May 4, 2008 in Idaho

Building plans offer peek at Hagadone’s ‘treehouse’

Erica F. Curless Staff writer
 

It’s not the largest house in Kootenai County, but the new Hagadone home being built at Lake Coeur d’Alene’s Casco Bay is perhaps the only tree house. The home’s living quarters are elevated on stone pillars, allowing a creek to run underneath through the property’s lavish flower gardens.

The two-bedroom, 22,040-square-foot home is under construction on Duane and Lola Hagadone’s longtime Casco Bay property. The site is visible from downtown Coeur d’Alene and the Coeur d’Alene Resort, which is also owned by the native businessman.

After its completion in 2009, the lakeside home will become the second-largest single-family residence in Kootenai County, dropping the Hagadones’ 14,933-square foot Stanley Hill home to third.

In Spokane County, the largest home is a hillside mansion in Liberty Lake measuring 31,847 square feet.

Hagadone, who is currently in California and won’t return to North Idaho until May 30, declined to comment, telling his assistant that it’s his private home and he’s “not crazy about having a bunch of publicity.”

Yet blueprints Hagadone submitted to Kootenai County as part of the building permit application provide basic details about the home, which is often referred to as the “tree house” because it is elevated on stilts and sits among the tall pines on the waterfront property.

From the plans, it appears that part of the home is 54 feet tall, the equivalent of about five stories.

The blueprints show that the massive home, designed by Hayden Lake architecture firm G.D. Longwell, is broken into three pods, two of which are elevated.

The central area is accessed by a bridge with a glass walkway to show off the garden area below. The living room in this area overlooks Lake Coeur d’Alene, and the entire lakeside wall opens up – similar to a garage door – bringing the outdoors inside, said Kootenai County Plans Examiner Rod Scott.

The segment to the north is the master suite, in which the his-and-hers closets and sleeping area measure 1,870 square feet – larger than many entire homes – and that doesn’t include the his-and-hers bathrooms.

There is also a garden sitting area with views of the Hagadone gardens, one of the largest private gardens in the region with more than 10,000 plants and six full-time gardeners.

The garden is a main attraction that brings people to charity events the family sponsors every summer for various local organizations. Events on the property have included the Western Governors’ Association conference and fundraisers for the Coeur d’Alene Library and Kootenai Humane Society.

The state of Idaho recently approved a 177-foot commercial dock that will allow Hagadone to moor two 100-foot cruise boats used to transport as many as 600 people to such events.

The southern pod of the home isn’t on stilts and includes two kitchens, the formal dining room, morning room, study, meeting room and exercise area. There’s also an eating deck. Below, at ground level, the 6,252 square feet of space is set up like a guest suite including a kitchen and patio. It also has laundry, storage, mechanical and electrical rooms.

Attached to the home is a 1,644-square-foot, four-car garage.

The exterior of home is made up of cedar siding and large, wall-like plate glass windows providing views of the gardens and lake from most of the living areas. The pillars are covered with stone, as are the chimney stacks. The roof is cedar.

The property is divided into three parcels, allowing for two new guest homes known as the “garden cabin” and the “lake cabin.” The garden cabin measures about 3,100 square feet. Plans for the lake cabin haven’t been submitted to the county but the size on the site plan looks similar.

This isn’t Hagadone’s largest home project. That honor is reserved for his 44,870-square-foot mansion in Palm Desert, Calif., on a ridge of the Santa Rosa Mountains near the 18th hole of the Bighorn Golf Course.

In 2004, Palm Desert granted Hagadone an exemption from an ordinance that caps hillside homes at 4,000 square feet and approved his 32,016-square-foot home plan – eight times the normally allowed size. But then officials discovered the size was understated by nearly 13,000 square feet, a mistake that Hagadone representatives blamed on the initial engineer.

The $30 million-plus home with five wings infuriates many desert neighbors who, according to a 2007 article in the Los Angeles Times, dubbed it “the flying saucer” and “Neverland Ranch” and say that the windows send off a blinding glare.

Hagadone declined to provide a cost estimate for the Casco Bay house, and the building permit fee, which is based on square footage, is woefully inadequate, Scott said. The county uses a $94 per-square-foot average to calculate the permit fee. Scott guessed the Hagadone home would easily double that number, giving a bare-bones estimated value at $4.1 million.

“But that probably has nothing to do with reality,” he said.


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