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Five Wild and Crazy Homes From Nouveau Riche Moscow

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In the age of the Tsars, wealthy Russians inhabited some of the most extravagant homes of all time, with rooms lined with amber and gold leaf, the sort of lavish decor that would have made Louis XIV blush. Now, after a revolution and nearly 70 years of socialist rule, Russia's rich seem to be back to their old tricks, decking out their Moscow mansions to the tune of millions of dollars. This newly built spread is modeled after a stately Russian country home of yore, but with pricey interior finishes throughout. Stone tiling, laid in intricate patterns, lines the floor. The bathrooms, with their bookmatched stone walls, sure didn't come cheap. In the kitchen, there's the custom, vaguely Art Deco cabinetry. Despite a nondescript suburban location, all of this, plus four bedrooms, an indoor swimming pool, a billiard room, a home theater, and spa, costs $8.5M.

? Things are no less ridiculous in the city center, where this Asian-influenced spaceship of an apartment is asking $3.95M. Accented with garish lighting throughout, the 2,900-square-foot penthouse features: an "innovative Sheer kitchen featuring Kuppersbusch appliances"—which can be concealed beneath a hemisphere that lowers from the ceiling—a disco ball/possible death ray illuminating the living room; a downright huge master bathroom with built-in soaking tub and, oddly, a cheap looking couch; and a Star Trek-worthy home office.

? Perhaps Moscow's most extravagant bachelor pad, this loft boasts stunning views of the city through double-height windows, a glass staircase, and black lacquer kitchen, but $3.5M is a lot to pay for just one bedroom. To sweeten the pot, the sellers are offering the apartment with all of the furnishings, including a pair of giant chess pieces, a chrome aircraft propeller, and, presumably, the baby grand piano. A fine apartment, indeed, but at this price, one would hope that the unsightly electrical conduits could be hidden inside the ceiling, particularly considering this place was recently built.

? Suburban post-Soviet Russians seem to have inherited the prosperous American predilection for bastardized versions of European architecture. This "Bordeaux Medieval castle style" mansion on the outskirts of Moscow has almost 6,000 square feet of interiors, every inch stocked with kitschy finishes like stained glass windows, velveteen sofas, and wrought iron scrollwork. At least the location, on the banks of the picturesque Klyazma Reservoir and close to a yacht club, might help explain the nearly $10.1M asking price.

? This sort of extravagant style does not fare well when applied to Soviet-era housing stock, as in the case of this "luxury apartment in North Moscow." The 2,900-square-foot flat has been outfitted with an oversized chandelier, some giant rugs, and reproduction antiques, but beneath all the fluff is just a typical three-bedroom apartment with a mediocre modern kitchen, an unsightly master bathroom—seriously, what's with this couch in the bathroom thing?!—and three balconies. That might be just fine if the asking price wasn't an astronomical $5M.

· A Brief History of the Amber Room [Smithsonian]
· HOME IN ZHUKOVKA ON RIVER BANK [Sotheby's International Realty]
· ELEGANT PENTHOUSE IN PRESNYA AREA [Sotheby's International Realty]
· VIEW APARTMENTS IN MOSCOW CITY [Sotheby's International Realty]
· Château Brion [Prop Go Luxury]
· LUXURY APARTMENT IN NORTH MOSCOW [Sotheby's International Realty]