clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

25 facts about Bill Gates’s Medina mansion

Two words: trampoline room

Aerial shot of a large compound on the waterfront with several buildings and a dock Dan Callister/Newsmakers

Bill Gates' Medina home is so big and so famous that it has its own Wikipedia page. The estate, which Gates has dubbed “Xanadu 2.0,” remains one of the most awed estates in the Seattle area, and for good reason—there’s just so much to take in. Here are 16 of the home’s most notable features.

  1. The house contains 24 bathrooms. Twenty-four. Including ten baths. That is a lot of bathrooms. The home only has seven bedrooms—meaning there are more than three bathrooms per bedroom in the residence.
  2. The mansion took seven years to build and cost $60 million.
  3. The swimming pool is a whopping 60 feet by 17 feet and includes a fossil-motif floor and an underwater music system. A locker room has four showers and two baths.
  4. If you dive into the swimming pool, you can pop back up by an outdoor terrace. A glass wall separates the indoor pool from outdoor, with enough room underneath to swim between the two.
  5. Gates bought not only the $60 million compound, but several surrounding houses for privacy—totaling nearly $14.4 million.
  6. The home includes a 2,500-square-foot gym, which isn't out of the ordinary if you’re, say, an LA Fitness.
  7. The house has a trampoline room with a 20-foot ceiling. It’s part of the fitness facility, which perhaps answers some questions about how the Gateses like to work out.
  8. The dining room alone is 1,000 square feet, which is larger than many full one-bedroom apartments. It seats 24.
  9. When a guest arrives, they are given a pin that interacts with sensors in each room in the house. Depending on their preferences, the temperature, music and lighting will change in the house. Each room comes with its own touchpad to control the room environment. All this is, of course, in line with current smart home trends—so it wouldn’t be a huge deal, except the Gateses had all this in 1995.
  10. Along with tracking personal preferences, the proto-smart-home system allows music to follow you from room to room.
  11. Want to tour the home? At a 2009 auction, one tour went for a whopping $35,000. All of that money went to charity, if that makes you feel better.
  12. The home is also an "earth-sheltered house," meaning it uses its natural surroundings as walls for temperature and to reduce heat loss.
  13. Property tax on the house pencils out to more than $1 million a year.
  14. Located possibly somewhere inside the house is Leonardo da Vinci's 16th-century notebook, the Codex Leicester, which Gates purchased for $30.8 million.
  15. The architectural firm hired to design the house, Bohlin Cywinski Jackson, also designed a house for Steve Jobs—and did a significant amount of work on the Apple Store design.
  16. There are 84 steps down from the entrance to the ground floor. Of course you can always just take the elevator if you’re not feeling it.
  17. The 2,300 square-foot reception hall can seat 150 people for dinner or 200 for a cocktail party.
  18. The total assessed value of the estate in 2006 was $125 million. In 2009, the value was $147.5 million. The most expensive area home on the market at the time of this writing is just under $8 million. Gates purchased the lot for $2 million in 1988.
  19. The 2,100-square-foot library includes two secret pivoting bookcases, one of which contains a bar.
  20. A quote from The Great Gatsby is engraved on the ceiling of the library: "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."
  21. The 1,500-square-foot, art deco theater contains twenty plush seats as well as couches. There's also a popcorn machine if you get hungry.
  22. The 1 bedroom, 1 bath guesthouse is 1,900 square feet, and was the first structure completed on the estate. Gates wrote most of his book The Road Ahead here.
  23. Outside the home is an artificial stream and wetland estuary stocked with salmon and sea-run cutthroat trout.
  24. When the house hosted a party for the National Governors Association in 2004, a temporary security zone was placed around the entire estate, blocking access to large portions of Lake Washington. Governors arrived at the estate by boat.
  25. The estate's sand on the lake bank is not natural to Lake Washington—it’s imported from warmer, sandier climates. According to one Microsoft intern, it comes from Hawaii.