Do you know about the biggest house in America? It's the home of former billionaire time share king David Siegel and his spendthrift wife, Jackie, and it's been under construction for years. It was also one of the stars of the documentary The Queen of Versailles, which tracked the family's fall from crazy-ass bananas wealthy to ZOMG-in-debt during the housing crisis. By the end of the film, the Siegals had lost everything. But they've since had a change of fortune. Jackie Siegel has her mega-mansion back again, and it's every bit as insane as it was before (construction due to be complete in 2015). Which means: Please join me in gawking at this video tour of the Versailles of Florida.
Jackie gave CNBC's new show Secret Lives of the Super Rich a tour of her home. (BTW, how secret can those lives be if they're on TV?) In the clip Jackie shows off her ballroom, which is the size of Outer Space, give or take a few feet. Here's the house by the numbers.
Total square feet: 90,000
Master suite: 6,000 square feet
Bathrooms: 30 (hmm ...)
Garage: Room for 20 cars
Missing from this tally: How much it costs to cool and light the whole thing. I would hate to see the electric bill for that pad. Haw! I chortle to myself. Good thing I'm just a middle-class slob living in a tiny apartment the size of Jackie's left boob.
Of course, this house is not just for the Siegels. Homes like Versailles (and the original Versailles in France) are built with entertaining in mind. They're part of the family business and central to their social life. Still, a house that size comes at a high cost, and I don't just mean financial. This house has affected the Siegels' marriage and their stress levels. It seems both their sense of self-worth is tied up in all those empty, half-built rooms. But plasterboard has never been an adequate substitute for happiness. That's a risky gamble. If a house's size can reach diminishing returns, Versailles surpassed that point long ago.
Oh but listen to me, getting all sanctimonious. Maybe I'm not into houses this big. But I think I'd be pretty darned thrilled with something a tenth of that size, which would still be excessive and ridiculous.
Would you ever want a house this big?
Image via CNBC