America’s most expensive mansions get pricier and more elaborate every year. One that was at the top of America’s price list last year at $159 million near Fort Lauderdale, Florida comes with its own IMAX theater, a $2 million staircase and an entry gate decorated with 22-karat gold leaf. Not the type of features that an actual family might ever live there. Where people do real things, whether it be sports, hobbies or just hanging out. While other “most expensive” offerings seem somewhat cold in spirit and engineered for the sole purpose of showing off wealth, the Gemini estate, a 15.6-acre compound on a barrier island in Manalapan, Florida, is a home that has provided almost 40 years of family life, from young children to entertaining heads of state.
Built in the 1940s for the Lambert pharmaceutical family and designed by architect Marion Sims Wyeth, the estate was eventually sold to Loel and Gloria Guinness as a winter retreat. It was purchased by the current owners, the Ziff publishing family, in the 1980s and underwent a four-year expansion and reconstruction that was completed in 2003 including construction of a tunnel under A1A to access the guest house and boat dock on the Intracoastal Waterway. Even the access tunnel is cozy as another living area with its own fireplace. Year-round perfect weather and the option for almost every outdoor sport possible, both the exterior and interior have been designed for family life.
Sited on almost 16 acres that stretch from its 1,200 feet of Atlantic Ocean beachfront to 1,300 feet on the Intracoastal Waterway and over 1,500 varieties of tropical trees and plants acting as a nature preserve and privacy hedge. The mansion measures in at a staggering 62,220 square feet and is located on the island’s oceanside. Also a seven bedroom home named Mango House, a manager’s house with four apartments and two four-bedroom beach cottages with private quarters for extended family and friends. Overall, the property totals approximately 84,988 square feet of living space with 33 bedrooms and 47 baths. Not a cent was spared on the highest quality available in materials, appliances, finishes, architectural restoration or design.
Grounds are thoughtfully planned with both activity and relaxation in mind. A sports complex offers a half basketball court, tennis court, a practice golf course with two greens, a swimming pool surrounded by cultivated jungle, a treehouse with slide for the children, a miniature golf course, a wide deserted beach and a boat dock on the Intracoastal with ocean access.
America’s most expensive home is listed by Joseph Liguori of Premier Estate Properties at $195 million.
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