x Abu Dhabi, UAEThursday 27 July 2017

A $19.5m estate with special charms

An inventor's eccentric property is on the market for $19.5 million

Inventor Don Brown who lived in this $19.5 million home on the shores of Lake Erie, liked to helicopter out for dinner.  Courtesy Zillow
Inventor Don Brown who lived in this $19.5 million home on the shores of Lake Erie, liked to helicopter out for dinner. Courtesy Zillow

An eccentric inventor's mysterious dream home - complete with underground paths, a private barber shop and "pods" connected by glass corridors - has hit the market.

Waterwood Estate, priced at US$19.5 million (Dh71.6m), is on 64.7 hectares along Lake Erie in Ohio.

The property, built in 1990, is the product of Don Brown, who made his fortune by inventing the dropped ceiling, the easily removed grid design hung below structural ceilings in offices and industrial spaces. He patented the "suspended tile ceiling" in 1958.

Mr Brown and his wife, Shirley, were killed in an airplane crash last year, leaving the estate in limbo.

Little was known about the home until it was listed for sale. The property was visible from the lake, but it had never been open to the public or photographed.

It is Mr Brown's personal touches that make the property unique.

The main feature is 20 pod-like buildings with slate-pyramid roofs connected by glass corridors. The 38,000-square-foot main residence has 100 rooms, 16 baths, eight fireplaces and two swimming pools. The house also includes five bars, one with a mounted polar bear, and a helicopter pad.

Near the front entrance is a hidden room where Mr Brown left a fully decorated Christmas tree year-round. There is also a below-ground section with a ballet room and a wine grotto.

"The lower-level wine grotto leads to an open lift that is capable of elevating through a roof oculus where you can enjoy your evening glass of wine," according to the listing.

The dining room has a rotating floor, so guests can enjoy different views during meals. And the two-car garage has its own rotating floor, sparing drivers the annoyance of having to reverse out.

Finding a buyer for the property has not been easy. A ministry group expressed an interest, as well as a group of helicopter pilots intrigued by the landing pad, the listing agent, Scott Street, told the property website Zillow.

But there have been no takers.

kbrass@thenational.ae