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Location: Rancho Santa Fe, Calif.
The Skinny: There's an extremely fine line between awe-inspiring opulence and self-parody, a line that this newly renovated SoCal mega-manse smashes with a diamond-encrusted sledgehammer and then plows over with a gold-plated Rolls Royce that runs on cognac and burning bales of thousand dollar bills. It's not that, as a matter of principle, there's anything necessarily wrong with wine cellars, or wainscoting , or even drapes, if that's your thing. In practice, however, an unlimited renovation budget combined with a desire to project refinement can lead to real trouble (not to mention an overabundance of reproduction statuary). Still, where one person sees trouble (wall paintings) someone else may see a home full of killer features (shooting fountains), and this mansion's decor certainly provides plenty of opportunities for judgment-passing one way or the other. Even the brokerbabble pays homage to the sheer physical power of the place: "Upon entering, the beauty of the home instantly overwhelms you," though whether it's beauty that overwhelms is an open question. The six-bedroom, 10-bathroom home, which tops out at 12,500 newly bedazzled square feet and also boasts a 100,000-gallon pool, is asking $15.9M.
· 6883 Alydar Corte, Rancho Santa Fe, Calif. [Carolyn and Jason Barry]