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  1. 1

    Mike F

    Reading an article about this estate: “This is not a stone house, by the way. It’s a wood balloon frame with a few steel beams and plywood cladding. The ‘stone’ cladding is technically known as veneer. It’s actually thin slices of stone glued to the underlayment of plywood”. PLYWOOOD!!!! Cheap wooden house! Very surprised, but a big house does not need to be well-made.

    Even a non-skilled architect can easily notice several things that can be improved here.

    1. 1.1


      So the house is really just wood, wood frame with plywood for walls that have thin slices of stone glued to them…!? Why would anyone want to build a home that way?

      I also read in an article that certain moldings are actually just molded concrete, not actual solid carved stone, which costs a lot more. Also certain design features are bad, apparently.

      BTW, what article did you read about the veneer?

      1. 1.1.1

        Mike F

        Sorry, I missed your comment there. Well, I read about it online, can’t remember where it was now.

        For a house this large, I wa expecting a more solid and grander construction. Some things are silly-looking, but this can be a thing the architect has missed.

        Speaking of that… I was following the inspection of a much larger and grander estate recently, the house was superbly built, but the architect had missed some interior details, so there was a feeling about “cheap” inside. So much in a house depends on the architect. But in the case with the NY-house here, I think more a low budget is the main issue.



          I don’t think “low budget” is a term that should be used when describing this house… It cost $25 million to build (complete end result) and took several years. With nothing to compare it to in the area, the city rounded off the assessed land tax to be $1 million per year (and Michele was not happy about it either, Lol).

  2. 2


    leopard print carpeting on the stairs……really??? this is why i will NEVER let my wife have a say in the interior decorating of my dream home.

    1. 2.1
      Profile photo of Kenny Forder

      Kenny Forder

      hahaha. yeah, I must admit, the carpet is hideous.

  3. 3


    I don’t get the big deal about plywood.

    Even the $20 million homes here (denver) have plywood.

    2 x6 framing, plywood over that, then a sheet of insulation, then exterior brick/stone/whatever.

    What am I missing here?

  4. 4


    “Fake” stone walls and veneers are pretty standard in American homes, no matter the size or cost of the house. A house like that would never fly in Europe though. People over there tend to care more about the quality and authenticity of the materials used than the size of the home.

    1. 4.1

      Mike F

      In Sweden houses are usually much smaller, but they can still offer a very high class when it comes to luxury. Same in Finland I would say. But have seen some really awful “quality homes” here also. In rest of Europe I guess it varies from country to country.

      Worst example of poor housing you find in the Baltics, where quality used to be, and probably still is, rather poor even though prices can for the region be high.

  5. 5

    Kieran (previously dubilloh7)

    At first glance I think this house is really beautiful. Its shame its on such a small lot -obviously working with a budget, yet still wanted the ostentatious look -strange. The inside scale of the rooms/proportions is way off. The transparent fence might as well not be there as it offers no privacy -I get the impression the house was primarily a commercial agenda. Every subdivision has a ‘fine’ home like this. Yes Michelle you live in Suburbia xoxo

  6. 6


    and what’s up with the orange cone in the street?? i would think in Extravagant Mansion Photography 101 they would instruct you to make an attempt in temporarily removing said items for your grand shot.

    1. 6.1


      HAHA! In my country its very in vogue to try and get cones into peoples important photos and/or into tv/news broadcasts. Go the cone! :D

  7. 7


    omg Kenny: there is a 53 million minnesota mansion going up for auction check it out its the pilsbury mansion

  8. 8


    This house actually has a heated lawn. Yes, you read that correctly. Heated. LAWN! For the 14 or so chihuahuas Mrs Riggi has. Yeah….

  9. 8.1

    Mike F

    In the very expensive parts of Sweden, an exclusive house very seldom is over 1,000 square meters, about 10,000 square feet. Usually about 500+sqm. The houses are usually top-renovated older ones, and they can offer a classic exterior with a mix of modern and contemporary interiors. If done right, it is a beautiful combination.

    The older houses are usually made of wood, but it is a VERY WELL constructed house, incredibly stabile. And of course they did not use plywood :) A solid stone foundation. In stately homes and such, a mix of stone, bricks and wood could be used.

    Modern ones use still and concrete, but even in grander homes the tradition to use hi-quality wood is still present. But if stone facade, then there is usually real stone.

    We have an area with “fancy-looking places” where the houses can go towards 2,000 sqm. The facades are incredibly well-made with deep-red bricks. The rest can be wood and stone, but so incredibly well-made that the house can stand almost forever. They were constructed about a 100 years ago, and that quality is still impressive.


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