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

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 an 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 bed

And 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.

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Comments

  1. Allison says

    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!

  2. Cindy says

    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.

  3. says

    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 =-.

  4. Linda says

    That is definitely over indulgence and very bad taste combined.

  5. Kim says

    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.

  6. jeannine520 says

    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.

  7. says

    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! =-.

  8. says

    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 =-.

  9. says

    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

  10. says

    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

  11. says

    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 =-.

  12. says

    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 =-.

  13. Dean says

    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.

  14. says

    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 =-.

  15. Lisa says

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

  16. HollyM says

    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??

  17. david spooner says

    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.

  18. says

    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! =-.

  19. Susan S says

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

  20. Maggy says

    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? ;- )

  21. Kristi says

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

  22. Carol says

    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 !

  23. says

    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 =-.

  24. Lacy says

    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.

  25. david spooner says

    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.

  26. says

    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 =-.

  27. says

    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 =-.

  28. dave says

    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 says

      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 says

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

  29. Timmay says

    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?

  30. Joan says

    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.

  31. deering says

    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?

  32. deering says

    “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.

  33. pinkerchief says

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

    • Disney says

      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???

  34. Chuck Mitchell says

    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.

  35. Michael Peacock says

    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!

  36. Wendy says

    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.

  37. Angie T says

    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!!

  38. says

    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! =-.

  39. tom smith says

    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!!!