cloud
We imagine that the plush white carpet in this room makes Mr. Microsoft himself feel as though he’s walking on a cloud. But, in all honesty, the floor does far more than even we could ever imagine. With luxury and safety as his top two priorities, Gates combined both in one of the most innovative features of his home. The floors throughout the entire house are pressure sensitive and allow for security to know exactly which family member or guest is in the residence simply by the weight of their footsteps. Not even Gates gets to walk on a cloud after all!
#15 – Pool Overlooking the Lake
The Gates pool is so crisp and clean that it seems like it’s an extension of the deck floor. Did you miss it at first glance? Located in its own 3,900 square-foot building, the 60-foot pool is filled with crystal clear water and features a floor painted in an ornate fossil motif. Swimmers can even enjoy the underwater music system as they dive under a glass wall and emerge outside near the terrace. With minimal furniture and décor, the pool is made even more luxurious by its amenities the best, of which, is the view of Lake Washington and the city of Seattle.
#14 – The Master Bathroom Sinks
These sinks in the master bathroom most likely cannot be found anywhere else than in the Gates home. Wall-mounted fixtures extend to an oval ring that distributes the water in a funnel-shape. While the fixtures are fascinating and simple, we can’t help but also love the gorgeous copper tile that truly enhances the stone sink and stainless faucets! We can only imagine what the other 23 bathrooms look like!
#13 – A View to Kill
One of the most breathtaking views from the Gates home is on the top floor of the house and is tucked away in its corner. A traditional covered patio opens to a blue-floor illuminated by blue lighting and offering exquisite views of Lake Washington and Seattle. From the minimalistic seating to the way the blue lighting seamlessly transitions into the horizon, this is our favorite spot in the house and, we imagine, is one of Gates’ favorites as well.
#12 – Modern Kitchens
Much like the other rooms in the house, the luxury of six kitchens situated throughout the 66,000 square-foot estate is always subtle. One of main kitchens pictured here features a floor-to-ceiling glass wall offering landscaped views and natural wood floors. Dedicated to entertaining guests (and why not with a house this big), this kitchen offers a refrigerator as well as wine storage and two more bar areas on each side of the center island. We can only imagine what the other five kitchens have to offer!
#11 – Bill Gates Second Home
If you thought Xanadu 2.0 was impressive with its views of the city and natural beauty, you’re in for an even bigger treat as we travel to the California town of Rancho Santa Fe to visit Bill Gates’s latest purchase – Rancho Paseana. Stretching across 228 acres just 26 miles north of San Diego, Gates bought the sprawling compound in September 2014 for $18 million from the queen of weight-loss herself, Jenny Craig. Though it pales in comparison to his Washington abode, Rancho Paseana is a horse-lover’s dream with a racetrack, green pastures and hundreds of stalls. Are you anxious to take a look? Saddle up and grab the reigns for a sneak peek of the beautiful Rancho Paseana.
#10 – Rancho Paseana
Perfect timing! Purchased and used by Jenny Craig and her husband as a training facility for prized thoroughbred horses, Craig first listed Rancho Paseana in 2010 for a whopping $30 million after the death of her husband dimmed her passion for the estate. With no legitimate offers on the table, Craig reduced the price to $25 million before taking it off the market and closing the ranch in 2013, which is exactly when Bill Gates saved the day. Already familiar with the area and looking for a place where his daughter Jennifer could competitively jump horses, Gates purchased Rancho Paseana for a cool $18 million. There’s nothing like your dad buying a horse ranch so you can enjoy your hobby!
#9 – Ocean View
The convenience of the city, the tranquil beauty of the country and ocean access. Believe it or not, Rancho Paseana feels like a little piece of heaven with its 228 acres lined with green pastures and all within driving distance of the bustling city of San Diego. But that’s not all! Gates and his family have the beach at their fingertips as a short drives takes them straight to the beautiful blue waters of the Pacific Ocean. Add in the orchards, guest houses and stunning views and it’s no wonder why Gates calls Rancho Paseana his family’s home away from home!
#8 – And They’re Off!
How’s this for a bird’s eye view of one of San Diego’s biggest horse ranches and estates? Surrounded by a public road and lined with palm trees, Rancho Paseana’s horse facilities offer far less privacy that Gates’ Xanadu 2.0, but that was intention so that horse owners, world-renowned trainers and jockeys could easily make their way to the compound. While the racetrack is impressive in itself (we’ll get to that next!), we are blown away by the four massive stables and training areas that really make the Rancho Paseana an equestrian’s dream come true! We’re ready to ride!
#7 – Wide Turns
Described as the “Grand Prix Circuit” for equestrian enthusiasts, Gates’ undoubtedly knew what he was doing when he forked over $18 million for this incredible California ranch complete with a private racetrack. Stretching across ¾ mile with palm trees and a white fence surrounding its perimeter, the track can run more than 10 horses comfortably at a time. Barely shorter than the Preakness Stakes of the Triple Crown and a quarter mile longer than NASCAR’s famed Bristol International Speedway, the Rancho Paseana racetrack is a perfect venue for everything from horse training and riding to jumping and dressage.
#6 – Wild Horses
Wide open spaces! When it came time to part with her 228-acre estate, Jenny Craig fended off developers who wanted to transform her California dream into commercial property for the sake of finding a buyer who shared her love of horses. Getting exactly that and more with Bill Gates and his family, Craig’s former Rancho Paseana doesn’t disappoint when it comes to having plenty of space and facilities to care for horses. With five barns, over 120 stalls, a veterinarian treatment area and 32 bunks featuring kitchenettes and bathrooms, Rancho Paseana’s horses and ranch hands clearly have it made!
#5 – Not Finished Yet
Come on, did you really think that the richest man in the world would be happy with only two properties? Leaving the west coast and heading south where the humidity and southern charm run high, Gates fell in love with a home he once rented in Wellington, Florida when traveling with his daughter for the Winter Equestrian Festival in 2012. Enamored by the Mediterranean design, open floor plan and 20-stall barn, Gates purchased the nearly 7,300 square-foot mansion a year later for a cool $8.7 million.
#4 – Trouble in the Water?
As we’ve already seen, Bill Gates is an environmentally friendly billionaire so when he started making headlines in Florida for his economically unfriendly practices, it came as quite the surprise. News reports accused Gates that his property was collecting waste from the horses and storing it too close to the pond. According to the law, the waste was required to be at least 100 feet away from any body of water, otherwise there was a $250 fine per day. Of course, when you have billions of dollars in the bank, a measly $250 is nothing.
#3 – Entering the Building
Moving on from horse manure to more pleasant-smelling topics, the beautiful Florida home is the smallest of Gates’ three mansions but its three acres still offer plenty of room for any equestrian to enjoy. Built in 2010 with four bedrooms and four bathrooms as well as a barn and arena, Gates spent $1.1 million in 2012 to rent the home and finally decided it would be financially smarter to buy it instead. Paying $8.7 million in cash, Gates hasn’t stopped there as he recently spent $13.5 million on a 7,000 square-foot Spanish style home right next door to ensure his privacy. With other deals in the works, it won’t be long before he owns the entire street!
#2 – Courtyard
With its interior as exquisite as its exterior, the Wellington home is centered around a stunning courtyard that Gates and his wife Melinda can enjoy from the privacy of their master bedroom. Carrying the equestrian theme throughout the house with statues and Mediterranean-style décor, Gates and his family are also within walking distance of the Palm Beach International Equestrian Center (if you can’t tell, they really love their horses!). As extremely valuable and high rent property with only 20 neighbors in the area, the guarded neighborhood proves that destination is everything especially when it comes to a horse-friendly Miami estate like this one.
#1 – Beaten to the Punch
Though perhaps not as luxurious as the vibrant blue pools at Xanadu 2.0 in Washington featuring underwater music, mosaic tile and gorgeous views of Seattle, the pool at Bill Gates’ Wellington mansion is the perfect cure for those hot Florida days spent tending the horses. Resembling a country club spa complete with a cabana, palm trees and plush lounge chairs, it’s hard to imagine that Gates almost lost this Mediterranean bungalow to the Queen of Pop herself, Madonna. Lucky for Gates, Madonna passed over the estate and bought a house in the Hamptons, making this Florida home the perfect getaway from Washington’s frigid winters!