D.C.'s Proposed Palace Courts Controversy

Justin Jouvenal tells of plans for a 25,424-square-foot mansion modeled on the Palace of Versailles, to be built in a Washington D.C. suburb, that's causing a collision between "new and old ideas about the way Washington expresses its success."
April 29, 2012, 7am PDT | Jonathan Nettler | @nettsj
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The proposed "Le Chateau de Lumiere," as its owners have dubbed it, to be built in the exclusive Great Falls neighborhood of Hidden Springs, will be among the largest homes ever built in the area, explains Jouvenal. And it has courted outsized controversy, confrontations, and a lawsuit befitting its square footage.

As Jouvenal frames the collision, "Washington once shied away from such overt expressions of wealth, more common in Beverly Hills and Palm Beach. But the owners of Lumiere see their mega-mansion - big enough to make your average McMansion feel downright cozy - as a dream home."

However, "Some neighbors see an eyesore that is not in keeping with the Hidden Springs's traditionally Washington aesthetic, elegant but understated. They also object to the owners knocking down acres of trees to build a home in a neighborhood that was specifically created to be a wooded retreat from go-go Washington."

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Published on Monday, April 23, 2012 in The Washington Post
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