Big Fancy House
"This place is huge! Dammit, why do rich people have to live in such huge houses?"
—Hayate Ayasaki, Hayate the Combat Butler
A big, well-appointed home is a symbol of wealth and status almost anywhere, varying based on facets including its location and relative opulence.
There are many culture specific variations on this these, based on the economics situation of the culture depicted. What is considered an impossibly huge dwelling in one culture may be a standard middle class house in another culture. For more information on how this applies to Japan, see the Anime and Manga section.
If a house is awe-inspiring for reasons other than size, it might be a Cool House. Compare also to Old Dark House and Big Fancy Castle. Contrast Friends Rent Control, where the home (or apartment) doesn't have to be all that large or luxurious objectively, but it's enough so for the location that there's no logical reason why the character should be able to afford it. Also the indication of wealth is not always solid if the home was vacated or offered cheaply for obvious reasons.
Anime and Manga
- Rich Manor in Richie Rich.
- In one cartoon, the father used LONG distance to call eastern part of house from INSIDE the same house...
- Name any rich super hero and said hero probably has one. Except for Iron Fist who lives in a apartment in Harlem.
- Though, to be fair, it's big enough for a dojo, and Harlem has been significant gentrified in the last decade. So it's got the same net worth as a mansion by now.
- In Decks Fall Everyone Dies, the Duke's big fancy house is in stark contrast to the crumbling Domino City around it.
Mrs. Lucas: ...And whose house is that, Franky?
- Wayne Manor in Batman Begins is one of these, what with the Batcave in the basement/surrounding caves. However, it burns down, forcing Bruce to move to just a Cool House—though considering that it's a penthouse floor with an express elevator to another Batcave, it may qualify as another Big Fancy House.
- Actually the new Batcave is in a different part of the city, in a run-down industrial district, and you need to take a car to get there from Bruce's penthouse, but there is a hidden room in the apartment which contains a spare batsuit and equipment.
- The mansion in Eyes Wide Shut that Bill bluffs his way into once he gets the password from a friend. Of course, the fact that it's gigantic isn't as impressive as the Black Mass-esque ceremony culminating with an orgy in every single room.
- Michael Douglas's character in The Game has a palatial residence that he presumably inherited from his father, and he is also fabulously wealthy. Apart from his servants, he lives there alone.
- Jodie Foster's character in Panic Room buys a big, brownstone rowhome in Manhattan for her daughter and herself while she goes to study at Columbia. It's a bit of a spooky place, large for two people, and featuring the title safe room. The real estate agent seems curious about how she expects to afford it and it's revealed that she was formerly married to the chairman of a pharmaceutical company.
- In A Good Year, the aggressive London stockbroker Max Skinner inherits a beautiful vineyard-estate in Provence from his uncle. Acting on his normal instincts, he prepares to sell the place and make a pretty penny but eventually falls in love and gives up his old lifestyle in favor of a quieter life in France.
- The title country estate of Sir William McCordle in Gosford Park.
- The title mansion of Brideshead Revisited.
- Croft Manor in the film adaptations of the video game franchise. 87 rooms. Eighty. Seven. And a trailer out front for Bryce.
- The mansion of The Haunting. The massive sets were appropriately housed in the hanger for the Spruce Goose, the largest wooden airplane ever built.
- Tony Stark's pad. If this doesn't count, this whole page is a lie.
- Xanadu from Citizen Kane.
- Possibly a deconstruction. Xanadu was too big, and it's massive halls too empty. It was symbolic of Kane himself, oppulent and garish, but devoid of anything that actually mattered.
- The Corleone houses in The Godfather. The most luxurious being the one at Lake Tahoe.
- Also the film producer's California mansion in the first Godfather.
- Tony Montana's Florida mansion in Scarface.
- Tara Plantation in Gone with the Wind.
- Mostly averted in the book, where the house is described as a graciously decorated but somewhat haphazard structure valuable mainly for the farmland it sits on, and important mainly because of the emotional connection the protagonist feels toward it.
- The house that Scarlett has built in Atlanta when she marries Rhett may count, although Rhett never loses an opportunity to describe how grotesque the place is.
- The plantation in Song of the South.
- Adam Kesher has one of these in Mulholland Drive—a road famous for its Big Fancy Houses.
- Ilam, home of the Hulmes, in Heavenly Creatures.
- Mr. Brooks has one, complete with his own pottery studio/hidden serial killer equipment closets.
- The mansion of Bill Murray in Zombieland.
- In The Matrix Reloaded, the Merovingian lives in one of these. In addition to the "usual" lavishly decorated hallways, Wall of Weapons, and prison located behind a secret bookcase, it also has doors which lead directly into the City as well as a private garage. Noteworthy here because the house is actually located 500 miles away from the city in the mountains (open the doors normally and you go outside into the mountain area, open them with a special key and you enter the city.)
- John has such a house in Knowing, a huge, rambling, half-ruined place that he was fixing up. He stopped when his wife died.
- The Pottsdorf palace in The Great Race.
- The Roman Mysteries has the Villa Limona, an opulent Roman sea-side house.
- Pemberley in Pride and Prejudice. Curious, however, in that while by modern standards it's quite flashy, by the standards of the time it's quite a restrained and tasteful property, which is one of the things that indicates to Elizabeth Bennet that Mr. Darcy's Hidden Depths reveal him to be a more modest, humble and decent man than first impressions indicate.
- Rosings Park, the home of his aunt Lady Catherine de Burgh, also appears; in keeping with his aunt's overall foolishness, snobbery and lack of decorum, it's a lot more gaudy and show-offy.
- In the Foundation novels, we see the Emperor of the Galaxy lives on a 100 acre palace on the capital world of Trantor. Noteworthy since the rest of the planet is completely covered in a series of metal domes.
- Manderley, in Daphne du Maurier's Rebecca, is the Cornish country estate of the wealthy Englishman Maximilian de Winter. It features heirlooms, a full staff, and is open to the public on certain days.
- The Grosvenor Square mansion of the outrageously wealthy financier Augustus Melmotte in The Way We Live Now.
- A number of extravagant "old money" homes appear in the Jeeves and Wooster stories by PG Wodehouse. Their owners are frequently some relation to Wooster, who is a model Upper Class Twit.
- Sir Thomas and Lady Bertram's titular mansion in Mansfield Park, by Jane Austen.
- Hercule Poirot frequently provides his services as a detective to upper-class residents of big, fancy houses.
- Thornfield Hall, the Gothic estate of the wealthy Edward Rochester in Jane Eyre.
- The wealthy Mr. Toad, of The Wind in the Willows, lives in his family seat called Toad Hall.
- The villain in Hugh Laurie's book The Gun Seller lives in a huge mansion with attached grounds within easy commuting distance of London - the protagonist mentally notes the vast wealth this implies.
- Jay Gatsby's mansion in The Great Gatsby, which is supposed to impress Daisy.
- Hell Hall, the ancestral home of the de Vil family in The Hundred and One Dalmatians.
- Misselthwaite Manor in The Secret Garden.
- The Mouse World equivalent: in The Rescuers books, Miss Bianca is a pampered pet whose cage is a porcelain pagoda.
- Darlington Hall, in Kazuo Ishiguro's The Remains of the Day.
- The increasingly decrepit Hundreds Hall in Sarah Waters' The Little Stranger.
- When an Ugly becomes a Pretty in Uglies, they get moved from a dorm to a Big Fancy House.
- Homeward in J.P Martin's Uncle series. It's so big that the owner hasn't met a tenth of the people who also live there. It has a railway station that he didn't know about until the second book, and the most pimped out library possible, among countless other things.
- Fowl Manor in the outskirts of Dublin, Ireland from Artemis Fowl. It's 200 freaking acres.
- Baskerville Hall is probably the most well-known example in the Sherlock Holmes canon, but there are several instances of him visiting the sprawling country homes of the rich and powerful (and, occasionally, criminal).
- In Robert E. Howard's Conan the Barbarian story "Rogues in the House", Nabonidus lives in one—which makes his lack of servants all the stranger.
- In Buddenbrooks, Thomas builds one, but later feels exhausted and regrets building such an expensive home. Even the house the family moves in later (after their downfall has become obvious) would probably qualify.
- Subverted in Malevil. The titular Malevil is a large English castle from the Hundred Years' War, sitting on a cliff with accompanying grounds. Emmanuel is not a wealthy man, upper-middle class at best, and nor was his uncle who left the inheritance he buys Malevil with. The property was sold "cheap" being considered a bad investment; the castle officially condemned and the grounds too unkempt to be worth the expense and hassle of restoration or clearing.
- In The Good Earth, the rich family on the outskirts of the protagonist's home town and the rich family in the city both have this. The one in the city is so big that an entire tent city is spring up leaning on the wall around the estate.
- In Animorphs, the group breaks into the mansion of Joe Bob Fenestre, a near- Captain Ersatz of Bill Gates, who has a ton of security measures in it. It gets burned down in the end.
- Honor Harrington has acquired several through the course of the series. Harrington House on Grayson (which doubles as headquarters for the local government), her house on Manticore, her duchy on Gryphon, and her family's not-inconsiderable home on Sphinx.
- Manderley in Rebecca.
- Brandham Hall in The Go-Between.
Live Action TV
- In As Time Goes By, Lionel's father gives him a country house in Hampshire complete with a full-time housekeeper, however most of the time he lives with Jean in her nice London home. Lionel is practically Land Poor, however, and at one point suggests they sell the infrequently used house, which leads to an awkward situation where his father offers to buy it back from him.
- Alistair, Lionel's highly successful publisher, hints several times about his prized penthouse overlooking the Thames, but little of it is seen.
- Gu Jun Pyo's house in the Korean Series Boys Before Flowers comes complete with many many housemaids.
- Likewise, in The City Hunter, the house that Yoon Sung grew up in includes extensive grounds, many servants, garages filled with vehicles. Oh and a terrorist-style training camp, all paid for with drug money.
- Collinwood Mansion featured in Dark Shadows is also known for being haunted.
- Niles Crane, in Frasier, is shown living in two Big Fancy Houses: Maris's mansion and his later apartment at The Montana. Various jokes are made about the ridiculous size of his place at The Montana, especially for one single man, with Martin once getting lost on his way to the bathroom. It has at least three floors, a study and a library, and a gift-wrapping room.
- Later, when he's hooked up with Daphne, they have a minor disagreement about how many things Niles should pack if he's planning on staying over with her at Frasier's apartment. It takes them a surprisingly long time to reach the conclusion that it would probably be much easier if she moved into his massive apartment with him.
- The Banks' mansion in The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air - which in addition to the mansion, features both a swimming pool and a poolhouse that characters use as an apartment in later years.
- On the other hand it has no ceiling.
- Francis Urquhart, in House of Cards (British series), has a very nice house in London, and an impressive estate in the countryside, where he shows off some of his Conservative "Old Boy" values.
- The Scottish estate Glenbogle plays a significant role in Monarch of the Glen. Its owners, though, are Land Poor, which is a source of struggle in the stories.
- In Angel, the mansion of Corrupt Corporate Executive and vampire Russell Winters.
- And Angel himself had a mansion in Buffy the Vampire Slayer, though not in the typical rich guy sense.
- Andrew Hartford's mansion in Power Rangers Operation Overdrive has a Zord bay beneath the house, 27 bathrooms on the first floor alone, and yet he can't make a security system to keep the villains out.
- Maybe the sheer size IS the reason it's such a nightmare to secure.
- The comedic tension in To the Manor Born focuses on Grantleigh Manor, which the Land Poor Audrey Fforbes-Hamilton sells to the wealthy Self-Made Man Richard DeVere.
- One example of the sheer size of the place is the fact that he has a rather large room just for his antique china collection.
- ITV's smash hit, Downton Abbey, concerns the Abbey itself (exterior shots are of Highclere Castle). The size of the Abbey requires a full time staff of almost twenty people to clean and maintain. Much of the plot frames the Abbey as an obligation and a money drain, creating tension for everyone.
- Southfork Ranch in Dallas.
- Drummond's Manhattan penthouse in Diff'rent Strokes.
- Jed Clampett's mansion in The Beverly Hillbillies.
- The beachfront Robin's Nest estate in Hawaii in Magnum, P.I..
- On The Sopranos, a female friend of AJ's is reluctant to invite him to her home. When he finally goes there, he sees a house he thinks is normal-sized, if a bit smaller than his own. Turns out that was just the guard shack out at the gate; the house, set well back from the road, is orders of magnitude bigger than his own. It's kind of an eye-opener for him, as he had always believed his family was wealthy.
- The Darling family of Dirty Sexy Money lives in the Imperial, a townhouse in the upper east side of Manhattan, that stands about eight stories tall and takes up an entire city block.
- Yonk and Nicole in The Class.
- Hodgins' mansion has popped up once or twice in the seven seasons of Bones.
- The eponymous Sanctuary.
- The Valentine Mansion, London - home to the English Countess Isabella "Ivy" Valentine from the Soul Series. The grand staircase and library are used as fighting arenas in SC 1 and SC 3 respectively.
- Yai's house in the Mega Man Battle Network games—though it appears roughly the same size as her neighbors' houses from the outside.
- Croft Manor in the Tomb Raider series.
- A huge mansion is the backdrop of a field, the Webber Estate, in Backyard Baseball.
- Wario's Castle in Wario World. It's a solid gold castle people, complete with fancy throne and lots and lots of treasure lying around just about everywhere.
- The Wario Land 2 version is just ridiculous though, it has tons of rooms, is probably the size of a small town when mapped out, and has TEN LEVELS set in the building. Getting to his alarm clock requires going through about twenty rooms for goodness sake!
- The Shinra Mansion at Nibelheim in Final Fantasy VII. The largest house in the game, if this troper is not mistaken. 2 wings, 2 floors, with a deep underground basement. Get's further expanded in Crisis Core to have larger rooms, a huge entrance hall, wider corridors, and 2 levels of basements. Funnily enough, for a former scientist's base, the only room to contain anything actually scientific is the deepest, furthest room in the basement.
- Phantasmagoria begins with a young couple moving into a gothic castle. It's never explained how they could possibly afford it, or why the original owner's belongings are untouched decades after his death.
- Luigis Mansion. Okay, so it's a bit haunted, but you can literally vacuum money and pearls right out of the furniture!
- Touhou Project's Eientei and Scarlet Devil Mansion. Both are also cases where they are Bigger on the Inside. Interestingly, the Scarlet Devil Mansion is a..well, Western-style mansion, while Eientei is very much Japanese.
- Mass Effect 2: Donavan Hock has a ridiculously large house, especially after you get through the large room where the party is held, the balcony, the vault that's large enough that the Statue of Liberty's head is a display on one end, the underground security bunkers, the YMIR mechs, the garage full of tanks and fuel canisters, the secondary landing pad...and that gunship and the rest of the squadron Hock talks about had to have come from somewhere...
- Fable II and 3 have Fairfax Mansion and Bowerstone Castle respectively. Both are huge, contain any kind of real world room you could want. Both however seem to have large, rather complex escape routes that are actually filled with danger.
- Dorne Manor (the Operation Repunzel level) in Medal of Honor: Frontline.
- In the backstory comics for Team Fortress 2, we see that the Demoman lives in a very fancy mansion with his mother. The Heavy also seems to live in a big fancy cabin.
- The Tohno mansion of Tsukihime, big and fancy even for Japanese standards.
- In Battlefield 3 the Russian protagonist storms a mansion positioned on a cliff side overseeing an enormous beach spanning as far as the eye can see and a breath-taking view of the ocean. The reason why is that there is a well-known arms dealer suspected of having given away nuclear weapons so they are trying to capture him and find out what he knows. As for the mansion itself there are numerous sections one after the other that could be considered houses into their own right, lavish gardens, multiple pools, and an entire underground Military facility. This arms dealer must be banking to have been able to afford a house that beautiful.
- Due to being extremely rich, Sarina's family have several of these.
- The iDOLM@STER 2 - Takane's has one.
- Being the head of a mafia crime family it's not surprising Jackie Estacado lives in a large mansion. What is surprising is that said mansion is located on the top of a skyscraper in New York City.
- In Dragon Age II the first Act revolves around Hawke trying to gain enough money so he can reclaim the Amell Estate for his mother, after his deadbeat uncle; hid the Will that revealed everything was left to his sister, spent the entire family inheritance on himself and then finally sold the Estate to slavers in order to cover his extensive debts. After Hawke regains the family fortune and Estate in Act II, his uncle was not allowed to live there.
- While we only see a fraction of it in game, just how big is the Estate? Its vast cellars are mentioned as extending all the way from Hightown, right through to the former mine tunnels that running beneath the city, Darktown.
- In Skyrim most of the houses in Solitude including Proudspire Manor which is the one the player can buy and the most expensive of the player's options. It would be big and fancy by modern standards but even moreso in the context of the setting.
- The residence of The God-Emperor of Mankind. All I know is that it was visible from space, and I've jokingly concluded that many millennia ago it was called "France".
- IIRC, the third edition rulebook stated that it covered about half of Terra.
- From what I know, the Imperial Palace covers all of North America.
- From the deptiction in Draco, the Imperial Palace appears to be a massive city. It doesn't just house the Emperor, it houses the central imperial government and the surrounding population of butchers, cleaners, guards, priests etc, as well as being a massive shrine to the history of the imperium, the deeds of the imperial military and the lives of all the saints. Even so, the bit where the emperor does live is pretty big - the front door is guarded by a pair of Imperator Class Titans.
- In a sense, all of Terra itself could be considered the Emperor's house. Terra is entirely covered by a single city. The planet (and indeed the whole Solar System) is one enormous fortress and shrine whose primary purpose is to protect the Emperor and power the Astronomican (the beacon that allows Warp travel).
- The Board Game Mystery Mansion takes place in one of these.
- Annyseed "I still can't get over your uncles mansion back there!" -Winston says to Anny, page 99.
- Tessa from Bittersweet Candy Bowl lives in one, much to the amazement of her new friends.
- In "The Dreamer", the Murrays of Murray Hill live in one.
- In El Goonish Shive, Susan lives in one.
- She has a remote with one button. Its purpose is to raise the back of the couch.
- The Kingfisher: Fancy house interiors abound, almost creating a bigger sense of abnormality when the characters visit a pit.
- In No Rest for The Wicked, the Beast lives in one.
- The palace that Vonda Clutchcoin calls her own in the Chip 'n Dale Rescue Rangers episode "The Carpetsnaggers".
- Burns Manor in The Simpsons, home of local evil tycoon Montgomery Burns.
- In The Critic, Jay Sherman's family and his boss Duke Phillips live in mansions.
- In the SpongeBob SquarePants episode "House Fancy", Squilliam's house, much to Squidward's dismay.
- Montana Max's mansion (complete with doorbell that chimes "MON-ney!")
- Tex Avery's Lonesome Lenny is a big dumb dog whose home is a huge mansion - his room is the size of an opera house - and he lives in a standard-issue wooden doghouse in the corner.
- Scrooge McDuck's mansion in DuckTales (1987).
- In The Legend of Korra Airbending Master Tenzin and his family reside in a palatial estate on the grounds of Air Temple Island, a sanctuary situated on the bay of Republic City.
- Mordhaus (German for "Murder House"), the home of Dethklok from Metalocalypse is a gigantic, high-tech fortress that even has the ability to fly.
- Windsor Castle, home of the British Royal Family, is the largest inhabited castle in the world and, dating back to the time of William the Conqueror (1066), is the oldest in continuous occupation. The castle's floor area is about 45,000 square metres (480,000 sq ft); it contains over 1,000 rooms and the surrounding parkland is over 20 square kilometres.
- And this is only one of the British Royal Family's twenty-plus official residences, one of which is the sprawling Houses of Parliament in the heart of Westminster (though only technically, since the monarch no longer lives there at any time). The numbers are staggering - the Crown property portfolio is collectively worth something like £5.6bn (around $8.7bn US), includes over 50% of the UK shoreline, and covers in total well over 1,000 square kilometres.
- The residence of the Emperor of Japan. A palace, several Big Fancy Houses and several square kilometres of open parkland. In central Tokyo. One estimate of its "market value" (if a market for it existed) is that the palace and grounds is worth, roughly, California. There are bigger, fancier palaces out there for heads of state, but no real estate in the world more expensive than this one.
- Canadian Governors-General are lodged at Rideau Hall, a superb manor in Ottawa where the GG holds receptions and diplomatic events, though the vast majority of it is working offices for various Crown functions. In contrast, the Prime Minister and provincial Primiers lived in smaller houses or condos. Except for one, the Prime Minister of Newfoundland, who lived in a beautiful house. Newfoundland is one of the poorest provinces in Canada, if not the poorest.
- The Biltmore Estate in Asheville, North Carolina, the country estate of railroad heir George Washington Vanderbilt II and largest privately-owned house (175,000 sq ft) in the United States. It's been used in several films as the residence of somebody who obviously has enormous amounts of money, especially old money. Examples:
- The Barclay Brothers have built a faux-gothic castle on the private island of Brecqhou, with landscaped gardens covering most of the rest of the island. Features include the Servants Helipad and an ornamental lake.
- After the Great Fire of Rome in 64, the emperor Nero had a gigantic new palace built. If Suetonius is to be believed, the entrance hall alone was a mile long and had a 120-foot statue of Nero; there was a huge artificial lake, gardens and woods rife with plants and animals, petal- and perfume-sprinklers and a banqueting hall with a constantly revolving roof, and gold, jewelled and ivory decorations throughout. When it was finished, Nero is supposed to have said, "Good - now at last I can begin to live like a human being." No wonder people accused him of starting the fire (though it's now generally agreed that he didn't). As Nero was less than popular with the Roman establishment by the time he died and the palace was a gigantic reminder of him, most of it was later demolished.
- Of course, Nero's profound unpopularity means that this description should be taken with a large grain of salt.
- The White House is pretty damn fancy, though its size comes more from the fact that it's also full of a lot of office space for the President's staff than the residential part. Still, the President's residence is quite big and quite fancy.
- However, about half of this, which includes all of the London palaces, is owned by the government rather than privately by the Queen.
- Although that estimate was made during the '90s Japanese real estate bubble. Probably less now. But still really expensive.