We call certain houses mansions which makes them sound grand and magnificent but what does it actually mean to live in a modern mansion? Is it just a matter of size or is it something more?
What Makes A Building A Mansion?
The truth is that “mansion” is a quite subjective term. If we’re to judge this by size, a mansion is a house that has at least 8,000 square feet of floor space. Even so it depends on the location. For example, in the Los Angeles luxury market a house is only truly considered a mansion if it’s over 20,000 square feet.
Another way to think of a mansion is as a large and impressive house, one that creates a sense of wealth and luxury. A house can have less than 8,000 square feet of floor space and still be called a mansion if it actually looks and feels grand, luxurious and impressive.
In conclusion, calling something a mansion is more than anything a matter of perception and context. Here’s a few features to look for in a mansion:
1. Impressive entertainment facilities
This is especially valid for mansions built in the 20th century. Back then mansions had luxurious ballrooms, salons, lounges and various other types of entertainment areas designed to impress and to accommodate large numbers of guests.
The modern mansions of today have changed slightly but still maintain similar standards. Instead of ballrooms they have big and elaborate game rooms, bars, pools and pool houses as well as impressive professional kitchens to cater to all the guests in style.
2. Lavish leisure areas
A mansion would also include several leisure spaces where the owners and guests can go to relax and unwind. For the mansions of the previous decades this meant conservatories, greenhouses, big gardens and big libraries with massive collections of books.
Today these are replaced by spas, state-of-the-art home theaters, in-house gyms, expansive closets, man caves and more. Basically if the owner of a mansion has a passion for something that can be turned into such a space.
3. Impressive outdoor areas
While houses have backyards and gardens, mansions take this to a whole new level. They have Zen gardens, big outdoor sitting areas with fire pits, guesthouses, fountains, lakes and various water features, tennis courts and various sports facilities and even motor courts or their own private hiking trails.
4. Superior building materials
Mansions are grand, luxurious and expensive and part of what makes them seem this way is the fact that they’re built with only the finest and most exquisite materials and finishes.
Also, mansions are highly customized and furnished with designer pieces and famous or custom-made art and decorations. Basically you can immediately tell when you’re entering a mansion by the quality and craftsmanship that went into its design. This includes top-of-the-line appliances and fixtures and things like elaborate security systems.
How Many Bedrooms Are In A Modern Mansion?
Although they’re very big and impressive, not all mansions have a lot of bedrooms. There’s really no rule defining the minimum or maximum number of bedrooms a mansion can have so, once again, this is subjective.
Typically you can expect a mansion to have 5 or 6 bedrooms with some having as many as 10. It’s quite common these days to prefer fewer but larger bedrooms and amenities rather than to focus strictly on numbers.
The Biggest Mansion in the World?
There’s a lot of truly impressive modern mansions out there, some of which you’re already familiar with without ever having though of them in this sense.
Indian billionaire Mukesh Ambani – 168-car garages.
Judging by size, one of the biggest mansions in the world can be found in Mumbai, India. It’s the home of Mukesh Ambani, Chairman of Reliance Industries, and his family. It has 27 floors, 9 elevators and its own helipad on the roof. It also has 600 staff members catering to its owners and guests. This mansions measures 400,000 square feet and was built in 2010.
Buckingham Palace with 775 rooms.
You could also consider the famous Buckingham Palace to be a mansion since this is where the Queen lives. It has 775 rooms and an underground tunnel system that connects it to the Clarence House and the Houses of Parliament. It was built in 1703 and measures 828,82 square feet. It has its own police station, ATM machine, movie theater and tennis court among other features.
Istana Nurul Iman – 1,788 rooms
The title of the biggest mansion in the world goes to the Istana Nurul Iman Palace owned by the Sultan of Brunei. It has 1,788 rooms and 257 bathrooms in total and it even has its own mosque. The property is also known as The Light of Faith Palace and measures 2.15 million square feet.
It was built in 1984 by architect Leonardo V. Locsin and some of its notable features include a 110-car garage, 5 swimming pools and air-conditioned stables that can accommodate 200 polo ponies.
Modern Mansion Design Ideas From Around The World
The definition of the mansion is an ever-changing one because the moderns of today are not the same as the historic mansions of the previous centuries. One thing of course transcends time: the sense of grandeur and luxury.
Let’s check out some modern mansions and see what else makes them stand out.
Modern Tofino Beach Mansion – 2500 ft²
Although it only measures 2500 square feet which by most standards is not enough to call this a mansion, the Tofino Beach House makes up for its small size in beauty. It was designed and built in 2016 by studio Olson Kundig and it can be found in Tofino, Canada.
What really makes this place come to life is the gorgeous landscape surrounding it. This beautiful beach retreat sits among a beautiful old forest with tall and beautiful trees that rise toward the sky and surround the house like guardians. Look beyond the trees and a fantastic view of the ocean is revealed.
Townships Farmhouse – 4000 ft²
This is another mansion on the smaller side of the scale, measuring 4000 square feet. It’s located in North Hatley, another beautiful place in Canada and it was completed in 2016 by studio LAMAS. This time the idea was not to be opulent but to embrace the beauty of nature and the farmhouse style and to bring it to a new level.
One of the main focuses of the project was to be eco-friendly. The owners are a couple with a keen interest in land conservation as well as the preservation of agricultural buildings. Together with the architects they chose to use salvaged hemlock wood from dilapidated barns across the Ontario region for the cladding of their charming little mansion. They also made sure to make the whole place look authentic so it blends into the local vernacular.
Rimrock – 5200 ft²
At 5200 square feet, the Rimrock house is actually big enough to technically be called a mansion. It was designed by studio Olson Kundig and completed in 2014. The location is absolutely magnificent in more than one way. The building sits on top of a bluff at the edge of a cliff in Spokane, United States. Its name is actually derived from the landscape, the term rimrock describing a sheer rock wall at the upper edge of a plateau.
A big section of this T-shaped building was elevated above the wash which was done in order to preserve a pre-existing path for animals which allows them to travel between the mountains and the river. The path is still in its original place and the animals can continue to use it undisturbed. By elevating the house the architects also maximized the gorgeous views and they made sure to capitalize on this by including full-height windows in their design.
JSL House – 5381 ft²
This is a house located in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil and designed by studio Bernardes Arquitetura in 2019. It was a project driven by a desire to connect to the sea by maximizing the views and to put an emphasis on the leisure areas which also happens to be defining elements for a mansion.
Around the outside the residence is wrapped in a skin of metal mesh which act as brise soleils as well as decorative elements. Large windows let in lots of natural sunlight and frame beautiful views of the outside areas while the interior is warm and welcoming but also feels grand, especially the living room which has a double height ceiling.
Dragonfly House – 6500 ft²
The Dragonfly House is a gorgeous vacation retreat situated at the border between a beautiful pine forest and a lake in Whitefish, United States. It was designed by studio Olson Kundig who completed it in 2016. This unusual dichotomy between two different biomes offers the house a unique opportunity of blending into the landscape and connecting these two areas simply through its presence.
To reach the house one has to travel from the driveway across a meadow through a gravel path. The path then wraps around the house and continues down the hill and all the way to the lake. Outdoor areas like covered decks, a fire pit and a hot tub are sprinkled along the way, inviting the inhabitants to explore more of the surroundings.
Jellyfish House With A Spectacular Pool – 6996 ft²
The unique design chosen by Wiel Arets Architects for the Jellyfish House is directly influenced by its location and context. The residence is located in Marbella, Spain on a piece of land surrounded by neighboring buildings which block what would otherwise be a great view of the sea. However, the architects viewed this not as a deal breaker but as a challenge.
The architects actually managed to find a view to give the owners of the Jellyfish House the view they wanted. They did this by creating a cantilevered rooftop swimming pool with a glass bottom that lets the light filter through and create mesmerizing patterns on the floor below.
This unusual design thus creates a perfect viewing spot from the suspended pool and adjacent rooftop lounge area. It’s unique features like this that elevate a house to the status of modern mansion.
Alegre House – 8643 ft²
Designed by architect Jorge Vidal, the Alegre House is a lovely modern mansion located on the tropical Ibiza island in Spain. It was completed in 2014 but it wasn’t built completely from scratch. The project consisted of the renovation of an existing concrete structure and its transformation into what is now a stylish and luxurious retreat.
One of the main objectives followed throughout the new design was to open up the interior and to create a strong bond between the breezy and stylish indoor areas and the gorgeous tropical landscape that surrounds the house. This explains the massive operable walls that allow the top floor to welcoming panoramic views of the surrounding landscape inside the house.
Collywood House – 15642 ft²
The impressive Collywood House designed by studio Olson Kundig and completed in 2018 is located in West Hollywood above the Sunset Strip and has a perfect view of Los Angeles, San Gabriel mountains and the Pacific Ocean. It’s also pretty impressive in size, stretching across 15642 square feet of space.
The mansion has three levels. The main floor is where the social areas are situated and has a series of retractable glass walls which open this floor to a series of large outdoor terraces. There’s also two pivoting walls which let the outdoors into the south side of the living area.
The upper level is equally impressive. This is where the master bedroom is situated along with a home gym and a series of roof decks. The views from up here are magnificent.
There’s also a lower level where an auto gallery, a game room and a media room are situated, with access to a large outdoor terrace that cantilevers over the hillside and gives a perfect and uninterrupted view of the city.
The Ficus House – 16587 ft²
Studio Guz Architects built the Ficus House in Singapore in 2017. It’s designed to serve as an extended family home and the L-shaped layout allows for a good level of privacy to be maintained between the households. There’s also a shared courtyard which connects the two wings and creates a smooth transition between them as well as between the indoor and outdoor areas.
A gorgeous design feature which makes this more than just a simple house is the array of roof gardens which make up for the lost landscape due to the footprint of the building. This shows great respect towards nature and also allows the building to look fresh, vibrant and altogether magnificent.
California Meadow House – 17000 ft²
One of the elements that we’ve come to expect from a modern mansion is for it to showcase a cohesive and harmonious relationship between architecture, interior design and landscape. This is definitely the case here where this impressive family home seems to seamlessly blend in and dissolve into the beautiful green landscape that surrounds it.
The mansion was designed by studio Olson Kundig and completed in 2017. It consists of a central main structure and a series of three auxiliary buildings as well as several extensive outdoor areas. The central structure acts as a base, a pillar that anchors the whole property and creates cohesion between the different areas.
CWN House – 18836 ft²
This massive modern mansion spreads across three floors in an L-shaped design and can be found in Santana de Parnaíba, a city close to Sao Paulo, in Brazil. From an architectural standpoint the building is quite unusual and has a boomerang-shaped form. The design was done by studio Bernardes Arquitetura in 2018.
The central living area is one of the most impressive spaces, featuring a double height ceiling and a beautiful integration with the garden which is filled with tropical plants and has a gorgeous and rich landscape. On the outside the house is enclosed by glass and wood panels which give it a very inviting aesthetic but also help to connect it with the surroundings in an organic manner.
Casa Cloud – 23497 ft²
Casa Cloud is a project completed in 2020 by studio BOONDESIGN. It’s located in Bangkok, Thailand and it’s the materialization of a wonderful fusion between architecture and nature. The mansion creates a wonderful feeling of immersion by blurring the barriers between natural and artificial and by welcoming the outdoors in and allowing the interior spaces to seamlessly extend outside.
From the outside is looks as if the greenery is slowly starting to take over the building but it’s all done in a very clean and precise manner. Everything has a stylish and modern aesthetic, including the expansive backyard and garden areas. Inside there’s a strong industrial vibe given by the exposed concrete surfaces and the simplicity of the materials and finishes used.
Kelapa House – 30138 ft²
Samui Island in Thailand is a beautiful slice of paradise and also where this magnificent modern mansion was built by Architects 49 (Phuket) Limited in 2018.
The building is surrounded by tall coconut trees and lush vegetation and despite being a relatively new addition to the land it looks as if it’s been there forever. One of the major objectives throughout the entire project was to preserve the landscape as much as possible.
To that extent, the architects designed this entire massive mansion on a series of columns which elevate it off the ground and preserve the area beneath it intact. By doing that they also made the building is not affected by the seasonal monsoons since the water can easily flow underneath. From an aesthetic point of view this mansion has an intentionally weathered appearance on the outside which is what helps it look so at home here.
Asa House – 36435 ft²
“Asa” means “wing” in portuguese and was the name given by studio Bernardes Arquitetura to this gorgeous mansion from Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. The house sits at the top of a hill and utilizes the topography of the site to its advantage, assigning the flat areas to the various outdoor living spaces and hiding some of the interior spaces underground.
Some of the extra features that raise this house to the status of mansion, besides its impressive size, include a home gym and a sauna which are seamlessly connected to the outdoors. The main living area resembles a very bright and airy pavilion thanks to the numerous full-height windows which frame perfect views of the immediate surroundings.
Mirador Residence – 37135 ft²
From a distance, the Mirador mansion resembles a rectangular stone monolith that blends into the beautiful landscape of the 3.5 acres of farmland that surround it. It was designed by studio SHROFFLEóN in an attempt to provide the owner with a simple yet stylish refuge hidden away in wilderness of Karjat, India.
There are no neighboring houses or building anywhere to be seen so this modern mansion was designed with expansive glass walls and windows that capture as much of the beautiful scenic views as possible.
The exterior of the building is a rough concrete shell which also seeps inside in the form of exposed concrete ceilings. The interior however is very warm, welcoming and soothing thanks to the abundance of wood and soft textures used throughout.
Bigwood – 69965 ft²
Bigwood was a massive project completed inn 2015 by studio Olson Kundig. This impressive modern mansion is located in Ketchum, United States and was designed as a big structure that emerges organically from the landscape.
This impressive was carefully and creatively engineered by the architects who envisioned the East section of the house as a buried module while the West side consists of two wings projecting out of the building.
This strong contrast creates a harmonious balance between volumes that are fully open to the beautiful panoramic views and areas that are tucked beneath the ground.
Furthermore, the design allows the mansion to take full advantage of the natural beauty of the site.
Because this is a desert mountain area, the architects wanted the interior to reflect that and used lots of earthy and natural materials in the design. These capture the beauty of the landscape and give the house a very authentic look.