Home of the Week: Guitar-Shaped Grounds at Alabama Mansion
Does Bruce Springsteen live here? John Mayer? Chuck Berry, Eddie Van Halen or Eric Clapton?
A palatial estate surrounded by guitar-shaped landscaping is the kind of boutique property you’d expect to be the residence of an avid guitarist, collector or, heck, a music buff.
It turns out that the owner of this prime piece of Alabama real estate is none of the above. He’s a successful businessman named Larry House, who carried no six strings to his job as former CEO of MedPartners, a physician management company.
“The guitar was just a whimsical, great idea,” explains listing agent Pam Ausley. “You know he just thought it up … and it’s gotten a lot of attention.”
Located just 25 minutes outside Birmingham, and two hours from Atlanta, Ausley describes the Shoal Creek area surrounding House’s house as a mix between a national park and a resort, with plenty of access to some of the best golfing in the country. But House chose a more continental theme for his fancy digs than fairways and putting greens.
According to Ausley, the guitar-shaped grounds are just a small part of a house’s allure. The dwelling itself compares better to Versailles than Elvis Presley’s American Delta homage to musical greatness, Graceland. But even Versailles is not quite the right royal analogy.
The home was built and designed by House in 1997 for a reported $26 million. For the finishes and detailing, House hired International Fine Arts Conservation Studios (IFACS,) who worked on Buckingham Palace.
Listed for $17.9 million, the home sits on 27 park-like acres and has equestrian trails, four pastures, indoor and outdoor arenas as well as a six-stall barn with attached living quarters. The manse itself is sprawling with 55,000 square feet of living space replete with high-end finishes: Marble floors, mahogany floors and doors, gold and silver-leafing and hand-painted frescoes.
Plus there’s a room for everything, considering the 15 bedrooms, 22 bathrooms and 13-car temperature-controlled garage. For fun, there’s a 25-seat home theater, a full-sized commercial elevator and a 2,000-bottle wine cellar.
Why is House strumming his farewell tune to the unique homestead? Ausley says the home has gotten a little too big for House.
“Their kids are grown, and they’re just ready to do something different,” she said. “He knows it’s not the best time to sell; he’s just ready.”
Even with current low mortgage rates, this Shoal Creek home has a pretty pricey monthly payment. According to data from the Zillow Mortgage Marketplace, with a 20 percent down payment on a 30-year-loan, the monthly payment will be $75,044.