Inside Bill Gates’ house: trampoline room among quirky features in £95.8 million Seattle mansion

Prudence Ivey and James Mowbray
·3-min read
 (Dan Callister/REX)
(Dan Callister/REX)

As Bill and Melinda gates call time on their marriage of 27 years, there has been much speculation about how the assets of the world’s fourth richest man and his wife will be split, after court documents revealed the couple did not sign a pre-nup.

It is unclear what will happen to the sprawling mansion on the edge of Lake Washington near Seattle, where the couple raised their three children, now aged 25, 21 and 18.

Worth a reported £95.8 million ($127 million), it features a trampoline room, which had been the source of feverish rumours until the Microsoft founder confirmed its existence two years ago.

But the tech billionaire, suggested the trampoline room wasn't installed for his own use, but rather for his children to bounce on.

And it seems he may not have been getting much bouncing practice, confessing that he would no longer be able to perform his legendary feat of clearing an office chair in one leap from standing, a skill he demonstrated in a 1994 TV interview.

During his seventh annual Ask Me Anything (AMA) session on Reddit, in amongst debates about coding and reading recommendation requests, Gates was asked by Redditor vansebastian "what's the most 'treat yo self' rich guy thing that you do?"

Gates replied: "I have a nice house. It includes a trampoline room which seems kind of over the top but my kids love using it to work off their excess energy."

The multi-billionaire continued: "I am not sure how guilty I should feel about being in a great house."

Redditors on the thread were thrilled to have the rumours of the existence of this unusual property feature confirmed, with most users on the thread saying they would choose to have a trampoline room over the luxury of a private jet or mansion.

AP/Elaine Thompson
AP/Elaine Thompson

Inside Bill Gates' 'nice house'

The down-to-earth billionaire may claim to still do the dishes every night at home, but trampolines are not the only extravagant feature in the 66,000sq ft complex built in the Pacific lodge style using wood from 500-year-old Douglas fir trees.

Built for the Gates family in 1997, the house has been nicknamed Xanadu 2.0 in reference to the decadent excess of the fictional estate in Citizen Kane and costs a reported $1 million a year in property taxes.

The house is understood to feature an artificial beach (with sand imported from the Caribbean), an artificial stream stocked with real fish and an indoor swimming pool with underwater speakers piping music for swimmers.

A 2,100sq ft library has a quote from the Great Gatsby engraved around the base of the reading room dome — a fitting home for Leonardo da Vinci's Codex Leicester, which Gates bought at auction for $30.8 million in 1994.

As you might expect from the home computing pioneer, the house is said to be full of unique technological touches, with visitors wearing personal electronic pins, which connect to computers throughout the mansion, adjusting the lighting, heat and music to their personal preferences.

Computer screens on the walls display guests' favourite artworks at the flick of a switch.

Asked on Reddit if being a billionaire has made him happier, Gates replied: “Yes. I don't have to think about health costs or college costs. Being free from worry about financial things is a real blessing.”

But, he said that one can also find satisfaction from "small, non-material things" and that you can improve your happiness by "doing more exercise" – presumably on your own private trampoline.