Inside UKs most expensive home with private river flowing through dining room
A British billionaire has let cameras inside the UK's most expensive home, which he knocked through two mansions to complete.
John Caudwell's £250 million mega-mansion in London's Mayfair boasts massive gold-adorned rooms he jokes only Buckingham Palace can rival.
The 68-year-old Phones 4 U founder lives in the 45,000 square feet property with his partner Modesta Vžesniauskaitė, and their six-month-old son William.
Jaw-dropping features of the home include a river with live fish swimming through a dining room and an indoor 'beautiful piece of art' car park.
Speaking to OK! Magazine, dad-of-six John admitted he had to strip much of the place down and start again when he bought it because the decor was too "ostentatious".
He said: "It was just a matter of making everything very tasteful, which ended up being a complete and total bare brick renovation."
However, one room that didn't require as much doing up was the stunning, gold-adorned ballroom, which John reckons is the largest privately-owned ballroom in London.
Recalling his first impression of the room, he said: "The site was just unbelievable."
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He put hardwood floors into the room and changed the curtains, but admits much of the room was as it is today when he bought the mansion.
He asked: "Who else has a room like this?" before jokingly adding: "Well, other than Buckingham Palace, of course."
Obviously no mega-mansion is complete without a cinema room, and John's is filled with printed, comfy-looking chairs and red velvet cushions – as well as a popcorn machine.
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"It really is a fantastic room because you get amazing sound quality, amazing visual quality," John said.
For a personal touch, he's covered the walls in photos of family members posing as celebrities in iconic photos, like Audrey Hepburn and Marilyn Monroe.
The mansion's stunning entertainment room, decorated to a Roaring Twenties theme, is used to host John's charity events.
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But one of John's favourite features of the house is the car stacker lift, which is visible from within the house through strong glass, keeping his vintage motors on display.
And his favourite room is the dining room, and it's easy to see why.
It is beautifully decorated in a style that mimics an east-Asian garden with blossom trees and a river.
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Inspired by his love of Thai cuisine, John says: "It's one of my favourite rooms in the house and it was sort of my creation."
A Channel 4 TV show on the property which aired last year divided viewers.
One person tweeted: “His lava wall costing the annual salary of a British worker.”
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The businessman was raised in a humble terraced house in Stoke-on-Trent, attending a local comprehensive school and then setting up a mobile phone wholesale business with his brother Brian in the 1980s.
Another added: “It looks like John Caudwell earned a billion quid and spent it all in Woolworths. Never was the phrase ‘money can never buy taste’ so apt.”
But other people said that the businessman deserved to spend every penny however he saw fit.
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“Well done to John Caudwell,” wrote one, “Made all his money. Can spend it how he wants. Why would anyone hate on him for spending his own money.”
Caudwell responded to the backlash personally on Twitter, saying the property was an investment to help him raise money for charity by hosting posh parties.
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