Like probably many of you, we were absolutely entranced by the description of Rush Limbaugh's home in the New York Times this past weekend. It reminded us of this great book we have called Dictator Style, which showcases the flamboyant interior-decorating styles of some of the world's biggest despots. Limbaugh is, it seems, a member of the Saddam Hussein school of interior design. Like Saddam, he likes things opulent and luxurious— crystal chandeliers, lush carpets—and favors an oversized heirloom look— the chandelier in the dining room is a replica one from the Plaza, his library is "a scaled-down version of the library at the Biltmore Estate"—it's like Old Money Disneyland-style. Also like Saddam, Limbaugh likes to gild the lily:
The gleaming cherry-wood floors are dotted with hand-woven oriental carpets….Cherubs dance on the ceiling, leatherbound collections line the bookshelves and the wood-paneled walls were once “an acre of mahogany"... His staff lights fragrant candles throughout the house to greet his arrival from work each day.
Like many others whose fervent hate of and disregard for others is matched by a deep and true love for themselves, Limbaugh also keeps "a life-size oil portrait of El Rushbo, as he often calls himself" in a prominent position on his main staircase.
Limbaugh's scarily swank digs reminded us of a few other giant places occupied by giant personalities that we've recently come to know, and, in some cases, to love. After the jump, check out our mini-gallery of Egomaniacal Estates!
1. Kanye West, musician
Location: Los Angeles
The layout: A 4,200-square-foot, three-level house described as "a cross between a museum and a Louis Vuitton boutique," according to Interior Design, with French-walnut flooring, and many brand-name accessories, such as Ingo Maurer lamps and an Antonio Citterio bed (draped with red-fox and chinchilla throws). Neverlandish touches include Campbell's Soup cans by Andy Warhol, a Bob's Big Boy diner mascot by Burton Morris, stuffed animals by Fernando and Humberto Campana, paintings by Murakami and a 250-gallon aquarium filled with black moor and chocolate oranda goldfish.
Dictatorial flourish: It was widely reported that the angel in the Michelangeloesque ceiling portrait is West himself, though on his blog today he disputes it.
2. Jeffery Epstein, money manager, charter member of Bill Clinton Perv Posse, prisoner of his own desires.
Location: Upper East Side, though he also maintains residences in Palm Beach, New Mexico, the Virgin Islands (heh) and currently, Palm Beach County Correctional Facility.
The layout: Epstein's 45,000-square-foot, eight-story mansion on East 71st Street underwent $10 million in renovations five years ago. Notable features he added include closed-circuit T.V.'s and a heated sidewalk in front of the house for melting snow.
Dictatorial flourish: A lawsuit filed against him by probable tranny Maximillia Cordero last October claimed, "defendant gave plaintiff a tour of his mansion, showing her a huge crystal staircase with a huge crystal ball by the railing, ceiling chandeliers, a lounge room with red chairs, a statute [sic] of a dog with a statute [sic] of dog feces next to it.” Emphasis ours.
3. Steven A. Cohen, chairman, SAC Capital
Location: Greenwich, Connecticut
The layout: A Georgian "colossus" that contains its own beauty salon, theater, ice rink tended by its own Zamboni, and art gallery, which contains pieces by DeKooning, Manet, Degas, Warhol, Lichtenstein and Pollack, to name but a few.
Dictatorial flourish: A glass tank containing a tiger shark injected with formaldehyde, a work by the artist Damien Hirst.
4. Julian Schnabel, painter, filmmaker, lover.
Location: West Village
The layout: The 50,000-square-foot, "Pompeii Red" condo tower, named Palazzo Chupi, has 180 windows, balconies with cast-stone or bronze railings, multiple terraces. Kitchens, bathrooms, and the pool are lined with handmade tiles from Morocco, California, and North Carolina. Walls are lined floor-to-ceiling with Schnabel canvases.
Dictatorial flourish: While there is no actual portrait of Schnabel inside the Palazzo Chupi, there need hardly be. Consider the details, the chubby pink exterior and the fact that Ingrid Sischy called the house a Gesamtkunstwerk, a "total artwork" and "a sort of architectural autobiography" and you'll realize: Schnabel lives inside himself.
Late Period Limbaugh [NYT]