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Location: Houston, Texas
The Skinny: Like any good $43M neoclassical mansion, the most expensive home ever to go on the market in Houston is at least somewhat modeled on the Palace of Versailles. The very American aspiration of knocking off Louis XIV's digs was distilled here in a "Versailles room" with "hand-painted floral appliqués featuring 18th-century musical instruments," according to a Wall Street Journal write-up back in September, when the 27,000-square-foot home was poised to go on the market. In 2010, it was acquired partially completed by Wilbur Bosarge, Jr.—a former math professor who co-founded a high-frequency trading firm and "often wears a beret"—with the intent of having an insanely ornate Olympian (in the classical sense) palace to display art in.
A non-exhaustive list of the nice things found inside Chateau Carnarvon includes "meticulously reproduced period moldings," many of them gilded, loads of white tile and "hand-scraped" hardwood floors, antique-looking boiserie, and a circular reception hall with a "domed ceiling hand-painted with trompe l'oeil lattices" and floors inlaid with gems. The house has two apartments, and a total of five kitchens, counting the one outside. It sits on 2.5 gardened acres with a pool, some nice trees, and statues, so many statues. Also, Ms. Bosarge has turned one room into a beauty salon, which is not pictured in the listing photos.
Close-In Memorial Estate [Sotheby's]