A Look Inside The Lives of the 1%

Photo: Blog.Sundancenow Photo: Blog.Sundancenow

While most homeowners are content with one kitchen, others of the filthy rich variety possess an insatiable need for more. More money, more space, and above all — more bathrooms.

In a new documentary that’s both voyeuristic and compassionate, filmmaker Lauren Greenfield captures the spending and setbacks of a well-off family in fierce pursuit of their American Dream. The Queen of Versailles follows two Orlando-based billionaires — resort king David Siegel and his (much-younger) wife, Jackie — as they embark on their journey to build the biggest house in America. The Siegels envision a palace with two tennis courts, ten kitchens and a regulation-sized baseball field. The house was set to be 90,000 square feet (bigger than the White House!) of pure, unabashed, one-percent luxury. That is, until the economic crisis hit.

Construction on the house was brought to a halt in 2008, leaving the Siegels with a teetering house of cards. Think Richie Rich meets The Real Housewives. Or better yet, don’t think at all — at least that’s what David’s engineer-educated wife did during the economic downturn.

“We don’t talk about financial problems,” said Jackie. “I guess I’ll have to watch the movie to find out.”

Although the Siegel family isn’t at all relatable, we can’t help but be captivated by their riches to rags story. Watch the trailer here and see for yourself if you aren’t immediately beguiled with the Siegel’s story of fortune and loss. We know we were.

How do you and your partner approach discussing financial problems? If money wasn’t an option, what would your dream home include?