Thursday/ the Xanadu 2.0 palace

(‘House, Palace, Cottage, Pigsty’).
– Afrikaans children’s rhyme, used to determine the ‘elegance’ of the house that your family lived in. Point to the top button of your shirt, and say ‘House’; the next button down is ‘Palace’; the next one down is ‘Cottage’, and so on, until you reach the bottom button. (Start again with ‘House’ if your shirt has more than four buttons). The bottom button says what your house is.

Now that the Gateses are divorcing, commentators are wondering what will happen to their sprawling $130 million estate on the shore of Lake Washington.  Back in the mid-90’s when construction started, it was dubbed Xanadu 2.0.  Xanadu is a reference to the lavish property that belongs to the tycoon character in the 1941 film ‘Citizen Kane’. The 2.0 refers to a next version iteration, such as Windows 3.0.

An intern was allowed to blog about the property in 2007, here. (Quote: ‘Going down Bill’s driveway is like arriving at Jurassic Park’).

Melinda Gates has reportedly bought a property of $1.2 million here in Capitol Hill, just three weeks ago. The reporter called it a ‘cottage’.

The Gates family home, on the banks of Seattle’s Lake Washington, in a photo from 2001. The floorspace comes to 66,000 sq ft and nowadays, racks up a yearly property tax bill of more than US$1 million. [Credit: Dan Callister/Newsmakers, via Getty Images]
I did a Google Earth flyover of the Lake Washington shoreline, and here is what an aerial view looks like today (middle of the picture). The trees and shrubs have gotten much bigger — obscuring the property from curious eyes, peering at it from Lake Washington, even more.

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