The mansion once belonging to flamboyant pianist Liberace - who was recently portrayed by Michael Douglas in the film Behind the Candelabra - has been sold this week for just $500,000. Real estate agency Redfin reported that the property had sold at the beginning of the week (26 August) having been on the market for a number of years after falling into foreclosure in 2010. It was purchased by Englishman Martyn Ravenhill, a life-long Liberace fan.
Michael Douglas as Liberace in Behind the Candelabra
Speaking with local magazine Get Surrey, based in his native England, Ravenhill described an immediate attachment he felt with the property when he first viewed it and said he felt compelled to buy the property as a celebration of his 50th birthday. Revealing that he flew from his home in Mexico to Vegas upon hearing the property was for sale, Ravenhill said, “Suddenly there I was walking around this place. Opening the door felt like home. There was a strange feeling of nostalgia to me. You could feel the history in the place as well. As we were walking around I already knew that I had to buy it to mark my 50th birthday. I have come to the realisation that you have to do things while you can and seize the moment.”
Matt Damon starred as Douglas' lover in the film
Once a showcase of Liberace's extravagance and over the top style, the house once was home to an array of luxury, including crystal chandeliers, custom marble pillars and etched glass windows littered throughout the property.
The property also features spiral staircase made by expert designers in France, which was sipped over at an estimated cost of $75,000. He reportedly spent another $350,000 to cover an entire room with copper tile and paid over a million to have a mural that was a similar style to the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel painted in the master bedroom. Liberace alleged that the painting cost him so much because it was completed by a descendant of Michelangelo.
Since Liberace's death, the property swapped owners for a number of years until it's foreclosure in 2010. Over time, the once pristine condition of the mansion has fallen into decay and much of the 15,000-square-foot home has fallen into disrepair. Ravenhill claims that he will work alongside the Liberace Foundation to bring the house back to it's former glory and intends to open the house up to the public once work is completed.
Douglas received heaps of praise for his portray of the pianist in Behind the Candelabra