The Bizarre World of Florida

Take a peek: Florida couple, ages 77 and 46, own USA’s largest home August 9, 2012

Filed under: Amazing,Uncategorized,WTF? — floridaduh @ 9:42 pm

Windermere, Florida — Imagine living on a private island in an upscale affluent community with the likes of Shaquille O’Neal, Tiger Woods, and the president of Disney as your neighbors.

They live in a gated community in Windermere, Florida, which is near southwest Orlando. The homes are so extravagant that the late Michael Jackson even rented a home there with his kids so they could visit Walt Disney World.

But for the couple who rented their home to the King of Pop, that’s not enough. They gave First Coast News a one-on-one behind-the-scenes tour of the new home they’re building, which is believed to be the biggest house in America. It’s even larger than the White House.

The owners are the subject of a just released documentary called The Queen of Versailles. It features 77-year-old David Siegel and his 46-year-old wife, Jackie, talking about their 90,000 square foot home, which features two tennis courts, 30 bathrooms, a full size baseball field, and 10 kitchens.

David Siegel is a billionaire. He’s the founder and CEO of the largest timeshare company in the world. He’s captured in the film saying, “We are in line to do a billion dollars in sales for the year. We’re on top of the world.”

Jackie is a former beauty queen who had a small part in Terminator 3. She says, “I asked my husband how many bedrooms we had this morning because I’m losing track. I think it’s 14 or 15.”

She agreed to meet us at their new home even though it’s still under construction. The mother of eight pulled up in a Rolls Royce but almost couldn’t get out. She says, “I couldn’t even figure out how to put it in park!”

Jackie also couldn’t operate the air conditioning. She says her driver normally takes care of that.

When you enter her massive house and look up as you enter the main ballroom, you immediately see an intricate stained glass dome. Jackie says, “The stain glass dome was made in Iowa. It took a couple of years to make. You could fit 20 people comfortably inside that dome.”

When the house is finished, 500 people will be able to fit in the grand ballroom. There’s even room for an orchestra to set up and play to guests down below. Jackie says the inspiration came all the way from Paris.

She says,”We didn’t try to copy Versailles and it’s not exactly Versailles, but we did take a tour of it on our honeymoon.” She adds that her husband ended up designing the house on the back of an airline napkin.

Jackie adds, “It took like three years to design. I kept getting pregnant — another baby, another baby — so we kept adding on.”

Jackie says they needed more space for their eight children because their current home was just 26,000 square feet and they need things to keep the kids entertained too.

Jackie says, “We have a two lane bowling alley. We have an indoor skating rink, discotheque.” The house will also feature an art gallery, wine gallery, game room, 10,000 square-foot spa, workout room, and two movie theaters, as well as an indoor and an outdoor swimming pool. Then there’s the staff quarters for the nannies, housekeepers, house manager, and drivers. There are two elevators in the house to get everyone around.

The list of amenities in the home is so long that Jackie has a tough time keeping it all straight. She says, “I think…I forget…like a 20 car garage or something.”

Her garage has four or five million dollars worth of marble from Italy stored in it. She says, “These are balustrades. We have hundreds of balustrades going all around the house. But isn’t that something? I can’t fathom how someone is going to piece this together.”

But construction on the house came to a screeching halt after the financial crisis of 2008 hit.

During the documentary, David says, “I would say it’s touch and go right now. This is almost a riches to rags story.”

Jackie adds, “We don’t talk about financial problems. I guess I’ll have to watch the movie to find out what’s going on in my life.”

Jackie says the documentary paints an unfair picture of their struggles. “But my husband wasn’t so appreciative of the way that his company was portrayed in the movie because it looks like he lost everything.”

For now, the only one living inside the home is a vulture.
Jackie says they’re interviewing contractors these days so construction can resume. She adds, “We couldn’t think of anything else more to add. I don’t know, I guess we could add a zoo, right?”

In the meantime, it will take about four years for the house to be completed and the couple isn’t against selling their dream home for $100 million — $75 million as is.


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