Bill Gates House

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April 2, 2011

“Life Is Not Fair, Get Used To It.”  Bill Gates

Bill Gates and his family live in a 66,000 sq. ft. (equal to 1.5 acres) modern open concept mansion on a five-acre hillside compound overlooking Lake Washington in Medina, Washington.  It is just across the bay from Seattle.  The address is 1835 73rd Ave NE, Median, WA 98039.  Part of the home is built underground into the hill to full advantage of the natural insulation effect; windows on the lakefront side provide majestic views of the sun setting into the west over the lake.


The house took seven years to build.  It is best described as a “Pacific Northwest Lodge” style.  The house is mainly wood of various rare species from around the world.  All the timbers used both inside and out have been finished the same and sanded smooth.    The wood columns from the main floor to stainless steel roof in the entry are over 70 feet long.   All the bolts throughout the house are stainless steel and oriented in the same direction.   Bill and his wife Melinda have nick named their $ 147.5 million home Xanadu.   If it makes you feel any better the Gates’ did pay over $1 million in property taxes last year.

The home has a total of seven bedroom, 24 bathrooms (10 full baths), six fireplaces, and six kitchens.  There is the obligatory grand stair case or elevator if you prefer.  Exercise facility complete with his and her locker rooms, each with sauna, and steam rooms, there is also a trampoline room with 20’ ceiling, the most state of the art theater in world according to installing contractor, 1000 sq. ft. formal dining room, game room, library, pool, tennis/sports courts, 150 person reception hall, private offices, conference facility, stocked estuary and a 30 car garage.  Of yes, high definition TV’s and electric gadgetry everywhere!  The home is split into two wings.  The private family side is a modest 11,500 sq. ft. of living space.  The rest is for guests and entertaining.

A Quite Place To Read

The ornate 2,100 sq. ft. paneled library has a domed reading room with oculus, two secrete pivoting bookcases, one is a hidden bar, and a fireplace.  What a perfect place to house Leonardo da Vinci’s 16th century notebook “Codex Leicester’, which Gates paid $30.8 million for.  Gates and his wife Melinda are fond of F. Scott Fitzgerald’ the Great Gatsby, and have inscribed in the library a sentence from the last page of the novel:  “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.”

Take A Dip

The 17’X60’ pool has a painted fossil motif and an underwater music system.  Swimmers can dive under a glass wall and emerge outdoors by the terrace.
Of course there are complete locker room facilities and showers.

Have It Your Way!

Visitor upon arrival to the home are surveyed about preferences and given a pin to wear which has a microchip in it.  As they move about the home the pin/microchip sends a signal to change the revolving art work, music, TV’s, and adjust up or down the heating and air conditioning system temperature.  Lights automatically come on when you enter a room and go off when you leave and also even brighten or dim to match the amount of outdoor light depending on time of day.

The floors are pressure sensitive for security purposes this allows them to know by the weight of their footstep who in the residences at any given time. Inside the home the floors are heated.  Outside the walkways and driveway are also heated to melt any snow.

Of course the entry gate automatically opens for family members as they approach.   If Bill or Melinda has had a hard day they can have the bath tub filled to the perfect level and temperature timed just right for their arrival home.   There are not visible electrical outlets in the house.  Speakers are hidden behind the wallpaper.

Running though this home are miles of fiber optic communication cable, linking computer servers to operating systems.  Each room has a touch pad that controls lighting, music, entertainment, climate, and security systems.  Believe it or not some of this is not that far off in the future for us average folks.  Maybe not the size of the house but some of the other features are here and you won’t need all the wiring it will be wireless.   We have wireless thermostats, remote control thermostats ones you can control from your phone.  We have door locks and lights you can control from your computer at work.   The next ten years there are going to be amazing advances in electronics.

Bill Gates House:  James Cutler was the chief Architect along with Peter Bohlin.  Their primary contractor was Sellen Construction.  The Interior Design project went to Thierry W. Despont.

“If you can’t make something good, at least make it look good.”  Bill Gates

“Your most unhappy customers are your greatest source of learning.”  Bill Gates

“Success is a lousy teacher.  It seduces smart people into thinking they can’t lose.”  Bill Gates


Photos courtsey of Google Images.

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