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White House for sale?

Less than a year away from President Obama and family moving out of the official White House, they may want to consider buying a replacement White House that is just a few miles down the road – a replica of the real thing.  It even has an oval office.  

This scaled-down version, taken from the blueprints of the original, has all the elements of the real White House and even a few extras, but the layout of the staff offices and other workaday wings and work areas were eliminated to make it more of a comfortable home.   Its origin was a patriotic labor of love by a Vietnamese man who was working on his engineering doctorate in New Zealand.  After completing his studies in the early 1970s, it was impossible for him to go back to Vietnam due to the war.  At that point, the United States took him in as a refugee.  As he settled into his new life in a new country, he discovered how much he loved America.  As he became successful in his field, he decided to build a replica of the people’s house, the White House, as a tribute to his adopted homeland.

Located in McLean, Virginia, just outside the Washington, D.C. Beltway and home to many of the government workers who commute into the city daily, the easily recognized house is sited on 1.6 acres. The estate was built in 1995 with total square footage of 14,000 which includes 8,338-square-feet of living space with seven bedrooms and nine baths.  The main level of the three-level home has marble floors throughout and a steel-reinforced marble staircase in the large foyer.  Ceilings are 11-feet tall and the foyer moldings are exact duplicates of the original.  Also included is the oval office, formal rooms, chef’s kitchen, a gym, wine cellar, home theater, an elevator, a party room for 100 and six fireplaces.  Upstairs are hardwood floors, bedrooms and the special Lincoln bedroom and bath with marble floor and walls.  The lower level is a finished walk-out basement with windows and stairs to the main floor.  The exterior has an attached three-car garage and a detached 1,500-square-foot storage building.

McLean, Virginia replica White House is the perfect home to hone one’s skills in feeling and acting very presidential indeed. Other potential buyers include Hillary Clinton, Donald Trump, Bernie Sanders, Marco Rubio, Ted Cruz or any of the current presidential hopefuls that miss grabbing the golden ring in November. Priced at $3.25 million in non-taxpayer money.

Frank Lloyd Wright’s California Contemporary Auction!
Rarely does an art auction house include real estate in one of their auctions.  In the case of Frank Lloyd Wright’s George D. Sturges House, it is actually part of the art being auctioned on February 21st.  It was just a few years after Wright completed Fallingwater in southwest Pennsylvania that he designed and completed the Sturges House in 1939, also cantilevered, that defies the open space below in the Brentwood neighborhood of Los Angeles.  Owned for almost 50 years by Jack Larson (Jimmy Olsen in the 1950s Adventures of Superman TV show) and his partner James Bridges (director of  Paperchase and Urban Cowboy), it will now be auctioned with proceeds going to their charitable foundation, the Bridges/Larson Foundation.

Starchitect John Lautner was a student of Wright’s when he designed and built the house in 1939, and had Lautner supervise its construction.  When Bridges and Larson later purchased it in 1967, they hired Lautner to restore it.   Consisting of two bedrooms and one bath, the small Usonian home of 1,123 square feet has a huge 21-foot wraparound deck and open floor plan making it seem much larger than its square footage would imply, and also a roof terrace with ocean views and a downstairs bonus space.  The auction will feature 75 lots of the couple’s belongings including original furnishings by Frank Lloyd Wright, fine art, decorative art and design collected by Larson and Bridges over their lifetimes.

Philip Johnson’s Wiley House!
Cleveland, Ohio native Philip Johnson, loved glass houses – or maybe he loved nature more and didn’t want solid walls to obstruct his view.  He started designing his mostly glass structures in 1949 with his own residence, the well-known Glass House in New Canaan, Connecticut, and has been celebrated as one of the country’s most important mid-century modern architects.  A prolific architect, his designs span the United States and continue into India, Israel, Germany and Venezuela.

Now for sale in New Canaan is the Wiley House, a private residence he designed in the early 1950s.  Sited on 6.33 acres, and expanded from the original to 5,616 square feet, the four-bedroom, five-bath house has a double-height glass pavilion housing the living room, which cantilevers over the stone lower floor with views over the property.  A courtyard effect is created with the house, the barn/art gallery and the newer pool house built into the hill.  The vintage swimming pool is a replica of Johnson’s pool at his own Glass House.  Asking $14 million.

African Missouri Queen!
No passport needed for this African safari – one only has to go as far as Springfield, Missouri to get the full impact of a jungle watering hole fed by a spring thick with vegetation and with a rustic outpost home bridging part of the stream that feeds it.  The house named The African Queen, now for sale by its owners, is the fruition of a dream and their talent for turning a vision into reality.   With exceptional creativity, they resurfaced the house with reclaimed wood from ancient structures and had an artisan create a textured floor made from 500,000 pieces of inlaid oak, walnut and ebony in a mosaic pattern that includes a crocodile that appears to be ambling across the room.  The office has a two-inch thick portion of glass floor weighing in at 1,000 pounds with views of the creek below with its rainbow trout. The ceiling is thatched with large bamboo beams where one can look out over the water and fountain through its glass wall.   Almost all the rooms in the house have unobstructed jungle, water and fountain views.

Furnishings include imported pieces from taxidermied animal trophies on the walls to animal skin upholstered antiques with horn legs and many African works of art as well as those collected from around the world.  One can forget the overuse of granite kitchen counters in this huge kitchen.  Instead, counters and sink have been honed from seamless slabs of Carthage stone weighing in at 3,500 pounds.  A hammered copper hot tub is positioned into a rugged rock wall and the bathroom sink is honed from petrified wood.

Out of Africa and located in the middle of the United States, the one-of-a-kind two bedroom, 3,300-square-foot African safari-style home on six acres of Missouri “jungle” is selling furnished and priced at $15 million.

Saratoga Springs Mansion!
Saratoga Springs has been known throughout American history for its natural mineral springs known for their restorative properties – the only naturally carbonated mineral springs east of the Rocky Mountains. In the 1800s, hotels were built to house the growing number of tourists who came to “take the waters.”  As the spring’s popularity grew, casinos were added, followed in 1863 by the Saratoga Race Course, the oldest racetrack in the country and named one of the best sporting venues in the country by Sports Illustrated.  

One of Saratoga Springs most prominent residents was General George Sherman Batcheller, a veteran of the Civil War and for many years a judge of the International Tribunal at Cairo, Egypt.  Highly respected, he was assigned to accompany the body of President Lincoln from Springfield to Washington, D.C. and was later assigned to various important overseas posts by future presidents.  In 1873, Batcheller constructed this mansion, now for sale, which was designed as a Victorian, combining French Renaissance Revival, Italianate and Egyptian influences.  Batcheller named the mansion Kaser-el-Nouzha, Arabic for palace of pleasure and the tower is reminiscent of a minaret.  Most recently used as an inn, the 10,000-square-foot home has ten bedrooms, eleven baths, formal rooms, multiple porches, professionally decorated on beautifully landscaped grounds.  Priced at $1,899,999.

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