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Dean's Gardens Sold

Pictures and Description from the Former Owner's Site

Dean Gardens
Dean Gardens is a modern neo-classical estate completed in 1992. Several hundred construction workers, master woodworkers, artisans, landscape professionals and supervisors all worked together transforming 60 acres of raw, rolling pastureland on the Chattahoochee River into what may well be America's most elegant estate.

The mansion itself is approximately 32 thousand square feet. The carriage house, with another 10,000 square feet, has twin two-bedroom apartments, an office and laundry plus parking for a dozen cars.

Other structures on the property include the estate manager's cottage, the greens keeper's cottage, a conservatory, an amphitheater, a wedding chapel on the man-made lake, and several outbuildings including an Italian pavilion at the west end of the Italian Gardens. Extensive formal gardens and an 18-hole par 72 golf course complete the estate.

The Rotunda
Inspired by the dome of Florence, Italy's Brunelleschi Cathedral, is perhaps the mansion's most dramatic element. Three and a half stories high and caped with a circular skylight, the Rotunda sets an elegant tone for this exceptional home.

The Grande Salon
The Grande Salon's glass wall looks out the back of the home onto the shell-shaped swimming pool, the formal gardens, the three-acre man-made lake and the river beyond. The French Empire furnishings here set a comfortable, yet formal tome for the entire home.

The Silver Suite
At the end of the west hall is the Silver Suite, a guest suite with an elegant sitting room separated from the bedroom by sliding pocket doors. In the bedroom, an arched window serves as the bed's headboard. A small balcony looks out over the Oriental Gardens.

The Master Suite
The Master Suite, some three thousand square feet, is highlighted by the extraordinary, hand-carved and painted art nouveau doors, mantle and bed crafted by North Carolina artist Jane Goco. The black granite and pearlized marble art deco bath features a whirlpool tub overlooking the formal gardens. The unique glass brick enclosed shower is shaped like a chambered nautilus.

The Formal Dining Room
At the left of the Rotunda, a carved limestone portico frames one entry into the home's Formal Dining Room. The limestone, as in the Peacock Room and other areas of the home, were carved by Haddonstone of England. Just inside the entrance, twin seawater aquariums add color and life to an elegant setting for both formal and family dining. There is an original oil canvas mural applied to the surface of the cove ceiling which plays perfect counterpoint match to antique crystal chandeliers from Bulgaria.

The Kitchen
As the center of a family's life, the Kitchen sits adjacent to the den and breakfast area. The curvelinear oak cabinets in a warm, raspberry color give an "organic" feeling to the kitchen, making it truly the heart of the home. Like all the home's other fine cabinets, these were handmade by D.A. Counce and craftsmen from Oklahoma City who lived on the property for two years.

The Malachite Bath
Ms. Susan Reinstein of Harrison Design was responsible for the creative tile and marble designs in the baths and kitchens. The malachite cabinet surrounds a sink of 24 carat gold.

The Peacock Room
At the end of this east wing of the main floor is the octagonally shaped Peacock Room. With its baby grand piano and cappuccino bar, this unique space is perfect for entertaining large groups. The room has 11' x 15' arched windows which weigh some 12 hundred pounds each. From the center of the ceiling, 43 feet above the floor, an eight-foot tall "pendant" lighting fixture is suspended. The ceiling mural was painted by James Chadwick of Atlanta. The table in the center of the room is carved from English limestone and weighs four thousand pounds. It sits atop a steel beam buried in bedrock under the home.

The Game Room
Directly below the Peacock Room is a 1950s style Game Room with a soda fountain, ice cream bar, jukebox, and banquette seating around the column that supports the limestone table above. Outside the Game Room, behind the elevator, there are men's and women's cabanas with their own dressing rooms and bathrooms. A powder room separates the cabanas from the steam, weight and exercise rooms. Outside these, there is a hot tub, a pool table and a game table in front of a double-sided fireplace.

The Moroccan Rooms/Media Rooms
The Moroccan influence that pervades much of the terrace level is most prominent in these spaces. They look much like areas inside Atlanta's historic Fox theatre. In fact, the Egyptian columns here are reproductions of columns is the Fox. The columns are hand built out of wood then covered in plaster. The ceiling was painted by Chris Hagen. There is a sophisticated audio and video system especially designed for this room. On each side of a Moroccan stage are surroundsound speakers, in the center a screen rolls down out of the "stage" for viewing projection television.

The Egyptian Suite
Down the hallway from the Moroccan Room is the Egyptian Suite. The bathroom was designed as an Egyptian tomb…complete with Hieroglyphics, papyrus leaves, ankhs and a floor of Solnhofen stone, a German limestone which has fossilized lichens embedded in it. The effect is dramatically tomblike. The plaster piece on the wall is from an excavation in Egypt. Jim Chadwick was responsible for the Egyptian boxes and games placed throughout the room.

The Oriental Suite
Finally, on the terrace level is the Oriental Suite.

The Ultra-Contemporary Bedroom
In designing this room, Chris Dean focused on his brother's very "now" personality, using ultra-contemporary décor. The bathroom is done in yellow and black.

The Old English Bedroom
This bedroom was designed like an elegant, old gentlemen's club done in rich mahogany. The room's detailing is intriguing: the bed is actually built into the wall, and the stairway leads to a reading room and an exterior balcony above. The bath is quite masculine with fixtures reminiscent of a fine locker room.

The French Bedroom
The crackled moldings here required a great deal of time and care to install as each appliqué had to be individually heated and molded onto the wall's surface. The bedroom furniture is an antique suite.

The Nursery
The wall to the right of the room's entrance is a common wall with the circular Rotunda, it was a challenge to come up with a nursery theme that would capitalize on this curved surface. The carousel theme is as simple a concept as it is an inspired choice for this room. The antique crib was refinished and painted by Chris Hagan.

Hawaiian Art Gallery
This area was originally designed to be a six-foot connector to the garage. It was expanded to display the art the Deans have collected in Hawaii over the years. Outside the entrance to the Gallery is a double portrait of Chris Dean by Atlanta artist Todd Murphy.

The Golf Course
Dean Gardens' 18-hole, par 72 golf course begins on the west side of the home, plays around the Oriental gardens, and down near the grass tennis court and croquet lawn on the property's east side. The golf course, tucked away in the landscape as it is, lets people interact with nature while enjoying a game of golf. Areas of sculptural and architectural interest were created around the course to add special visual interest. Aquatic gardens were built and natural springs were turned into lagoons. At the highest point of the property you'll find a lagoon rather than a lawn area. More than a million tons of rocks-from boulders to small stones-were purchased and strategically placed around the estate.

The Par 3 Golf Course Scorecard
The Dean Gardens' 18 hole, Par 72 scorecard.

Lower Estate
In the back of the home, on its south side, a terrace and shell-shaped swimming pool are built into the natural slope of the land over a grotto. Below this area lie the more formal French and Italian Gardens with a large fountain at their center.
Farther down the slope, a three-acre man-made lake captures all the run-off water from Dean Gardens. The lake features a
45-foot high spray fountain and a hexagonal, domed wedding chapel patterned after the one at the Westin Hotel on Hawaii's island of Kauai.

Megamansion estate sale mainly draws the curious

By Dana Rosenblatt, CNN
August 23, 2010 -- Updated 1248 GMT (2048 HKT)

Johns Creek, Georgia (CNN) -- Some came for the bargains. Others arrived just to capture a glimpse of a lifestyle from a largely bygone era of decadence and conspicuous consumption.

Technology entrepreneur Larry Dean priced and tagged almost every possession at his former residence, a 32,000-square-foot megamansion appropriately called Dean Gardens.

Parts of the home's architecture, such as the rotunda in the foyer inspired by the dome of the Brunelleschi Cathedral in Florence, Italy, also were up for bids at the weekend estate sale.

The megamansion was recently sold after sitting on the market for more than a decade. Dean decided to liquidate most all of the home's contents after learning of the new owner's plans to level the palatial estate.

He teamed up with Atlanta-based organization Luminocity, which earned a portion of the proceeds to organize the estate sale. Luminocity plans to debut a 360 degree Performance Art Light Parade Experience late November, and representatives say some of its proceeds go to various local charities.

The estate sale kicked off Friday evening with a semiformal cocktail party, culminating late Saturday afternoon with plenty of merchandise still available.

The event drew more curious onlookers than serious buyers.

"We've been driving by this house for years and have always wondered what's inside," said Marlisa Grady, who brought her kids Madison and Ryan to the estate sale on Saturday.

"I promised the kids I'd get them something here, as long as it was under $100," Grady said.

The family walked out with an old-fashioned gumball machine for $75, taken from the game room.

The self-made baron of Dean Gardens made his fortune in the early 1970s after starting a financial services software company.

After the company went public, he and his first wife, Lynda, spent four years and $25 million to create the home of their dreams -- a neoclassical mansion for the nouveau-riche featuring 10 bathrooms and eight bedrooms. It is situated on 58 acres of landscaped Italian and French gardens that rival that of Versailles. The grounds feature an 18-hole golf course, grass tennis courts, an amphitheater and a conservatory.

Soon after the home was complete, the couple split, and Dean was faced with operating costs ranging from $750,000 to $1 million a year.

It's the hefty maintenance, says Dean, that prompted him to sell what he calls his legacy.

Dean had received several offers during the 15 years his home was off and on the market -- including one rumored to be from Michael Jackson.

Dean wouldn't comment on who had expressed interest, saying only that all the offers had been "flaky" until the one he accepted several weeks ago.

Though he could not disclose the details of neither the selling price nor the buyer, Georgia real estate records show the property sold for $7.6 million.

But the rumors that actor and filmmaker Tyler Perry is the new owner are true, said one estate sale organizer, adding that Perry plans to level the property to build a more energy efficient and sustainable residence.

Attendees took pictures of the mansion's extravagantly appointed rooms that were aptly named the Moroccan room, the Egyptian suite, the French Bedroom, the Contemporary room, the Asian suite and gardens and the 1950s game room.

Some attendees said the opulence of Dean Gardens is over the top given the current economic climate.

"Big mansions are a thing of the past. People want something more economic," said Marcia Foltz, who came to the estate sale with her daughter, Katy Foltz.

Throughout the event, an upbeat Dean mingled with shoppers and oglers in his former home, accepting offers on everything from $10 demitasse espresso cups to a 24-karat gold sink for which he paid $88,000.

The gold sink resembled "Flavor Flav's mouth," joked Joan Rivers during an episode of the TV program "How'd You Get So Rich?" featuring Dean.

Until its doors were open to the paying public (ticket prices ranged from $50 for one day to $100 for two-day event), Dean Gardens had been an enigma of opulence and kitsch.

"I've known about the legacy of Dean Gardens for 15 years," said Paul Mallchok, who drove from Chattanooga, Tennessee.

"I remember there was a promotional video [that described it] as the most amazing home recently built in America, and it's a living up to every single expectation I ever had -- wretched excess," Mallchok said wryly.

Dean, a thrice-divorced grandfather of eight, says he's not sentimental about saying goodbye to anything, including the estate itself, and feels a sense of relief that he'll be living there for only one more month.

"I grew up in a house with four rooms the happiest kid you've ever seen," Dean said. "And now I want to go back to a four-room house."

$40 Million Mansion Sells for $7.6 Million

By Robert Frank

I’ll never forget my first megamansion.

It was 1994, and I was a reporter at The Wall Street Journal’s Atlanta bureau. I was sent to do an article about an estate outside of town known as Dean Gardens that had just been put up for sale.

I had never seen anything quite like it–-and haven’t since. My article began:

When Larry Dean built the largest, splashiest estate in town, he said he wanted to “glorify the gifts of God.”

What God makes of a Moroccan theater, 24-karat-gold sinks, 15 bedrooms and an 18-hole golf course remains unclear. What is apparent is that Mr. Dean’s $40 million project has become less of a divine dream house than his own high-priced purgatory. He can’t seem to get rid of it.

“I’m sort of a prisoner here,” says Mr. Dean, standing in the Peacock Room of his giant pink mansion, overlooking his outdoor amphitheater, tennis courts and gardens.

The 32,000-square-foot, tropical neoclassic mansion, as Mr. Dean describes it, has bathrooms built like Egyptian tombs, a Hawaiian-art gallery, a 1950s-style dance hall, French Empire furniture, 13 fireplaces, an “Alice in Wonderland” master bedroom and a 24-seat dining room complete with a wall-sized aquarium called the Predator Tank.

How Mr. Dean got stuck with a $40 million white elephant is fairly predictable. He earned a fortune in software, plowed much of it into his house, got a divorce and ran out of cash. He spent nearly $30 million to build it and $1.5 million a year on upkeep. He put it on the market in 1994 for $40 million.

There were no takers. I figured the house would get sold during the 1996 Olympics or at least during the housing boom of the 2000s. No takers.

According to The New York Times, the house just sold this month–after more than 16 years on the market–to entertainment tycoon Tyler Perry. The sale price was $7.6 million. Mr. Perry plans to tear it down and build a new new house on the land. Mr. Dean says he won’t get a penny, since it will go to pay off debts. Mr. Dean also sold off some of his personal items. (Click here to see the mansion’s website.)

“The buyer basically stole the house,” he told the Times.

The lack of buyers and steep discount is owed in large part to the home’s Liberace-meets-Napoleon design. My favorite was the master bed, carved in the shape of an iris and painted iridescent pink and aqua with 14 layers of the automotive paint used on Corvettes.

But the Dean house also shows how the lessons from real-estate excesses of the past are never learned. In 1994, I thought Dean Gardens represented the final blow-out of America’s new-money, over-leveraged megamansions. Now, it seems like a quaint anteroom.

There are even more Dean Gardens out there today. And cleaning them up and selling them off could take longer than 16 years.

How long–and at what price–do you think it will take to clear out today’s real-estate white elephants?

Desain Rumah real estate design collection
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