Nov 12 2009
Some homes have stunning architecture, luxurious features or famous owners, taking them from just home-sweet-home to legendary landmarks. From the historic homes of founding fathers to the lavish estates of big-time stars, HGTV’s FrontDoor.com names the top U.S. iconic homes. (http://www.frontdoor.com/top10)
#10: Hearst Castle. The palatial estate of newspaper magnate William Randolph Hearst boasts 165 rooms and 127 acres of gardens. The house has welcomed many famous guests over the decades and is now maintained as a California state museum, hosting nearly 700,000 tours each year.
#9: Brady Bunch House. Appearing in nearly all 115 episodes of the 1970s cultural hit The Brady Bunch, the split-level rancher was home to America’s favorite blended TV family. The L.A. house was chosen by show creator Sherwood Schwartz, and all the shots of it were taken prior to the series’ debut.
#8: Painted Ladies. Often referred to as “Postcard Row,” six brightly colored Victorian homes make a famous landmark on San Francisco’s Steiner Street. Gracing the city’s skyline, these homes are a classic image of the Bay area.
#7: Neverland Ranch. Although empty since Michael Jackson moved out in 2005, this Tudor-style house is now visited by fans seeking to pay their respects to the late superstar. In 1988, Jackson transformed the grounds of this Santa Barbara estate into an amusement park, adding a zoo, railroads and carnival rides.
#6: Monticello. A famous example of neoclassical architecture, this home was designed by President Thomas Jefferson and has been featured on the U.S. nickel since 1938. Jefferson was influenced by Parisian architecture in his design, and he lived in the Virginia home when writing the Declaration of Independence.
#5: Graceland. This National Historic Landmark was purchased by Elvis Presley in 1957 and was named for the original owner’s daughter “Grace.” Presley made extensive renovations to the Memphis mansion that included a state-of-the-art television room, jungle room and meditation garden.
#4: Biltmore Estate. Modeled after three 16th-century French chateaux, the 175,000 square-foot estate of George Vanderbilt is the largest privately-owned home in the U.S. Though no one has actually lived there since the 1950s, the mammoth North Carolina house (featuring 250 rooms, an indoor pool and bowling alley) welcomes more than a million visitors each year.
#3: Playboy Mansion. Playboy magazine founder Hugh Hefner has made his home in this L.A. abode for several decades, making it the infamous setting of lavish parties and even a television reality show. The house features a zoo, aviary, waterfall and wine cellar.
#2: Fallingwater. One of the most famed creations of architect Frank Lloyd Wright, this house is built atop a waterfall and features cantilevered balconies and organic stone materials. Located near Pittsburgh, the home is the only Wright-designed house open to the public.
#1: The White House. From John Adams to Barak Obama, the White House isn’t just the President’s home but a symbol of America. The Washington, D.C. residence was designed by Irish-born architect James Hoban in 1792. Though the interior has been completely redone, the exterior sandstone walls are original. The home extends many amenities to sitting presidents, including tennis courts, bowling lanes, a pool and movie theater.