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#11 – 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.
#10 – 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.
#9 – 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.
#8 – Modern Style & Grand Staircase