Building officials from a dozen local municipalities toured Bill and
Melinda Gates' house last month, below are the comments from one of the
- Currently 300 workers including 104 electricians.
- No visible electrical outlets anywhere. Gates does not like
- Construction likely complete in September 1997, 3 months behind
- 112 steps from the main floor to the main entry (or take the
- Wood columns from main floor to roof in entry area are over
70 feet long.
- Theme throughout main floor is high tech. lodge. Primary
structure is all exposed similar to large logs in a lodge except the
logs are PERFECTLY finished.
- All timbers used inside and out are finished the same - 3 inches have
been removed from the exterior of the wood and then sanded to a satin
- All timbers are nearly perfect in that there are almost no knots.
- All connectors are structural grade stainless steel.
- All bolts throughout the house are stainless steel and oriented the
- All woodwork is flawless. Much of the woodwork is of various rare
species from all over the world - imported especially for the Gates'.
- Some of the interior passage doors weigh over 800 lbs, but are
for easy use.
- Accoustics are a concern throughout. Various woods and fabrics are
used. Accoustic panels in the Ballroom move out of sight on their
- Roofing is stainless steel.
- Floor is heated everywhere including the driveway and walks.
- Ventilation system also conditions the air for health and comfort.
- Security system (automated and personnel) is redundant. Hidden
cameras everywhere including interior stone walls. Sensors in the
can track a person to within 6 inches. System is monitored at the
- Gates has a personal 4-car garage. House for the maintenance staff
its own 3-car garage. Nanny parks in the 6-car carport across from
main entry. An additional 10-cars can be parked in a subterranean
arched concrete building which through an electronic transformation
becomes a basketball court.
- Nanny lives in plush quarters in the main residence near to the Gates'
- Existing cedar tree was determined by Gates to be in the wrong
and moved 6 inches.
- Gates insisted on saving a 140 year old maple adjacent to the
The tree is monitored electronically 24 hours per day via computer.
it seems dry, it gets just the right amount of water automatically
- There will be an 18 hole putting range.
- A salmon hatchery is being finished.
- If you wish, your music will follow you throughout the house - even at
the bottom of the pool.
- Many doors are blended so well with the walls that it is hard to see
- Theatre (underground in a concrete shell) is the most state of the art
theatre in the world according to specialty contractor.
- Entry gate senses when your car approaches and opens fully by the time
- Very old antique cabinets from China have been brought in and built
the walls with adjacent paneling built to match the cabinets exactly.
- 52 miles of communication cable in the building.
- Shower curtain next to the spa is a 4500 lb slab of granite.
- Melinda has 42 linear feet of clothes hanging space in her closet
operated like a dry cleaner's rack.
- Master bathtub can be filled to the right temperature and depth by
as he drives home from work.
- Only two guest bedrooms.
- There is a 28 foot high cantilever retaining wall.
- Reinforcing steel in all concrete is four times the code minimum. No.
18 steel wrapped with no. 5 ties was common for simple columns.
- There is a loading bay within the building.
- All work is virtually flawless.
- An interior designer disagreed with the layout of a portion of the
Demolition resulted and 160 cubic yards of cured, cast-in-place
- All building officials were suffering "sensory overload" shortly after
the 3-hour tour started.