Sold: Larry Dean’s “Pink Elephant” in Atlanta

by hookedonhouses on August 12, 2010

Larry Dean-house exterior

Software entrepreneur Larry Dean and his wife Lynda built their dream house in the early ’90s in Georgia. They divorced soon after and their sprawling, over-the-top, 32,000 square-foot mansion, often referred to as Dean’s “Pink Elephant in Atlanta,” has been on and off the market for years.

At one time they were asking $40 million for Dean Gardens but were unable to get anything close to it. It finally sold recently when the price was reduced to $13.9 million, but the new owner has plans to demolish it.

glass entry

The 8-bedroom mansion, which once held the title as “Biggest House in Atlanta,” sits on 58 acres and features two carriage house apartments, a caretaker’s cottage, wedding chapel, 18-hole golf course, and outdoor amphitheater. It took 4 years to build–and 15 years to sell.

According to this AJC article, Dean is selling tickets to an auction August 20-21. The contents of the house will be sold and people can tour the mansion one last time before it’s destroyed. Luckily for us, there’s a slideshow of the house featured on WBSTV.com where we can ogle this ode to excess.

front door-entry hall

A Luxist article says, “The rotunda was inspired by Florence’s Brunelleschi Cathedral. Art Deco and Art Nouveau flourishes abound in the bedrooms. Much of the terrace level is given over to a Moroccan theme and a game room has a 1950s diner look.”

Indeed, there are countless unusual features in the house, including a “Peacock Room:”

peacock room

A Carousel-themed nursery:

carousel theme in nursery

A bathroom that was probably trendy and avant-garde in 1989:

black bathtub

Some eye-popping furniture like this flower bed (I assume there’s a bed in there somewhere):

flower bedAnd then there’s the unusual artwork, which includes this disturbing headless mannequin:

headless sculpture

That poor cat! Head over to WBSTV.com to see the rest of the photos.

To See More Unusual Things from the Real Estate Listings, Click Here.

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Allison August 12, 2010 at 11:07 pm

This house is hideous. I can see why the new owner plans on knocking it down. Thats what you call nouveau riche. No taste at all. GAUDY!

Gail August 12, 2010 at 11:14 pm

Yikes!

Bettsi August 12, 2010 at 11:22 pm

Hi Julia! It’s too bad the Deans didn’t have the HoH readers back then to guide them! What a monstrosity!
.-= Bettsi´s last blog ..Tale of a Teapot =-.

Pam @ diy Design Fanatic August 12, 2010 at 11:23 pm

Goes to show you that just because you have money doesn’t mean you have taste.
.-= Pam @ diy Design Fanatic´s last blog ..Blowing Rock Shopping Trip =-.

Cindy August 12, 2010 at 11:27 pm

I’d take a run down cottage over that thing any day! I think the decorator came up with some pretty outlandish stuff just to fill up the excessive square footage. It’s awful.

Jenny Hillman August 13, 2010 at 12:05 am

Yikes! I actually saw this place on that Joan Rivers show on TV Land…why can’t I think of the name? Anyway, when I see and read about things like this, it just makes me feel really icky, to think of all of the amazing things that could have been done to help people, that instead went to, oh, I don’t know….a Cat Head mannequin freaky thing.
.-= Jenny Hillman´s last blog ..Dollhouse Chronicles =-.

Linda August 13, 2010 at 12:19 am

That is definitely over indulgence and very bad taste combined.

Kim August 13, 2010 at 12:30 am

I was sad at first, when I heard this house was going to be demolished, but then I saw the inside. What a horrible ugly looking place. Do these people have no taste at all? What a waste of money.

I am curious as to what the new owner is going to do with the property. Are they going to build a nice new house? Too bad we will probably never know.

Jess @ Frugal with a Flourish August 13, 2010 at 5:15 am

Retched Excess …. what a waste of money! That cat mannequin sculpture thing is hideous. And that bathroom …. wow.

Holley August 13, 2010 at 5:56 am

I agree–what a waste of time, money, energy. Yuck.
.-= Holley´s last blog ..Everything is new =-.

jeannine520 August 13, 2010 at 6:05 am

After seeing the inside of this house, it’s no wonder at all that they divorced. I can’t imagine anyone being happy living in that monstrosity. Perhaps they should turn it into a prison.

Trish @TheOldPostRoad August 13, 2010 at 6:10 am

“Ode to excess” is a perfect expression – or maybe “tasteless ode to excess.”

-Trish
.-= Trish @TheOldPostRoad´s last blog ..Great Blogland Ideas =-.

Amanda @ Serenity Now August 13, 2010 at 6:55 am

Oh dear!!! As hideous as it is, it’s a shame the new owners don’t try to paint, fix up the place.

I wonder if that flower bed was part of an Ariel/Little Mermaid themed room? Those carousel horses are freaky looking. The bathroom reminds me of Saved by the Bell for some reason.

Blech.
.-= Amanda @ Serenity Now´s last blog ..Sometimes I Swirl and a Giveaway! =-.

Elaine August 13, 2010 at 7:04 am

Oh my gosh!!! Money doesn’t buy you taste, unless you pay a designer, they obviously didn’t, what a waste hope they will recycle some of it?
.-= Elaine´s last blog ..Craft fair =-.

Visual Vamp August 13, 2010 at 7:23 am

First what a deal!
Second what a waste to knock down a perfectly good house whose only sin is that it is ugly.
Paint people.
And if you have the money to buy and knock it down and rebuild, you certainly could afford to hire some good designers to fix up the old pink thing.
Just sayin’
xo xo

Gina W. August 13, 2010 at 11:40 am

Agreed!!! Yes, it is AWFUL! But I think even more wasteful to just tear down a ginormo house because it is ugly. Ugly can usually be fixed….might take awhile in this house! LOL!
.-= Gina W.´s last blog ..The Adventures of Dawn and Gina- The Re-Purpose Addition =-.

laney August 13, 2010 at 7:30 am

…this is NOT atlanta style…sooner gone the better…

Alison Agnew August 13, 2010 at 7:35 am

Wow. That monstrosity is seven kinds of ugly. And no, that bathroom was not chic in 1989 or any other year!
.-= Alison Agnew´s last blog ..Curriculum Review =-.

Alison Agnew August 13, 2010 at 7:35 am

Wow. That monstrosity is seven kinds of ugly. And no, that bathroom was not chic in 1989 or any other year!
.-= Alison Agnew´s last blog ..Curriculum Review =-.

Tara Dillard August 13, 2010 at 7:47 am

Larry Dean hosted a tour for a small group of gardeners I was included in. The grounds were incredible in their ‘CHECKBOOK GARDENING’ style. Many of the garden statues were bought in Europe. Lots of good stone terraces, paths, boulders. Many interesting Japanese maples and other plantings.

Hopefully the garden is being auctioned too.

During the tour he mentioned that a son had done much of the work designing inside the home.

It was a memorable garden tour for all the wrong reasons.

Garden & Be Well, XO Tara

Christine August 13, 2010 at 7:53 am

My word… some of that house is scary! :) I’d love to say I had enough money to be able to buy a multi-million dollar home and then demolish it… what a waste of money!
.-= Christine´s last blog ..Taking Flight =-.

Pascale Steig August 13, 2010 at 8:07 am

It looks like the headquarters for a cult or a sect.

I wish it weren’t demolished; it’s so hideous that it is in a league of its own.

Watching the slide show, one sees every style and period possible flash by: a 19th century exhibit hall or zoo, Versailles gilt and fluff, Las Vegas over-the-top, Italian Renaissance classic, DisneyWorld excess, a walk through a mall, or a five-and-dime or Mom-and-Pop import store with those shiny vases made in China, with very bad and dated 1980s decorating, etc.
Standouts: the glassed-in rotunda, the hideous diner, the cheap masks on the wall, the freaky carousel horses (imagine a child waking up at night in that room), the mostly bad art, the shell-shaped swimming pool… Anyway, there’s too much to list.
Despite the atrocious decorating everywhere, there are a few random beautiful elements tossed in, like portions of the grounds, or that delicately painted ceiling somewhere inside…
.-= Pascale Steig´s last blog ..Remodeling by Intuition 07-02-10 =-.

Pat August 13, 2010 at 8:23 am

Beyond the ugly…what strikes me is the over indulgence. It almost makes me angry, but that would be a waste too!
I think I would have nightmares if I lived there, that has to be THE UGLIEST decorating I’ve ever seen!
.-= Pat´s last blog ..The Road Runs Straight- But The Heart Takes a Detour =-.

Ms. Pearl August 13, 2010 at 8:27 am

Talk about over the top. Yowza.
.-= Ms. Pearl´s last blog ..A pitcher of roses =-.

Kelli August 13, 2010 at 8:28 am

Wow. Just….wow. I hate to see something like that demolished, but if the current owner ever wants to sell it in the future, that might be a good option.
.-= Kelli´s last blog ..Recommendations for beach reads =-.

Ruthie Staalsen August 13, 2010 at 8:57 am

Eeeeeekkkkkssss….
.-= Ruthie Staalsen´s last blog ..Client wanted WOW! =-.

Dean August 13, 2010 at 9:20 am

Oy…I’m so embarrassed to be an Atlantan right now. A few years ago, Atlanta was voted the #1 city in the country with “most conspicuous consumption”. I guess this would be the feather in that cap! :-) What a waste of time, energy, money and resources. I’d rather be poor or middle class and have good taste, than to be rich and think any of this is good design.

Catherine August 13, 2010 at 10:04 am

I love the exterior, and the over-all design. Though I thought the entrance a bit weird from the outside, with that door in the glass wall, seeing it from the inside was very impressive! However, if that were my house I’d have to immediately spend a fortune redecorating it!
.-= Catherine´s last blog ..Coffee Flavored Coffee =-.

Lori-Anne August 13, 2010 at 10:16 am

Wowzers! So much money, so little taste! Thanks for the peep show!
.-= Lori-Anne´s last blog ..Recipe for a Summer Supper =-.

Vicki @ In The Sandbox Comic Strip August 13, 2010 at 10:29 am

Yikes!
.-= Vicki @ In The Sandbox Comic Strip´s last blog ..Peace =-.

pattie and allie August 13, 2010 at 10:58 am

There are no words……
.-= pattie and allie´s last blog ..Tortina di Capelletti for Foodie Friday! =-.

Lisa August 13, 2010 at 11:32 am

Wow, money certainly does not buy one class or taste. Whoever did the interior design should be run out of town.

Rebecca August 13, 2010 at 11:57 am

That would be my dream house for the Zombie apocalypse.

Jocelyn Stott August 13, 2010 at 12:19 pm

Ugh – that place is awful! Just goes to show you can’t always buy style.
.-= Jocelyn Stott´s last blog ..My Desk =-.

HollyM August 13, 2010 at 12:26 pm

Gut it. Redecorate. And turn it into a hotel of some kind. But to FURTHER waste money by tearing it down and building another multi-million dollar ‘house’ would add insult to injury.

When will people with money learn to hang on to their money? Or if they want to throw it at something, how about a worthy charity or scholarship program??

The Tiny Homestead August 13, 2010 at 1:09 pm

oh the horror! and not just a waste of money…it’s a waste period. all the precious resources that went into that. it’s really too bad.
.-= The Tiny Homestead´s last blog ..Inspired by patchwork =-.

Susan August 13, 2010 at 1:49 pm

Looks like it was decorated by “Pierre Gauday”! Ah … give me the simple life!

Love,
Susan and Bentley
xxoo
.-= Susan´s last blog ..Lets Go Shopping!! =-.

david spooner August 13, 2010 at 1:55 pm

So what can we learn from this? Software entrepreneur suddenly gets tons of money and blows it this way. Think of that the next time you buy a lottery ticket. Divorce can sink even the biggest ships. Your son wants to be a decorator so you give him a 32,000 sq.ft. house to practice on. Maybe experience is worth paying extra for. Maybe a budget is a GOOD THING.

Jeannine @ Small & Chic August 13, 2010 at 3:51 pm

Oh my goodness. That’s some interesting design work.

Check out picture #24. They had all that money, but installed the same cheapo thermostat that was in my little condo when I bought it.
.-= Jeannine @ Small & Chic´s last blog ..My almost Good Citizen =-.

Nancy Hood August 13, 2010 at 4:00 pm

Ugh, I went and watched the video hahaha can we say that house is a bit over the top?! I, for one, cannot imagine wasting that much money on a house that clearly was not built for resale. A double yuck for the house, a double YAY for you sharing it with us. I love this blog!!!
.-= Nancy Hood´s last blog ..I Heart Blog-Hopping! =-.

Susan S August 13, 2010 at 5:06 pm

“It took 4 years to build–and 15 years to sell.’ I can see why! Whoa, yuck!

Maggy August 13, 2010 at 5:30 pm

Words escape me .. think I’ll have to defer to everyone’s comments and just say “DITTO!!”

It’s a shame that someone has enough money to purchase the property and can’t at least consider renovating it — turn it into a boutique hotel! With 50+ acres, a golf course, a chapel, other buildings and gardens, etc .. sounds like it could be quite the go-to place for special events. Save what works; let green contractors and other parties negotiate what they want. A colossal waste just to raze the building!

Thanks for the post and the links; just when you think you’ve seen it all! So, does this count for one of your “Bad MLS Listings” posts? ;- )

Kristi August 13, 2010 at 6:29 pm

Ouch! That house was built by someone who’s taste was only in their mouth!

Carol August 13, 2010 at 8:38 pm

Well think of it this way…very tasteless rich people hiring scores of journey men/women to built, tear down and re-build again. Jobs for the economy people, that’s how it goes around !

Pat's Addition August 13, 2010 at 9:15 pm

Just ‘cuz ya have money doesn’t mean ya have to spend it!
.-= Pat’s Addition´s last blog ..Yard Sale Finds =-.

Laura August 13, 2010 at 9:31 pm

Wow, this guy lurved the 80’s…. Just goes to show there’s truth in the old adage ‘Money can’t buy taste’…
.-= Laura´s last blog ..An antique box and a tatty old deck of cards =-.

angela | the painted house August 14, 2010 at 8:41 am

GIRL, I so want to go to the tour and auction…but can I justify $50 to look at this train wreck? I would spend $50 to go to the theater or an amusement park–but this would be just as entertaining if not more to see it in person. Anyone want to sponsor me to go???? :) If they allow photos inside, it would be SOOOOOOOOO worth it!
.-= angela | the painted house´s last blog ..Daytripping- Clarkesville &amp Cleveland- GA =-.

desiree August 14, 2010 at 11:33 am

I think this is the ugliest thing I’ve ever seen! Opulence on steroids or as my grandmother would have said “someone forgot to say when.”
.-= desiree´s last blog ..Craftsman Home Gets Three Major Remodels =-.

Lacy August 15, 2010 at 11:21 am

I always feel sad when houses are torn down. I think the outside is kinda pretty, but then I saw the inside.
I think I have new material for a nightmare tonight. Anyways, I think it needs guttted but not torn down.

MCal August 16, 2010 at 8:57 pm

Before judging the home keep in mind the photos on this article are quite old now. The updated pictures of the home are gorgeous. The home is absolute piece of art and shouldn’t be torn down.

http://priceypads.com/2010/08/dean-gardens-estate-sale/
.-= MCal´s last blog ..Burlington Estate Property – 5-998-000 =-.

hookedonhouses August 16, 2010 at 9:24 pm

Interesting! Thanks for the link. -Julia

Juju at Tales of Whimsy.com August 17, 2010 at 3:16 pm

Dear Home Owner:
I hate to tell you this but, the 80s visited and she vomited all over your house.
.-= Juju at Tales of Whimsy.com´s last blog ..Book Beginnings Friday- Numbers =-.

david spooner August 18, 2010 at 10:12 am

ajc.com is reporting the rumor this morning that media mogul Tyler Perry is the buyer. He plans to tear down the house and build his own. As astute a business man as he is why am I thinking-“Medea Gets Even”-involving a mad women, a wrecking ball ,and a multi-million dollar mansion is in the future.

Deb Kennedy August 18, 2010 at 2:58 pm

Two thoughts: Money certainly doesn’t buy class or taste.
And this house reminds me of Meryl Streep’s ‘romance novel author’ character’s estate in the film ‘SheDevil’. ugh.
.-= Deb Kennedy´s last blog ..Debs Fall Follies =-.

Jerrica August 18, 2010 at 6:44 pm

Ditto on Deb Kennedy’s comment! I thought of the movie She Devil too (Mary Fisher was Maryl Streep’s character). But it also reminded my of a nearby house I pass almost every day. Every time I see it I wish someone would tear the house down and start over. I wrote about it on my blog (it’s only my second post).
.-= Jerrica´s last blog ..The Big Pink House =-.

dave August 20, 2010 at 12:52 pm

Let me know when ANY of you have a home that is 1/100th as nice as this! I know someone associated with him and I meet him and he was a VERY nice guy!

peter m August 27, 2010 at 11:44 pm

He may be the nicest guy on the planet, but his taste is located in that part of his anatomy that he sits down on.

If I lived in a home that was even 1/100th as “nice” as this one, I’d retch every time I opened my eyes.

dave thomas July 6, 2012 at 2:15 pm

Oh how simple minded childish people think! What is understood need NOT be discussed!

Timmay August 21, 2010 at 10:33 pm

2 questions: 1) Why is there no black lacquer and pink paint mirrored statue of circus clowns fornicating, anywhere on this estate (apparently), and 2) why do I feel as if I just ate at a mall food court that charges $63,000. for greasy chicken?

Joan August 22, 2010 at 12:35 am

I usually like to see houses preserved. This one, this one of all others, should be demolished. The bits that survive should be donated to needy tacky people.
Times like this, I really miss George Carlin.

deering August 22, 2010 at 2:01 am

1) Ugh–that nursery looks creepy. Did they model it on the mirror-room in THE HAUNTING remake?

2) Even Madonna would hate that bathroom. :)

3) I’d be afraid I’d land on that flower bed the wrong way and break it–or meself.

Seriously, do rich people who spend tons of money to build/renovate houses ever actually stay in them long? It never ceases to amaze me how this month’s ARCHITECTURAL DIGEST cover mansion will almost surely be on the block a couple years’ hence. Madonna made a big-ass fuss about buying an English castle and having it renovated, etc., etc., but a few years’ later she’d divorced her husband and presumably was outta there. For all the getting and striving people do to get these dream homes, does anyone actually stay in them?

deering August 22, 2010 at 2:09 am

“And this house reminds me of Meryl Streep’s ‘romance novel author’ character’s estate in the film ‘SheDevil’”

Oh, man, doesn’t it? Though IIRC, Streep’s house was a lot less gaudy on the inside and had some nice decoration.

pinkerchief August 23, 2010 at 1:30 am

Is there really anybody buying the junk inside ? even for pennies, those junks are not worth your premium space.

Disney August 23, 2010 at 11:59 am

Let me tell you—I went to the gala/sale/snicker-fest. It was fun to meet the other guests and find out who was there to marvel at the grand disaster (most everyone) and who was there because they thought this was an elegant mansion (mostly women dressed like prostitutes, and the gentlemen who love them). The garage was set up with tables full of junk—I mean Big Lots-calibre JUNK. We saw one crappy little dried topiary on the “$25″ table, and upon inspection, found the original price tag, $4.88. Really Dean Gardens???

Chuck Mitchell August 26, 2010 at 9:40 am

I am a builder and this is truly a piece of art, other than the wierd cosmetic issues in this house for the size and quality of this home i could turn it into a breathtaking piece of art for about six hundred thousand dollars and you wouldnt know it was the same house. I guess that is the advantages of being in the business.

Michael Peacock September 11, 2010 at 12:07 pm

The Dean’s were friends of my extended family. In fact, my cousin, Ronnie Alley, was called in near the end of construction to help complete the project which seems to go on and on. He and his wife Vicki were friends of the Dean and Ronnie was a great builder. The House and Grounds were beautiful – especially some parts of the house before it was decorated by the Dean’s son. The grounds, especially, are impressive when on the property. What makes it so hideous are the furnishings and then some of the interior design – like the carousel and the ice cream parlor. To bad Tyler Perry is tearing it down. If you just redid some of it, it could be fabulous. You need to feature Evander Holyfields House in Fayetteville, GA. It’s beautiful and tasteful!

Wendy November 7, 2010 at 5:21 am

Although It should be update, the feel and flow of the enormity of this house will simply take your breath away. Pictures do not do justice, decor can be changed… but the views and gardens are spectacular.

Angie T November 30, 2010 at 2:47 pm

The house have some beautiful designs; which is why I think it should be remodeled instead of demolished! The horrible things people have said about the interior design of this house should make Larry Dean’s son feel terrible!! I am sure he thought he was doing a great job for his parents! I just pray that once Tyler Perry complete his dream structure; it will be enjoyed by him for many years to come!!

Mecha December 17, 2010 at 12:07 pm

Hola Larry! vaya casa tienes! eres feliz con tantas tantas cosas, tanto espacio para ti solo??? a mi me daria la impresion que tanta amplitud me sentiria incomoda, no lo se; jamas tuve algo tan tan grande, una cosa: te dire que lo que mas me gusta, los jardines y sobretodo los arboles!!!! siempre me senti como acompañada.Por favor, no dejes que destruya tu casa, despues de tanto esfuerzo hecho por tu hijo o quien sea, lo hizo con cariño, bien sabes que hay gustos para todo, y creo que hay que respetarlo, a mi particularmente me gustan las casas estilo campo, mucha madera, creo que es muy acogedora.te deseo lo mejor: Merry Xmas & Happy New Year!!! Hugs Mecha
.-= Mecha´s last blog ..Progress Report on Our New Sunroom- Almost Done! =-.

tom smith August 25, 2011 at 11:18 am

Haters are going to hate!

tom smith August 25, 2011 at 11:22 am

People are always mad at people that work hard and have more than them! I know someone that sold his sister a car and he was there and was a nice guy NO ego and never a jerk like alot of you! Look him up Larry Dean was a generous guy and is loved! He had an AWESOME home unlike any of you haters own!!!

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