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2017’s Top 10 Most Expensive Christmas Gifts in Real Estate – And Affordable House Plan Alternatives

The World's 10 Most Exclusive Homes? You Bet. But We Have Fascinating Similar House Plans in Your Price Range

 

As a new year looms on the horizon, expect the mega-rich to put some of their prized possessions on the "for sale" lists. Come and join us on a fast-paced adventure as we take you on our annual whirlwind tour of the most exclusive properties on the real estate block.

First up is the Chartwell Estate in the Bel Air section of Los Angeles; then there's T. Boone Pickens 65,000-acre Mesa Vista Ranch in the Texas Panhandle; a magnificent waterfront property in Connecticut; a Regency townhouse in London's Eaton Square; a swanky villa in Marbella, Spain's Golden Mile; a posh mansion in Paris; and a manor house in Canada built by a beer tycoon.

 

 

1. The Chartwell Estate, Bel-Air, Los Angeles      $350 Million

It's not only Bel Air's priciest property, it is considered the most expensive in the United States, and perhaps, in the world in 2017. And it's on the market for just $350 million (compared twith the $1 billion price tag of last year's Villa Les Cedres in the South of France).

The Chartwell House in Los Angeles

An aerial view of The Chartwell House shows the grounds with the gorgeous gardens and tennis court (courtesy Curbed). 

 

Built in 1933 by architect Sumner Spaulding and owned by late TV executive Jerry Perenchio, the Chartwell Estate sits on 10 acres of land containing sculpted gardens, lawns, and fountains. Once the backdrop of the Clampett residence in the popular television series The Beverly Hillbillies, the expansive French Neoclassical mansion has 25,000 square feet of living space. Among the luxurious amenities are a guest house, tennis court, covered parking for 40 vehicles and in the main house a ballroom, formal salon, and wine cellar.    

While bidding for this estate will be quite intriguing, finding something within your budget may be a bit more appealing.

Take this stunning two-story, 6,095-square foot Colonial home below, with its five bedrooms, five baths, and an amazing spiral staircase that can rival ones from the most exclusive estates in the world like the Chartwell Estate and the Moscow Mansion (#8).

In addition to the gorgeous staircase, there is a Grand Ballroom with attractive bow windows, a library with fireplace, a guest room, a master suite with master bath, walk-in closets, a private veranda, a formal dining room, a keeping room, a sunroom, a main-floor laundry, and a three-car garage. Other similar-size home plans can be found here.

Colonial style house plan #106-1223

Spiral staircase in House Plan #106-1223

Mini art gallery in House Plan #106-1223

Top: Classic elegance starts with the exterior façade of this 2-story Colonial style home. There are the clean and symmetrical lines of the arched windows flanking four matching pillars, tall windows on both floors, and a beautifully landscaped courtyard. Middle: The highlight of the Colonial home is the imposing spiral staircase, with its ornate details. Look up as you ascend the stairs, and marvel at the elaborate and intricate ceiling mural – the crowning glory of the grand staircase. Bottom: Get to the top of the steps, and discover a mini art gallery with exhibits of European and Medieval art  (House Plan #106-1223).

 

 

2. Mesa Vista Ranch, Pampa, Texas (in the Texas Panhandle)      $250 Million

If La La Land is not your beat, how about a little-known town in Texas about 80 miles northeast of Amarillo for one of the most awe-inspiring and expensive estates on the market? The sprawling oasis called Mesa Vista Ranch in Pampa, Texas, and home of billionaire T. Boone Pickens is on the block for a whopping $250 million.

What began as a 3,000-acre parcel in the 1970s when Pickens first acquired the property has grown into a 65,000-acre little town with its own private airport and hangar, chapel, creeks, 20 man-made lakes, golf course, tennis court, grasslands, waterfalls, and housing for staff. On the grounds are an 11,000-square-foot kennel for Pickens' 40 dogs, and the kennel includes its own veterinary lab.

There are two main residences: the 1,700-square foot Gate House and the castle-like Lodge, with its 33,000 square feet of space and stained-glass front door that used to belong to Bing Crosby's home. Inside the Lodge are a stunning wine cellar, a library, a 30-seat home theater, a two-story pub, and a homey, comfortable living room.

Mesa Vista in Pampa, Texas

A panoramic view of Mesa Vista includes the 33,000-square-foot castle-like Lodge, lakes, streams and grasslands (courtesy Town and Country).

 

So why would Pickens decide to sell this wonderful paradise, one that he developed for more than 40 years? He says, "there are many reasons why the time is right to sell the ranch now, not the least of them ensuring that . . . one of the most magnificent properties in the world winds up with an individual or entity that shares my conservation ethic."

Mesa Vista may change ownership in the near future, but Pickens' legacy will live on because a great part of the proceeds from the sale will go to his foundation to fund a number of charitable projects.

Main residence in Mesa Vista, Pampa, Texas

A look inside the Lodge: Mesa Vista's main residence features 4,000 sq. ft. of patios, wonderful landscaped gardens, and water works (courtesy Paper City).

 

Antiques in Mesa Vista Ranch, Pampa, Texas

An antique desk and chair in Mesa Vista's library fit well with the home's collection of classics (courtesy Town and Country).

 

Wine cellar in Mesa Vista, Pampa, Texas

Another treasure within Mesa Vista's Lodge is the spectacular wine cellar (courtesy D).

 

It's not Mesa Vista. But this 5,417-square-foot two-story, four-bedroom, three-bath Texas-style home (below) with an open-floor-plan design has its own share of luxury amenities. It's built on an expansive property that's fully landscaped – and features a covered front porch, a sundeck, and an attached garage for four cars.

The interior has vaulted ceilings, a Great Room, a library, loft, four fireplaces, a guest room, a kitchen with an island, aformal dining room, a home office, and a main-level laundry. The main-floor master suite has a fireplace, a master bathroom, and walk-in closets.

Texas style House Plan #161-1070

Texas style House Plan #161-1070

Home office in House Plan #161-1070

Top: Spread out on a sprawling property is this luxurious 4-bedroom, 3-bath, 2-half-bath Texas-style home plan with a rock and stone exterior façade. Middle: Sit and relax on the covered front porch of the home, and enjoy the peace and quiet of the surroundings. Bottom: From the window of the home office is a splendid view of manicured lawns  (House Plan #161-1070).

 

 

3. Great Island, Darien, Connecticut      $175 Million

If you love islands and the oceanfront – and you have $175 million in the bank – then make a serious bid for Great Island, a 63-acre island off the coast of Darien, Connecticut. Just an hour away from New York City, the estate is on the market for the first time in more than a century.

William Ziegler's Great Island estate in Darien, CT

Once the summer home of baking powder magnate William Ziegler, Great Island is connected to Darien by a land bridge and has several beaches on the property (courtesy Curbed).

 

Great Island's six-bedroom primary residence, Villa Juliette was constructed in 1902 by 200 stone masons and has breathtaking views of Long Island Sound from every room. There are smaller buildings on the estate, including Gate House, the caretakers cottage; a greenhouse; and several guest cottages.

Bordered by 14 miles of conservation land, the island's other attractions are a private beach, a yacht basin, and a 20-stall granite stable with an arched Guastavino-tile ceiling like the one in Grand Central Terminal's Oyster Bar. There's an exercise track, an equestrian ring, and bridle trails.

The main residence at Great Island

The Caretaker's House at Great Island

Beachfront cottages at Great Island

Top: The main residence at Great Island, called Villa Juliette, has a tile roof and stone walls. Middle: Even the caretaker's house on Great Island is a sight to behold with its stone façade and landscaped courtyard. Bottom: Beachfront cottages have covered porches where guests can relax and revel in the amazing waterscapes (courtesy The Real Deal).

 

Without traveling to Connecticut or the Golden Mile of Marbella, Spain (#7), you can find your own retreat on a smaller and more-affordable scale.

Perhaps a Mediterranean-style two-story, five bedroom, seven bath home (below) spread over 7,893 square feet of space can serve as your own Great Island. The home has a terra-cotta-tiled roof, a landscaped courtyard, covered front and rear porches, a sundeck, a swimming pool, and an attached garage for three vehicles.

Interior features include vaulted ceilings, a fireplace, a formal dining area, a family room, a game room, a gym, and a main-floor laundry. The master suite on the second floor has its own balcony and private deck with great views of the waterfront. In addition, there's a sitting area and walk-in closet.

For food lovers, there's a fully equipped eat-in kitchen with both a butler's pantry and a walk-in pantry – and a peninsula/eating bar, kitchen island, and breakfast nook.

All these creature comforts for a lot less than the millions of dollars for the properties on our list! You can find other similar-size home plans here.

Mediterranean style luxury home plan #107-1219

This is living! Luxuriate in the manicured gardens and views of the waterfront from the verandas of this 2-story, 5-bedroom Mediterranean-style home (House Plan #107-1219).

 

 

4. West Creek Ranch, Gateway, Colorado      $149 Million

Can't afford Mesa Vista Ranch? For $100 million less (sticker price of $149 million), you can own the majestic West Creek Ranch, a natural treasure located in Mesa County, Colorado, and Grand County, Utah.

West Creek Ranch in Gateway, CO

Spectacular rock formations, cliffs, and dinosaur footprints are part of the appeal of West Creek Ranch (courtesy Sotheby's International Realty).

 

Within the 7,000-acre spread is a huge mansion with a two-story circular stone library, an observatory, a bear and mountain lion habitat, an airstrip and helipad, stables, fishing ponds, streams, water fountains, a pool, and a spa. The residences – a four-story main house, guest house, cabin, and staff quarters – contain 14 bedrooms, 12 bathrooms, and two half baths. The mansion alone has eight bedrooms and eight bathrooms – and is serviced by an elevator on all four levels. Inside are marble archways and columns, six fireplaces, a Great Room, a chef's kitchen, a formal dining room breakfast room, a gym, a study, and a home theater.

But best of all are the riveting scenic vistas of the property that include Precambrian rock cliffs, canyons, and green pastures. If being close to nature and all its wonders gives you a calming, soothing feeling, then West Creek Ranch may be the home waiting for you.

Relaxing pool in West Creek Ranch

View of the cliffs at West Creek Ranch

View from inside West Creek Ranch

Top: Refresh yourself in the cool waters of the pool; relax and sip your drink; and take in the wonderful scenery of the cliffs and vast expanse of West Creek. Can you think of anything more enthralling than these perfect canvases of nature's beauty? Middle: The cliffs are transformed into golden orange by the sun's rays. Bottom: The same cliffs take on a different look toward the end of the day, viewed from a vantage point inside the home (courtesy Sotheby's International Realty).

 

How about creating your own treasured moments in this 2-story, 6-bedroom, 4-bathroom, 2-half-bath traditional Country-style home below?

With more than 5,100 square feet of space, this home with an open floor plan and vaulted ceilings has enough nooks and crannies for family and friends to occupy themselves, entertain, and spend great times together. For starters, there are covered front and rear porches, a sun deck, and a private deck in the master suite.

The master suite itself features a fireplace and a master bath with dual sinks, a tub, a shower, and walk-in closets. The bedrooms are spread out, with the guest suite on the lower level and the other four bedrooms on the second floor.

Amenities include a family room, media room, and home theater where movie buffs can hang out. Book lovers have an entire library to escape to and read their favorite book, and those who prefer sports and games can spend time in the recreation room and bar in the basement.

A dream of a kitchen awaits, equipped with lots of space and counters for food preparation, a center island, a breakfast nook, a peninsula/eating bar, and a walk-in pantry. An attached garage for three vehicles allows access to the mudroom and the main-floor laundry room.

For a sticker price lower than West Creek's you'll find your own peaceful, quiet, luxurious space in this beautiful six-bedroom Country home.

Country style luxury house plan #161-1003

Screened-in covered deck at house plan #161-1003

Spacious kitchen in house plan #161-1003

Top: This 2-story, 6-bedroom, 4-bathroom, 2-half-bath Country-style home offers both exterior and interior spaces for families to entertain friends and engage in their favorite activities. Middle: Think of all the fun and relaxation you and your family and guests can have in this bright and airy "room," actually a screened-in covered deck. Bottom: A kitchen to dream of – this spacious kitchen, with modern appliances, storage space, and a center island for prepping and eating are some of ithe home's terrific features (House Plan #161-1003).

 

 

5. Regency Townhouse, Eaton Square, London      $103 Million

If you want to live in a prime residential garden square in London's Belgravia District, get ready to open that wallet for a Regency Townhouse in Eaton Square.

For an estimated $103 million, you can join a long list of royals, British prime ministers, statesmen, and actors who have owned homes in Eaton Square. Reportedly the priciest property on the market in England, the Regency townhouse has been restored in an elegant contemporary design.

On the main level is a living room with floor-to-ceiling windows and a modern kitchen with state-of-the-art features. For movie buffs, there's a luxurious theater; and for those who prefer to relax and unwind, there's an indoor pool and spa. Outdoor attractions are a landscaped courtyard garden and a roof terrace.

Not bad, especially if you like to hobnob with the rich and famous of London society.

Regency townhouse in London"s Eaton Square

Modern living room in a Regency Townhouse at Eaton Square, London.

State-of-the-art kitchen in the beautiful Regency Townhouse in Eaton Square, London.

Top: Not quite an imposing exterior, but walk into this Regency Townhouse in London's Eaton Square and be amazed by the airy and bright living room (middle), with floor to ceiling windows and a very modern kitchen (bottom), with clean, elegant lines and state-of-the-art facilities (all courtesy MSN Money, Strutt & Parker).

 

 

6. 10979 Chalon Road, Los Angeles      $100 Million

If you're into modern contemporary structures with all the luxury trimmings, you have to check out another fabulous home in the Bel Air section of Los Angeles. This architectural gem on Chalon Road has 31,000 square feet of living space plus an additional 40,000 square feet of covered patios.

Modern home on Chalon Road in Los Angeles

This 12-bedroom modern home in Los Angeles comes with a few eye-popping features that make it one of the more intriguing properties for sale in 2017 (courtesy Redfin).

 

An open floor plan allows for a continuous and smooth flow from the home's Great Room to the dining and living areas and the kitchen. Floor-to-ceiling windows not only afford stunning panoramic views of the Los Angeles skyline but also connect the indoors with the fabulous outdoors.

One of the highlights of this thoroughly modern home is a 5,600-square foot master suite with a spa. There are 12 bedroom suites and 23 baths, private staff quarters, five bars, a game room, and a wine cellar.

And there's no need to get out of the property to indulge hobbies and pastimes. At the disposal of the family and guests are a two-lane bowling alley, home theater, pavilion, pool cabana, infinity pool with waterfall and spa, and putting green with a 50-foot fire feature. Then there's a terrific ultra-modern kitchen with all the accessories to make cooking and entertaining a delight.

If that's not enough, there's also a huge court that accommodates parking for 70 cars – and a garage custom made for 14 cars.

Great Room in 10979 Chalon Road, Los Angeles, CA

Views of Bel Air's golf course from 10979 Chalon Road, Los Angeles

Infinity pool at 10979 Chalon Road, Los Angeles

Bowling alley in 10979 Chalon Road, Los Angeles

Top: From the large floor-to-ceiling windows in the Great Room and the master suite (upper middle), Bel Air's golf course and the sights of Los Angeles as far as the eye can see are visible. Lower middle: Here's a look at the infinity pool at night. Bottom: How would you like to have a two-lane bowling alley like this inside your home (all courtesy Redfin)?

 

Instead of the Regency Townhouse in London or the mansion on Los Angeles Chalon Road, why not this 5,170-square-foot, 2-story, 5-bedroom, 5-bath luxurious Contemporary home below?

With an exterior façade of rock and stone and wood siding, its meticulously manicured lawns, a covered porch, a sundeck, fireplaces, and other conveniences, this home will more than satisfy your longing for modern living in a big city.

Contemporary luxury home plan #161-1084

Close-up of Contemporary style home plan #161-1084

Why think about the Regency Townhouse in London and the mansion in Los Angeles when you can have something as appealing and beautifully designed as this 2-story, 5-bedroom Contemporary home (House Plan #161-1084)?

 

Like most large homes, this one has all the trimmings: fireplaces, exercise room, game room, home office, loft, media room, guest space, mudroom, and second-floor laundry. Its state-of-the-art kitchen features a butler's pantry, kitchen with island, and peninsula/eating bar. The second-floor master suite has its own fireplace and private deck, along with an ensuite bathroom and walk-in closets.

And any other additions you may think of down the road can be feasible with the unfinished space in the basement, so consider the possibilities!

Hearth room with large windows in house plan #161-1084

Like the windows of the Chalon Road mansion that afford a view of Bel Air, this high ceiling and large windows in the Hearth Room of the 2-story modern home provide a perfect picture of the outdoors and allow lots of natural light into the room. (House Plan #161-1084)

 

 

7. La Casa Loriana, Marbella, Spain      $87 Million

Do you want the privacy and seclusion of a beachfront property at a slightly lower price than Great Island? Get ready to travel to Spain and take a tour its most expensive home – a huge beachfront villa along the fabulous Golden Mile of Marbella that is on the market for $87 million.

La Casa Loriana in Marbella, Spain

La Casa Loriana features lush gardens, water fountains, grottos, and swimming pools around the main property (courtesy Costa del Home).

 

Owned by Irish packaging magnate Michael Smurfit, the 12-bedroom, 11-bathroom villa called La Casa Loriana is surrounded by lush gardens and consists of four separate buildings that feature a guest villa (with three guest suites and a large living area), a beach house, and a staff house. The main attraction of La Casa Loriana is the swimming pool, with its waterfalls and grotto.

Inside the main house are his and her cloakrooms, a large kitchen, a formal dining room for entertaining in style, two offices, and a living room that looks out into the gorgeous gardens. A home theater, formal and casual dining rooms, two wine cellars, a private gym with spa and hydrotherapy bath, and a medical room complete the other amenities.

Large living room in La Casa Loriana , Marbella, Spain

Covered sundeck at La Casa Loriana, Marbella, Spain

Walk inside the main house at La Casa Loriana, and pick a place to relax and unwind. Will it be the great big living room (top) or one of the covered sundecks (bottom) with the beach in your line of vision (courtesy Costa del Home)?

 

 

8. Mansion in Moscow, Russia      $80 Million

A sprawling 27,000-square-foot mansion built on a seven-acre property just outside of Moscow is now on the market for $80 million. Currently the most expensive residence for sale in Russia, the plush mansion has five bedrooms and 14 bathrooms.

5-bedroom mansion in Moscow, Russia

This palatial 5-bedroom mansion located just outside of Moscow is a dream find for those who love estate-like structures with intricate and ornate interiors (courtesy MSN Money).

 

Step inside the gates, and you can look into the private pond and see the palatial mansion reflected in the water. Open the doors of the main house, and walk into a foyer featuring a majestic double staircase and chandelier with detailed and elaborate decorative work. There are several reception rooms and a huge living room, home theater, spa, gym, game room, indoor swimming complex, wine cellars, and garage for 10 cars.

Think about it – living in the countryside may have its advantages after all!

Staircse in palatial mansion located in Moscow, Russia

Indoor pool in mansion located in Moscow, Russia

Top: An opulent residence deserves this impressive and grand staircase with the intricate chandelier and ceiling art. Bottom: The indoor pool is an ideal haven to retreat to for exercise and relaxation (courtesy Pricey Pads).

 

 

9. Chelster Hall, Oakville (Ontario), Canada      $48 Million

From a mansion in Russia, we go to the house that beer built. Chelster Hall in Ontario's Oakville Section is a 41,000-square foot property on 10.3 acres of land on the market for $48 million. It has four spacious bedrooms equipped with marble ensuite bathrooms.

It was built by Hugo Powell, former president of Labatt Brewing Company who was born in India and educated in England before emigrating to Canada in 1971. Powell's dream was to create a home that would stand the test of time and become a lasting legacy for both his family and the town of Oakville.

Inspired by traditional English mansions, Chelster Hall combines historic and modern elements in its design, including ornate and antique-laden reception rooms. A private chapel – the Chapel of Saint Francis of Assisi – was constructed on the property to provide the Powell family a place to pray and meditate.

Chelster Hall in Ontario, Canada

Foyer in Chelster Hall, Oakville, Ontario, Canada

Indoor swimming pool in Chelster Hall, Oakville, Ontario, Canada

Top: Chelster Hall blends the Old World Charm of a traditional English manor and all the amenities of a modern home. Middle: Chelster Hall’s spacious foyer features ornate and intricate touches in its furnishings and décor. Bottom: The indoor swimming pool has its own fireplace and is furnished with glass windows, which allow a lot of light into the space (all courtesy Toronto Life).

 

Chelster Hall is also modern, as it comes with its bowling alley, gym, sauna, dance floor, home theater, wine cellar, tennis court, indoor and outdoor swimming pool, and pool house, which doubles as a residence for the in-laws. A two-story library with a spiral staircase houses a collection of 3,000 books, artifacts, and treasures.

All this can be yours for a mere $48 million!

But you don't have to go to Canada to experience manor living. The elegant 6,076-square-foot California-style home below, with 4 bedrooms, a main-floor master suite, and most of the features you'll find in Chelster Hall, is as good as it gets.

California style luxury house plan #106-1155

Foyer with large columns in house plan #106-1155

Top: From its landscaped courtyard to the double staircase into the portico and its many interior features, this spacious California-style plan can be everything you've wished for in a residence. Bottom: High ceilings and tall paned windows give the foyer of the 4-bedroom home an airy and bright ambiance. The interior columns give it a touch of the historic and traditional manor home (House Plan #106-1155).

 

With its open floor plan, there is a smooth flow from room to room. On the first floor are the kitchen and a morning room, laundry room, dining room, family room, and master suite with his and her baths and walk-in closets. There is a fireplace; billiards room; home office; library; kitchen with island, breakfast nook, and walk-in pantry; and three-car attached garage.

 

10. Rue de Bourgogne Mansion, Paris, France      $43 Million

And finally, in the City of Lights, there is a four-bedroom mansion listed for $43 million.

With an exclusive address on the Rue de Bourgogne in the wealthiest section of Paris – the 7th Arrondissement – the 5,856-square-foot mansion has a private garden and a glass-covered conservatory. It has an indoor swimming pool, a spacious salon for entertaining guests, a gourmet kitchen, staff quarters, and a huge garage.

Perfect for a mansion in the heart of Paris!

Sunroom in Rue de Bourgogne mansion in paris

Salon in Rue ddi Bourgogne mansion in Paris

Top: Take a deep breath; sit down; and look out on the private garden of this posh 4-bedroom Paris mansionBottom: This gorgeous and beaufiully-furnished salon in the Rue de Bourgogne mansion is ideal for afernoon teas and cocktails (courtesy MSN Money).

 

What does The Plan Collection have that can compare to this chic Paris mansion?

How about this magnificent and modern Mediterranean-style home below, with five bedrooms and four bathrooms? The two-story 6,563-square-foot residence has covered front and rear porches; four fireplaces, including one in the master suite; and a formal dining room, exercise room, guest quarters, guest room, library, and loft.

The master suite has its own private deck, bathroom, sitting area, and walk-in closets. In the spacious kitchen are butler's and walk-in pantries, a kitchen island, a breakfast nook, and a peninsula/eating bar.

Mediterranean style House Plan #161-1077

Great Room in House Plan #161-1077

Top: An attractive five-bedroom Mediterranean-style home decked out with colorful flowers and greenery around the property can rival the Rue de Bourgogne mansion in size and appeal. Bottom: Entertaining guests is a breeze when you have an amazingly sun-filled Great Room with high ceilings as in this space in a two-story, five-bedroom Mediterranean-style home (House Plan #161-1077).

 

With a number of fascinating luxury homes at your fingertips at The Plan Collection, you don't have to pine after the ultra-expensive estates of the super-rich. Most of the time, the simple pleasures of life are the best!

 

 

Resources:

Town and Country

Preferred Collection

 

 

Real Estate

House Plans

Christmas Gifts

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