CONTROVERSIAL TOPICS

CONTROVERSIAL TOPICS

Saturday, July 5, 2014

OF LUXURY ISLANDS AND MANSIONS

 

 

The stunning main building has a giant swimming pool, along with various sun decks, lookout points and outdoor dining areas The living room, in the style of Victorian Welsh tower, is decorated in Italian fabrics and Chinese lanterns. John said Victorian painters and poets would love its 'exotic' style      

Going for a song? Sting's nine bedroom £15m London mansion complete with six bathrooms and yards from Downing Street goes up for sale

  • Grade 1 listed home is a stone's throw from Buckingham Palace in London and has a statue by Antony Gormley
  • Singer, 62, who grew up in the shadow of shipyards near Newcastle now has homes in New York and Tuscany
  • It currently has a grand piano and a chess set in sitting rooms and Big Ben can be heard chiming from the garden

He has amassed an impressive collection of luxury properties around the world.

So Sting is unlikely to miss this grand central London house after putting it up for sale – with an expected price of more than £15million.

With nine bedrooms and six bathrooms all lavishly decorated, it is opulent enough to suit even the tastes of a multi-millionaire rock star.

Opulent: The living room of pop singer Sting's London mansion, a stone's throw from Downing Street and Buckingham Palace, which is on sale for around £15million

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Opulent: The living room of pop singer Sting's London mansion, a stone's throw from Downing Street and Buckingham Palace, which is on sale for around £15million

You don't have to put up the red drapes: The master bedroom with its unusually-painted ceiling is one of just nine in the elegant home in central Westminster

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You don't have to put up the red drapes: The master bedroom with its unusually-painted ceiling is one of just nine in the elegant home in central Westminster

And whoever buys the property, a stone’s throw from Downing Street, will be able to count David Cameron among their neighbours.

The historic home is Grade 1 listed, meaning it is fiercely protected. Joking about the limitations of doing building work to a property in a conservation area, Miss Styler once joked: ‘We couldn’t change a doorknob without getting a permit.’ But the couple have certainly put their own stamp on the bedroom - which has a red carpet, distinctive ceiling and mirror above the headboard.

It is a far cry from where Sting was raised. The son of a milkman, he grew up in the shadow of the Wallsend shipyards near Newcastle, while his wife was raised on a Worcestershire council estate.

The 62-year-old and wife Trudie Styler, who also have homes in New York, Tuscany and Wiltshire, bought the Westminster house for £5.7million 11 years ago from Tory defector turned Labour MP Shaun Woodward.

It boasts views over St James’s Park and is so close to Big Ben the owners can hear the clock chime loudly from the garden.

There are a total of nine bedrooms, six bathrooms and an impressive five reception rooms. It even has its own lift.

Understated: The bathroom makes heavy use of wood, with art hanging on the walls and spotlighting around the bath. Sting bought the home for £5.7m 11 years ago

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Understated: The bathroom makes heavy use of wood, with art hanging on the walls and spotlighting around the bath. Sting bought the home for £5.7m 11 years ago

 

Towering: The exterior of the home in central London owned by the pop star Sting and his wife Trudie Styler. But don't worry about tiring yourself out - it has its own lift The home in central London is owned by the pop star Sting and his wife Trudie Styler

Towering: The exterior of the home in central London owned by the pop star Sting and his wife Trudie Styler (right). Don't worry about tiring yourself out - it has its own lift

The house is ‘presented in immaculate condition and benefits from exceptional entertaining and living space.’, according to property agent Knight Frank.

The photographs of the house offer an intriguing insight into the private life of the couple, who have four grown-up children.

There is the chess set in one of the main sitting rooms, a grand piano for private performances at home below a large picture of a planet, possibly Saturn, and an extensive collection of white orchids.

In the garden is a statue of a boy with a football by the famous sculptor Antony Gormley, best known for his Angel of the North.

The sale of the house will hardly leave the couple homeless. Their main base is now a penthouse in New York, and they have other homes dotted around the world, including a 600-acre estate in the Tuscan countryside of Italy and an Elizabethan home in Wiltshire in 150 acres of farmland.

They are also thought to have just sold another house in the capital overlooking nearby Green Park for £7.25million.

Property agent Knight Frank refused to comment on the sale, which is being marketed as ‘price on application’.

 

       

A stunning luxury island which comes with six beaches, four houses and its own private runway is going up for sale for a staggering £6million.

At 681 acres, Innocence Island is the largest private island in the Exuma area of the Bahamas, meaning it has plenty of space for a six-bed house complete with 360 degree panoramic views and a giant swimming pool.

Wealthy jet-setters will even be able to charter flights from Miami, Atlanta and Toronto airports to the private runway, which comes with its own airport code - MYEY - and can handle small jets.

Innocence Island in the Bahamas is going on sale for £6million, complete with a 3,000 sq ft, six-bed mansion, and its own airstrip (left)

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Innocence Island in the Bahamas is going on sale for £6million, complete with a 3,000 sq ft, six-bed mansion, and its own airstrip (left)

The stunning main building has a giant swimming pool, along with various sun decks, lookout points and outdoor dining areas

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The stunning main building has a giant swimming pool, along with various sun decks, lookout points and outdoor dining areas

Innocence, the largest private island in the Exuma region of the Bahamas, also has pontoons jutting out into the sea which provide the perfect relaxation spot

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Innocence, the largest private island in the Exuma region of the Bahamas, also has pontoons jutting out into the sea which provide the perfect relaxation spot

Out on the pontoon guests can enjoy a bite to eat at the dining table or take a cocktail with them and lean against the bar looking out into the ocean

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Out on the pontoon guests can enjoy a bite to eat at the dining table or take a cocktail with them and lean against the bar looking out into the ocean

And if the owners decided to fly some friends out to the island with them and there isn't enough room left in the 3,000sq ft main house, then they can always put them up in a separate bungalow, which comes with its own meditation and yoga deck, alongside a gym. If that wasn't enough, there is another four-bedroom property on the island, which should leave plenty of room for the island's caretakers to sleep in a fourth two-bedroom home.

Once there, guests will be able to chose between six gorgeous beaches to visit, along with a variety of lookout posts, sun decks, and idyllic pontoons jutting out into the sea.

Guests to the island will be able to feast on some home-grown produce as tomatoes, lemons, guava and mangoes all growing wild

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Guests to the island will be able to feast on some home-grown produce as tomatoes, lemons, guava and mangoes all growing wild

With 681 acres to cover visitor's legs may get tired, so they could always take a golf buggy down to one of the six beaches instead

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With 681 acres to cover visitor's legs may get tired, so they could always take a golf buggy down to one of the six beaches instead

There are six beaches dotted around Innocence Island, ensuring that any guests that get flown there will have plenty of space to relax

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There are six beaches dotted around Innocence Island, ensuring that any guests that get flown there will have plenty of space to relax

There will also be plenty of space for the guests to sleep. As well as the main house, there is another bungalow complete with a gym and meditation deck

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There will also be plenty of space for the guests to sleep. As well as the main house, there is another bungalow complete with a gym and meditation deck

And when it comes to eating, why not try some of the island's own produce, with tomatoes, mango, guava and lemons all growing wild across the landscape.

Exuma is a district of the Bahamas which contains 360 islands. Since the native population were enslaved in the 16th century, the islands were completely uninhabited until the 18th century and provided a hideout and stash point for many pirates and thieves, including Captain Kidd.

Innocence Island is being auctioned for a staggering £6million by Concierge Auctions, USA in New York on the 15th May 2014.

There is another four-bedroom property for guests to use, which will leave plenty of space for the island's caretakers in the fourth two-bedroom bungalow

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There is another four-bedroom property for guests to use, which will leave plenty of space for the island's caretakers in the fourth two-bedroom bungalow

The main house has incredible 360 views out across the crystal clear waters of the Bahamas and the rest of the island

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The main house has incredible 360 views out across the crystal clear waters of the Bahamas and the rest of the island

Whoever buys the island can charter flight to it from Toronto, Miami, and Atlanta, and the airstrip even has its own code - MYEY

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Whoever buys the island can charter flight to it from Toronto, Miami, and Atlanta, and the airstrip even has its own code - MYEY

The idyllic island measures a staggering 681 acres, which is roughly the same size as 520 American football fields

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The idyllic island measures a staggering 681 acres, which is roughly the same size as 520 American football fields

 

 

Island community up for sale in Italy for £3million (and it's still cheaper than the average terrace in Westminster)

  • Small village in region of Umbria boasts a large castle plus its own church
  • Stunning estate is located on Lake Trasimeno and is on sale for £2,911,200
  • With grounds spanning 11 acres, the castle overlooks two private harbours
  • Estate was founded around the 14th century Church of St Francis
  • Price is still cheaper than the average terrace in the heart of London

A small village boasting a giant castle and a church with a bell tower has gone on sale for nearly £3million on an island in the central region of Umbria.

Despite the eye-watering price tag, the property, with all of its alluring features and scenic location, is still cheaper than the average price of a terrace in the heart of London.

It is proving to be a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for potential buyers, and the perfect property for anyone who has dreamed of becoming lord of the manor.

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The stunning estate is located on Lake Trasimeno, in Italy's Umbria region, and is on sale for £2,911,200

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The stunning estate is located on Lake Trasimeno, in Italy's Umbria region, and is on sale for £2,911,200

The castle overlooks the village's tennis courts, harbours and the nearby coast of Passignano sul Trasimeno

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The castle overlooks the village's tennis courts, harbours and the nearby coast of Passignano sul Trasimeno

The stunning estate is located on Lake Trasimeno and is on sale for £2,911,200 – a million less than the average terraced house in Westminster, one of London’s priciest property markets.

With grounds spanning 11 acres, the castle overlooks the village’s grass tennis courts, its two private harbours and the nearby coast of Passignano sul Trasimeno.

It is a large 10-bedroom luxury escape set over two floors and around three courtyards, with planning permission to be converted into a hotel.

If it becomes a hotel its history could help to lure holidaymakers, as the historic estate was founded around the 14th century Church of St Francis, which later grew to include a monastery.

Stunning castle estate for sale on Lake Trasimeno, Italy

Today, the castle is a large 10-bedroom luxury escape with planning permission to be converted into a hotel

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Today, the castle is a large 10-bedroom luxury escape with planning permission to be converted into a hotel

Today, the castle is listed as a building of significant historical and artistic interest

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Today, the castle is listed as a building of significant historical and artistic interest

It is listed as a building with significant historical and artistic interest, and has received special protection from local authorities.

The castle tripled in size after renovations from 1885 to 1891, allowing it to accommodate the then fashionable large frescoes and collections of antiques.

Today, the grounds are still home to six battle towers, an old mill and a park in the style of an English garden from the 19th century.

The estate was founded around the 14th century Church of St Francis, which grew to include a monastery

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The estate was founded around the 14th century Church of St Francis, which grew to include a monastery

The castle's architectural features include windows with pointed arches and intricate cornices

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The castle's architectural features include windows with pointed arches and intricate cornices

Located two hours north of Rome, the castle could be the perfect escape or an ideal investment opportunity

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Located two hours north of Rome, the castle could be the perfect escape or an ideal investment opportunity

A spokesperson for LuxuryEstate.com, which has listed the property alongside others selling for more than £10million, said: ‘The castle is listed as a building of significant historical and artistic interest.

‘Its architectural features include windows with pointed arches, intricate cornices and beautiful roof terraces.

‘All of these elements, reflect the architectural styles during the periods of construction and additions to the castle, emphasizing the eclectic tastes of the time.’  

 

 

Anyone with a sneaking feeling that London living is not all that it's cracked up to be might want to consider a rather more spacious alternative to living in a cramped city centre apartment.

Isola di Mal Ventre is one of the few remaining private islands available for sale in the Mediterranean, and will set you back just under £1.2million - cheaper than a semi-detached property in some areas of the capital.

Barely 130 miles from the fashionable resort of Porto Cervo where even the most modest of villas could set you back over £10 million, the island is located just a few miles off the coast of Sardinia and is completely uninhabited, with only the remains of a shepherd dwelling visible.

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Blue paradise? The Isola di Mal Ventre is one of the few private islands for sale in the Mediterranean

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Blue paradise? The Isola di Mal Ventre is one of the few private islands for sale in the Mediterranean

Tranquillity: The island has crystal clear waters and numerous coves composing spheres of pure quartz

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Tranquillity: The island has crystal clear waters and numerous coves composing spheres of pure quartz

Mediterranean Isola di Mal Ventre island goes on sale for £1.2m

Proof if any were needed that you don't have to be Richard Branson to own an island, the 200 acre island on sale is around two kilometres long at its longest point and rises around 18 metres above sea level. The agents selling the piece of land known as Isola di Mal Ventre, or roughly translated as 'the Island of the Sore Belly' has been inhabited on and off since Roman times with a watering well and buildings foundations still evident.

These could be incorporated in the design of a modern villa and the agency selling it says it may be possible to construct a jetty from which trips to the mainland could be done in minutes by boat.

Historic: Proof of the island's Roman past is clear with some architectural remains still standing

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Historic: Proof of the island's Roman past is clear with some architectural remains still standing

Located within a marine protected area, the island's current owners took it on in 1972

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Located within a marine protected area, the island's current owners took it on in 1972

As far as the eye can see: The island's south east coast has some beautiful sandy beaches

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As far as the eye can see: The island's south east coast has some beautiful sandy beaches

The west coast of the island is quite exposed to the Mistral and is rugged as a result, whereas the south east coast has beautiful sandy beaches with crystal blue waters and numerous coves composing spheres of pure quartz.

The island itself is mainly granite covered in low vegetation with a wide variety of flora and fauna.

Situated within a marine protected area, the island has not been the subject of any planning application since its current owners took it on in 1972.

It's cheaper than this.... the 'ice cube house' in Brixton, on the market for £1.5m

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It's cheaper than this.... the 'ice cube house' in Brixton, on the market for £1.5m

And this...David Cameron's former home in West London was valued at £1.5million recently

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And this...David Cameron's former home in West London was valued at £1.5million recently

Local architects suggest that a low rise villa could easily be constructed around the remains of former buildings, while water could be drawn from the existing well.

'This is one of the most unique properties in the Mediterranean, with potential revenue from holiday makers looking for sanctuary or something a little different,' said spokesperson Alexandra Hayward of the sale, which is advertised on real estate website debutesq.

Direct flights flights to Sardinia are available from London and many other major European cities

 

 

 

 

 

CNN Silver Fox Anderson Cooper has added to his burgeoning property portfolio, picking up an historic 18-room Connecticut mansion for himself and boyfriend Benjamin Maisani, according to reports.

Sitting on over 210 acres in the affluent Litchfield County, the sprawling stone manor - called Rye House - is believed to have set back the 47-year-old news anchor between $5 million and $9 million, sources tell Page Six.

Built in 1908 and designed by celebrated architect Wilson Eyre - a founder of House & Garden magazine - the English Country estate measures at over 10,000 square feet, complete with a private four-bedroom guest wing.

The area is known for being home to the rich and famous, and is where Oscar winner Meryl Streep and her husband Don Gummer raised their four children.

Historic: Anderson Cooper and his boyfriend, Benjamin Maisani, are the proud new owners of this 1908 estate in the affluent Connecticut county of Litchfield

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Historic: Anderson Cooper and his boyfriend, Benjamin Maisani, are the proud new owners of this 1908 estate in the affluent Connecticut county of Litchfield

The stone home is listed on the National Register of Historic Places and has a total of nine fireplaces

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The stone home is listed on the National Register of Historic Places and has a total of nine fireplaces

Rye House offers six main bedrooms, six full baths and three half-baths. The third floor includes an additional bedroom and bath

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Rye House offers six main bedrooms, six full baths and three half-baths. The third floor includes an additional bedroom and bath

Classic: The English Country estate features homely touches and hand-carved wood finishings

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Classic: The English Country estate features homely touches and hand-carved wood finishings

No country home would be complete without a full-sized swimming pool and a garden house, right?

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No country home would be complete without a full-sized swimming pool and a garden house, right?

The 18-room home was restored about 15 years ago, preserving many of its original features

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The 18-room home was restored about 15 years ago, preserving many of its original features

The manor sits on over 210 acres and has a gated front entrance with a security system

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The manor sits on over 210 acres and has a gated front entrance with a security system

Daniel Day-Lewis and wife Rebecca Miller, Broadway legend Patti Lupone, actor Oliver Platt and Mamma Mia! star Christine Baranski also have houses in Lichtfield, according to Town Vibe.

Cooper and Maisani, who owns several bars in Manhattan, have been together for about five years.

Rye House marks yet another major real estate purchase for Cooper, who is said to earn about $11 million a year at CNN, and it remains in close proximity to his other properties.

The veteran TV journalist lives with Maisani in a renovated firehouse in New York's Greenwich Village, which he bought in September 2009 for $4.3 million.

In 2012 Cooper also bought a waterfront in the Hamptons hamlet of Quiogue for $1.7 million.

Rye House, which is listed on the National Register of Historic Places, includes an Olympic-sized swimming pool, tennis court and green house, according to vacation rental site VRBO.

Long-term: Anderson Cooper (left) and Benjamin Maisani (right) - a Manhattan bar owner - have been together for about five years

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Long-term: Anderson Cooper (left) and Benjamin Maisani (right) - a Manhattan bar owner - have been together for about five years

With a private four-bedroom guest wing, the mansion is perfect for entertaining

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With a private four-bedroom guest wing, the mansion is perfect for entertaining

There is seemingly no end to the grounds of the property, which is close to fantastic hiking and biking trails

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There is seemingly no end to the grounds of the property, which is close to fantastic hiking and biking trails

There are 18 rooms in the house, 11 of them bedrooms

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There are 18 rooms in the house, 11 of them bedrooms

Many elements of the house have been hand-carved from wood, as seen in the dining room

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Many elements of the house have been hand-carved from wood, as seen in the dining room

And what would a veteran reporter do without a private study?

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And what would a veteran reporter do without a private study?

Looking out the windows of the manor, there is not another house for miles

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Looking out the windows of the manor, there is not another house for miles

Cooper is said to have paid between $5 million and $9 million for the historic mansion, according to reports

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Cooper is said to have paid between $5 million and $9 million for the historic mansion, according to reports

The home includes an Olympic-sized swimming pool and tennis court, and is on the National Register of Historic Places

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The home includes an Olympic-sized swimming pool and tennis court, and is on the National Register of Historic Places

The elaborate and well-kept gardens are among of its many distinctive features

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The elaborate and well-kept gardens are among of its many distinctive features

The main house has has six bedrooms, six full baths and three half-baths.

The third floor has an additional bedroom and bath, with another four bedrooms in the guest wing.

There are a total of nine fireplaces.

The entrance of the residence is gated with a security system.

The house is close to scenic biking and hiking trails as well as Bantam Lake and Lake Waramaug.

It was previously owned by former Miss Connecticut Karen Shaw, who starred on Dallas and The A Team, and could fetch a nightly rental rate of $1,800.

Cooper, the son of famed socialite and jeans designer Gloria Vanderbilt, recently told Howard Stern: 'My mom’s made clear to me that there’s no trust fund.'

He said that not relying on Vanderbilt money has allowed him to stay motivated and prosper on his own.

Main stay: Cooper's main home is a re-purposed fire house in New York's Greenwich Village neighborhood, which he bought in September 2009 for $4.3 million

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Main stay: Cooper's main home is a re-purposed fire house in New York's Greenwich Village neighborhood, which he bought in September 2009 for $4.3 million

Anderson Cooper and Benjamin Maisani seen out and about in New York City in 2010

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Anderson Cooper and Benjamin Maisani seen out and about in New York City in 2010

Summer retreat: This six-bedroom home in the tony Hamptons was bought by Cooper in 2012 for $1.7 million

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Summer retreat: This six-bedroom home in the tony Hamptons was bought by Cooper in 2012 for $1.7 million

 

Ex-council house turned into real-life historical wonderland after owner spends 25 years and £700,000 renovating it room by room – but now it's on the market for just £300,000

  • Owner John Trevillion, 49, has transformed the house called Talliston in a cul-de-sac in Great Dunmow, Essex
  • Each room reflects a different time and place including a 1950s New Orleans kitchen and Victorian dining room
  • Also has Moorish bedroom and Cambodian tree-house loft, with 1,650 objects from 27 countries worth £500,000
  • But John lost his job and can no longer afford its upkeep. He said: 'Some people think it's totally mad'

From the outside, this three bedroom ex-council house in a cul-de-sac in great Dunmow, Essex, seems pretty unremarkable.

But inside it's been transformed into the extraordinary.

Owner John Trevillian, 49, has renovated each room in the most astonishing detail to reflect a different time and place in history – from the 1950s New Orleans kitchen, the Victorian dining room, the Moorish bedroom, Cambodian treehouse loft and Scottish Edwardian hall. 

‘Some people think it’s totally mad but others say it’s like being in one of those novel where a secret door opens up to a different world and fall in love with it,’ owner John Trevillian

From the outside, this three bedroom ex-council house in a cul-de-sac in great Dunmow, Essex, seems pretty unremarkable   But inside the rooms have been transformed, like the Victorian Welsh dining room    

From the outside, this three bedroom ex-council house in a cul-de-sac in Great Dunmow, Essex, seems pretty unremarkable - but inside the rooms have been transformed, like the Victorian dining room (right). Owner John Trevillion, 49, spent 25 years on the transformation but lost his job and can no longer afford its upkeep

Whichever side of the fence you sit on, one thing’s for sure, you’ve never seen anything like it before.

To call the rooms themed wouldn’t do them justice. John has used genuine materials from the style of the times – and we’re not just talking a quick makeover. The Victorian dining room is fortified with stone walls, which had to be lifted in by crane, and the tree-house in the loft is supported by a real trunk.

The smells have been engineered too – nutmeg and coffee waft through the New Orleans kitchen whilst jasmine fills the tree-house air.

Even the sounds have been tweaked to help muster the right mood. Outside the Moorish bedroom, water from the Moroccan roof garden trickles from a fountain, whilst in the kitchen Billie Holiday plays on the radio and the Bayou makes a soft splashing sound outside.

Then there are the jaw-dropping number of artefacts – all sourced by John from 27 countries around the world. The sandalwood Buddha from Cambodia, the voodoo charms from New Orleans and Chinese lanterns are amongst the 1,650 pieces that fill the house.

But after losing his job last year, John’s fantasy project, which has taken him 25 years and around £700,000 (£200,000 in building materials as well as the £500,0000 on artefacts), may come to an end sooner than anticipated.

 

 

The living room, in the style of Victorian Welsh tower, is decorated in Italian fabrics and Chinese lanterns. John said Victorian painters and poets would love its 'exotic' style

 

The living room, in the style of Victorian Welsh tower, is decorated in Italian fabrics and Chinese lanterns. John said Victorian painters and poets would love its 'exotic' style

Humble: The living room as it was 25 years ago, when it looked like any front room in any council home. The house cost just £73,000 when John bought it

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Humble: The living room as it was 25 years ago, when it looked like any front room in any council home. The house cost just £73,000 when John bought it

Talliston, Old English for ‘secret place in the woods’, costs John £2,000 a month, which includes the mortgage, insurance for the high-value content and general upkeep. ‘There are over 40 types of light bulb in the house, so I buy thousands at a time, along with thousands of candles too,’ he explains.

‘I’m about 18 months from finishing but I’m struggling to pay the mortgage,’ he says. So next week Talliston goes on the market for £350,000.

‘That’s the price of the bricks and mortar but I have an inventory of all the items and I’m looking for someone who’s interested in the package,’ says John, whose intention was to finish the house then leave it to the nation and go travelling.

John sees three ways out of his predicament – finding a job in his field of digital publishing, selling the house or finding a wealthy benefactor, whom will help him finish the project.

‘I would hold this house above my house before I drowned,’ says John. ‘It’s every penny I’ve had for last 24 years – and every weekend too.’

So how did this all begin a quarter of a centenary ago?

‘I’ve always been interested in English history but being from an ordinary East End of London family, I was never going to afford the sort of house I wanted,’ explains John. So instead he set off creating it.

Owner John commissioned some dramatic photography using filters to bring out the details in each room. The Cambodian style tree-house in the attic is accessible via a rope ladder, real tree trunks give it structural support and there's a teak floor, hand-knotted bamboo mesh ceiling and a three-foot sandstone Buddha from Cambodia

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Owner John commissioned some dramatic photography using filters to bring out the details in each room. The Cambodian style tree-house in the attic is accessible via a rope ladder, real tree trunks give it structural support and there's a teak floor, hand-knotted bamboo mesh ceiling and a three-foot sandstone Buddha from Cambodia

Room of Dreams is based on a beautiful Moorish palace: A mosquito canopy drapes over the bed and outside is a Moroccan water garden, built on top of the kitchen roof

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Room of Dreams is based on a beautiful Moorish palace: A mosquito canopy drapes over the bed and outside is a Moroccan water garden, built on top of the kitchen roof

Where dreams are made of: The bedroom in the council house pictured before the renovation took place. The owner hopes he may find a wealthy benefactor to help him

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Where dreams are made of: The bedroom in the council house pictured before the renovation took place. The owner hopes he may find a wealthy benefactor to help him

‘I was into writing speculative fiction at the time – fantasy, horror and science fiction – so originally the idea was to have a place I could write,’ he says.

In fact what attracted John to the three-bedroom ex-council house was its utter ordinariness. ‘I picked the most normal house,’ he says. ‘I didn’t want character because I knew I was going to start from scratch.

‘In fact, it was hideous – the bathroom leaked, it had everything wrong with it and it wouldn’t sell. I thought, “perfect!”

‘I started with the office and then moved onto the bathroom and have gone on from there.’

Despite ‘not knowing how to wire a plug’ when he started, John has carried out the renovation himself, although over the years his parents, friends and local artisans have got involved along the way.

The only thing about the house that hasn’t changed is the functions of the rooms and the position of the walls, which is why you’ll find the toilet and bathroom downstairs, in true 1920s style.

Antiquity: Next door to the quirky kitchen is the Welsh Victorian tower - a living and dining room which has been designed to look like a castle

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Antiquity: Next door to the quirky kitchen is the Welsh Victorian tower - a living and dining room which has been designed to look like a castle

Lookout: The 'watchtower' before the renovation took place. 'I know people expect it to be naff,' John admits, 'but each room makes you feel you¿re in the place'

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Lookout: The 'watchtower' before the renovation took place. 'I know people expect it to be naff,' John admits, 'but each room makes you feel you¿re in the place'

John then set out to create his fantasy home. ‘I asked myself, “Where would you like to have breakfast? And I picked 1950s New Orleans. I imagined the morning sun shining into an Old Victorian house with Billie Holiday playing in the background. Three and a half years later, there it was!’

Three and a half years may seem a while to wait for a kitchen renovation but not many working kitchens in Essex, or indeed the world, are kitted out with genuine 1950s gadgets and this attention to detail.

There’s real Spanish moss weaved into the ceiling, the swishing of the Bayou river in the background and hundreds of trinkets and voodoo charms shipped in from New Orleans.

‘I had to delay the completion for a year because Hurricane Katrina struck just as I was about to head out there,’ remembers John.

‘The thing about the room is that they feel very real and very lived in. All the objects in the cupboard are from that time.’

‘I know people expect it to be naff,’ he admits, ‘But each room makes you feel you’re in the place.’

Step through a door from the kitchen and you’re in Welsh Victorian tower. ‘Instantly you’re there,’ enthuses John. ‘All the smells and sounds change.

A taste of the past: John's favourite room is the 1920s New York office, complete with a heavy wooden desk, traditional telephone and a typewriter

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A taste of the past: John's favourite room is the 1920s New York office, complete with a heavy wooden desk, traditional telephone and a typewriter

The fountain courtyard at the back is inspired by 1930s Ireland. The foliage is overgrown and wild and it includes a summerhouse and 'barn', which used to be the garage

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The fountain courtyard at the back is inspired by 1930s Ireland. The foliage is overgrown and wild and it includes a summerhouse and 'barn', which used to be the garage

The 1930s Irish courtyard by day. Owner John commissioned photographs of his home with specialist filters to bring out its more unusual qualities

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The 1930s Irish courtyard by day. Owner John commissioned photographs of his home with specialist filters to bring out its more unusual qualities

‘I’ve been to lots of castles and thought it would be wonderful to own one – so instead I created one in the dining and living room.’

It took John four and half years to complete. The walls are made of stone, a foot in depth, defined with £4,600 worth of oak paneling. They were then rendered using authentic limestone, (which John did himself after completing a course in the technique).

An open fireplace, carved table, and velvet curtain complete the look.

‘To me, it’s the perfect place for entertaining,’ says John. ‘People walk into the room and are transported to a different place.’

Upstairs, you can have the most beautiful night’s sleep or the worst -- one bedroom is based on a Moorish palace and the other on a haunted Edwardian manor house.

‘The best night’s sleep I’ve ever had was in a brass bed in a Moorish style property in Spain, with terracotta floors and white walls,’ remembers John. ‘The moon shone in through the window and outside I could hear the night sounds and the water fountains.’

Nowadays, John gets to sleep in a Moorish palace every night, even though outside the window is suburban Essex.

Across the hall from the Moorish palace is the Scottish Edwardian manor house’s haunted bedroom. ‘That’s the room you would never want to stay in,’ says John. ‘It’s in a bleak house on the cliffs in Scotland.’

The 1950s New Orleans kitchen is crammed with artefacts from the era

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'Some people think it's totally mad but others say it's like being in one of those novel where a secret door opens up to a different world and fall in love with it,' owner John Trevillian said

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The 1950s New Orleans kitchen is crammed with artefacts from the era, which John Trevillian (right) carefully slotted into place and collected over the years

‘There are electric lights but they are hidden away – everything’s done by candles,’ he explains.

The room is done out in black woodwork with fabric walls, which has the desired eerie effect. John has created a backstory for each room and the tale for the haunted bedroom goes that Seathan ‘Jack’ Macpherson was found dead by his parents. The room was then blessed, locked and sealed.

When you creak open the door, the room is scattered with toys -- abandoned by the imaginary dead boy. It’s utterly bizarre, but effectively spooky.

‘People who love Talliston like living life a little bit magically. They’re people who like to lose themselves,’ says John of the house’s fans, of which there are many.

It’s not a registered business, so John can’t officially give tours, but there are reading circles, writer’s circles and supper clubs that give people the opportunity to experience it.

He's spent over two decades creating it and now it's time for others to appreciate it, says John: ‘I want Talliston to be a centre of creativity. I want it to inspire people.'

Looking for a holiday home? Most exclusive villa in Cape Town goes on sale for around the same price of a London townhouse...

  • Designed by South African architects Greg Truen and Stefan Antoni of SAOTA, the villa has a 'seamless flow' between the inside and outdoor space
  • Panoramic views of Cape Town's mountains, iconic Clifton Beaches and the calming waves of the Atlantic Ocean
  • Femail's Posh Property blogger Celia Sawyer praises the perfect connection created between the view and the sea

These captivating images of a breathtaking seaside villa may look like they're computer generated, but they are pure unadulterated architectural reality.

Nestled in Cape Town's cliff-side, the work of architectural art by South African design duo Greg Truen and Stefan Antoni of SAOTA has a 'seamless flow' between the natural beauty outside and the stunning modern interior.

With its jaw-dropping architecture, including a triple volume gallery in the main living area, uninterrupted sea and mountain views and utterly lust-worthy interiors, it's no wonder the property has caught the attention of interior fans around the globe, including MailOnline's property blogger Celia Sawyer.

The incredible villa has a split-level living area, a three-story high gallery and 270 degree views of the Atlantic Ocean and beyond

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The incredible villa has a split-level living area, a three-story high gallery and 270 degree views of the Atlantic Ocean and beyond

'Many of my clients own superb beach houses or water-front apartments, but this residential home is something of a marvel,' she says of the house, which has panoramic views of Cape Town's iconic Clifton Beaches, some the world's most beautiful, and the calming waves of the Atlantic Ocean. 'I love the triple volume gallery space they have created inside and praise how the master bedroom floats over into the double volume living space with a striking soft s-curve cantilever.'

'To the rear of the site you can sit and enjoy the mountains. This level enjoys 270 degree views from Lion’s Head at the rear to the Bantry Bay ridge on the North and the dramatic sea views over the Clifton beaches to the West,' she adds.

The garden is designed to be protected from infamous Cape Town wind, but still has incredible views of the dramatic landscape

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The garden is designed to be protected from infamous Cape Town wind, but still has incredible views of the dramatic landscape

Kick back and relax: The natural tones and organic materials add to the laid back feel in the villa's main lounge

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Kick back and relax: The natural tones and organic materials add to the laid back feel in the villa's main lounge

'On speaking to the architects they told me how the brief was to create a building that maximised the connection with the view and the sea, create a garden on the mountain side of the site and to minimise views over neighbouring buildings.

'I know their team has done this perfectly! The pictures say it all,' she says. For more of Celia's favourite extravagant houses, go to her new blog Posh Property.

As well as breathtaking architecture, the 1,624 metre square villa is furnished to perfection by Cape Town-based interior designer studio OKHA.

Rise and shine: Light floods into the master bedroom and sets right in front of the bed

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Rise and shine: Light floods into the master bedroom and sets right in front of the bed

Bird's-eye-view

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Bedroom

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A bird's-eye-view of the main lounge with it's high ceiling and 270 degree views (left) and the second bedroom (right)

The bath is designed to feel like it's on the water's edge -- perfect for a relaxing soak

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The bath is designed to feel like it's on the water's edge -- perfect for a relaxing soak

‘The building provides a volumetrically dramatic and dynamic interior space on a grand scale,' says OKHA designer Adam Court. 'The objective of the interior décor was to create a softer and intimate counterpoint whilst not jeopardizing the clean, geometric lines of the architecture.

'These elements can harmoniously co-exist and work off each other,’

'By utilising a broad base of textures and finishes, the décor feels natural and subtly organic, comfort being of paramount importance at all times; the overall ambiance is one of calm and serenity.

'Colour is kept to a bare minimum, the interior works predominantly with a light and shade tonal range, allowing the exterior views, the mountain, the ocean and sky and also the artwork to bring in colour.'

With floor-to-ceiling windows from wall-to-wall, it's not a bad spot to watch the sunset

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With floor-to-ceiling windows from wall-to-wall, it's not a bad spot to watch the sunset

From every angle the cliff-side property takes in the lush surroundings - mountains, gardens, beaches and sea

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From every angle the cliff-side property takes in the lush surroundings - mountains, gardens, beaches and sea

In the foyer of the mansion there's a glass elevator and a sweeping staircase, which take you to the airy living space.

And of course, there's a separate staff entrance too for butler, gardener, housekeeper, cook and anyone else you might want to invite along to make life a little easier.

There’s also an entire open level that can be used as a gym or games room as well as an elegant cinema room for private screenings.

And of course you won't be feuding with your neighbours over parking spots. The sheltered garage can accommodate up to four large vehicles -- or even a small boat!

The Villa is available for rental or sale via  via gray@filth.co.za. For more information visit pentagonvilla.co.za

The dining area at the back leads out into the garden and the lounge area at the front opens out onto a sea-view terrace

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The dining area at the back leads out into the garden and the lounge area at the front opens out onto a sea-view terrace

A desk with a view: Although it might be a little hard to get down to work with these distracting views

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A desk with a view: Although it might be a little hard to get down to work with these distracting views

A cosy spot on the top floor of the villa - calming in white and cream

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A cosy spot on the top floor of the villa - calming in white and cream

The glass surround terrace connects to the top floor living space

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The glass surround terrace connects to the top floor living space

 

 

For nearly a decade, one of the world's greatest palaces has also housed a dusty building site. Now, thanks to a 26 million-euro ($35.4 million) restoration, one of the Louvre Museum's most exciting collections, the 18th century decorative arts wing, has been re-opened to its full glory.

Paid for entirely by private donations, the nine-year restoration modernized creaky halls and corridors and built new rooms for over 2,000 design objects. They start with the reign of France's Louis XIV, who lived in the Louvre, to his successors Louis XV and Louis XVI.

The latter's lavish court brought such contempt and outrage that it helped spurn the French Revolution.

Visitors look around one of the rooms that has been reopened to the public at the Louvre museum in Paris, Tuesday June 17, 2014. Paid for entirely by private...

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Visitors look around one of the rooms that has been reopened to the public at the Louvre museum in Paris, Tuesday June 17, 2014. Paid for entirely by private patronage, the 9-year works have seen the creaky halls restored, corridors modernized and new rooms constructed to fit over 2,000 design objects that span the reigns of the most lavish kings of Europe. They start with France¿s Louis XIV who actually lived in the Louvre, to his successors Louis XV and Louis XVI. (AP Photo/Remy de la Mauviniere)

And this collection shows why. The Louvre's north section, the Richelieu wing, has been transformed into 33 glittering salons, full of gold mirrors, velvet chaise-lounges and cabinets with intricate precious stone inlays.

"These collections now show off the real spirit of French-style art de vivre," said Louvre President Jean-Luc Martinez said at a dinner to thank the principal sponsor — Marie Antoinette's watchmaker, Breguet. "It's part of a project to build a Louvre for the 21st century."

The public can now get up close and personal with Marie Antoinette's fastidiously embellished desktop or another French queen's incredibly ornate hot chocolate maker — all opened up thanks to glass cabinets.

"It now reunites more than 200 masterpieces from one of the most glorious periods in the decorative arts," said department director Jannic Durand.

A series of rooms reconstruct original salons from the reigns of trend-setting kings from 1660-1790 who made France the envy of the world for its fashion and style. In chronological order, they show how France's tastes changed with the influences of Orientalism and Turkish styles, as the West's power expanded into colonialism.

 

A 18th century chest of drawers made by famous cabinetmaker Martin Carlin is presented in a room that has been reopened to the public at the Louvre museum in...

 

A 18th century chest of drawers made by famous cabinetmaker Martin Carlin is presented in a room that has been reopened to the public at the Louvre museum in Paris, Tuesday June 17, 2014. Paid for entirely by private patronage, the 9-year works have seen the creaky halls restored, corridors modernized and new rooms constructed to fit over 2,000 design objects that span the reigns of the most lavish kings of Europe. They start with France¿s Louis XIV who actually lived in the Louvre, to his successors Louis XV and Louis XVI. (AP Photo/Remy de la Mauviniere)

Visitors walk through a room that has been reopened to the public at the Louvre museum in Paris, Tuesday June 17, 2014. Paid for entirely by private patronag...

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Visitors walk through a room that has been reopened to the public at the Louvre museum in Paris, Tuesday June 17, 2014. Paid for entirely by private patronage, the 9-year works have seen the creaky halls restored, corridors modernized and new rooms constructed to fit over 2,000 design objects that span the reigns of the most lavish kings of Europe. They start with France¿s Louis XIV who actually lived in the Louvre, to his successors Louis XV and Louis XVI. (AP Photo/Remy de la Mauviniere)

Visitors walk through a room that has been reopened to the public at the Louvre museum in Paris, Tuesday June 17, 2014. Paid for entirely by private patronag...

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Visitors walk through a room that has been reopened to the public at the Louvre museum in Paris, Tuesday June 17, 2014. Paid for entirely by private patronage, the 9-year works have seen the creaky halls restored, corridors modernized and new rooms constructed to fit over 2,000 design objects that span the reigns of the most lavish kings of Europe. They start with France¿s Louis XIV who actually lived in the Louvre, to his successors Louis XV and Louis XVI. (AP Photo/Remy de la Mauviniere)

A portrait of King Louis XIV hangs in a room that has been reopened to the public at the Louvre museum in Paris, Tuesday June 17, 2014. Paid for entirely by ...

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A portrait of King Louis XIV hangs in a room that has been reopened to the public at the Louvre museum in Paris, Tuesday June 17, 2014. Paid for entirely by private patronage, the 9-year works have seen the creaky halls restored, corridors modernized and new rooms constructed to fit over 2,000 design objects that span the reigns of the most lavish kings of Europe. They start with France¿s Louis XIV who actually lived in the Louvre, to his successors Louis XV and Louis XVI. (AP Photo/Remy de la Mauviniere)

18th century sculpture and tapestry are presented in a room that has been reopened to the public at the Louvre museum in Paris, Tuesday June 17, 2014. Paid f...

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18th century sculpture and tapestry are presented in a room that has been reopened to the public at the Louvre museum in Paris, Tuesday June 17, 2014. Paid for entirely by private patronage, the 9-year works have seen the creaky halls restored, corridors modernized and new rooms constructed to fit over 2,000 design objects that span the reigns of the most lavish kings of Europe. They start with France¿s Louis XIV who actually lived in the Louvre, to his successors Louis XV and Louis XVI. (AP Photo/Remy de la Mauviniere)

Detail of an XVIIth century piece of furniture in a room that has been reopened to the public at the Louvre museum in Paris, Tuesday June 17, 2014. Paid for ...

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Detail of an XVIIth century piece of furniture in a room that has been reopened to the public at the Louvre museum in Paris, Tuesday June 17, 2014. Paid for entirely by private patronage, the 9-year works have seen the creaky halls restored, corridors modernized and new rooms constructed to fit over 2,000 design objects that span the reigns of the most lavish kings of Europe. They start with France¿s Louis XIV who actually lived in the Louvre, to his successors Louis XV and Louis XVI. (AP Photo/Remy de la Mauviniere)

Detail of a dish in a room reopened to the public at the Louvre museum in Paris, Tuesday June 17, 2014. Paid for entirely by private patronage, the 9-year wo...

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Detail of a dish in a room reopened to the public at the Louvre museum in Paris, Tuesday June 17, 2014. Paid for entirely by private patronage, the 9-year works have seen the creaky halls restored, corridors modernized and new rooms constructed to fit over 2,000 design objects that span the reigns of the most lavish kings of Europe. They start with France¿s Louis XIV who actually lived in the Louvre, to his successors Louis XV and Louis XVI. (AP Photo/Remy de la Mauviniere)

Visitors walk around of the rooms that has been reopened to the public at the Louvre museum in Paris, Tuesday June 17, 2014. Paid for entirely by private pat...

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Visitors walk around of the rooms that has been reopened to the public at the Louvre museum in Paris, Tuesday June 17, 2014. Paid for entirely by private patronage, the 9-year works have seen the creaky halls restored, corridors modernized and new rooms constructed to fit over 2,000 design objects that span the reigns of the most lavish kings of Europe. They start with France¿s Louis XIV who actually lived in the Louvre, to his successors Louis XV and Louis XVI. (AP Photo/Remy de la Mauviniere)

 

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