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Elena Franchuk's Victorian Villa
World's Most Expensive Homes
This Victorian Villa (17 Upper Phillimore Gardens) easily makes the list of the world's most expensive properties. The home is a freestanding, five-story, 10-bedroom Victorian villa, and has undergone £10 million worth of upgrades, including the additions of an underground indoor swimming pool, movie theater, panic room, sauna and gym. Its lavish interior and humble exterior is a unique blend that works to give the house a warm and inviting appeal. Upper Phillimore Gardens, Kensington boasts many upscale estates that the well-to-do flock to in droves, but this Victorian Villa shatters them all with elegance, space, and price. From the outside, the home doesn't look overly spectacular. It's the proverbial Victorian Era English home - only much larger - with a white, grey and black exterior, plenty of windows, and steep, sloping rooftops. The inside of the house is another story entirely. Even when the former Chinese owners had the Victorian Villa in 1997, right after it made its transformation from preparatory school to luxury villa, the inside of the residence was utterly breathtaking, featuring marble, hardwood, brass and gold, and priceless artwork and Old World furnishings. The installation of the underground swimming pool is one of the home's main upgrades, and it occupies an entire floor's worth of space, featuring changing rooms, bathrooms, lighted floors and ceilings, and pricy white marble pillars.
Elena Franchuk, a businesswoman and AIDS philanthropist from Ukraine, in 2006 reportedly purchased the newly upgraded home in southwest London for £80 million. Ms Franchuk, the daughter of a former Ukrainian president Leonid Kuchma and married to oligarch industrialist Viktor Pinchuk, has long been involved in charitable activities in her home country.